The Challenge: USA teams, format for eliminations, and how to reach TJ Lavin’s final

the challenge usa host tj lavin in episode 1
The Challenge: USA host TJ Lavin speaks to the cast after a daily challenge. Pic credit: CBS

With The Challenge: USA’s arrival, some of CBS’ biggest reality TV stars are competing for a shot to win their share of $500,000 and a trip to compete in a global tournament known as War of the Worlds.

The winner of that tournament will likely claim more prize money, as well as the title of Challenge World Champion.

However, getting to those prizes involves winning The Challenge: USA spinoff show, which includes daily challenges, eliminations, and eventually TJ Lavin’s final.

Here are details on how The Challenge: USA teams, eliminations format, and becoming eligible for TJ’s final work for the spinoff show.

What are The Challenge: USA teams?

In some seasons of MTV’s The Challenge or Paramount Plus’ All Stars spinoff, players competed in pairs, with their partners connected to them until or through the final. For example, MTV’s Spies, Lies & Allies, and Paramount Plus’ All Stars 2 featured partnerships.

The Challenge: USA teams have one man and one woman paired up. Some of the teams in the show’s first episode included Tyson Apostol with Angela Rummans, Danny McCray with Shantel Smith, Kyland Young with Azah Awasum, and Shannon St. Clair. with James Wallington.

However, a unique aspect of this spinoff show is that the teams will change for each episode.

While everyone chose a partner for the first daily challenge, they learned after Episode 1’s elimination results that something known as The Algorithm would give them a new partner for the next daily challenge.

So while many players felt they’d chosen a solid person to work with in Episode 1, it was revealed that they wouldn’t be their partner when Episode 2 arrived.

Host TJ Lavin shared they’ll never have the same partner twice, and once that was no longer possible, they’d never get the same partner twice in a row.

How does the eliminations format work?

The Challenge: USA format for eliminations is similar to other seasons in that the team that performed the worst in the daily challenge automatically goes into elimination at The Arena.

Their opponents are chosen by the team that won the daily challenge after deliberation. In the first episode, viewers saw the strong pair of Angela and Tyson win the daily and then decide between three teams that wanted to send in.

Ultimately, they sent in the team of Javonny Vega and Cely Vazquez to face the daily challenge’s worst performers, Kyland and Azah.

The team that wins in elimination remains in the game and takes all the money their opponents had accumulated in their personal bank accounts. The losing team is eliminated from the show and goes home.

How do players qualify for TJ Lavin’s final?

Early on in The Challenge: USA, Episode 1, host TJ Lavin introduced himself and explained to everyone how to qualify for his final. He revealed they’d each have a “personal bank account,” and he started them off with $1,000 each.

However, TJ said to qualify for his final, they’d need $5,000 in their accounts, and they could only add money in two ways: win daily challenges or eliminations.

In the first episode, viewers saw the daily challenge winners, Angela and Tyson, become the first players to qualify for TJ’s final, as they won $5,000 for winning the daily event.

The elimination featured Kyland and Azah defeating Cely and Javonny. With the win, they took their opponents’ money, so Kyland and Azah added $1,000 to each of their accounts, bringing them to $2,000.

What hasn’t been explained is what happens as teams accumulate money in their accounts beyond $5,000. Will they win this prize money at some point, or will it be a way to prevent other teams from qualifying for TJ’s final?

And, of course, viewers should remember that TJ Lavin is known for his famous swerves and twists, so stay tuned as those could occur during The Challenge: USA spinoff season.

The Challenge: USA episodes air Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.

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