After analyzing Danny last week, I was surprised by how many people compared him to Leroy. I know Leroy doesn’t have the best record, but I wouldn’t call him the worst.
At this point in time, he’s about to embark on his eleventh season. He was the most appearances for a male who hasn’t won, but he’s only seen three finals. Of course, I omit Bloodlines and Rivals III from his list of failures because he was injured on Rivals 3 and he was sent home on Bloodline because his cousin got hurt. Still, that puts him at eight seasons lost.
Originally I was going to do a season-by-season breakdown of Leroy, but I came to realize most seasons are the same for him. There are areas where he’s really strong, but there are also areas where he’s really weak. Early in his career, his strengths seemed to be highlighted. Psychically, he’s incredibly strong. When we look at his first two seasons: Rivals and Battle of the Exes, we see Leroy succeed for two reasons. Firstly, he’s incredibly strong. The rope climb in Bombs Away or defeating Wes in X Battle are proof that Leroy can go from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. Secondly, he’s incredibly complacent. So long as Bananas and his gang aren’t tossing him into an elimination, he’d do whatever they wanted him to do. Remember when Mike was tired of getting teased? Leroy’s solution: ignore them and don’t rock the boat. He really didn’t want to cause waves, but it worked. He probably would have survived a lot longer in Exes if Naomi didn’t drag him down and put him in last place on two challenges.
We then move to the Rivals 2 and Free Agents era, a time when Leroy becomes more of a background character. On Rivals 2, he was paired with Ty. On paper this team should have been strong. In reality they were barely able to keep up with stronger teams like Wes & CT, Bananas & Frank, or even Zach & Trey. They did win the Frenemies challenge, likely because they’re not rivals in the slightest, but they lost to rookies Jordan & Marlon in their only Jungle that season. Admittedly, it was Ty who dropped the ball there, but Leroy’s presence this season was far lower than it was in his prior seasons. On Free Agents Leroy returned and did preform fairly well. He proved trivia wasn’t his forte when he thought Africa was the “Land of the Rising Sun,” but he mostly went unnoticed until the end of the season. He eliminated Cohutta in Balls In, which is unsurprising given the size difference, and narrowly lost to CT in Wrecking Wall. Prior to this I always regarded Leroy as a faster competitor. I still think he is, but I think he is outperformed by a lot of people. Losing to CT is a noble way to lose, but had he defeated CT he would have made a huge splash in the game.
In my opinion, Leroy’s best season is Battle of the Exes 2. With people like Bananas and CT out of the game he was forced to pave his own path through the competition. This involved him making some political moves and working with Wes at the expense of Zach’s game. I don’t think he was a fantastic player, but he also wasn’t a disaster. His success this season is mostly attributed to his dominance in eliminations. He won four, defeating Bananas twice, Johnny Reilly, and Wes. He came in second this season, his most successful run yet, and seemed to have a newfound momentum behind him that showed potential.
Then he was medically disqualified from Bloodlines and Rivals 3. This made his next real run at victory on Dirty Thirty. Once again, he played a very similar role to Free Agents. He worked with Bananas & co. and was part of their inner circle. This allowed him to have the numbers to coast to the later half of the season. An unexpected move by Veronica sent him to face Hunter in elimination, and Leroy lost in Body Check which was a very physical game. This sent him to Redemption where he lost to CT & Jordan, though Leroy had little hope winning in a puzzle. On Vendettas Leroy made his third final, but there was something notable about this appearance in the final: he had no money. Unlike every other competitor in this final, Leroy won nothing throughout the season and accumulated $0 in prize money. His only success was beating Brad in elimination. Brad was undoubtedly a tough competitor, but faulty equipment likely aided in Leroy’s victory. Still, he coasted to the end of this season with his allies and gave a subpar performance in the final.
Now, we’re in the “War” themed seasons. His partnership with Shaleen was about as successful as you’d expect Shaleen to be. Hidden in the background until someone needs to burn through a floater team in elimination. This is his momentum going into War of the Worlds 2. He will rely on his friends, be viewed as disposable, and his only hope is getting an elimination catering to his strengths.
With all of this, is Leroy really the worst?
Certainly, we’ve seen worse competitors. Leroy does have three finals under his belt and he’s mostly appeared on difficult seasons. Still, something is clearly missing from his game.
I sometimes view competitors as a collection of competitive traits such as: physical strength, social prowess, endurance, speed & agility, and logic. The most dangerous players are the ones who are almost equal in all traits (think of people like Jordan or Frank S.), but Leroy has most of his chips stacked in the physical strength category. He may have some speed and some endurance, but he’s seriously lacking in some departments.
Going into his eleventh seasons, I’m sad to say I do think Leroy is one of the worst players. At least in the modern era. I think he would have won a Gauntlet or an Inferno by this point, but he keeps using the same strategy in this game and its one that won’t get you to the finish line nowadays. He keeps his friends close, a little too close. If you want to win you need to be cutthroat and Leroy is really just a nice and dependable guy. You know what you’re going to get with him, and I think other veterans recognize that. When Leroy is on a season I expect he’ll made it at least half way. When push comes to shove, he’s disposable. His allies will burn him before he burns his allies.
I’d love to be proven wrong. I love Leroy and I have ever since is Real World season. At first I was thrilled to see him become a Challenge regular. Now, I view his evolution as kind of sad and lacking.