This week’s penultimate episode of The Challenge: USA gave viewers another peek at the physical demand needed to win The Challenge, and with the final looming, we expect next week’s season finale to be nothing short of a fight to the finish.
To no surprise, Angela Rummans dominated this week’s daily challenge, ‘Code Crossing.’ If a fourth daily win wasn’t impressive enough, Rummans was the only competitor, male or female, to complete it. Alongside Angela was Ben Driebergen, who made it the furthest among the men, also granting him the win.
The pair ultimately decided on throwing Big Brother’s Enzo Palumbo into the Arena against fellow BB22 houseguest David Alexander, who finished last in the daily challenge. While Palumbo and Alexander voiced frustration with the Survivor players evading yet another week of elimination, the suggestion to throw one of them in seemed a little too late as they now make up more than half of the compound.
Pop Crave caught up with David to discuss his time on the show, including his strategy coming into the game, why he chose not to throw in a Survivor player in Episode 6, and who he’s rooting for in next week’s final. Keep reading for the full interview!
We didn’t see much of you in the first few episodes. What was your game plan coming into the season in terms of strategy, alliances, etc.?
To lay low, and I guess it didn’t work out because I didn’t get a lot of attention. This is not a strategy, but it was to get to know the cast to kind of see where people were coming from, what their strategy was, how they wanted to play the game, and then figure out how loyal people were going to be to their game shows. That was a lot.
You won a daily challenge, an elimination, and almost made it to the final. Did you expect to perform so well coming into the season?
Yeah, you gotta believe in yourself! No, I’m grateful as far as I got, and I’m grateful that I won. I didn’t win a lot on the Big Brother experience. I’m not surprised because my mindset was running the final. That was it. That was the mindset. Let me get that money!
After learning you’d be facing Enzo in the Arena, you said, “This is Survivor’s game.” Looking back at your daily challenge win in Episode 6, do you regret not making a move on a Survivor player when you had the chance, or was that not possible with Desi as your partner?
You gotta remember the algorithm put Angela and Dom together again. With the algorithm, we just couldn’t figure out if we were going to get the same partners again. We always assumed, “Oh, I haven’t partnered with you yet.” We’d walk in the house like, “Oh, I haven’t had Sarah yet, I’ve haven’t had Angela,” and those are two very strong competitors. I had Desi. Guess what? When I had Desi, I won, and then I’m thinking about Shannon and her hamstring. I’m like, “Why would I risk my game for her hamstring?” What if the algorithm is like, “Oh, you won’t have the same partner back-to-back”? Whatever the algorithm said at that point, I could have got Shannon in the next week. What an easy target, because Shannon already has a hurt hamstring. If it wasn’t for Shannon’s hamstring, I would have pushed for the Tyson one.
In the event you didn’t finish last in the daily challenge, how safe do you think you would have been with Angela and Ben considering how close of a relationship Ben had with Enzo?
I probably would have been thrown in given the alliance. It would have come down to Angela deciding that, and if she had this big agreement with the Survivor guys, then I’m fodder and fodder for the sharks. It’s sus because I’ve seen Angela all season, but at the same time she was winning, so she can dictate her relationships and her strategies. She won a lot more than anybody, from singles even to the daily challenges. It kind of shows me the strategy of how someone plays. You remove the emotions, and she is the ice queen. If I got a chance to play it again, I would maybe explore some of the same strategy. I hope I get to see the same faces if I play this damn game again, because yo!
We’ve learned of several alliances throughout the season: the winners alliance, the Fab Five, and now the group of Survivor men and Big Brother women. Did you have anything going on behind the scenes with players outside of Big Brother?
Me and Enzo had a little duo, but that wasn’t really a big alliance. Me and Desi got introduced to the winner’s alliance, which ended up being crap because it wasn’t really what it was. There was a certain group… Anyways, that’s part of the reason why Tyson was with them when thrown in, because they were like, “Yo, the winners keep each other safe. We have the money, we’re gonna protect our money.” I’m like, “Cool.” Then as soon as I mentioned Derek, everybody flipped. Alyssa was like, “No, no, no!” Angela was like, “No!” I’m like, “Yo, what happened to the winners thing y’all was just talking about two seconds ago?” There was a winners alliance, but it came down to who are friends here. I knew I was on the outside. Even after I won, I still knew I was on the outside because of the next game. They were all strategizing on how to win, and I wasn’t included in the strategy. I was like, “Oh, okay, I see!”
We saw just how close you and Enzo have become throughout the season. How has your friendship with him grown since competing together on Big Brother 22?
Everybody doesn’t know this. My man voted me out, and it was a 3-2 vote. I was sitting next to Nicole [Franzel] who had already won the game before. She already won the half-a-million. I’m like, “Yo, come on. Let’s go get her out! She’s won already, but she’s still here. Keep the rookie!” Enzo votes me out. I’m not even salty because I’m just like, “Yo, this game was a headcase!” I’m going to the Beverly Hills jury mansion, and I’m gonna hang out. The night of the finale, where Enzo lost in a 9-0 vote to Cody, Enzo calls me because he gets home. He’s like, “Yo, my family is giving me shit, yo. I shouldn’t have voted you out, yo. I’m so sorry, man. I’m sorry!” Like, y’all don’t know what I was doing, you know? After he called me right after the season ended and he was like, “Yo, I shouldn’t have voted you out,” we was tight. We was cool. Obviously with playing The Challenge together, we kind of relied on each other. The game was crazy! He was scared of a lot of stuff, and I was trying to prove myself. We kind of kept each other accountable and just held on.
That elimination definitely turned out to be the most brutal of the season. Looking back at the challenge, where do you think things went wrong?
I messed up at the beginning. They didn’t show this, but before I got my first ball in, I had two tries before that where I would get close to it. We would wrestle, and he would end up on top of me. I was exerting a high level of energy to get him off of me before they would call for a reset. Basically, I had two extra rounds of me exerting high energy before we even got to his round of offense. That’s why I gassed out by the time we got to the fourth round where I was like, “I’m Steph Curry! Let me shoot it!” I was gassed out. That was not a strategy, and that was not me thinking I can ball. I can ball a little bit, but then I was just pure exhaustion.
Next week is the final. Besides Enzo, is there anyone you’re rooting for to take home the win?
Danny… When it comes to decisions and how he’s playing the game, he was like, “If I go home to my wife, Kiki…” He did talk about Kiki a lot, just like the season. He was like, “If I went home to my wife, Kiki, and I did something for some emotion or for somebody, and I didn’t come home with this money,” then that’s just how his mind frame was around it. “I’m doing this for my family, not for anybody here. I’m not trying to make y’all my best friends,” and shit like that. He was like, “I’m not here to win the money.” The way he framed it about his family spoke to me and what I’m doing for my family, so I was hoping he’d keep going and try to get it.
The season finale of The Challenge: USA airs next Wednesday at 9/8c on CBS.