The Challenge: World Championship recap: Danny forces the house into a tie vote
Any longtime fan of The Challenge knows that you do not want to tie the vote. Ever. TJ hates when the house can't come to a decision on its own, so when he has to step in to break a tie, bad things happen. Players have gotten burned time and time again for forcing a tie, so it's best to just make the hard decisions to avoid any kind of tie vote later. And yet, self-described Challenge superfan Danny just threw all that out the window in this week's episode of The Challenge: World Championship when he forced the house into a tie vote. For a Challenge champ, that is such a rookie mistake! Let's recap how we got to that messy point, shall we?
Jodi and Benja are back in the house after sending Rodrigo and Nia home, and as the sole remaining Team Argentina players, they're ready for the game to change. If it doesn't, they're not long for this world (championship). Luckily there's some dissension among Team Australia, as Grant and Emily gossip about how Kiki's an "airhead" while she cleans dishes and complains about how the house is always dirty. Wes floats an idea to Jordan to come up with a "secret" third team to name at nominations in the event that KellyAnne/Tristan or Jodi/Benja loses the challenge and automatically goes into elimination (or wins and is safe from elimination). Wes wants to avoid scrambling to figure out their replacement, because he'll do whatever it takes to make sure he's not on the chopping block himself. Jordan suggests playing into the Emily vs. Kiki drama that started when Emily tried to use Kiki as a pawn in the first week. Team UK wants to use that crack in Team Australia's loyalty to their own advantage.
Meanwhile, the dissension on Team USA is also getting spicy, but all the legends want to keep targeting the "boring" options to save themselves just a little bit longer. It's the global MVPs like Danny and Sarah who are ready to rock the boat and not play the legends' "safe" game anymore. Team USA legend Kaycee wants to keep going with the "safe" plan though, because she has a new motivation for winning the money: she and Nany are planning to start a family! Aw, that's amazing. We love Challenge families. Her path to the end is a little difficult, however, since she's partnered with Ben, who's known to get paranoid and flip-flop on his alliances. He's already admitting he wants to play "selfish" to win.
The Challenge: Flying Around
This challenge looks fun! One player from each team is tossed around by a giant crane, as they catch rings thrown by their partner and deposit them into a bin. The team who deposits the most rings in the bin wins. Simple enough... so why not add in a little eating component, too? Every player must finish a smoothie in under two minutes before the challenge begins... and they're not allowed to throw up or else they get a penalty. Wow, producers are finally doing something about the way players "cheat" on eating challenges by pretending to throw up and just spitting out the food! I never thought we'd see that happen.
The first heat is Wes/Zara, Grant/Jonna, Bananas/Justine, and KellyAnne/Tristan. Wes and Zara decide to take the five-point penalty instead of attempting to drink the large green smoothie of unidentified ingredients, but the other teams don't think it's worth it to risk any penalties. The other three teams finish their smoothies without puking and the challenge begins. Grant is the first to get a ring in the bin, but soon Bananas takes the lead with six rings over Grant and Tristan's one. Wes and Zara really struggle, and only get two rings total out of the 50 possible attempts. With their penalty, they finish with negative three points. If every other team finishes their smoothies, Wes and Zara are guaranteed to go into elimination. Yikes. Their strategy did not pay off here. Bananas and Justine win the heat with 14 points, far ahead of Grant/Jonna's and Tristan/KellyAnne's three points each.
The second heat is Theo/Sarah, Yes/Emily, Kaycee/Ben, and Jodi/Benja. All the teams finish their smoothies, but Theo and Sarah get two points deducted for puking/spitting some of the smoothie out. It's interesting to note that while all the men were strapped to the cranes in the first heat, Kaycee is the first woman to take that role on her team while Ben stays on the ground to throw the rings to her. It's smart because he's able to get more rings to his partner than other teams ... but since she can't get them into the bin in the middle, she totally blows that advantage. What a bummer. At the end of the round, no one beats Bananas/Justine's record: Sarah/Theo and Yes/Emily tie with eight, Benja/Jodi get five, and Ben/Kaycee get two points.
The third and final heat is Darrell/Kiki, Jordan/Kaz, Amber/Troy, and Danny/Tori (I wonder if these smoothies are vegan?). Kiki absolutely smashes the eating portion, continuing to prove that her Challenge: Australia win wasn't a fluke, while Amber struggles — she says she's been really sick for two weeks and can't stop gagging (could that be morning sickness?!). Amber and Troy ultimately get a seven-point deduction since she doesn't finish the smoothie and pukes some of it up. This round is impressive for some teams, as Jordan literally catches a ring with his foot and kicks it into the bin, and Kiki launches every single ring into Darrell's hands.
We don't get a final count for the third round to increase the dramatic tension, but TJ announces the two bottom teams are Ben/Kaycee and Wes/Zara, so that means Amber/Troy made up enough points to cancel out their entire penalty. Wes and Zara are the official losers, so they're going straight into elimination. As for the winner, the top two teams are Darrell/Kiki and Bananas/Justine, with Darrell and Kiki ultimately taking home the W.
The table is now set for a massive shakeup since Darrell and Kiki are in power, and Wes and Zara are in the elimination! Back at the house, Bananas knows that Wes is likely going to win whatever the elimination is, so he wants Wes to take out a big team like Grant/Jonna or Yes/Emily. But Danny wants Jordan/Kaz to go in, so he thinks burning a Team Australia pair would force Darrell and Kiki to automatically vote in Jordan/Kaz. For some reason, Grant volunteers himself and Jonna to be the burn vote. And Danny is going to have to convince Tori to target Jordan, which is next to impossible. All this politicking is getting messy, and I'm loving every second of it.
Outside, Jodi and KellyAnne have a meeting to discuss their options. They don't want to get voted in again, but they also don't want to just go along with Bananas' plan since they know they can't trust him. Plus, KellyAnne is still ready to get revenge on Jonna. There are so many different plans flying around the house that I have no idea what's about to happen.
Grant kicks off the votes by saying Jordan/Kaz and Sarah/Theo. Jordan/Kaz throw it right back on Jonna/Grant as well as Yes/Emily, with KellyAnne/Tristan voting the same. The other teams all vote for Jonna/Grant as a burn vote, hoping Darrell/Kiki won't choose them and will target Jordan/Kaz instead. But Bananas points out that we've seen burn vote plans go terribly wrong many times before in this game, and it's not always guaranteed to work out as it's intended.
Ben/Kaycee vote in two Team Australia pairs, Grant/Jonna and Yes/Emily, despite agreeing with Team USA and Team Australia's plan to target Jordan/Kaz. Ben's officially siding with the legends. Interesting. Then Ben and Kaycee start whispering to each other, announcing that Amber/Troy are at the bottom of Team Australia to try and manipulate them into changing their votes, but it doesn't work.
The vote gets tied between Jordan/Kaz and Yes/Emily, so of course Tori/Danny have to cast the deciding one. Tori tries to convince Danny to save her ex-fiancé, but he burns both votes instead by voting Jodi/Benja and KellyAnne/Tristan, resulting in a stalemate. Tori's pissed, and chaos erupts since no one knows what's going to happen. Burning is one thing, but burning to force a tie is just stupid! What is Danny thinking?!
Wes and Zara come downstairs to figure out what happened, and he lays it out perfectly: "Who really s--- the bed on politics up here?" Sarah and Emily laugh at Tori and Jordan's alliance because they think their failed engagement has nothing to do with the game. Kiki and Troy are pissed at Emily and Grant trying to control their game and not working with them. Team USA's MVPs are pissed at Ben for switching over to the legends' side. Everyone is mad at everyone, and no one trusts anyone. It's the World Championship, baby!
Once again, the lines are so blurred and everything's such a mess that I have no idea what's about to happen. The fact that this is so unpredictable is exciting. At the Arena, TJ calls out Wes and Zara's "poor strategy" in the challenge, and for the house's stalemate. "For some reason, I don't have two teams here," he says to the cast. "Since you all have failed to use your democratic process to nominate two teams to be considered for possible elimination, you're forcing me to invoke the stalemate rule, which means the one team that is going to send one team down here is... Kiki and Darrell."
Okay, so that's not too bad. I was expecting Danny and Tori to be in some kind of trouble, which I guess they could be if Darrell and Kiki vote them in and blame the whole thing on them. But Darrell is known for not wanting to make waves, so he could go for an "easy" option. Now they have all the power here... but we won't find out who they pick until next week because the episode ends on a cliffhanger. Ugh. Producers, please stop doing that!
The Challenge: World Championship debuts new episodes Wednesdays on Paramount+.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.
- The Challenge: World Championship recap: A civil war starts brewing on Team USA
- The Challenge: World Championship recap: Jonna shoots her shot
- The Challenge: World Championship recap: A legend proves her worth while another crashes and burns
- The Challenge: World Championship premiere recap: A player gets cut early
- Ben Driebergen talks returning for The Challenge: World Championship: 'I had more to prove'