‘The Challenge 35’: Fans Speculate How the Elimination Twist Might Shake Things up

For the first time in MTV’s The Challenge history, the contestants must win an elimination round to qualify for the finals. Fans took to Reddit to discuss how this twist could create “two overlapping games running simultaneously.”

The Challenge 35 TJ Lavin
T.J. Lavin | Gabe Ginsberg

‘The Challenge’ 35 elimination twist

For the 35th season of The Challenge, prospects Jay Starrett (Survivor), Asaf Goren (Celebrity Ninja Warrior), Jennifer Lee (Amazing Race), Kaycee Clark (Big Brother 20 winner), Fessy Shafaat, Bayleigh Dayton, and Chris “Swaggy C” Williams (Big Brother 20) joined several other notable veterans to compete in an individual season for a $1 million cash prize.

The contestants participate in challenges with the top female and male performer, alongside another player of their choosing, forming the Tribunal.

Those three do not attend the house deliberations, where the rest of the contestants choose one person for elimination, or Purgatory. Instead, they interrogate three players of their selection and pick one to face the other nominee in Purgatory.

Like usual, the winner returns to the game while the loser goes home. However, for the first time, Season 35 features a game-changing twist where each contestant must win an elimination battle to compete in the finals.

Additionally, the contestants live in an underground bunker located in Prague, Czech Republic this season instead of the customary luxurious mansion.

How ‘The Challenge 35’ elimination twist could shake things up

Every player who wins an elimination round receives a red skull on their helmet, signifying their ticket to the finale. So far, Jay is the only contestant who is qualified.

In a Reddit thread, fans theorized how the new elimination twist could incorporate, strategically, into the rest of the game. One user wondered if Jay is now the “bigger target” because if the contestants threw him into elimination every week, “the end result is just one male with a red skull.”

Therefore, “by throwing in competitors with red skulls already, you are limiting competition for the final.” Another fan chimed in and hypothesized it “strongly incentivizes” those without red skulls to lose challenges so they could compete in an elimination.

Additionally, players who have “already punched their ticket” to the finals would want to win challenges so they could enter the Tribunal, making them immune from elimination.

The user also noted, “it will start to get interesting” when more players have won an elimination because “they could start using the Tribunals to target each other, so their final odds improve.”

Then, “it’ll be like two overlapping games running simultaneously” with the bunker “ramping up the paranoia factor.” Someone else argued throwing in the same person with a red skull “seems like a waste of opportunity for someone else to earn their spot in the final.”

Additionally, the user noted, “there are only so many men elimination weeks,” and many of them will “find a way to throw themselves in” to earn their way to the end.

Finally, a few viewers speculate the contestants might team up and “keep someone from getting a red skull.” For example, the ladies might refuse to throw in Jenny West, arguably one of the strongest female players, to prevent her from competing in the finals.

The Challenge 35: Total Madness airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on MTV.