The Challenge: USA 2 brought back two-time All Stars winner Jonna Mannion as one of the six savvy MTV veterans competing alongside and against CBS reality TV stars.
With Challenge vets known for making “risky” moves, as host TJ Lavin said, Jonna took an early shot at one of her castmates, but it backfired.
In the premiere episode, she became the No. 1 pick for the Red Team, as Josh Martinez chose her for his squad. Castmates, including Johnny Bananas, Fessy Shafaat, Paulie Calafiore, and Michele Fitzgerald, were also part of the team.
When Red Team and Blue Team were the losing teams in the first daily challenge, all their players had to cast secret votes for one man or woman to send into elimination. These players could be anyone from Red or Blue.
Jonna pulled a surprising move as she voted for her own teammate, Michele, due to what she said her castmate Josh had revealed bout Michele’s gameplay.
In USA 2’s second episode, Michele was randomly chosen to go into elimination. She realized someone on her team voted for her and defeated Ameerah Jones in Slam Dunked. Later, Michele and her allies, including several other Survivor stars, figured out it would be best to target MTV vets, so Jonna and Bananas received most of the votes.
With that, Jonna ended up with five balls in The Hopper, the most of anyone, and the random draw sent her into a losing battle with Tori Deal.
Jonna shares why she decided to vote for Michele
Heading into The Challenge: USA 2, Jonna said she knew the 18 CBS reality TV stars there wanted to get all of the MTV veterans out of the game. However, it started as a team game.
“I know from past Challenge experiences that we’re not going to stay in teams forever. At some point, it’s going to be individual. I was all in my head from the jump. I feel like when I’m under fire, I immediately think of how I can get out of it,” Jonna told Hollywood Life.
Jonna shared that she knew Michele was very smart and the only woman in the cast that had won her Survivor season. Basically, Jonna saw Michele as a threat to her winning the final later and took a risky shot early in the game.
“She was connected to the same people I was. So when it comes further down the line, when your allies are faced with, ‘Who do I pick, Jonna or Michele?’, you want them to pick you. I just knew in that moment that my only chance to better my game was getting her out of there,” she said.
Unfortunately, Jonna’s move backfired on her, as Michele was able to defeat Ameerah and return to the game. After winning, Michele was initially in an argument with castmate Amanda Garcia, but she turned her attention toward Jonna. Michele and her allies decided that was one vet to target for elimination.
Where do the USA 2 castmates stand now?
Jonna also admitted that when she cast her “secret vote” for Michele early in the game, she had no idea that the number of votes would be revealed to everyone at The Arena later.
That big reveal from TJ allowed Michele to realize that something was off with the number of votes she secretly received and for castmates to deduce later it was likely Jonna who was the “traitor” on Red Team. Jonna’s risky move came back to bite her, as she received the most votes at the next elimination and ultimately lost at The Arena.
And while drama and feuds continue on other seasons of The Challenge, Jonna indicated that she and Michele are good after what happened during USA 2.
“The crazy thing is that her and I are friends now. We’ve talked about everything and we’re like, ‘Next time, let’s just be on the same page,'” Jonna said of their conversation.
As far as a next time, it seems like Jonna would love to return. She indicated she might train more and return to The Challenge to prove she’s not a fluke who only wins “against older people.”
“I just can’t end on going home second. I’d love to do the main show just one more time and then I think I’ll just focus on the family. We’ll see. I say that, but we’ll see when they call,” Jonna said.
The Challenge: USA 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c and Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.