Polarizing cast member Paulie Calafiore has returned to The Challenge for the first time since appearing in MTV’s War of the Worlds 2 season.
With the arrival of The Challenge: USA 2 trailer and cast photos, fans learned that Paulie is among the Big Brother stars who will compete in the spinoff’s second season.
He’ll be there with other former Houseguests, including Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat, Josh Martinez, Alyssa Lopez, and Alyssa Snida.
They’ll be among the various reality TV stars on the show, featuring stars from Amazing Race and Survivor and six MTV stars.
They include former champions Johnny Bananas, Jonna Mannion, and Tori Deal, each of whom want to claim the win but while appearing on CBS rather than MTV.
As the first look at the upcoming season’s footage and photos revealed, Paulie commented on returning to The Challenge, including his “biggest fear” for his return.
Paulie shares his ‘biggest fear’ in return to The Challenge
Taking a break from The Challenge is nothing new for those who have appeared in multiple seasons. Paulie’s return comes on his original network, CBS, after last appearing in 2019 on MTV.
He spoke about how it provided a measuring stick for whether he could still “hang” with the competition, which doesn’t just include MTV stars he’s been castmates with on The Challenge.
There are now formidable newcomers from Big Brother, Survivor, and Amazing Race, as well as several Challengers that Paulie never competed against on MTV.
“[The] biggest fear whenever you return after a long break is, like, ‘Do I still got it?” he told US Weekly, adding, “And as soon as you get done with the first daily, you’re like, ‘OK, yeah, I still got it. … I can still hang with the young kids they’re pulling in here nowadays.”
In some of his previous appearances on The Challenge, viewers saw Paulie get into it with castmates, including Kyle Christie, Brad Fiorenza, and Josh Martinez. However, he said he brought a different perspective into USA 2.
“Ultimately, I went into this season with the mindset of like, ‘There’s always two wolves that everybody has within themselves, and you can choose to feed one or the other.’ So, I chose to feed the one that was peaceful,” Paulie said.
Speculation arrived during Paulie’s hiatus from The Challenge that he wasn’t being called back due to issues with castmates and some of his off-screen antics or comments he made. Despite being hotheaded in more than a few scenes on MTV’s show, Paulie said he chose to keep that part of himself subdued.
“Not to say that the not peaceful one wasn’t chirping in my ear, being like, ‘Hey, what’s going on? What are you doing?’ … I really had to keep my eye on the prize this season,” he shared.
Paulie said he’s ‘humble and grateful’ for return to The Challenge
On Tuesday, Paulie shared his official cast photo from The Challenge: USA 2. However, he made it a video clip with Eminem’s track Without Me playing, appropriately with the rapper’s “Guess who’s back? Back again” lyrics.
“The cat is out of the bag y’all! I’m baaaackkkkk! 😈 ❤️🔥 So humbled and grateful to be returning to @thechallenge ! It feels so gratifying to be competing again, especially alongside this amazing cast,” he wrote in his IG post’s caption.
Based on additional comments in Paulie’s caption, viewers will learn more about him “on a much deeper level,” which has never been seen before.
While the Big Brother star has his share of critics and haters, Paulie also has more than a few supporters rooting him on, including his girlfriend, Cara Maria, and friends and castmates such as Kam Williams or Rogan O’Connor.
Time will tell how Paulie fares in his big return to the competition stage, as it will also mark his first season of The Challenge in any format without Cara Maria as a castmate and ally.
The Challenge: USA 2 premieres Thursday, August 10 at 10/9c on CBS.