The third season of The Challenge: All-Stars premiered on Paramount+ on May 11th, 2022, with a first in the show’s history. This was the first time that every Challenger in the cast made it to a final, which is an amazing feat, as The Challenge finals are notorious for being long, brutal, and intense.
This season has been long-awaited since being teased at the conclusion of the main show’s most recent finale of The Challenge: Spies, Lies, and Allies, back in December. Even though fans have been itching for this new season, Reddit users still have a plethora of unpopular opinions: both positive and negative, as they call the newest season everything from “stale” to “refreshing.”
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Streaming Allows For Authenticity
Since All-Stars is on Paramount+ and not aired on MTV, there’s much more room for the editors to break the mold of the typical show. And better yet, there’s cursing! The fan base of The Challenge: All-Stars is a bit older than the typical fans of the main show since there’s a huge element of nostalgia that goes into seeing former challengers and fan-favorites return.
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Reddit user Skyhi92 argues that “we can hear all the real s***, being on Paramount+ instead of cable…” and some fans back that this is why viewers see a more authentic version of the show. But with being on Paramount+ there’s a huge downside with the episode lengths being shortened, and though viewers may hear some unfiltered thoughts, fans can agree they definitely are shown much less.
Allows For More Genuine Personalities
Most contestants on the main show have become series regulars whether fans like it or not. The Challenge: All-Stars leaves room for challengers who haven’t been on the show in as many as ten years to come back and compete.
These “OG Challengers” have families and jobs outside of the reality television realm and aren’t playing the game for the sole purpose of being cast again. Reddit user Austynking likes this Challenge spin-off better than the main show since, “Most of the cast doesn’t want The Challenge to be their career again, so they can be authentically themselves.” But with the return of some of these Challengers for the last three seasons now, fans speculate that some cast members may be trying to get back into the spotlight.
Though the audience sees a little bit of partying in “All-Stars,” this crew is much more tamed as most of them are married or have families. This lack of hook-up culture and Challenge showmances bleeds over into a lack of drama in the game as the biggest vendettas are usually started in the bedroom. GiveGregAHaircut on Reddit states it simply when saying, “I just need some hooking up.”
But viewers do still get their fair share of drama, as vendettas and past hookups from decades ago have remained unsolved and the grudges grow larger. It may not be the same sexually free house as the main show, but there is still drama, emotional connections, and a fair share of drama.
Not The Best Of The Best
Though this season is called “All-Stars,” some fans on Reddit think that the title may not actually describe the cast. Reddit user WestbrookStan makes the point by saying that, “the branding of it makes it seem like they’re the best of the best when really it’s just people from the past that want to come back and relive the glory days.”
Though the cast might not include all of the best former Challengers, the cast members in this season have all made it to a final, which means they were the best in their seasons. The facts speak for themselves, no matter how much fans can discredit some of these legends, at one point or another they have all been the best of the best.
Riding On The Nostalgia
There’s a certain comfortability in seeing friendly (and not so friendly) faces back in The Challenge house. But some fans think that this familiarity is all that All-Stars has to offer. After all, these OG challengers are older and are not constantly in training specifically for the show.
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Reddit user Ceceliax points out, “I like seeing the people for nostalgia but…the athleticism or competitiveness of some of these guys is laughable.” Nostalgia makes up for the lack of competitive nature, but calling their physical prowess laughable isn’t fair as most of these Challengers can and have gone head to head with cast members on the main show.
Missing The Real All-Stars
Fans of the show can agree that it’s nice to see old faces back on their screens, but it’s a disappointment when those old faces don’t include legends like Rachel Robinson or Coral Smith. Reddit user Wildturk3y also threw Veronica Portillo in the mix adding, “It’s just gonna feel weird seeing a show about OGs and not having at least one of them there.”
Luckily this season, fans will get part of what they’ve asked for, as Veronica will make her return to the show. There are so many all-stars from the 20+ year history of The Challenge that it’s hard to cast them all. But this season, casting really stepped up their “All-Star” game by including the likes of Wes Bergman, Kailah Casillas, and Jordan Wiseley.
Prize Money Turns Game Too Serious
In The Challenge: Real World vs Road Rules, the prize was a one-sixth share of $50,000, significantly less than it is today as All-Stars has a prize of $500,000. Some fans think that with so much now at stake, challengers are less likely to take risks as they look to take the game more seriously and less fun like Reddit user plagues138 who mentioned, “I’m sure people didn’t take it as serious when the grand prize was 50k split 5 ways.”
Last season, viewers witnessed MJ Garrett and Jonna Mannion win the season without having to step foot in the arena. With the stakes so high, they played it safe and it worked out. The stakes continue to be high in the third installment of All-Stars, but with more at stake, comes more strategy which these All-Stars have already proven just three episodes in.
Refreshing New Look
Setting this spin-off apart from the main show, these Challengers aren’t afraid of moves that they make this season coming back to bite them in future seasons since most of them don’t necessarily plan on being on future seasons. Fancy7474 shares on Reddit, “It’s so refreshing to watch people who are truly fighting to win. They all have something big to prove and will stop at nothing to get there.”
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That sentiment takes away from the main show where the cast members are all working to win even when they’re at home and training. All-Stars brings the show back to its roots with an up-to-date look, but the main show continues to stay current, as both shows can co-exist and excel.
Not Competitive Enough
Challenge host, TJ Lavin, usually hates quitters, but in All-Stars he seems to let them slide. In season two, Tina Bridges quit in the middle of an elimination round with the excuse that she wasn’t cut out for The Challenge anymore. But TJ’s zero-tolerance quitting policy has gone to the wayside, as Tina is once again back for season three.
After pointing to their inability to cross a balance beam, unlock a carabiner, or conquer their fear of heights, Reddit user griffindj begs the question, “Is this ‘The Challenge’ or the ‘try if you want to’?” But what this user doesn’t point out is the intense competition in every All-Stars season thus far — even so competitive that physical legends like Darrell Taylor or Derek Kosinski have yet to win.
The Shorter Season Makes It Better
With a season that is half the length of the main show (10 episodes instead of 20), the drama and strategic play are jammed in from the first episode all through the last. Omio on Reddit points out how players have to hit the ground running, “The show is short enough that you have to make big moves early.”
Every single episode of All-Stars usually includes an elimination, but the shortened episodes exclude drama and important gameplay. Though fans on Reddit argue that the season is jam-packed, there’s really no time to allow strategies to build. Instead, the strategies put forth on day one usually stick for the remainder of the season.
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About The Author
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After graduating with her MFA in comedy screenwriting from DePaul University and The Second City, Emma moved back home outside of Philadelphia where she writes, coaches field hockey and swimming, and makes TikToks with her mom.
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