Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Cutthroat, Week 6 Power Rankings

“To me this is the worst decision I’ve seen so far this Challenge. I really don’t understand throwing in your guys’ best player over and over again when he keeps proving himself time and time again. I think it’s time for a change…but it’s not up to me.” —TJ Lavin

“I wouldn’t have said that if I were you. That’s the point of going down into the cellar and casting your vote anonymously, not so that you can come up to me afterwards and say: ‘Hey who’d you vote for? Oh, my husband? Now I’m going to kill you.’” —Laurel

As last night’s episode opened, the Red Team seemed like it was the strongest team on the Challenge. They lost the challenge last week but won the two before that. Not only that, but Chet’s return from the hospital meant Red still had nine players, including all five of its original males. By the end of the episode, the Red Team was down to six players, who were already turning on each other.

So, in the immortal words of Mike Lafontaine: Hey, wha’ happened?!

Well, the first was beyond their control: MTV decided that, despite Chet’s apparent good health, it was not going to let a player compete after sustaining a concussion. This was probably the wise move since, if you haven’t heard, concussions are a pretty big deal now.

That still left Red in pretty good shape, though, with two more players than any other team. The next blunder was a terrible strategy, evidently hatched by Red’s de facto leaders of Brad, Tori, and Paula, in the challenge itself. The challenge involved passing basketballs across a series of hoops that were suspended over the water until you got close enough to shoot them into a basket. The hardest part was getting players positioned on the hoops so they could quickly and efficiently pass the balls to one another…but since the challenge involved basketball each team spent way too much time focusing on who would take the shots.

The Red Team’s strategy was the most egregious. When Brandon offered to take the shots (of course the black guy gets to shoot the basketballs), they sent him to go out to the last hoop, but they failed to take into account how difficult it would be for him to traverse the hoops without help from his teammates. As a result, over half of the allotted twenty minutes were wasted waiting for Brandon to get across, at which point they pretty much gave up and just had Brandon launch the balls from 30 feet away. They did not score once.

Blue and Gray each were much more collaborative, sending other players out to help their shooters—Derrick and Abram, respectively—get into position. Blue managed to score four times behind Derrick’s solid shooting, but Gray was even better. They dropped only one ball and Abram shot 5-for-7 (despite admitting in his confessional, “I suck at basketball…. Don’t tell my team.”), winning with balls to spare. It was Gray’s second win in a row, sending Blue and Red into the Gulag.

The Gulag presented yet another chance for the Red Team to self-destruct. While Blue’s deliberations went easily, with both Derrick and Emily nominating themselves, Red hardly deliberated at all: MTV’s editing made it seem like they spent a bunch of time yelling at and blaming each other for the loss before Tori announced, “This isn’t helping. We each get two votes, use them how you will.” With so little discussion, the votes were a mess. Six of the eight players received votes, and the winners (or losers, I guess) were Brandon and Melinda.

For the Red Team the biggest news wasn’t that Brandon was being sent in again, though TJ understandably questioned the logic of voting for the only player who’d really proven himself in this game, or that Camila was being protected in favor of Melinda, but that somebody had cast a vote for BRAD. For the triumvirate of Brad, Tori, and Paula, this was unthinkable.

It turned out, though, that the vote had been cast by Camila, who claimed that she had been voting based on performance, but was already regretting her choice. Her guilt compelled her to confess to Brad…and, well, that didn’t go so well. Brad himself seemed okay with it, though he announced that he wouldn’t go out of his way to protect Camila anymore. Tori, on the other hand, was more vociferous. She accosted Camila and told her that she’d be sent into the Gulag every time until she went home. Meanwhile, Paula called Camila a “liar” and a “baby whore” after finding out about the vote.

This was a perfect illustration of the problems with the Red Team. Brad, Tori, and Paula, perpetual losers in Challenge history, have basically been running the Red Team, and they have constantly made mention of wanting to win above all else. The problem is that they seem to expect everyone else to want them to win above all else as well. As Johnny said about Tori last night, that whole group feels like they deserve “diplomatic immunity” in the voting process.

They never discussed how the voting would break down with Camila—in fact, Tori had cut discussion off—and yet they seem shocked that she could have voted for Brad, as if he is entitled to a free ride to the finals. Accusing Camila of being two-faced is absurd, since she freely confessed what she did and basically apologized for it. It’s also patently hypocritical to criticize Camila’s voting habits when those three have voted to send Brandon in every time despite the fact that he has proven to be a strong player. Paula even admitted that she planned to keep voting for Brandon no matter what because she is better friends with Brad, Dunbar, and Tyler. Voting to keep your friends does not mesh with wanting to win at all costs.

Once it got to the Gulag, the competition was Handcuffs, the same event Brandon won in Week 1…against a player from Blue named Derek. This Derrick, though, was too much for Brandon, and he was sent home after four Gulags. On the girls’ side, Melinda put up a strong fight, but was no match for the stronger Emily, leaving the Red Team with six players—three fewer than it had started the episode—and a lot of bad blood remaining.

Now, in the other immortal words of Mike LaFontaine, I got a real red ranking:

Eliminated: Chet (Red), Brandon (Red), Melinda (Red)

I’ll miss Brandon and Chet because they were the only likable players on Red. And I’ll miss Melinda for the obvious reasons….

Girls in Danger: Camila (Red), Theresa (Blue), Cara Maria (Gray)

I think Emily’s win puts Theresa on the chopping block for Blue.

Guys in Danger: Johnny (Blue), Dunbar (Red), Dan (Gray)

Derrick and Johnny will probably alternate Gulag appearances from here on…and they’ll be a tough duo to beat.

11. Sarah (Gray, —): Laurel seems to think very little of Cara Maria as a competitor, so I think she’s probably the lowest girl on Gray, but if she can sway Abram, then Sarah is in trouble.

10. Emily (Blue, N/A): This may sound crazy, but I think Emily could give Laurel a run for her money in the right competition.

9. Brad (Red, -2): I’m normally a big fan of Brad, but he’s putting on a Bad Team Leader clinic this season.

8. Luke (Gray, +4): I would like Luke so much more if not for his voice…

7. Tori (Red, -1): Johnny said it best about Tori: “You don’t wanna disrespect Brad’s wife…but I can’t stand the bitch.”

6. Jenn (Blue, +2): She’s got to be ahead of Theresa, but she’ll probably go to the Gulag eventually.

5. Tyler (Red, +5): Other than Tori, the only player on Red not receive a Gulag vote last night was…Tyler. Really? Yes, really.

4. Paula (Red, -1): The truth is that, no matter what, Camila would be on the chopping block every week based on Paula’s voting philosophy.

3. Derrick (Blue, +2): He’ll be safe for at least a week after a dominating Gulag.

2. Laurel (Gray, —): Laurel is verrrrrrrry slowly crawling her way back to likability after her anti-Eric tirade.

1. Abram (Gray, —): See, this is how leaders behave: They take the most important role in the challenges, even if it’s not their strong suit, and they, as TJ would say, “kill it.”


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sal on November 11, 2010 at 7:32 AM

    This challenge format is becoming more and more absurd. The Red team really needs to drop the ‘team’ part off their name. I was just praying that Brandon would stick around long enough and the challenge would somehow morph to give him the chance to get back at his ‘teammates.’ Brandon, you missed your chance to flip out on the red team! Why were you hugging them after you lost?

    This season the best rivalries occur on the same team and there is virtually no cross-team drama. I badly wanted to see Brandon and Brad in a heads up battle. MTV needs to devise a challenge with intense personal rivalries (Kenny v Wes) or true ‘team’ competitions.

    The red team is piloted by a bunch of losers and I can’t stand it. I think last episode I was able to put my finger on Brad’s failures. He is physically impressive but when a wrinkle is thrown into the challenges he can’t adapt, while true winners thrive.

    Why can’t Camila vote Brad? This situation is ludcaris! Its not like Brad has never voted for Camila.

    The chances that Johnny angles his way into Derrick going in to the next Gulag? I’d say very high. He’s done it before to Cyrus (the team had agreed to rotate elimnation challenges but when it was Johnny’s turn he said Cy should go in based on a semi-injury even though he had won the previous week) and he did it another season (when he claimed that another of his teammates would present a better matchup in the challenge despite not even knowing what the challenge could be).

    I was thinking about Luke’s voice too. He has that shaky small voice. Where is that confident trumpeting Kenny-voice?

    And yes I think you are crazy about Emily taking out Laurel



    • Posted by John S on November 11, 2010 at 1:58 PM

      Yeah, as much as I was a fan of the three team format originally, the way it has played out has been painfully boring. There wasn’t really anything Brandon could do to respond to Red’s plan to throw him into the Gulag every time. The anonymous vote made it more or less impossible to strategize about voting someone else in, and he couldn’t even start throwing challenges, because winning is the only way to guarantee immunity.

      If MTV decides to go with three teams again (and I do think it can be done well) it’s got to add another element. Maybe give two teams immunity and have Brandon go into the Gulag against Brad. Or allow each of the two losing teams to nominate players from the other team for the Gulag, a la The Inferno. As it is, there is no real element of strategy, and no complications or surprises.


  2. Posted by Manii on November 11, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Tori is strong right?well top 3 for sure.. shes my favorite player cuz shes hott.. i also liked Melinda but too bad she went home… Brad and Derrick are bad out


  3. Posted by james Schneider on November 11, 2010 at 10:00 PM

    Chet>Brandon. You know, in terms of likable guys who got kicked off this week.


  4. […] yourself, who had done it, and how much that should matter. Most of those surrounded Camila who, after last week’s fiasco, is as on the outs with her team as anyone can be. Tori, Brad, and Paula had all vowed to send […]


  5. Posted by johnnybsahotti on November 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    tori and brad need to go to gulag , camillla is a strong consistent contender, shes amazing


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