The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies Veteran previews: The Big Brother Alliance Fessy Shafaat, Kaycee Clark & Josh Martinez

Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat

Original Show: Big Brother 20

Best Placement: Fourth (Total Madness & Double Agents)

Average Finish: 4.0

Elimination Record: 3–0

Most Memorable Moment: Quitting the eating in the Double Agents finale

Fessy spoke all season long about how he was being weighed down by his partners first Aneesa, then Nany and then Amber B. After all that complaining he was able to take Kaycee to run the final, in a moment of extreme karma when Kaycee got injured Fessy refused to eat causing their team to be eliminated in fourth place on day one of the final. Fessy said all season about being held back by partners and then in the final he was the weak link and not his partner.

Best Season: Total Madness

Fessy came on to The Challenge off his stint on Big Brother which was not particularly successful. However the Challenge as a show plays much more to his strengths for example his intimidating physique. The presence of Red Skulls in the game helped him not be an early target and he was able to build bonds with people like Cory & Nelson situating himself well them as well as having his alliance with the other Big Brother players. Fessy won several daily challenges and got his skull quickly by going against Jordan in a competition where his massive size advantage and Jordan’s missing hand helped massively. Fessy also got a very sympathetic edit with him both sharing his extreme disappointment not making the nfl and some of difficulties growing up Muslim. He made the final and was doing well before the cold caught up to him and he ended up in a decisive fourth place.

Worst Season: Double Agents

Just by looking at the numbers it would seem that Double Agents was the better season for Fessy. Looking just at the numbers that’s true he won 2 eliminations instead of 1, won 2 dailies in each season and came in fourth in both finals. However on Double Agents Fessy spent a lot of time complaining about partners dragging him down. The positive edit Fessy had last season was gone instead he was betraying “his friend” Nelson, whining about partners, getting into fights & being ignorant about the history of the challenge claiming CT’s previous wins were not against the same level of competition when they were against Bananas, Zach, Jordan, Nelson & Cory to name a few. Finally he quit in the eating portion of the final and became a baby after Kaycee’s injury made it unlikely they would have a chance to win.

Allies: Kaycee, Josh, Nany, Tori, Aneesa (probably), Cory (probably), Amber (maybe), Amanda (maybe)

Fessy has a few ironclad & nearly unbreakable allies in Josh & Kaycee they have become very close friends outside of the show all coming from Big Brother. He also hooked up with Tori as we saw on the reunion and they will probably be good. Through Josh and Kaycee he also is very closely aligned with Nany and potentially Amanda. Cory had a great relationship with Fessy after Total Madness and although they worked together throughout all of Double Agents Cory still may want to exact revenge on Fessy for his betrayal of Nelson early in that season. Aneesa also is pretty likely to work with Fessy since she did last season but she could be hesitant to work too closely since he was a pretty terrible partner to her. The final person who might be an ally coming on this season for Fessy is Amber who was clearly on the bottom of the “Big Brother Alliance” but could try to work with them again considering that it worked out for her last year.

Enemies: Devin, CT, Kyle, Nam(alliance-wise), Big T(alliance-wise),Nelson(most likely)

Fessy certainly has some very clear enemies coming in to this season of The Challenge, he got in several disagreements with Devin & Kyle all last season and they were on opposite sides of the house the entire game and. took Kyle out in the final elimination round before the final. Through alliances with Devin & Kyle it is also it is very likely that both Nam and Big T will not be working with Fessy either. Another major enemy is CT, Fessy called him old and implied that he was overrated and that his time had past during Double Agents CT did not take that well and is very likely to not be burying the hatchet with Fessy. Finally there is the situation between Nelson & Fessy, they were boys on Total Madness but there was a fall out before Double Agents and although they agreed to look out for each other on Double Agents instead Fessy betrayed Nelson taking him out of the game early. There is a chance that they can get on the same page but it is also very likely Nelson will want to take a shot at Fessy in retaliation for taking him out last season.

Fessy has gone from being a gullible easy to manipulate big jock on big brother to a big physical threat who was a bit bland on Total Madness and now after Double Agents to one of the most disliked people (by the fans) very quickly. He comes into this season with a number of friends in the house but also has a lot of enemies. This season I expect him to still do well in some daily challenges but talk like he is a multi time champion,to still be a big threat that people want out of the game but intimidating enough in eliminations that people don’t want to go up against him themselves and expect that Fessy will continue to say that he is a really nice guy but comes across negatively because “he is an introvert” but get in fights in the house and treat his partners poorly. In this season Fessy has proven himself as a player during most aspects of the game but still has to prove himself capable of winning a final, which he has underperformed during with two fourth place finishes. I don’t expect him to put in the self reflection to know what he needs to improve if he wants to win instead of blaming others but he certainly has the ability to prove that wrong.

Kaycee Clark

Original Show: Big Brother 20

Best Placement: 2nd place (Total Madness)

Average Finish: 3.0

Elimination Record: 2–0

Most Memorable Moment: The messiness between Bayleigh her and Nany

Kaycee came into Total Madness with a couple of friends from her Big Brother season in Fessy, Bayleigh & Swaggy C. She had a strong relationship with Bayleigh that blew up because Kaycee chose her new friend Nany (who she was flirting with) over her. They got in a huge fight ending their friendship and with Bayleigh calling Kaycee out for flirting with her on Big Brother just like she was with Nany on Total Madness. Seeing Kaycee actually pop outside of the physical aspects of the game in such a dramatic way sticks out most for me.

Best Season: Double Agents

Although she had a better finish in the finals on Total Madness as opposed to Double Agents,Her better season overall in terms of performances in the daily challenges and taking out a stronger competitor, Theresa, in an elimination round. She also did not have the drama that she got involved with on Total Madness. Finally, her fourth place finish was not her fault, she hurt her knee in an accident and then when she still did not get pulled and were able to continue Fessy quit on her rather than trying to keep going because she was hurt.

Worst Season: Total Madness

Kaycee has only been on two seasons and neither of them were actually bad. Total Madness I consider the weaker but she still had a pretty good season with some standout moments. What brings this performance a bit lower was her win over Kailah being not as impressive since Kailah was really checked out of the game, her messy fight with Bayleigh and her lackluster performance in the final where she ran out of gas and ended up a distant last place of the people who were able to finish the climb up the mountain.

Allies: Fessy, Josh, Nany, Aneesa (probably), Cory (probably), Amber (maybe), Amanda (maybe)

Kaycee is without a doubt one of the most well-connected players politically in this season. She is truly the core of the Big Brother alliance and it’s kind of remarkable the amount of damage control she is able to do for Josh and Fessy. She has a pretty tight friendship with both Nany and Aneesa. Also Kaycee is able to play the role as “one of the guys” bonding with guys like Cory & Nelson in a way that some of the women on the Challenge do not. I also saw her as the one doing the work to keep people they needed for numbers like Amber and Lolo loyal.

Enemies: Devin, CT & Kyle

Socially Kaycee does not really have that many enemies, she gets along well with pretty much everyone. She has a few people who will most likely want her gone because of how good of a competitor she is. Additionally there are going to be people I expect to be against her as a result of previous alliances like CT, Kyle & Devin.

The biggest thing Kaycee brings to The Challenge by far is her physical ability. Most of the time she provides very little in terms of confessionals other than describing what is going on in the dailies which really anybody can do. Kaycee also prefers to stay out of the drama, which is ironic considering one of her biggest allies is Josh, last season she was really dull but with her coming in to this season single I hope she will be more entertaining this season. Kaycee is a massive threat both due to her physical abilities and social game, she is one of if not the most likely woman to win this season with the only slight cause for concern being how her knee injury has healed.

Josh Martinez

Original Show: Big Brother 19

Best Placement: 5th place or 8th place it depends how you count it(War of the Worlds 2)

Average Finish: 8.5

Elimination Record: 1–4

Most Memorable Moment: Looking pretty terrible while winning an elimination round

Going into Double Agents Josh was 0–3 in eliminations rounds, never especially looked that good performing in any of them but he looked even worse in his elimination win over Mechie last season. He started off really well surprisingly solving the puzzle quickly but then he had to throw medicine balls at wall trying to break targets from around 3/5 feet away and missed approximately 15 consecutive shots while over half the house laughed. Eventually he was able to break the targets because Mechie was so terrible at puzzles had they not stopped he may have been there weeks.

Best Season: War of the Worlds 2

It’s a bit tough to pick a best season for Josh but he was a part of one of the most dominant teams in Challenge history as a part of Team USA and he was not a liability. He made it very far and ultimately lost in an elimination to Jordan which is certainly nothing to scoff at since Jordan is one of the greatest Challenge competitors of all time. Josh definitely has plenty of room to eclipse War of the Worlds 2 as his best season but for now it is.

Worst Season: War of the Worlds

Josh owes his entire Challenge career career to Alan Valdez a guy who was on one episode of the show. Josh came in last on the first challenge and therefore did not make it into the Challenge house but one of the guys who finished the challenge in the process broke his hand sparing Josh. Josh did okay during the rest of his run getting paired up with Amanda he was very typical to how he normally is during a season he got very loud and into pointless fights and also flirted with Amanda with no success. They ended up against s strong team of Kam & Ashley in an elimination and were sent home midway through the game.

Allies: Kaycee, Fessy, Nany, Amanda, Aneesa (probably), Tori (probably), Ashley (maybe), Amber(maybe), Devin (Doubtfully)

Even though Josh is very messy player who gets into a lot of drama and unnecessary fights he is somehow endearing and friends with the majority of the other veterans. Josh has a near unbreakable bond with the Big Brother alliance of himself, Fessy & Kaycee, Nany is almost definitely working with them as well and he has strong bonds with Aneesa & Tori so they are likely to work with Josh as well. Josh also has a strong friendship and worked well with as partners in the past with Amanda and through that bond he could have Ashley on his side. Finally there is the elephant in the room of Devin, they were at odds all last season but then by the time of the reunion they had gone on vacation together and it seemed that there arguing was a lot more of a performance than genuine. I do not necessarily believe they they will work together but we’ve seen stranger things like Bananas & Wes working together on Total Madness.

Enemies: CT, Kyle (probably) Devin (probably)

Josh certainly makes enemies in the course of the game as one of the most hot headed competitors on the show. Even with that Josh has something about him that most people on the show still find him really likable. One clear enemy for Josh is CT they got in fights last season and Josh was a member of the group that tried to send CT home and later tried to freeze him out of getting a skull. Josh was also not on the same page with Kyle in almost every season with Kyle even beating him in an elimination on Total Madness. Finally there is Devin who is somebody who Josh got in the most fights with last season resulting in moments like Devin shouting fourth grade multiplication tables at him. However like I said above in the allies section Josh & Devin went on vacation together and talked on the Double Agents reunion how they like each other but could not get along in the house. I am not confident that Devin & Josh can keep from fighting in the high pressure situation of a challenge house where there is also drinking involved but we will just have to see.

Josh has become a staple of the Challenge nowadays with Spies, Lies & Allies being his fifth consecutive season. He has never been a great physical competitor but has definitely improved over the finally getting an elimination win. Some of his biggest flaws are his coordination, quick thinking when approaching challenges and he tends to get flustered and fold under pressure. However, Josh has a solid solid social game, good strength and is above average at endurance. For what he lacks as a competitor Josh certainly keeps the show interesting drama wise and whether you love him or hate him I for one am at least glad he keeps the show entertaining. I still don’t think Josh can win a modern season of the show but that doesn’t mean he is not going to keep trying and although I am certainly not a Josh fan I would not like the Challenge as much without people like Josh who I root against.

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Henry L DiMaria

I blog primarily about The Challenge but occasionally stretch into other reality TV @HenryLDiMaria