by Gina Scarpa
Tonight, TJ Lavin returns to host a new season of MTV's The Challenge and this time, players are paired with someone from their past. The Battle of The Exes reunites everyone from CT and Diem to Rachel and Aneesa as they compete for $300,000 in prizes and try to keep their emotions from getting the best of them. We caught up with TJ in a press conference call to talk more the upcoming season and even found out which competitor he'd love to team up with!
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Now that you've been through both Rivals and Battles of the Exes, which is worse - to be paired with your enemy or your ex?
A. TJ: I think probably being paired with your enemy is worse if you were in my situation. I tend to be friendly to my girlfriends. If we happen to be exes, I think we can work together to make some money.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Alliances run this game and it seems that, when you try to do something to disrupt that, you're sent home. Is it possible for a team to come in and change things up?
A. TJ: Yeah totally! I mean, if you were to come in and win every challenge, then you won't be sent into the elimination rounds. It's probably better to get in there and make waves, or join the alliance with the most power... that's probably the best bet. If you win every challenge, you won't have a problem at all.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: You have players like Nate and Priscilla, who are obviously in good shape but then you have Mark, who is 40 and looks better than everybody there! Is age going to play a factor this season?
A. TJ: I hope not! I'm getting up there in age myself. I can relate to the old guys. I'm like, "C'mon, prove that we're not old yet!"
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Can you talk a little about the advantage or disadvantage of a power couple voting someone in versus an entire team?
A. TJ: I think that having a power couple decide what is going to happen really changes things. It used to be just landslide voting. One person would do it and the next person wouldn't wanna go against them. They didn't wanna be on the chopping block all of a sudden. I like it like this.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: If you were going to compete on a Challenge and could have you pick of anybody, guy or girl, for a partner, who would you choose?
A. TJ: I would wanna pair myself up with Leroy from Real World: Las Vegas. I think Leroy is the nicest guy and one of the friendliest players that I've ever seen to his teammates. I've seen him lose a lot of money because his partner couldn't make it up the hill during Rivals. Mike just couldn't go anymore and Leroy was so understanding and so cool. It was $50,000 each I think and Leroy was like, "Eh, no big deal. It's cool." I really gained a lot of respect for him when I saw that. I got to know him a little bit being on The Challenge. I like him the best, I think. You know he's cool and he's got your back no matter what, where as some of the other teams... sometimes, they get really serious and there's a little added pressure, especially if you're a girl and the guy is really good. Then, you might have some problems!
Q. Did the contestants have any idea that they were going to be paired up with their exes?
A. TJ: I don't know. You know, they're not supposed to know but I think it was a dead giveaway when every single person on the plane had been romantic with somebody else on the plane. These kids are smart, man. These contestants are always smart. They have been around the block, so to speak. A lot of times, they know what the game is and I'm like, "How the hell do they even know that?" I don't put anything past them. They're pretty smart.
Q. Which is more difficult in this game, the challenges or the emotional drama in the house?
A. TJ: I would say that living in the house has gotten be more difficult. The challenges are all really house and sometimes, you get hurt when you fall 30 feet the wrong way. These are normal people trying to do extraordinary things so they can get hurt but I think for the most part, living in the house with your ex would be pretty tough.
Q. What is the key to surviving in this game?
A. TJ: I think being objective, like, taking yourself out of the game and making this a business decision. Everything has to do with money. If you take your emotion out of it and you're like, "Okay, all I wanna do is win this challenge and make money," then that's a lot better than, "Me and you are a team and we're gonna do this and I know I used to love you but..." I think if you just make it a business decision, I think that would probably bet a lot better.
The Challenge premieres tonight at 10/9c on MTV.
(Image courtesy of MTV)