The Challenge Season 39 features 24 contenders who have yet to win a championship on the MTV competition series. One will become a first-time champion and win substantial prize money.
In the premiere episode, host TJ Lavin introduced the competitors to the Battle For a New Champion format with its three stages. The first featured everyone working together as a team.
Returning cast members Tula “Big T” Fazerkley, Melissa Reeves, Michele Fitzgerald, and Jay Starrett were on hand to bring their experience to the show.
They were joined by other non-winners, such as Ride or Dies finalists Horacio Gutierrez and Olivia Kaiser, their castmates Chauncey Palmer and Nurys Mateo, and one-and-done Total Madness competitor Asaf Goren.
There was also a group of relative newcomers, including Big Brother’s Kyland Young, The Challenge: UK’s James Lock, and The Challenge: Australia’s Jessica Brody.
As with most episodes of The Challenge, Battle For a New Champion included an elimination in its premiere, with one individual sent home from the game.
The Challenge 39 began with the Control level
It was a Challenge first in the premiere episode as everyone was working together as a team in the opening daily challenge. This was called the Control level, where the team needed to control a situation, aka their mission. They’d bank more money by working together to complete the daily mission.
Hole Control involved the team racing from the start point to slide into a large hole in the ground. It was a mud pit with a steep wall they had to climb up to escape. The goal was to retrieve all the poles from it, get everyone out of the hole, and solve a puzzle by putting the poles in the correct order in under 10 minutes.
They’d bank $50,000 if they completed it, which was added to the final’s $300,000 prize pool. They wouldn’t get that $50,000 added to the prize pool if they failed the mission.
Everyone got out of the hole, but the puzzle-solving didn’t work out. TJ revealed they didn’t solve the puzzle correctly and failed the opening mission. That meant $50,000 was lost that would’ve been added to the prize pool.
TJ told the competitors to head back to The Challenge house and get acquainted with where they would live. He also told them to deliberate on who might go into elimination. TJ said they’d find out who would compete at The Arena.
First deliberation reveals a candidate for elimination
Early on, Big T said she was trying to pull a “Wes Bergmann” by having alliances with everyone in the house she could. She revealed that Melissa, Jay, Corey Lay, and Hughie Maughan were among her allies and the UK guys.
Another alliance featuring Olivia, Nurys, Ravyn Rochelle, Moriah Jadea, and Michelle was revealed. They talked about sending in Berna Canbeldek, who was standoffish and defensive to everyone early on. They also mentioned getting rid of Melissa, who they saw as “Big T’s crutch” in the game.
A group of the men discussed saying Big T’s name for the elimination, although Corey suggested it could come back to bite them due to how she plays a strategic social game.
Olivia talked to Melissa, Big T, Michelle, Nurys, and others about how she’d been told that Jessica Brody was talking about getting rid of the strong girls in the house.
An argument broke out at deliberation between the men and women about who messed up in the daily mission. The guys said it was the women who failed, while the women said the guys came up with the plan, and it didn’t work.
Jessica dug herself a hole during the deliberation with a big speech, saying she didn’t care about winning the money in the final but wanted to work with everyone to help someone else win it.
Who went home in the first elimination of Season 39?
Each competitor got a vote at The Arena, and Jessica was the unanimous vote. Horacio voted for Big T, though. Jessica had to go into elimination, and TJ gave her “ultimate control” to pick any other female as her opponent.
Jessica called Big T down as her opponent, saying she was “weak and not helping the team.” They competed in Fall Out. They were each locked in a cage suspended above The Arena.
The object was to clear out colored tiles in the middle of the cage and then grab the rope hanging between two cages. They needed to grab the hammer in the middle of the rope to smash out the bottom of their cage and be the first to fall out.
Jessica admitted she fears heights, making this elimination scary for her. Big T said in confessional she wanted to prove to others she’s not a weak competitor. She definitely proved it by completely destroying the elimination to win.
A disappointed Jessica was officially eliminated from Battle For a New Champion, while Big T won and rejoined the group. TJ told everyone they needed to “take control” of their game. Big T joked in her post-elimination interview she doesn’t find Horacio hot anymore after he voted for her, and she’ll be watching him.
The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.