If you didn’t think so already, Wednesday night’s episode of The Challenge: USA made it crystal clear: The Survivor players are unstoppable.
Following the results of last week’s explosive elimination challenge, one could only assume that an all-out war was impending between Survivor’s Tyson Apostol and Sarah Lacina, with one of the two players meeting their demise. Instead, we were met with an episode of more reserved gameplay, something fans have gotten very used to this season, especially from players within the Big Brother and Survivor alliances.
David Alexander and Desi Williams, winners of this week’s daily challenge, ‘Containment,’ ultimately decided on throwing Derek Xiao and an injured Shannon St. Clair into elimination, though Alexander did voice his concerns about players like Tyson Apostol and Angela Rummans making it too far in the game. In the end, Survivor’s influence prevailed, with Williams successfully managing to talk Alexander out of making a move that would exponentially benefit his game.
Even with an injured teammate, Xiao and St. Clair delivered a remarkably impressive performance in the elimination challenge, losing by just seconds against Big Brother’s Enzo Palumbo and Love Island’s Justine Ndiba.
Pop Crave caught up with Derek and Shannon following their elimination to discuss what conversations occurred prior to the elimination, Shannon’s badass intro in last week’s episode, and more. Keep reading for the full exit interview!
In last night’s episode, we saw Alyssa mention how bad of a move she felt it was for David to put you guys into elimination. What were your conversations with David and Desi like prior to the elimination, and how much do you think Shannon’s injury actually influenced their decision to put you both in over Cayla and Leo?
Derek: Basically with my pitch, I had separate pitches to the both of them. My pitch to David was, “Look, you should stay strong to the Big Brother alliance. I know we didn’t, but you should definitely do this because this would be good. This would be a good game move for you.” I was telling him, “Look, we’re kind of past the halfway point in this game now. You need to have some type of alliance of people to have your back and take you to the end. It could be me, Kyle, Angela, and Alyssa. If you take me out, then they’re all coming for you.” My pitch to Desi was that the other options for a duo to go in were Leo and Cayla. I was telling Desi that a lot of the girls had already been talking about it, and they don’t want to get paired with Leo. Leo and Cayla are both from the same show, so you can minimize your bloodshed. Just Amazing Race, which is just Leo and Cayla. I was kind of thinking about having separate pitches for both of them. At the end of the day, it didn’t really work out because Desi had a really strong alliance with Cayla and with Sarah, and they were sticking strong. She eventually flipped David’s mind, and then me and Shannon got thrown in.
Outside of players from your own shows, who would you say you trusted most in the game OR had a close relationship with?
Shannon: I’d say for me, I was just so close with the Love Island girls, but I was also close with The Amazing Race because we all felt like we were the underdogs. I was really close with James. I was really close with Cayla and Leo. I also felt like I had an alliance with Alyssa a little bit since day one. It took me a little more to catch on to what was really going on, since I never really watched the show and was supposed to be an alternate. I did not do my homework. I did not watch Survivor. I never watched Big Brother and didn’t know anybody. I felt like for me, I was a little slow into gravitating outside of my alliance with the Love Island girls, just because of my situation and just feeling frustrated with everything. But I mean, I was close with Derek, obviously, and Cash was my number one. Tyson kind of squeezed his way into the Love Island girls circle. I felt like I could have been kind of with anyone. I was definitely a wildcard in there.
Derek, in our interview with Tasha and James, we learned that you and Alyssa were sort of testing the waters for a potential alliance of “misfit” players. At this point in the game, what was the status of that “underdog” alliance?
Derek: Man, it was just so tough because that’s what I wanted. But really, to form a strong alliance, you need to win. This was not a game about numbers. I haven’t talked about this in my interviews, but I think this is important. Big Brother is a numbers game. Survivor is a numbers game. The Challenge is not a numbers game. It doesn’t matter if you have the house vote; you are still going to get thrown into elimination if you can’t win the daily challenge. With the “misfits” alliance, I thought it was a good plan before we saw what elimination was. At that point, we had no idea how people got voted in. Like, does the winner pick or do we get to vote as a house? And once I learned that, it doesn’t matter what the house wants. It’s about what the winner wants. The “misfits” alliance fell to shambles because we can say we’re gonna stick together, but at the end the day it was like, “Shoot, I have to go in, or Leo and Kayla, you guys have to go in,” so it doesn’t matter if we’re in an alliance or not. I’m gonna pitch you guys no matter how bad we want to work together. It would have been a completely different story if I was actually able to win power and control who else could go in.
Shannon, a running theme throughout the season has been contestants voicing how much they distrust the Big Brother players. Did your opinion of them change in a more positive light after being paired with David, Kyland, and Derek?
Shannon: I felt like as a whole going in, I thought that Big Brother was just moving a little sneakily. I could tell that they would smile in my face and then turn around and throw me in. The trust there when I first started talking with Alyssa, I couldn’t tell if it was genuine, and it actually turns out it was. Now we’re all great friends, but in there I just was so hesitant on who to trust. After working with some of the Big Brother people, I still didn’t feel like I was accepted into any kind of alliance with them. With David and Kyland, I was never close with them. I felt like if me and Derek were paired early on, or me and someone else that I was closer with from Big Brother, maybe then I could work my way in and talk some gameplay. Because it was with Kyland and David… Like, me and Kyland had never talked the whole time until the end. With me and David, David was a wildcard. For me, I didn’t know if he was even working with Big Brother. I had no idea. I couldn’t get anything out of him. Big Brother was so hard to read! I didn’t trust them [laughs]!
Shannon, we have to ask about that intro you did with the staff in last week’s episode! How long did it take for you to choreograph? You looked amazing!
Shannon: Thank you! I didn’t even know if they were going to air that or not, but it wasn’t choreographed. We really just had a couple glasses of wine, it was our day off, so we just got sticks and were kind of sparring with them. We were fencing around and then we were like, “Alright, go this way and then this way, and then I’ll look really cool at the end! Dom, you go down on the ground because I’m not!” It really only took probably 10 minutes. We were just playing around, and then the cameras came out and were like, “Wait, wait, wait! Do that again!” I was like, “You guys think this is cool? Okay!” It looks really awesome, so it was good!
@GamerVev Mother Shannon opening the show today!!🥲🥰 #TheChallengeUSA pic.twitter.com/wctvNoDLPJ— ashton💎 (@ashtonJDE) August 4, 2022
New episodes of The Challenge: USA air Wednesday nights at 9/8c on CBS.