The Challenge: Double Agents Power Rankings — Week 3

Brian Batty
12 min readDec 20, 2020

Welcome back to another edition of Power Rankings! Week 3 is right around the corner, and the game and it’s players are beginning to take shape. Inside this edition: Big T sheds some baggage, we comb through the history of the New Hot Guy Championship Belt, leaked documents from production are revealed, and much more!

30) Ashley (Eliminated)

29) Joseph (Last Week: 28)

Casting a reality show must be a tough gig. There’s so many competing interests and egos that it’s got to be a complicated web to untangle.

But they missed with this one.

I can’t blame anyone for casting Joseph, they must have had a good reason. Even Michael Jordan missed jump shots. But this was an uncharacteristic whiff by the Challenge Gods. Unlike Ashley last week, this is probably goodbye forever.

Gentleman, take him out.

28) Josh (LW: 29)

Let’s face it, Final Reckoning was the most full of bologna iteration of this show yet. But one slice of bologna stood above the rest. I’m of course talking about the elimination when Devin and Cory showed up as Mercenaries. We can parse semantics all we want, but let’s face facts. That last dangly wood block had no intentions of ever falling off the rope.

There would have been legitimate big picture ramifications if Devin and Cory had shown up so late in the game and lost. Moving forward, it would have soured the validity of not only the ‘mercenary’ concept, but also the reputation of Cory who the producers clearly had big…oh right, Josh. At least now he’s paired with a friend.

27) Amber M. (LW: 27)

26) Amber B. (LW: 26)

25) Gabby (LW: 25)

24) Liv (LW: 24)

Through no fault of their own, I still have no idea who any of these people are.

The non-competitive sector of the rookie girls have been getting the shit end of the editing stick so far. An important observation in their favor: The overall debauchery level has been low, which is historically directly correlated with rookie screen time. After two game-heavy episodes, the level of lewd behavior surely will rise in the coming weeks. It’s about who wants it most ladies.

23) Mechie (LW: 22)

Seriously, has anyone checked on Mechie?

22) Lio (LW: 22)

He’s got the best hairdo in the house. That won’t stop him from being an easy voting target from here on out. His ticket will get called soon (maybe as early as Wednesday), so let’s see if flipping giants can translate to the elimination floor.

21) Aneesa (LW: 17)

As soon as TJ announced the fluidity of partnerships this season, she’s been playing on borrowed time.

Are there direct flights from Iceland to Philadelphia? Asking for a friend.

20) Scuba Nelly (LW: 20)

For this week’s feature production, we have Man vs. Nature — an off-Broadway play written and directed by Nelson Thomas, adapted for television by Bunim-Murray.

Eat your heart out Billy Shakespeare.

19) Devin (LW: 21)

Across centuries, authors have been driving themselves into alcoholic frenzies futilely attempting to describe a person as succinctly as Devin did when he confessed to Kyle that his partner Nicole is “an incredibly fit infant”. When I write my Challenge book, that phrase will be in the first paragraph.

18) Mature Nany (LW: 15)

Remember on Free Agents when Nany defended Camila in an argument with CT outside of a bar? Then that somehow morphed into Nany and Camila screaming at each other and throwing punches at each other back at the house until 4 a.m.? Then the next morning the two of them ate breakfast together like nothing happened and gossiped about boys with Laurel?

I do. I remember that.

17) Jay (LW: 14)

Jay’s quickly getting lost in the shuffle. As far as story lines go, where does he sneak himself in? He should make a run at an Amber, see if he can polidick his way into an alliance with Darrell. Sky’s the limit with this kid if he wants it. But whatever the move is from here, it’s time it was a big one.

16) Nam (LW: 19)

This week, Nam became the official holder of the New Hot Guy Championship Belt. In honor of this momentous occasion, let’s jog down memory lane and take a look at the last few New Hot Guy Championship Belt holders.

Zach (Battle of the Seasons)

Check out Preston/Rajon Rondo sizing up his prey on the bottom left

When you show up on the scene looking like that, it makes it hard to compete.

Jordan (Rivals 2 — Battle of the Exes 2)

A much longer reign for Jordan here, artificially propped up by substandard competition. The first batch of Are You The One kid’s were too dorky and Johnny Reilly was never Hot enough.

That left Jordan on top of the mountain for an unfruitful three seasons. But while he was on the Challenge being Hot, a kid from Louisiana with a burgeoning drinking problem was walking out of a cab in Chicago and into our hearts.

Tony (Bloodlines)

If you watched his Real World season, you had an inkling as to what was coming. Like anyone attending Lower Merion High School in 1995, you knew the potential was intergalactic. It was just a matter of getting Tony onto the Challenge, and the question of whether he would he be able to live up to lofty expectations.

Yet Tony delivered, becoming the rare prospect that exceeds the hype. This makes his one season run ultimately disappointing (he wasted too much of his prime chasing Jessica). But unbeknownst to him, the GOAT was lurking right around the corner.

Cory (Rivals 3 — Dirty 30)

The greatest of all time as far as the New Hot Guy Championship Belt record books are concerned. While not the Hottest of the Hot Guy’s, he had all the tools. Willing and ready to hook up, said hook ups caused bundles of ancillary drama, and was willing to double down on every single hook up just in case. During his prime Cory filled up the stat sheet like James Harden, literally turning being the New Hot Guy into a career. RIP Childless Cory, you were an inspiration for Hot Guy’s everywhere.

Kyle (Vendettas — Final Reckoning)

Deploying a weapon never before seen, a slick British accent, Kyle wasn’t just given the New Hot Guy Championship Belt, he took it. Despite having to contend with the much Hotter Joss, Kyle fought early adversity and claimed the throne.

***REDACTED*** (War of the Worlds 1 — Total Madness)

Due to recent unbecoming acts, the New Hot Guy Committee was forced to rule that the New Hot Guy Championship Belt will be, from here on out, vacated for this three season stretch. The Champion during this time, ****, will be henceforth stricken from the New Hot Guy record books.

If only there were a swole, handsome German to shed some light on this dark time…

Nam (Double Agents — ???)

These are just a sample of the reactions he elicits merely existing.

It’s his for the taking, does he want it? Mechie lurks in the background, a contender ready to pounce if Nam slips even a little bit. He’s the hottest New Hot Guy Championship Belt holder to come around in awhile, but will he have a short reign at the top? Only time will tell.

15) Theresa (LW: 13)

These first two daily challenges have been janky, so it’s been difficult for her to truly cut her teeth so far this season. New viewers might be scratching their heads as to why she came back. But her social tentacles reach further than it appears, and I like her chances against any other woman in a straightforward elimination.

Alright, enough of the boring stuff.

Here’s a clip of Theresa, Jasmine, Camila, and Jonna getting into a four way verbal altercation for, you guessed it, no reason at all.

Theresa makes her presence known about ninety seconds in. It’s important to note that without question, the star of this clip is Jasmine. I miss Jasmine so much. Look at all the amazing feats Jasmine accomplishes in just this two and a half minute YouTube clip! I look forward to the day when I can bounce my grand kids on my lap and tell them stories about Jasmine.

T13) The Ori’s

The Ori’s taking a backseat early on leads me to believe they play a pivotal role in the end game. That being said, it’s in both of their best interests to go in and get their skulls early. For people like the Ori’s, who have friends peppered throughout the house, getting a skull early makes it easier to hold on to it. It’s the floater-types that will have to worry about skeletal thievery.

12) Big T (LW: 18)

When Postmates says “Driver is on the way”

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.

After 36 seasons, you’d think there were no first’s left. As usual, I was wrong. I’ve never seen someone gleefully and actively cheer against their own partner the way Big T did this week. I’ve seen teams root for their own members to lose (shout out the entire JEK era), but never partner on partner.

Now that she’s with CT, henceforth known and Big and Little T, she’ll be able to settle in politically.

11) Leroy (LW: 10)

Do you think Joseph knows Leroy was making fun of him that whole time? Probably not right?

10) Kaycee (LW: 9)

I officially accept Kaycee’s challenge. She’s not going to make it easy on me. If she doesn’t want to be interesting on The Challenge, I’ll have to figure it out on my own.

So here’s a highlight tape of her playing football in 2014.

  • First thing, you absolutely could not leave her in single coverage back then. While these aren’t the most fluid defensive backs I’ve ever seen, anytime there’s no safety help over the top she dusts her woman in one-on-one coverage. It happens without fail every single play on the tape.
  • Second, she dominates the middle. She works the soft spaces in the zone and isn’t afraid to take the backside hit. Kaycee’s got the whole route tree, and was an absolute asset to whatever team that was.
  • Last thing, I really appreciate how committed she is to throwing her hand up to say “I’m open”, regardless how many defenders are draped on her. That’s classic #1 Wide Receiver behavior and I’m here for it.

9) Nicole (LW: 7)

The following is a letter intercepted by MTV during production. A copy was leaked to me by a whistleblower wishing to remain anonymous. The letter was originally written in Icelandic language, so I apologize for anything lost in translation.

Dear Dr. Gunnar Ingolfsson

I’m writing to you with a desperate plea for help.

I believe our daughter Helga has been possessed.

I wrote to you last week regarding my daughters incessant chanting…


I’m writing again with an update. She’s now begun repeating the phrase “incredibly fit infant” exactly twenty times each night when the sun sets over the apple orchard.

The problem is, doctor, this phrase is in perfect English. I’ve never spoken English, and neither does my Helga. I’ve come to find out our postman speaks it well, so I had him explain what these sounds mean. Even now, I still don’t quite understand.

I’m desperate for my Helga back. She‘s my angel, and to see her be overtaken by such total madness is ruining me. I fear the shotgun may not sit idly against the mantle for much longer.

Help me doctor, you’re my only hope.

Regards, The Lady Anndottir

8) Darrell (LW: 8)

For the newer viewers, Darrell and Wes have had beef that’s been set to a low simmer for a long time. It’s been awhile since their paths have crossed in this new era, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

7) Fessy (LW: 4)

Maybe last season he got zero screen time because the producers knew he would be such a major player on his return. Maybe he got no screen time last season because ultimately he’s not that interesting of a TV personality. Either way, he’s been carrying the show so far. But his illusion of invincibility is fading by the hour.

6) Kyle (LW: 16)

Unoriginal pundits like to call the NFL a “copycat” league. Meaning that when one team has success doing a thing, all the other teams start to do that same thing.

The Challenge has always been similar. Go back two seasons to War of the Worlds 2, the team flipping twist only happened twice. And the second time was just an extension of the first, as Jordan and Tori planned to do it together. But no one else had the gall to pull the trigger. There were a few reasons for that, but the biggest culprit was that no one wanted to be first.

And once Laurel lost to Ninja (that, btwfessy, is what a janky elimination looks like) Paulie and the rest of Cara’s Cult had no incentive to bleed.

I had a similar fear about this season’s Partner Yankee Swap. I feared no one would want to shake the snow-globe. But now that Kyle smashed that snow-globe in a cave somewhere in Iceland, we might be in for a few spins on the partner-switching-carousel.

5) Wes (LW: 6)

I’ve always argued that the two greatest political campaigns of my lifetime are Barack Obama in 2008 and Wes on Exes 2. To survive this game, he may have to whip up another masterpiece on that level.

4) Natalie (LW: 5)

Just absolutely not here for Joseph’s shit, and I’m loving every minute of it. I’m always skeptical of newbies, but she looks like a lock to be a player in this game as long as she wants to be.

3) Lolo (LW: 3)

Oh so you want me to pay for dinner?

Why is Lolo, the only one guaranteed not to hook up, the only one trying to hook up? I’m all here for The Challenge being the breaking point for one of the most disciplined people on the planet. But enough of the swimming in glacier water ensconced in heavily-sponsored body suit material. Can we start getting weird?

2) Little T (LW: 2)

Big T is like a capable Adam. He’ll be fine.

1) Kam (LW: 1)

Speaking of partner upgrades. Going from Josh to Kyle is like going from the outhouse to the penthouse. Our number one just got exponentially more dangerous.

See ya next week! In case you missed my recap of Episode 2, you can find that here! Be sure to check back on Wednesday for my preview of Episode 3, where I dive deep and highlight What To Look For. Thanks for reading! Happy Challenge watching!



Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions