The Challenge: All Stars eliminated player speaks: 'I went big and I went home'
"I should have seen that ghost pepper coming," [SPOILER] says of how that ~spicy~ elimination twist threw him off in episode 3.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about episode 3 of The Challenge: All Stars.
You can train for a lot of things before competing on The Challenge. But one thing you can't train for? Handling the intense heat of not one but two Carolina Reaper chilis at the same time. And after making his epic return to the long-running MTV franchise after 20 years for The Challenge: All Stars, The Real World: Hawaii alum Teck Holmes was bested by some "ill-timed throw-up" after being forced to eat a pair of the hottest peppers known to man right before his elimination against Nehemiah Clark.
"It was my time to go," Holmes tells EW of his exit in episode 3. "I pretty much knew once I nominated myself I had a 50-50 chance of going home. If I would have won that [elimination], I would have made it all the way through to the end. I don't think I'd have been looked at as a target after that, so that was my big play. I knew I had to go big or go home, and I went big and I went home."
Below, the Challenge vet breaks down what viewers didn't see in his verbal altercation with Clark that led to his elimination, what it was really like eating those peppers, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I was so psyched to see you back on The Challenge after two full decades [Holmes last competed on Challenge 2000]. Had you ever considered coming back to the franchise over the past 20 years?
TECK HOLMES: This is really the first time that I thought of it. I got some more calls in like the early 2000s. And I was like, "Nah, I'm cool." And then when they changed the format, I was like, "Nah, I'm really cool. I don't think I'm going to be able to do that." This was just the right time when Mark [Long] hit me up.
Coming back for All Stars, what surprised you the most about what it's actually like now and how the game has changed?
All Stars is definitely more cutthroat, everybody's on pins and needles. I was there to have fun. The idea of "I can go home tomorrow!" makes everyone a little bit nervous. When we were doing Challenge 2000, it was like we were on a long, extended camping trip, so it was a big difference.
What was it like eating those Carolina Reapers? I cannot believe you had to eat two of them, one is more than enough.
They were quite a challenge in themselves. Yeah, luckily for me my body rejected them and I had to throw them up, because if they would have stayed down, I would have been hurting for a lot longer. And I was hurting for a while — like my mouth, my nose, my eyes, my throat, everything was hot. And once I threw them up, my stomach was hot, but it wasn't as hot as if I would have kept it down. Luckily for me my body didn't like the peppers, but they were hot. I mean, when I say they're hot, they were hot. That was some bulls---. [Laughs] I live in Los Angeles so I like my salsa a little spicy, but man, those peppers, I don't know. They're called reapers for a reason. It was ridiculous.
What was going through your mind when TJ revealed that fun little twist?
There was a lot of "M-Fing" going through my mind, cursing him out mentally. And I knew that was like a telltale sign of what was to come in the challenges. I was like, if you make it past this, then just know that there's going to be a lot more ghost reaper peppers, you might have to eat some bear scat, who knows what's going to happen now? You never know what they're going to throw at you. Clearly I should have been up on The Challenges and watching more of them because I should have seen that ghost pepper coming.
I've got to give you props for flipping off TJ, I think that's a Challenge first.
I wasn't the happiest camper right then and there. Not at all. TJ's cool, that's my man, but not at that moment!
After the challenge ended, you immediately starting talking s--- to Nehemiah, which is why you ended up in elimination against him. Do you regret that because of how it put a target on your back?
Well, no, I didn't actually — okay, well this is the thing about editing, it's always the second person that gets caught. He said something to me, he was talking about our team, so I basically was defending our team. I was talking s---, but at the same time defending our team. I wouldn't even have been in that position had I not had to defend our team. He tried to — well, I don't want to say "rat us out," but he was trying to snitch on us, I guess, and we had a back-and-forth battle. But they didn't show that, they just showed me like that. But no, I don't regret it at all.
Did you ever think Kendal was going to use the Life Saver on you?
I didn't, and I didn't even pressure her. I actually kind of wanted to do the [elimination], as weird as that seems. And the week before, I had just voted her in. So in my mind, my pride couldn't go, "I know I just voted you in, but can you spare me?" So I just talked to her like, "Hey, if you do use it, that's cool, if not, there's no pressure. I volunteered to go in, I'm prepared to go in, I'm not even trippin'. If you want to, me and you will have a bond now for forever. If not, it's still cool."
Was that elimination as close as it seemed? It looked neck-and-neck the whole way through.
Yeah, it was pretty close. I unfortunately had a bad start, threw up. I think that's what got me. But I felt good about the race. I was proud of myself.
It was just an ill-timed throw-up.
Yeah, it really was just an ill-timed throw-up. [Laughs] Who knows what would have happened [if I hadn't]? But we were having such a good time from the moment we got to the house this season, the moment we all met up, it was so great. We were like a bunch of old folks who were just let out of the old-folks home, the nurses opened the doors and gave us our shuffleboard sticks and ping-pong paddles!
Are you interested in coming back for another potential season of All Stars?
[Long pause for laughter] I told them hell no last time, and they keep calling me! But after I sat home for a while, I started missing everybody. Like, man, I started getting the itch again. I'll tell you, they know what they're doing. I told them, "No, I'm good, I'll see y'all never." Then they called me, like, "Would you want to do it again?" I'm like, "Ahh! God!" I don't know. The door is always open. How could I say no? But first I've got to work out. I need to put on like 50 pounds. [Laughs] And I have to figure out how to do that first. Then I can just bully my way through to the end.
Let's just hope it's not another 20 years until we see you on The Challenge again.
I know, I still couldn't believe it's been 20 years since my last one. But that would be the Golden Girls Challenge. Shoot. I can't do that one.
I would watch that one, let's be honest.
Yeah, I would too!