Breanne L. Heldman
January 02, 2018 AT 12:00 PM EST

It’s a new year and another chance to watch a bunch of reality stars go head-to-head in some in some bananas (and Bananas) face-offs on The Challenge. And, according to host TJ Lavin, the Vendettas journey kicks off with a literal gut-wrenching battle.

“The first episode this season is much like a final of any other season,” Lavin tells EW. “That’s just to tell you what a really gnarly season this is…. The first challenge was so good, that some of them ended up throwing up at my feet when they got to the finish line.”

Lavin admits some of the challenges during Vendettas even gave him pause. “Sometimes I’ve had to talk to them, like ‘Man, this is way too hard.’ They’re like, ‘Nah, they’re good.’ And then, sure enough, nine times out of 10, they’re good. But the challenges are very difficult.”

Of course, the season will surely have its fair share of other drama as well. We already know that longtime player Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio is entering the season single for the first time in five years, and Jemmye Carroll teased Derrick Kosinski on The Challenge Mania podcast about a wealth of hookups happening this go-round, which will also welcome rookie players from the casts of Big Brother and MTV U.K.’s Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach.

The Challenge: Vendettas premieres Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. on MTV.

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