The Challenge: USA eliminated team says 'it was hard to watch' their exit
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Wednesday's episode of The Challenge: USA.
Losing is a tough pill to swallow on The Challenge: USA, but then having to relive that loss months later when the episode finally airs? That was even more difficult for Big Brother alum Azah Awasum and Love Island alum Melvin "Cinco" Holland Jr.
In this week's episode of the CBS Challenge spin-off, Awasum's inability to swim cost her and Holland their entire season. They got last place in the swimming/puzzle challenge and went straight into elimination. Survivor winner Tyson Apostol and Holland's ex-girlfriend Cashay Proudfoot ended up winning the challenge and threw Survivor winner Sarah Lacina and The Amazing Race alum Leo Temory in against them, and they sent Awasum and Holland home.
"It was hard to watch," Awasum tells EW. "And I do feel responsible, because I can't swim. But at the end of the day, I'm happy that I did have a supportive partner that day in Cinco, and it just showed me never give up and always look for ways that you can improve. Now I know I need to learn how to swim."
"It stings," Holland agrees. "We definitely could have done things better, but at the same time, for circumstances of the challenge and what we had to work with and all of that, I really think we did awesome. We had a great partnership, and there's nobody I'd rather go out with. I appreciated the whole experience."
Below, Awasum and Holland talk about their exit, if they have any regrets, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When Tyson and Cashay threw Sarah and Leo in as your elimination opponents, did you have any idea that was coming? Who were you hoping to go against?
AZAH AWASUM: We had a slight warning earlier in the day that that might happen.
MELVIN "CINCO" HOLLAND JR.: Tyson gave me a heads-up earlier in the day and just said that he would let us know for sure. But that never came, so things were still in the air. We really didn't know for sure. We didn't want to say any names, but obviously we'd rather go against David and Alyssa just because of the money that they had, so then we'd be qualified for the final if we got their money. And we thought we would be a good match against them. That's who we wanted to go in, but we were just ready to compete against anybody.
What was it like competing in that elimination?
AWASUM: I didn't know what to kind of expect. I was really hoping that it would be something physical because I felt that we would work well together with a physical elimination. But with it just being something I had never even seen before, that did frazzle me a bit. But I still felt confident in that time. I truly felt with Cinco that we had a chance of being able to beat anyone because I knew we had great communication, we had a good rapport with each other, and I felt that we did work well together. It was a bit more difficult than you think, being tied to the same person. There's so many times in the game where you forget that you're connected to the other person. You go off to do something just to be held back. What's interesting is both my eliminations I was tethered to the other person. That's the hardest thing, you're forced to truly make every thought process together. And if you're not in sync, then it could end up working against you.
At what point did you realize you were going to lose?
HOLLAND: We still had faith. We didn't start off in the best way. We had a plan. We went in there and we got to it, and realized our plan is not going the way we thought it was going to go, so we had to readjust. And by that time, we gave up a lot of time. But we're still fighting. We're still digging. We're still trying to figure out these puzzle pieces. We were still in the crate, it's pitch-black, super dark, and that's when we heard the horn. It was like, dang, we were still in it to win it. We were still trying to win. There was no point where we were just like, we're going to lose.
AWASUM: I wasn't looking at them. I wasn't looking at how far behind we were. It wasn't over until I heard that buzzer. When I heard that buzzer, I wanted to immediately be able to be a good sport about it. I didn't want to spend too much time inside [the crate], because I thought I was going to get really emotional. I wanted us to get out and congratulate the team and just kind of process this, I call it an eviction, but it's an elimination.
HOLLAND: It always sucks losing. I'm a bit of a sore loser, so I was upset but at the same time, got to give credit where credit is due. Sarah and Leo did the thing, they came to compete. And as far as strategy, they stuck by it. Me and Azah, we did our thing, we did our best, but it's how the cards lay. We just have to accept it, congratulate them, but if we get a chance we'll come back with a vengeance.
So you'd want to come back to The Challenge in the future if you got the chance?
AWASUM: I would love to. I would definitely come back.
Cinco, you didn't want to name any names because you thought Cashay would end up manipulating that and not give you what you wanted. Do you regret not saying a name or asking her to help you out by giving you a different opponent seeing how things turned out?
HOLLAND: Not at all. That decision was for the long run of the game. I felt fine competing against anybody. We would have rather competed against David and Alyssa, only solely because the money situation. I'm like, since we feel so confident, let's not name anybody. Let's let them keep the blood on their hands on who they want so we can't get any backlash from it later on in the game.
What's your relationship with Cashay like now that you went through this experience together?
HOLLAND: It's cool. Now we're just both on our own terms. We're in our separate lates. There's no bad blood between us. There's no animosity or anything. We're just doing our own thing.
Cinco, it also looked like you and Tiffany were hitting it off this season before her exit. Was something going on there away from cameras, or even after filming ended?
HOLLAND: No, me and Tiffany are really just friends. We met before the show, actually at Azah's event. She's really cool people. We hit it off, it was cool. On the show, it was just a familiar face. It was just somebody where I was like, we met, I know you, we can work together because there is some type of trust because we met each other outside of the game, and that was it.
Azah, there's been lots of drama amongst all the BB23 cast members, so what was it like between all of you in the house? What is your relationship with them all like now?
AWASUM: I was kind of oblivious to some things while I was in the house. I was oblivious to the background on Xavier. I did know about Tiffany and I warned her beforehand. It's just interesting. That's all I can say. I do try to keep away from it, and honestly that's kind of the way I played the game as well. You don't really see me doing the backstabs or things like that. I kind of sit in the back, cook food, and just maintain my social relationships. That's what I'm doing in this situation. I've expressed my feelings on wanting revenge on the Cookout. I don't agree with that term, "revenge," and I've expressed how I felt about that already publicly and privately.
The Challenge: USA airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m ET/PT. on CBS.
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