It was a night that will go down in The Challenge history … and not necessarily in a good way.
After a roller coaster of a challenge on War of the Worlds 2 — with Laurel Stucky and Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio throwing the battle and losing it for Team U.S.A. — the Americans selected “Ninja” Natalie Duran (last season’s highest placing female) to go into elimination. And then the Brits tapped Laurel to join her in the Proving Ground.
The Branched Out face-off was a nailbiter, with both women keeping a very similar pace as they stuck branches into holes to climb a tall pole. In what seemed to be the end, Laurel placed her last branch and rang the bell, and host TJ Lavin blew the horn indicating the end of gameplay — and victory for Laurel. But Ninja was still at the top of her pole, struggling to find where to place the last branch, and eventually realizing she’d missed a hole that had been camouflaged by a camera. They soon realized Laurel also had missed that hole and still managed to find a spot to place her last branch that hadn’t been intended for it. So Ninja quickly placed her last branch into the final hole and rang her bell.
After much celebration and confusion by all, Ninja was declared the winner — and Laurel was sent home.
“I don’t agree with it,” Laurel said on PeopleTV’s Reality Check Thursday. “I still don’t agree with it to this day. I believe that they should have done a reset and then raced to the top because we both missed the same post.”
However, Laurel does agree with how unusual the chain of events was. “It was strange,” she said. “I have never been in a situation like that before where they end the game with a horn and then they don’t give you the opportunity to fix your mistake. I’ve been doing this show over the course of 10 years now and I’ve played so many games. Anytime you make a mistake in a puzzle or you aren’t correct, they tell you and they don’t blow the horn. … They came over, they checked my pole, and blew the horn. So I celebrated like I won because to me that’s the way it’s always gone. There’s really been nothing different than that.”
Not surprisingly, Laurel questioned producers and others about the final outcome.
“I definitely spoke my mind in the moment,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Are you guys serious? This can’t be real.’ I guess at that point there was nothing that could be done because Ninja had already continued to play even though the horn had gotten blown. So I think that was the tricky part — and that’s what made it really confusing for everyone — was that she played after the horn was blown.”
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Today, Laurel, who is in veterinary school, is admittedly ready to come back for another season, and she’s tuning out those, including competitor Paulie Calafiore, calling her loss “karma.”
“I don’t really pay him much mind,” she laughed. “He’s new in this game and wants to make his own waves, and what’s a better way than attacking me?”
As for her teammates, Laurel agrees they’re all on a “downward spiral.”
“There’s a clear divide on the Team U.S.A. right now and that is not going to end well,” she teased.
The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on MTV.