Who doesn’t love a good blindside? If you’re a fan of reality TV, you live for the moments where an unexpected turn of events shocks cast members and changes the course of the season.
The Challenge is no exception, and there have been many occasions when the cast thought one thing would happen, only to watch someone change the anticipated plan. The eliminations on this list will be based on two things: the element of surprise and when the blindside occurred. If there was a heads up (like Dunbar voting for Paula on Cutthroat), I’m probably not including it. But if the cast was shocked right at nominations or in The Arena — like Bananas was on the World Championship — it’s a good contender for this list.
10. Bananas and Justine (World Championship)
No one was surprised to see that Team USA couldn’t get their shit together prior to this vote, but if there was any team that seemed to operate as a cohesive unit, it was Bananas and Justine. Unfortunately for Bananas, his past came back to haunt him. KellyAnne couldn’t trust him, so she rejected Team USA’s olive branch and let Bananas get sent into elimination rather than force the Aussies to turn on each other.
9. Jenny (Total Madness)
It’s easy to overlook this blindside, mostly because Dee was edited out of the story on the second half of Total Madness. But, toward the end of the game, Dee decided she wanted the strong people out before the final. This resulted in Jenny going into the last elimination, despite the fact that Dee was her best ally and sent her into the easiest Purgatory to earn a Red Skull on episode 2. In the end, Jenny rocked Dee in Hall Brawl, but her ride to the final wasn’t the cake walk she expected.
8. CT (War of the Worlds)
No one expected the random double elimination on episode 4 of War of the Worlds, but it wasn’t surprising to see Natalie & JP get called down. The real shock came when JP decided he wanted to prove himself and call out CT. Perhaps this surprise hindered CT, because he and JP lost to Kyle.
7. Wes (War of the Worlds 2)
During this season, the winning team could nominate their own players. Wes knew this, and while he was plotting to take advantage of this rule, he expected his team would uphold their agreement to protect each other for a few more weeks. To his surprise, Josh and Laurel took a shot before he could, and he went home after losing to Bear.
6. Tony (Invasion of the Champions)
At the start of Invasion, the Real World: Skeletons crew had numbers. The four of them should have looked out for each other, but Sylvia decided to call out Tony and send him into elimination against Bruno. Nicole swore Sylvia was putting her faith in temporary friends (which was wrong, the Lavender Ladies became a solid alliance), and the vote ensured a Skeltons alum would go home. Unlike most of the entries on this list, Tony won, but his alliance was weakened.
5. Georgia (World of the Worlds 2)
Similar to Team USA, the UK team had alliances that were dictating their game on War of the Worlds 2. Despite getting down to a lean team that posed a threat, Kayleigh and Joss decided to send Georgia into elimination. She was furious, and rightfully so, but that anger wasn’t used in elimination. Georgia lost to Tori, and later in the season, Joss and Kayleigh were purged out of the game when they were partnered in a swimming competition.
4. Ibis (The Ruins)
If there’s one person who knows how to change the direction of votes, it’s Veronica. On The Ruins, she forced a tie between herself and Ibis. Understandably, she didn’t want to go into The Ruins, but her team wasn’t prepared for the tie-breaking vote. Without anytime to deliberate, all eleven teammates participated in a revote. Five voted for Veronica vs. KellyAnne, and six voted for Ibis vs. Kimberly. Ultimately, Ibis went in and went home.
3. Leroy (Dirty Thirty)
While Veronica manipulated the votes to save herself on The Ruins, she threw Leroy into elimination to reclaim power. Her teammates forced her to vote Jemmye into the Presidio, and while nobody wanted to see Leroy go into elimination, they were willing to burn votes on him. So, Veronica threw her plans out the window, used the burn votes to force a tie, and that resulted in Leroy’s undoing this season.
2. Bananas and Nany (Battle of the Exes 2)
Battle of the Exes 2 has a lot of twists throughout the season, but the biggest shock came when Sarah turned on Bananas. After winning Don’t Let Me Down, she decided to take lay-up team Jay & Jenna to the final and send Bananas & Nany into The Dome. Bananas was shocked, because he worked with Sarah all season, but Sarah claims she learned this type of malicious gameplay from Bananas. Ultimately, Bananas went home, Sarah won the season, and an epic rivalry was born.
1. Evelyn (The Ruins)
The Champions were likely the most stacked team we’ve ever seen on The Challenge, and you’d think they’d want to keep their strength — right? Wrong. Evelyn was aligned with Wes, a player who was willing to throw challenges to make a point. So, the majority of the Champs took this as a threat and voted Evelyn into the second elimination agains her best friend (and Wes’s girlfriend at the time) KellyAnne. Ev was furious, threw a fit, cried, and let KellyAnne win. In the end, most of the people who voted her in (Bananas, Derrick, and Susie) won the season and got more money because Ev wasn’t on the team.