Throughout the history of The Challenge, we’ve seen cast members drop out of seasons. With their departures, we sometimes see replacements brought in. Usually, these people face an especially hard road to the final. Being brought in late will make the replacements immediate targets.
Some of the replacements have defied the odds. Other times, the replacements spend more time on a plane than they do in competition. Here, we are going to look at every formal replacement and rank them.
Anyone who is not acknowledged as a replacement will not be counted. This includes: Christena on The Inferno, Evelyn on Fresh Meat 2, Team Fresh Meat, and Tony on Final Reckoning. Late arrivals like CT on Dirty Thirty will also not be counted. Further, many people have been replaced prior to filming. That’s standard, part of casting a reality show, but not part of this list. In order to qualify, a competitor needs to replace a person who we saw on screen.
14. Dan Renzi
When Puck left Battle of the Sexes in a fit or rage, happenstance allowed Dan to return to the game as if he never skipped a beat. Dan was eliminated because he was the lowest scoring guy. He performed poorly upon his return, and was sent packing at the next elimination.
13. Briana Lacuesta
Replaced Ashley Mitchell
Coming into Dirty Thirty late, alongside CT, Briana had a hard time making her presence felt. A Purge had already removed competitors, many were girls who were early-elimination bait. After the first challenge, Bri was targeted by a group of winners led by former-replacement Cara Maria. Bri narrowly lost to Britni and never made it back to the house.
12. Josh Martinez
Replaced Alan Valdez
Originally, Josh was Purged due to a poor performance. After Alan got hurt, Josh defaulted back into the game. Shockingly, he and Amanda won the first challenge but the couple floated in the middle of the pact after that. They survived half-way through the season, but didn’t do anything too remarkable after the first real challenge.
11. MJ Garrett
Replaced Tyrie Ballard
MJ had a unique scenario on The Gauntlet 3, his team welcomed him with open arms. Of course, the Rookies team was a hot mess and they needed MJ’s strength and size. Eventually, this team would lose so much MJ needed to go into elimination. Despite his size, MJ lost to crafty Rookie Frank. Not the best look for MJ.
10. Nehemiah Clarke
Replaced CT Tamburello/ Adam King
Nehemiah had big shoes to fill on The Duel 2 once CT and Adam left, and his time on the season was short-lived. At least he went out shooting for the top-dog: Evan. This led to their pairing on Rivals, which would place Nehemiah in a worse position.
9. Nelson & Amanda
Replaced Leroy & Averey
Immediately targeted due to their replacement status and Amanda’s mouth, Nelson & Amanda won their first elimination. They continued the season as a reckless team, inevitably going into the next real elimination. They lost there, but at least they displayed some level of competency in the game.
8. Abe & Mike
Replaced Leroy & Candice/ Tony & Shane
Old school fans were happy to see Abe come back, but this team caused so much cringe on the season. They did beat Thomas & Stephen in elimination, but Abe’s end game was for Cara Maria to win. It was sad to see Abe, a true competitor, come back to the show and get stuck on a season where his relationship was the butt of the joke and every mission was being thrown.
7. Devin & Cheyenne
Replaced Brandon & Briana
After getting elimination first, the influx of quitters allowed Devin & Cheyenne to come back. For the remainder of this season, they coasted. Luck kept them out of elimination, and they made it to the final where they got third. If they have one success: they never came in last.
6. Susie Meister
Replaced Ayanna Mackins
It’s hard to remember a time when Susie was the meek, innocent player on her team. She evolved into a secret savage in the game, but she was pretty mediocre on The Extreme Challenge. She made it to the end and lost. It wasn’t really her fault, as she avoided most of the Road Rules drama.
5. Mike Ross
Replaced Adam Royer
Nerdy Mike came into Rivals to help is buddy Leroy stay in the game. He made it all the way to the end and performed better than anyone thought he’d do. Of course, most of the success comes from Leroy and Mike’s instability cost the team their spot in the final.
4. MJ Garrett
Replaced CT Tamburello/ Adam King
MJ holds the title of the only 2-time replacement (according to this list/ MTV footage… in all reality Cara Maria also holds the title due to Battle of the Seasons). This time, he was much more successful. He won two elimination and made it far in the game. Despite having won The Gauntlet 2, MJ probably achieved the most he’s ever done on The Duel 2.
3. Theresa González
Replaced Nia Moore
It was terribly awkward to see Theresa come back into the game at the eleventh hour, but satisfying at the same time. Fans knew she was dealt a shitty hand this season, losing because Wes got hurt and never having a chance for redemption. Leroy lucked out when he got a fully capable partner late in the game and at least the last-minute team got second place.
2. Cara Maria Sorbello
Replaced Naomi Defensor
Back in the time of Rivals 2, Cara Maria was a strong but unpopular competitor. Being paired with Cooke, the duo needed to build a relationship before they could be a team. Fortunately, both girls are athletes and worked well together. They won two eliminations and came in second place.
1. Derrick Kosinski
Replaced CT Tamburello
If you ever watch The Inferno 3, it’s surprising how little screen time Derrick receives. At the time, it was his sixth straight season and he hadn’t won. This time, he broke his curse. He won the final male elimination and took home his share of the grand prize. Pretty great for someone who wasn’t even supposed to be on the season.