When it comes to best and worst Challengers of all time, there are a few names that will continuously pop up. I’ve analyzed Landon and Evelyn for their performances to determine if they’re the best. Now, let’s look at one of the worst: Danny Jamieson. His Challenge career has many notable lows including multiple early departures and the record of most elimination losses without a win. Despite this, maybe he’s just been dealt multiple bad hands and gets a really bad rep.
Danny had the first pick of Fresh Meat, and he picked Evelyn. Time would reveal her as an amazing competitor, but Fresh Meat was likely her poorest showing. While I can’t deny that Evelyn could have done better, Danny was the bigger problem. Most specifically, he tried to make a sloppy game move to preserve his Austin alliance but ended up causing more damage in the end. Despite all of this, you can only blame Danny so much. Every other veteran on Fresh Meat had 3+ Challenges under their belt but the Austin alliance was 4 rookies. They had a hard battle ahead, so it’s not crazy for him to try to survive. Ultimately he lost to Wes & Casey, so it’s not a promising start to your Challenge career when you first elimination loss is Casey’s first elimination win.
The Inferno 3
After his early departure on Fresh Meat, Danny returned as a Bad Ass on The Inferno 3. This time the cast was much fresher, and he wasn’t overpowered by a majority of veterans. Did this help? Not really. He avoided the first Inferno, but found himself in the second one. He even tried partnering with Evelyn again on the Reverse Climbing Wall challenge to save himself with a Lifeshield. This didn’t work, and Davis beat him in the Inferno. Perhaps his best moment was knowing that a battery and steel wool could start a fire, which helped his team during the rope burn challenge (though they still lost).
The Gauntlet 3
Five Austin kids showed up for The Gauntlet 3, but Danny was the lone “Veteran” this season. This was actually an advantage for him, as the opposing team had the ability to save people from The Gauntlet and vote people in. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knew Danny was working with the Austin team, despite the fact that he claimed loyalty to his Veteran team. Danny was a middle-of-the-road performer this time, though he did lose his temper when Johanna was unable to save his wife Melinda from going into The Gauntlet. Danny’s most telling moment would come during the Chill Out challenge when the vets intentionally threw the game so they’d be able to force a Veteran girl Gauntlet. Danny was the last remaining Veteran and tried to cut a deal with the Rookies. Ultimately, this deal didn’t benefit him. In fact, it resulted in distrust on his Veteran team and in turn Danny was voted into the final Gauntlet of the season where he lost. This is the farther Danny would ever make it on a Challenge, but at least he can say he lasted longer than Johnny Bananas.
In my opinion, this is Danny’s least remarkable season of The Challenge. He was the 4th of 7 Challengers to leave the game, meaning he outlasted about half of his team. He was also the fourth guy to leave. Let’s be honest, the Challengers were fighting a losing battle. A poor performance here is understandable and no one expected him to beat Darrell in an elimination. His most notable moment this season was criticizing Shauvon for her implant fiasco.
Fresh Meat 2
Coming into this season, Danny could have been in a decent position. Wes was riding high, and had numbers on his side. By this point, Danny also had a reputation as Wes’s weaker BFF. This meant sending him into an early elimination was an easy way to trim down the Wes alliance. Danny and his partner Sandy (not to be confused with the plot of Grease) were sent into the fifth Exile. They lost, but they were actually really close to beating Jill and Pete. This is probably the closest he ever came to winning an elimination, but despite an improved physical game he played a flawed social game. Wes’s alliance crumbled as soon as Kenny got power and he made unnecessary enemies by eating Brandon’s potatoes.
Battle of the Seasons
Despite being on a team with his ex-wife Melinda, Danny was his most rational this season. He worked really well with Melinda, but team Austin was targeted from day one. As one of the few older seasons represented, Austin was the first to be targeted by the rookies. Plus, one of his teammates wasn’t really putting his heart into the game. His performance in his two daily challenges was as good as could be expected. His performance in the Balls Out was mediocre, but production changed the format of this elimination after his appearance in elimination.
Danny may not be the worst, that title probably goes to someone who did only one season or someone who quit. If we’re looking at the short list of bad veterans, he’s high on the list. I’d take Tyrie or Adam K. over Danny as my partner.
Ultimately, his biggest downfall is his social game. He was overly confident with little to back it up. The Austin alliance was a pure shitshow and never offered any type of support. Wes is a great competitor, but his social game is still unpredictable. In his rookie years Wes was a true train wreck and being associated with him was enough to paralyze your game.
In my opinion, Danny’s biggest mistake was just appearing on The Inferno 3. If he hadn’t he likely would have been a rookie on The Gauntlet 3 where he may have become a winner by default.