‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’ will crown its first winner on April 27. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with co-hosts Laurie Hernandez and Matt Iseman about what fans can expect in the finale, expanding the ‘ANW’ brand, and more.
The American Ninja Warrior Junior grand finale is going to be the definition of intense. The show’s hosts, Matt Iseman and Olympian Laurie Hernandez, talked with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about the first season and what’s coming up in the finale. “Now it’s pretty much one and done. You get one chance,” Matt told HollywoodLife. “The stakes are so high. They’re going against the best of the best. We’ve started out with 64 ninjas in each bracket, and now we’re down to four in each age group. Four ninjas where it’s essentially two races. We’ve got the best of the best that are going to be going on Saturday night. These ninjas, if we let them on the adult course, I think some of these kids could get through the full adult course. They’re that good.”
That’s high praise! Two of the finalists, best friends Sean Arms and Collin Cella, will be going head-to-head where only one can be crowned the winner. HL has an EXCLUSIVE preview of this upcoming Sean vs. Collin battle. “Sean Arms is an animal. Seeing him move, he’s very fluid. He’s very strong and sure of everything he’s doing,” Drew Drechsel says in our preview. He also had some things to say about Collin. “Collin Cella is probably one of the fastest kids I’ve ever come across,” Drew continues. “He’s a quarter of my age and is going and moving as quickly and as fast as I am.”
Matt teased that the final performances are going mind-blowing. “I’ve learned early on in Ninja Warrior that I have no idea what’s going to happen,” he noted. “I can’t predict anything. I just sit back and watch the magic unfold. I think the races are insanely good. The performances are going to blow you away. I think every single athlete in there is worthy of being a champion.”
Matt is an American Ninja Warrior veteran. He has hosted the original show since season 2. Laurie joined American Ninja Warrior Junior as a first-time co-host. “It has been such an incredible experience this season, especially being with Matt and Akbar,” Laurie said. “They are incredible hosts, and I get to learn from them every day. Also, to be able to connect with these kids and to have a show where kids can try new things, and they can be themselves, and they can show who they really are on-screen, that’s so exciting. We’re also promoting that kids should be active and kids are made to move. It’s such an exciting show, and it’s an honor to be able to be on the side and talk to these kids one-on-one and get to know them and connect with them.” Matt added: “It’s unbelievable for us, too, to have Laurie Hernandez on the sidelines. When we talk to Laurie, it’s so disarming. She’s so mature. You see this woman in front of you, but you realize, she was 18 when we were talking to her. Two years ago, when she was 16, she’s on the biggest stage imaginable, winning gold for our country.” The American Ninja Warrior Junior finale will air April 27 at 7 p.m. on Universal Kids.