Johnny Bananas Says ‘The Challenge’ Season ‘Went Horribly Awry’

Johnny Bananas

Getty Johnny Bananas

The Challenge” legend John “Johnny Bananas” Devenanzio wasn’t impressed with the franchise’s first iteration on CBS.

Last year’s “The Challenge: USA” marked the first time the reality competition show aired on the network. But, instead of hosting MTV veterans who’ve carried “The Challenge” flag, CBS elected to cast reality stars solely from their network.

Several notable names from “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “Love Island” and “The Amazing Race” appeared on “USA 1”  And after the 28 contestants dwindled to 10 finalists, “Survivor” stars Sarah Lacina and Danny McCray walked away with around $250,000 apiece and the title of “Challenge Champions.”

However, the season didn’t receive the same sort of love that prior iterations have in MTV’s mainline series. It was viewed en masse as a relatively boring season, and many longtime “Challenge” fans didn’t tune in to watch it.

Well, Bananas blames that on CBS leaving out the franchise’s veterans.

“What makes The Challenge unique is the fact that they bring back cast members season after season,” Johnny Bananas said in an interview with People published on August 10. “You get an influx of new people, but you have your mainstays and that’s what a large majority of our fan base wants to see.

“You can’t just plug in a whole bunch of new people, slap The Challenge logo on it, put it on another network and expect the true fandom to follow along. I think it was an experiment gone horribly awry.”

Bananas likened CBS not bringing “Challenge” vets onto “USA 1” to seeing a boy band perform without their frontman.

“It would be like going to an *NSYNC concert and Justin Timberlake not being there. You don’t go to see the rest of them,” he said. “Can you name one other person from *NSYNC? I can’t.”

Six MTV Stars Joined the Second Season of ‘The Challenge: USA’

“The Challenge: USA” season 2 premiered earlier this month. And this time, the network didn’t repeat the same mistake twice. Bananas is one of six challengers representing MTV’s version of the show — Wes Bergmann, Tori Deal, Amanda Garcia, Cory Wharton and Jonna Mannion appeared on “USA 2” as well.

He told People that CBS finally including the MTV stars was a no-brainer.

“I was like, ‘Of course this makes sense,’” Devenanzio said. “Once they came a calling, I’m like, ‘Dude, so you’re going to let me out of the cage? Are you sure you’re ready for this CBS?’ I don’t know.”

Bananas Said He Had ‘No Desire to Play’ During “The Challenge: World Championship”

The last time fans saw Devenanzio compete on “The Challenge” was during Paramount Plus’ “World Championship,” which aired earlier this year. And unlike “Ride or Dies” — Bananas’ most recent season before “World Championship” when he placed as the runner-up — he was taken out well before the final challenge.

He was paired up with “USA 1” alum and “Love Island” star Justine Ndiba, and they were eliminated from the show during episode 7.

But, according to the seven-time champion, his “desire” to be a part of “World Championship” was minimal.

“The most important thing is you have to show up ready and willing to play the game. And I just had no desire to play,” Bananas said. “I’m like, I’m here, but it’s like I don’t want to get to know anybody. I don’t want to form alliances. I just want to be. And you can’t do that because then what ends up happening is things form around you and you get screwed.”

However, he confirmed that he was in a “much better head space” going into “USA 2.”

In the most recent episode, Johnny Bananas narrowly escaped having to compete in “The Arena” — the iteration’s elimination battleground.

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