Contestants Who Won the Daily & Went Home in the Same Episode

8 min readApr 17, 2020

In this week’s episode of The Challenge: Total Madness, we saw CT win the “Decode and Detonate” daily and make the Tribunal, which interrogated Nelson, Rogan, and Bear (for attention). The competitors go to Purgatory and see the elimination, which features cinder blocks, chains, thick ropes, wooden pallets, and all miscellany of heavy s#!t.

It reminded me of CT’s last one-on-one elimination, “Knot So Fast” against Darrell right before the Invasion final. Which he completely smashed, with fans saying he “broke” the elimination with his massive Gordian knot.

People viewed Jay, the one voted into Purgatory, as a lay-up because he’s the smallest guy in the house. CT seized this opportunity to earn his red skull against a perceived easy opponent and thus threw himself into elimination… Only to lose in an ENORMOUS upset. Literally one of the most shocking losses in Challenge herstory, up there with Cohutta vs Wes on The Ruins; Nia vs Cara on Free Agents; and Brandon N vs Ty on Cutthroat.

In other words, CT won the daily, was safe from elimination, and still went home in the same episode. When else has this happened? Let’s explore 🕵🏼‍♂️

Amanda & Zach on Final Reckoning

Zachmanda won the “Caged In” daily — their fourth win out of 9 challenges, yes, they were that good — but deadlocked in voting because they had to decide between Amanda’s number one Ashley and Zach’s number one Tony, and their respective partners. Both were too stubborn and couldn’t come to a decision, so Zach threw them in.

Their elimination was against Mercenaries Cory and Devin, which many people believe was rigged to get the mercs into the game. Even if one of the medallions wasn’t glued, Zach still broke his nose trying to shake them off the rope, and they were medically disqualified from the competition — when numerous other players agreed they had a clear path to the final and likely would have won it at all. #robbed

Shane, Britni, & Natalie N on Vendettas

Vendettas was a GD mess, for many reasons. Eddie being cut from the edit after getting DQ’d (apparently unnecessarily), only one “genderless” winner, the high/low game in the final, etc. But mostly because of the first iteration of the Tribunal (then called “Troika” because Season 31 was filmed in Russia… jk, it took place in Spain, no idea why it had this Soviet name).

Tony & Zach dominated the season, making the Tribunal 7 and 4 times respectively. And on not one, not two, but three occasions, they promised their teammates safety if they voted Zach & Tony into power. Then the Tall Tale Bros promptly flipped around and through these sorry competitors in. This happened with:

  • Shane after winning the “Puppet Master” daily, who lost to Mercenary Jordan in the Crazy 8 elim
  • Britni after winning “This Land is Your Land,” who went home during the other Mercenary appearance — this time against Laurel in Yankin’ My Chain
  • Natalie after being complicit in this happening to Britni literally the previous episode. She lost to Kam in Spanish Torture after winning “Spanish Treasure”

Karma’s a b!tc#.

kinda: Amanda & Shane on Invasion of the Champions

Amanda & Shane got first place in what was essentially the daily challenge, “X-It,” where everyone was strapped to a slowly spinning X and had a sudoku puzzle to finish. Amanda famously slayed this puzzle in minutes when it took some people over an hour to complete it. Shane finished first in the guys’ heat.

But this was officially the first stage of the Underdog Bloodbath. The next was the 3-way tug-of-war (which Ashley and Nelson won) and the final part was trying to get your opponent out of a rope ring. Shane had no chance against a much stronger Cory. Neither did Amanda, if we’re being honest, but if her foot was 2 inches further back, she would have 2-and-0'd Nicole “She-ra” Zanatta.

But close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and social distancing, so both these messy queens went home despite winning the ostensible daily that episode. What a Shane. #robbed

Sarah & V**** on Battle of the Exes (1)

Sarah & V**** somehow won the “Hook Up” daily against numerous powerhouse teams like CT/Diem, Johnny/Camila, and Dustin/Heather. Yes, Dustin/Heather because they were slaying the dailies before he tripped on the pool stairs and cut his knee open, removing them from the competition. *Sigh* what might have been.

That night, Foti is feeling himself, celebrating his victory and on the juice. He aggressed sweet li’l Mandi, forcing her top open and exposing her breasts to the club. Because of this disgusting, porcine, boneheaded decision — he was disqualified the next day, thereby forcing Sarah to go home too, but not before nominating Wes & Mandi into nomination and showing no contrition for what he pulled the night prior. What an ass. Good riddance, hope to see you never.

Adam Royer on Rivals (1)

Adam Royer, the hothead from Real World Las Vegas (2011), debuted with his “vendetta” Leroy on Rivals 1. The rookie team won the opening daily, “High Dive,” beating legends Johnny, CT, Wes, Kenny, Evan, and Tyler in the process. Interestingly, the other newbie duo, Jasmine & Jonna, also earned a W here, over Evelyn, Laurel, Cara, Sarah, Camila, Paula, and Theresa.

Similar to V****, he got a little overexcited that night back at the house and into an altercation. This was the (in)famous “Don’t call me a guy, Ty” fight, where Adam bristled at being called a “guy,” so Ty rephrased it by asking, “Where’s that beautiful kid?” This apparently was way over the line, and Adam shoved Mandi out of the way (why does Mandi always get wrapped up with these drunken douchebag shenanigans?!) to throw a pathetic punch at Ty. Think of that smush Tina threw at Beth — that’s how bad it was. Tragic.

Adam R was promptly ejected from the game, never to return, because he failed the psych test and therefore was not cast the next season, Battle of the Exes, with Nany as his partner. You heard it here first — Adam walked so Paulie could run.

Jo on Gauntlet 2

Miss Jo Rhodes showed up out of literally nowhere on Gauntlet 2, nearly twelve years after her season of Real World: San Francisco. The original shocking debut on The Challenge, before Lacey (and less so, Devyn) many years later. Jo still takes the 🍰 tho.

The opening challenge on G2 was Royal Rumble, where everyone wrestled on a floating deck and tried to knock the other players off, with the last person standing becoming the Team Captain for the Veteran women, Vet men, Rookie gals, and Rook guys.

Jo won this for the Newbie Women and thus qualified for the nicer bedroom and bigger bed back at the Caribbean mansion. Everyone pops some bottles and carouses on the first night to let loose, meet each other, and have fun. This isn’t kosher for Jo, who apparently became a crotchety curmudgeon in the 12 years she was off TV, and she decides to call the police, claim she’s being “mAnHaNdLeD oN tHe IsLaNd oF TrInIdAd & ToBaGo !!1!” and quit the game.

This happened in the episode after Royal Rumble, since this was when they were 30 min shows, but it still counts here. It all went down in the same day ;)

Seasons where the rules guaranteed this would happen

This includes Battle of the Seasons (1), Battle of the Sexes (1), and Battle of the Sexes 2— where someone from each team would go home every episode regardless of what happened.

Similarly, other seasons had a member of each team always go in, so while it wasn’t guaranteed the daily winner would be eliminated, it was a distinct possibility. This includes The Gauntlet (1), the three Inferno seasons, and The Ruins. So I’m not gonna list all those players 😅

Erik on Micronesia

The 16th season of Survivor, dubbed Micronesia, pitted returning favourites against superfans. At the Final 5, there was 4-person alliance and 1 outsider, who managed to win a third consecutive Individual Immunity challenge and thus was safe from being voted out. However, the Black Widow Brigade of Cirie, Parvati, Amanda, and Natalie masterfully manipulated poor Erik “the Ice Cream Scooper” Reichenbach into giving up his necklace to Villainness Bolton, and he was promptly voted out. Poor Erik, you got outplayed by two of the best women to ever slay.

BenDeLaCrème on All Stars 3

DeLa, the other iconic Seattle Queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race, had a successful run on Season 6, earning 2 wins (including a memorable Snatch Game performance), 3 other highs, and Miss Congeniality before going home in 5th place.

She vanished from the drag scene after, not capitalizing upon post-Drag Race fame like Adore did, only to return years later for All Stars 3. And she was a force to be reckoned with, y’all. Ben had the most impressive stretch of anybody in Drag Race herstory — winning four consecutive challenges, never placing in the bottom, and snatching a fifth win all in 6 episodes. It was astounding to watch, and likely won’t ever be repeated. (but maybe Shea can achieve it ✊🏾)

However, she was Miss C through and through and couldn’t contend with the choice to eliminate queen after queen, as the All Stars rules go. So after completely stomping the competition and earning a record-breaking fifth win, she elected to eliminate herself. Now THAT is the embodiment of Nerve in Ru’s famous phrase, C(harisma)U(niqueness)N(nerve)T(alent).


And that’s it! This might very well happen again on Total Madness, with the red skull twist. Only time will tell, ’cause I’m part of the #UnspoiledGang

’Til next time y’all 🖤




I write about MTV’s The Challenge, with a queer / social justice / critical analysis bent. #UnspoiledGang