Paulie Calafiore made his surprising return to The Challenge for the USA 2 spinoff four years after last appearing in MTV’s War of the Worlds 2.
It was somewhat of a redemption season for the former Big Brother player, who became known for his hot-headed moments and an inability to win The Challenge final.
While Paulie’s season was cut shorter than some viewers may have liked, his return included him seemingly putting aside differences with former enemies and rivals Johnny Bananas and Josh Martinez.
All three were part of the Red Team, affectionately called Team Red Flag by Michele Fitzgerald.
With USA 2’s third episode, a rematch between the former rivals, Bananas and Paulie took center stage as the seven-time champ ousted the two-time finalist.
However, Paulie revealed he had a strategy in mind if he’d defeated his previous nemesis. He also named two surprising castmates he would love to see win the USA 2 season.
Paulie was ready to switch teams in The Challenge: USA 2
One of the big twists revealed early with The Challenge: USA 2 spinoff was that any player who won an elimination received the power to defect to another team by stealing another player’s spot. So if a woman won her elimination, she could trade for another woman’s spot on another team, with a similar situation for the men’s elimination.
The first two eliminations featured women, with Michele and Tori Deal defeating Ameerah Jones and Jonna Mannion. However, Michele and Tori stayed loyal to the Red and Blue teams, respectively.
The third elimination brought the epic rematch between Bananas and Paulie. They competed in Fire and Ice, with Bananas winning after 38 minutes of competition. The third episode ended on a cliffhanger as Bananas was about to announce whether he’d defect or stay with the Red Team.
During his appearance on MTV’s Official Challenge Podcast, Paulie said if he’d defeated Bananas, he was ready to jump to a different team.
“I was 100 percent defecting. I was going to the Blue Team,” Paulie revealed, adding that he would’ve taken the spot from Sebastian Noel.
Sebastian, a former Survivor player, was shown in an early storyline teasing a showmance with castmate Tori, also on the Blue Team.
However, if Paulie had joined that squad, he would’ve been teamed with Tori, Fessy Shafaat, Cory Wharton, Alyssa Lopez, Alyssa Snider, Chris Underwood, and Cassidy Clark. They had also shown the ability to win as they were victorious in two of the first three daily challenges.
Paulie chose two CBS stars he wants to see win the spinoff
A bit later in the podcast episode, host Devyn Simone asked Paulie who he’s rooting for to win the season now that he’s out. The former CBS reality TV star picked two people who also got their starts on CBS.
Surprisingly, he chose Josh as the male competitor he wanted to see win the season. The former friends famously fought during their time on the War of the Worlds 2 season. However, as Paulie admitted, Josh made a smart game move on USA 2 by choosing him for his team.
Regarding the women’s side, Paulie named Michaela Bradshaw as the woman he would like to see win. He mentioned she got eliminated early on Spies, Lies & Allies season, and both he and Devyn’s podcast co-host, Tori, admitted that Michaela is a “strong” player.
While those might be sentimental picks on Paulie’s part as potential winners, experience at winning reality competitions could come in handy in navigating a complex combination of CBS and MTV shows.
Heading into Episode 4, several former show winners remain in the game. They include Survivor winners Desi Williams and Chris, Challenge winners Tori, Wes Bergmann, Bananas, and Big Brother winner Josh.
The Challenge: USA airs Thursdays at 10/9c and Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.