The number of active Challenge champions is dwindling, and there are a number of factors impacting this. Some people have moved on with their lives, they’re not in Challenge-shape, or they’ve gotten themselves banned from the show. We also have fewer champions because, unlike older seasons, only one or two people win many of the more recent seasons.
But there’s one major anomaly: Jenny West. She won Total Madness, then she disappeared from the scene. So what’s going on here? It’s not like she’s done anything bad or controversial. On the contrary, Jenny is one of the nicest people to appear on a recent season.
Claim #1: She’s Too Boring
This might be true. But would that really be an issue on The Challenge? A lot of drama was edited out of seasons like Double Agents and Spies, Lies and Allies. So, if Jenny brought drama to the show, it’d likely be game-related.
At her core, Jenny probably isn’t the type of person to start drama, but she’s also a smart competitor, and she’s fairly emotional. Allegedly, she had drama with Dee on Total Madness and Dee wanted to send Jenny into more eliminations to get other girls out. This would have made Jenny and Dee’s elimination more impactful, but with Dee out of the final edit, Jenny’s edit suffered too.
Claim #2: She Doesn’t Want to Return
This simply isn’t true. She flew all the way to Iceland to appear on Double Agents only to be given the alternate treatment. And despite Nicole and Liv leaving due to injuries from the Road Kill challenge, Jenny wasn’t asked to join the game. Still, Jenny holds no ill-will.
Claim #3: She’s Too Good For The Challenge
If you look at Jenny, it’s pretty clear; she’s in great shape. After all, her origin show is Survival of the Fittest UK, and she won. And she was a physical specimen on War of the Worlds 2, but she did lose Hall Brawl to Tori. Clearly, she’s not invincible.
But she is pretty great, and prepared for Total Madness by training to prepare for physical contact, which helped her beat Dee in Hall Brawl. She continued to perform as a top-tier competitor, and by most accounts, she was pretty unopposed that season. There was no Laurel or Cara Maria this time around, so she predictably cruised to the end.
Here’s the thing about Jenny: she’s physically impressive and she’s not painfully dumb. Many of the physically dominant girls can fling their opponents in a contact challenge, but they can’t do second grade math or arrange three pieces in a puzzle. Jenny’s capable of these things. I’m not calling her a genius or anything, but she’s able to complete the activities on the back of a cereal box.
So let’s just say she was on Double Agents. Nobody would want to face her in The Crater, and very likely she’d win challenges and get in the position of power. So she’d throw herself into an easy elimination, secure a skull, and coast to the end again. I’m not saying she’d win the season, but I think she would have had a better chance of making that final than any girl who actually appeared on the show.
On Spies, Lies and Allies, she’d also be physically strong, but this time she could avoid elimination. She’d be smart enough to know not to cause waves, so she’d vote in rookies, and she’d most likely avoid eliminations. It’s not like anyone would call her out in the Lair.
If I had to guess, I think this might be the issue with casting her. She’s a very nice person with a good head on her buff shoulders. She’s not going to play a messy game. But, we have evidence that she becomes flustered when she’s challenged or her game feels uncertain. Based on recent formats, people aren’t going to call her out. Majority alliances will let her skate by, and then they won’t have the opportunity to win.
Ultimately, Jenny can only thrive in the current state of the game, and that makes things predictable. While we’re missing nice people like Jenny on the show, there’s something else we’re missing: gutsy players. Nobody is willing to risk their game and make a power move by sending Jenny against someone like Kaycee. So, production would rather create competition amongst the B-level players than welcome back someone with an A-game.