Two players are sent home after coming in last place on the May 8 episode of ‘The Challenge,’ and one of them opened up to us EXCLUSIVELY about feeling absolutely gutted by the elimination.
On the May 8 episode of The Challenge: War of the Worlds, Dee and Da’Vonne went head-to-head in a tug-of-war elimination challenge. Da’Vonne was declared the winner, which sent Dee home, leaving 10 people left in the game. At the daily challenge, Turbo and Cara Maria got to sit out, since they already booked their seats in the final. Meanwhile, the remaining players had to compete in a tough obstacle course, with the last place guy and last place girl automatically being sent home.
Paulie was first to go for the guys, and he struggled hard. The freezing cold water caused his muscles to shut down right away, making it difficult for him to complete parts of the challenge — specifically, swinging from one platform to another with a rope, as well as climbing up a net and onto another platform. In the end, Paulie’s body was completely shot, and he was unable to complete the challenge in the allotted time. Since the other guys, Hunter, Theo and Wes, all completed the challenge on their turns, Paulie was eliminated from the game.
“I think my biggest mistake was… I wanted to show the other guys that everything they were witnessing of me throughout the season was not slowing down,” Paulie explained to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “So that going into the final, they knew in their minds that I was unbeatable. That’s why I just ran off the platform, dove headfirst and swam as fast as I could. I didn’t even take time to rest and try to look at the work and figure out, like…where should I actually grab this? I was trying to figure out the physics of it and I just misjudged the rope for the first two swings.”
Paulie eventually completed the rope swing, but faced more trouble when he had to climb up the net. “In my mind I was like, I have to make it up this time…because I was already starting to feel my muscles shut down from the cold,” he admitted. “When I got to the top and was reaching for the platform, I couldn’t feel my hands. I lost all dexterity in my hands and couldn’t communicate from my brain to my hands to hold on for dear life. My hands just slipped. It was definitely a learning experience and a failure that came from inexperience on the show.”
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After competing, Paulie had to be pulled out of the water by medics, and while the other players took their turns, he spent most of his time in an ambulance. “After it was over, that’s when my mind shut off, and once my mind shut off, that’s what my body started doing what it’s meant to do in those situations,” he said. “I started convulsing to warm myself up. I felt my breath shortening because I think my body essentially wanted to knock me out so my breath would come back. I had no control over my body. The whole time I was in the ambulance, I just kept saying to myself…just breathe. I didn’t want to pass out. I didn’t want to fade into that darkness.”
To this day, Paulie is confident that, had he not been eliminated in this challenge, he would’ve won the whole show. However, looking back, he said he has “zero regrets,” although there are elements of the game he wish he played differently.
“I should have focused on the bigger picture,” Paulie admitted. “I was only focused on a specific group of people who were aligned with one another, and once I depleted that alliance to essentially the last person in the alliance, I should’ve started looking elsewhere in the game. Looking back now that I’ve experienced it, I realized that there was a lot going on that I would be able to see if I was looking for it, but I wasn’t looking for it. There were a lot of enemies in the darkness that I wasn’t aware of because I was too busy focused on the enemies who were outright saying…we’re your enemy. That’s something I’ll take with me in future seasons if I’m blessed to be on one again.”
Meanwhile, for the girls, Natalie and Georgia were able to complete the challenge, while Da’Vonne and Mattie could not. It came down to a matter of who got further along the course in the shorter amount of time, and Mattie took the win by the skin of her teeth. So, after an epic elimination win earlier on, Da’Vonne was sent home, too
By the end of the episode, the remaining eight players learned they are officially in the finals. So, the final eight consists of three veteran players — Wes, Cara Maria and Hunter — and five prospects — Georgia, Mattie, Natalie, Turbo and Theo. It’s every man for themselves in the final, which looks absolutely grueling from the preview. The show continues on May 15 at 9:00 p.m. on MTV!