The Challenge: USA invites several familiar faces across CBS’s reality television franchises to face off in the ultimate competition. However, host TJ Lavin doesn’t think those representing Love Island stand a chance.
TJ Lavin doesn’t think ‘Love Island’ players can win ‘The Challenge: USA’
Before The Challenge: USA premiered, host TJ Lavin introduced the Love Island, Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race fan favorites competing this season and revealed how he thought they would perform in the spinoff.
The MTV longtime presenter admitted he thought those representing Love Island have “really no chance” at winning because he considers them “just a pretty face.”
Lavin also joked that they’re likely “good” flirts, which can help the former Islanders throughout the competition, such as getting picked for the best team.
However, he also pointed out their assumed weaknesses, noting the CBS personalities “don’t have the same athletic ability” as those who previously competed on other shows such as Survivor or The Amazing Race. “What’s the strength of a Love Island person? I don’t know.” He added.
‘Love Island’ fan favorites Cely Vazquez and Justine Ndiba are competing together
Cely Vazquez and Justine Ndiba, who met during Love Island USA 2 in August 2020 when they entered the villa on Day 1, are competing on The Challenge: USA together.
They both coupled up with respective partners Johnny Middlebrooks and Caleb Corprew fairly quickly into the competition and remained within their pairs until the finale.
Justine and Caleb won, and Cely and Johnny finished in second place. Even though their romantic partnerships didn’t last long after the season ended, the ladies remained good friends.
They launched the podcast As You Should with Cely and Justine together, in which they extensively covered the next season of Love Island. The personalities interviewed then-host Arielle Vandenberg and several season 3 Islanders, including Cashay Proudfoot, who is also competing.
Two pairs of exes from ‘Love Island’ are also competing in ‘The Challenge: USA’ together
Love Island Season 1 former couple Cashel Barnett and Kyra Green will reunite on the first season of The Challenge: USA. After she paired up with Cashel on Day 3, they remained partnered up until Kyra felt they weren’t connecting on Day 12.
Following his dumping, Kyra came out as bisexual after kissing another Islander, Emily Salch, and paired up with newcomer Jered Youngblood. However, they failed to advance to the final four and were dumped. After dating on and off for a few months after the show, Kyra and Cashel split in February 2020.
Another pair of exes, Cashay and Melvin “Cinco” Holland will also reconnect during The Challenge: USA. They met during Love Island USA 3 and instantly hit it off. However, he wanted to explore a connection with an Islander and her friend, Trina Njoroge. After Cashay admitted to still having feelings, Cinco attempted to give it another shot. But, she had already moved on with someone else she met at Casa Amor.
Following their respective dumpings from the show, Cashay and Cinco rekindled their romance and began dating. They called it quits in January 2022, only a couple of weeks after officially starting a relationship. Season 3 personalities Javonny Vega and Shannon St. Clair, who recently parted ways with Islander Josh Goldstein, are also competing. The Challenge: USA premieres July 6, 2022, on CBS.