Out of the blue, we have a surprising frontrunner in the Challenge: All Stars final. Fans probably didn’t see this coming, and I’m sure TJ shares in the surprise. Of the twelve remaining competitors, the one person TJ has never seen compete is leading over the eleven others. After eighteen years away, Yes has returned to The Challenge better than ever.
Out of all the guys this season, he’s one of the few who never saw an elimination. He stayed comfortably in the middle, though he did emerge as one of the smarter players. On Deep Blue Dive he proved his ability to handle the math and puzzles, and he has received recognition as one of the smarter players in the game.
Without a doubt, Yes has aged really well. Still, he’s been away from the game for a long time. Last time we saw him MTV was still actively casting for Road Rules.
How did Yes get in this position? On Battle of the Sexes he came in fourteenth place. On Battle of the Seasons he was dead last. On All Stars, he’s the frontrunner going into the second half of the final. Despite the long gaps between appearances, Yes confessed on the Aftershow that he’s been studying The Challenge. While in quarantine he had flashcards and would try to memorize prior Challenge seasons.
This gave him knowledge. He knew the order of seasons, but he also familiarized himself with styles of gameplay. Much like Jonna, he probably saw the benefit of floating in the middle. He excels in a lot of areas, but he’s not best at everything.
Jemmye even noticed Yes among the other guys. She gives him credit for his endurance during Connect Em All. He seems to have a good grasp on puzzles, but when other skills are required he rises to the occasion. Unlike competitors like Alton and Mark, you can’t acquire this knowledge from past seasons of the show. You need to watch the way Yes performs during daily challenges this season.
Yes is one of those jacks of all trades. While he might lose in a footrace, he doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. Plus, he got fairly lucky with this final. A lot of random skills are required. Of course an architect can assemble a bike, and he can add to 15, and he can eat some spicy peppers. We’ve yet to see his Achille’s Heal, but most other people have had their weaknesses exposed. This is why Yes is a scary competitor. No one knew what he could do, but we’ve yet to see a real weakness.
Yes very well could win. It would be unexpected, but this is why All Stars is so good. Even the competitors viewers forgot can prove they’re talented and worthy of playing the game.