Is Evelyn Smith Really One of the Best Challengers?

Much like I did last week, I wanted to re-evaluate some of the greatest people to compete on The Challenge. Last week I looked at Landon, and now I want to look at Evelyn.

Ev is constantly viewed as one of the best girls to play the game. In fact, many people will say she’s the best girl. Starting with her first season, I want to look at her performance on the show.

Fresh Meat

It’s hard to believe that Evelyn was only eighteen when she debuted on Fresh Meat, but it’s not surprising she was the first draft pick on her debut season. Of course, she was also the first boot that season. Clearly she and Danny had a losing strategy because neither could outperform Casey. Danny & Ev’s luggage was 17 pounds heavier than Wes & Casey’s, but Ev should do better. While time will prove this type of performance is more consistent with Danny’s Challenge career, Ev’s failure should not be discredited.

The Inferno 3

Coming back after an early exit on Fresh Meat, Evelyn was a bit of a wild card this season. She only won one Lifeshield and never went into The Inferno, but she was a strong performer consistently. She proved she had strength, could swim, could run, and could argue with her teammates. She also lost a mission when she was partnered with Danny again, but that only derailed his game. This is where she scored her first win and she is one of the few teenagers to ever win the show. Yes, Ev was only nineteen when she won this season.

The Gauntlet 3

While The Inferno 3 proved Evelyn was a physically strong competitor, The Gauntlet 3 forced her into a more political game. Specifically, she was close with Kenny and Evan and would work with the men to form a strong team. Again, she was a strong competitor who was an asset to her team and willing to “trim the fat” by eliminating the slower girls. Her most notable moment is challenging Coral to a Gauntlet, but Coral inevitably quit. Despite this, she made it to the end and put in a performance worthy of a win. Then Eric lost the season for the vets, but we all know Evelyn was capable of a win.

The Island

Despite the lack of challenges this season, The Island is where Evelyn truly established herself. She was the only person to win two face-offs, so that’s impressive, but her social game was all over the place. Initially she was opposed to Johnny’s crude and sexist actions and stole his key at one point. This make an enemy out of Bananas while Evelyn aligned with Kellyanne. In the end, Evelyn teamed up with Bananas and her old friends Kenny and Derrick. They sailed a boat to victory while Kellyanne watched from the shores. She the left $75,000 richer, working her Bananas, and stealing Paula’s spot in the final boat.

The Ruins

Perhaps her saddest appearance, Evelyn tried to take a stand against Bananas after The Island. She was close with Kellyanne once again, and because she was dating Wes, she was associated with a reckless Wes as well. To teach her a lesson she was sent into the second Ruins against Kellyanne. Ev threw that elimination and went home second. TJ was not happy.

Fresh Meat 2

Likely as a punishment for quitting The Ruins, Evelyn was not on the initial cast for Fresh Meat 2. She was brought in late when Jonna forgot her passport but this meant she was paired with Luke by default (who was the last male draft pick). The two did OK, but once again she was victim of a bad social game. Like The Ruins, she aligned with Wes, and this meant Kenny was now against her. This season she crushed Paula’s dreams (again) by defeating her in the Exile then she had to defeat Wes & Mandi to stay in the game. In her third Exile, she lost of Landon & Carley. While Luke may have been a slower partner, Evelyn decided to blow past a final puzzle and sprint to the finish line. Had she completed the puzzle she would have shaved minutes off of her time and like won this Exile. I will admit Luke may not have been the best partner, but he was far from awful. Evelyn made bad choices this season and she really cost herself the game.

Rivals

In her final season, Evelyn was paired with Paula and the two played an exceptional game. They had a rocky start, getting last in the first mission and ending up in the first Jungle, but they won and this kick-started a great partnership. They won four challenges this season and had a stable social game. Maybe this is because Wes was forced to work with the JEK alliance, but Evelyn was heavily associated with her old friend Kenny and her old nemesis Johnny. In the end, the duo win. Evelyn got win #3, Paula finally got her first win, and she left The Challenge on a high note. While this is a good ending, Laurel & Cara Maria definitely put up a good fight.

Conclusion

Yes, Evelyn is one of the best. Is she the best? Probably not. She’s certainly beatable and and crumble under pressure (as seen on Fresh Meat 2 or The Ruins). Her biggest downfall is her social game. It was really all over the place and she went back and forth with her rivalries. Still, there’s no denying her strength and you defiantly don’t want to see her in elimination. Plus, she’s only 32 now, so she’s probably still in great shape. I’d love to see her come back, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

In retrospect, I do think it’s kind of badass that she was willing to face Coral in The Gauntlet. I love Coral, but the fact that Ev would go in and do the dirty work proves she’s confident in her abilities. I wish we got to see the fight, but I also think Ev would have beat Coral (sadly). Other moves, like working with Bananas on The Island, not so badass.

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2 thoughts on “Is Evelyn Smith Really One of the Best Challengers?

  1. I would love to see Evelyn on a Challenge again. A Challenge with Evelyn and Landon would be fantastic. They are both two of the greats in my book.

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