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‘Challenge: Free Agents’ Star CT: I’m ‘The Old Bear, Sometimes I Bite Back’

Thu, April 10, 2014 8:55pm EDT by Emily Longeretta 3 Comments
The Challenge Free Agents
Courtesy of MTV

It’s the ninth MTV Challenge that Chris ‘C.T.’ Tamburello is competing in (if we’re counting ‘Duel 2’ when he left on night one after almost killing Adam), so he’s definitely learned a lot — and he’s not about to move aside for all the rookies on ‘Free Agents.’

On April 10, The Challenge: Free Agents premieres on MTV and fan favorite C.T. is explaining it as the most “intense” yet. caught up with the Real World Paris alum before the episode, and figured out why it is he’s still doing challenges, why he’s not in a hurry to call the other cast members his “family,” and of course, what to expect on Free Agents (here’s a hint: alliances, backstabbing and drama).

‘The Challenge: Free Agents’ — CT

Eleven years ago, Chris ‘CT’ Tamburello was just one of seven strangers picked to live in a house in Paris. However, he’s now become one of the most short-tempered and extremely popular competitors on MTV’s Challenges. However, just because he may be older than most others in the house, at 33, he’s not about to let the fresh faces mess with him.

“There are some young bucks out there who got something to prove, so they want to poke at the old bear and kind of get a reaction out of him and make a name for themselves,” CT told exclusively when asked about how much fighting we could expect on his part — we see him get in Issac‘s face in the clip! “But you know what I mean. Sometimes I bite back, that’s just human nature.

He also added though that he’s not the instigator, regardless of how it may look.

“I always come at them like, ‘Look I don’t want a problem. You stay out of my way, I’ll stay out of yours,’ but as soon as you point the finger at me, I’m going to bite that f–king finger off.’

Sounds about right. Regardless, none of the newbies in the house are who his biggest competition is. Read the full interview below to find out who is and what to expect this season.

CT Knows He Used To Be An A–hol Following your big win at ‘Rivals 2,’ you said you were probably done. Why’d you decide to come back?
CT: I got lucky with the lottery, won a free trip. I didn’t think it was going to last this long. At this point it’s like why not? It’s there. It’s a blessing, I might as well take advantage of it while I can. And everyone’s like dude take advantage of it, it’s not going to last forever, and it lasted a decade now.

HL: How long do you see yourself doing the challenges for?
CT: You know, like I said before, I didn’t expect it to last this long. Until something better comes up, I guess, but I enjoy doing them! I think it’s fun. I never thought it was going to last this long. They want me to come back, I’ll come back in a walker and pacemaker.

HL: Do you ever look back at ‘Real World: Paris’ and think, ‘Wow, is that me?’
CT: I was such an a–hole! (laughs)

HL: People have had  a lot of negative thoughts about you over the years.
CT: I think I make people nervous, because I used to be such a knucklehead in the past.

HL: Are you still?
CT: It’s still in there somewhere, deep down I guess (laughs). Sometimes it likes to poke its head out and say hello.

‘Free Agents’: How The Scheming Is Different This Time Around

HL: You said you’ve always kind of been a Free Agent so do you feel like you have an advantage this season?
CT: This game is going to be a lot different. You can’t relax at all because the game’s constantly changing whereas before it’s like ‘Ok today’s a guys’ day, today’s a girls’ day,’ and if it’s like ‘Ok, if you do well on the guys challenge you don’t have to worry about anything for the rest of the week.’ Now it’s just kind of like non-stop. You can be going home at any time and the anxiety is at an all-time high. You can see it, It really comes off in the show.

HL: We’re used to seeing scheming! Is that not really there now since a lot of it is by chance?
CT: On this one it’s like, ‘Ok, if this guy does this then this will happen, but if this happens then this will happen,’ ‘this person doesn’t like this person because of this.’ You set everything up, but then it all changes because you’re all on different teams the next time or whatever.

Because the game constantly changes, all the scheming and strategy that goes into a normal challenge is different now. There are so many different interchangeable variables in this show now. It’s hard to sit there and juggle everything that’s going on. In the past, people had secret alliances. Now it’s kind of like you almost don’t want to have any alliances because you burn so many bridges so much faster. It’s just crazy.

HL: Do you like that better?
CT: I think it’s more interesting. Typically you come into a challenge, and it’s like all these kids are friends and so you know they are all going to have each other’s back. But now it gets to a point where people that you were friends with, they may be on the other team that challenge and now all of a sudden it’s like, ‘oh I may have to vote my friend in.’ It doesn’t matter because the way the game works is even if you don’t get voted in, you still are probably going in.

HL: We’ve seen the trailer. Why are there still intense fights without alliances and teammates to backstab?  
CT: No, there’s backstabbing, there’s alliances, but the alliances change every day, and then on top of that, they brought in the new set of cast members. I got tired of seeing the same people in the challenges, and now it’s just like there’s a bunch of fresh faces and they all got something to prove. It’s like a renewal; I swear just new rules, new game plan, new people, and crazier challenges. It’s going to be fun to watch.

Johnny Bananas & CT: The Next ‘Bird & Magic’

HL: Should we expect more drama with you and Johnny Bananas still?
CT: Me and Johnny – he’s very good at these challenges. You always have an eye on Johnny because he’s done very well in these challenges and you know, it’s funny because I felt like I should have been a rival’s teammate with him for so long. I don’t know why I haven’t been on one of his teams yet. You know what I mean? I feel like me and him are like the [Larry] Bird and Magic [Jordan] of the challenges, you know what I mean, where it’s just a long rivalry.

HL: It seemed like you’ve had a longer rivalry with Adam, Kenny and Wes.
CT: It all stems from Johnny! I like Johnny . . . it’s just on the challenges, [he’s] such a pain in the butt.

HL:  Let’s talk all these new people — how are they? Are you a little worried because they’re young and fresh?
CT: I’ll tell you what, as much as I was excited, I’m like the old man of the show now. You know what I mean, I’m like the old guy! I don’t know what they’re thinking sometimes to be honest with you. I’m not scared of them. I like them, I’m the OG of the show!

So, You’re All A Family Now, Right?

HL: I know that you will completely avoid all Diem related question, but will we ever see single CT/crazy CT again?
I hope not.

HL: Which man in the house do you think is your strongest competition?
CT: Johnny Bananas. He’s always proven himself, I mean I think he’s won more challenges than anybody in the game. The guy’s definitely a Hall of Famer when it comes to challenges. If Johnny Bananas is in the house, he’s definitely a threat. I mean the guy’s proven [it] time and time again. He’s good at what he does.

HL: Which women is your biggest competition?
CT: I don’t understand women — never mind the girls in the house! I don’t even… they’re f–king nuts.

HL: I assume now you all consider each other family? Is that true?
CT: No. If I had to consider everyone in the house to be a family, they’d be like the people you only see at holiday parties or a funeral. They look at me and say, ‘We’ll keep in touch!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah yeah.’ Yeah, never heard from them. It’s only a handful people that I actually keep in touch with. There’s so many damn cast members, there’s no way… I don’t have time for that.

HL: Are there people that you actually don’t like?
CT: I don’t really have any animosity toward anybody. There’s definitely people that you look at and you’re like ‘Oh my God, I can’t stand that person.’ I hate everybody equally, I don’t discriminate.

HL: What is something that we wouldn’t know about you that comes across on screen but is a misconception?
CT: I’m a lot more of a homebody than people think. I’m not as aggressive off the show as I am on. On this show it’s just, you’re bottled up. There’s people around you that are really annoying!

Season 25 Of ‘The Challenge’ — Everything’s Changed

HL: For someone who’s been there for a while, when new people come in, do they act differently now than they did then?
CT: Back in the day, the challenges were just a way to bring in different cast members from different seasons, put them together in the house and have fun. It was kind of like you went there to party and a challenge just broke out. Now these kids come in, they train like they’re training for the Olympics; they’re all die-hard about these challenges! back in the day it was more about having fun.

I feel like a lot of these kids kind of lose sight of the situation, they’re more focused on trying to win some money than actually enjoying themselves. Whereas in the past, I remember production would be like, ‘Guys you have to go to sleep, stop partying, stop drinking,’ and we’d be like ‘Why, oh right we have a challenge tomorrow, that’s why we’re here.’

HL: What is the one thing people should look forward to this season?
CT: This season, anxiety and intensity is at an all time high. The challenges are crazy, new people with a lot more to prove. This challenge really takes it to the top, and I’m not just saying that. The way the rules of the game and the way they are changing around and the amount of people that are there and the type of people that are there and the crazier they are. I don’t know how this show does it but every year they take these challenges to a new level and this one is going to be intense for sure. It’s going to be fun.

Tune into MTV’s The Challenge: Free Agents on April 10 at 10 PM EST.

— Emily Longeretta