The Challenge is set to shake things up for Season 35 with Total Madness, which premieres Wednesday on MTV. Not only will there be plenty of twists and new aspects for challengers to navigate, but there were also be plenty of new faces joining the fray. One of those new faces is Big Brother 20 alum Faysal "Fessy" Shafaat, a former high-level college athlete and one-time American Ninja Warrior competitor. Given his impressive accolades prior to The Challenge, Shafaat is definitely well-prepared to take on anything that the MTV series has in store for him. And, in a new interview with PopCulture.com, Shafaat explained exactly why he's excited to trade in his Big Brother key for a spot on The Challenge's maddest season yet.
In a preview for the upcoming season of The Challenge, host TJ Lavin can be heard explaining a brand-new twist that will shake up the game like never before — competitors who want to make the finals will have to earn their spot by winning an elimination round. The new twist comes directly after War of the Worlds 2 aired on MTV, a season which saw numerous competitors in the finals who never had to see an elimination during the course of the competition. While this twist might give others pause, it was a welcome one for Shafaat, who was already prepared to prove himself in elimination. He told PopCulture.com that he was "super, super excited" about the twist "because me coming in as a rookie, I kind of figured I'd get thrown in just because I'm the new guy and the biggest guy, and they're just going to take shot after me after shot."
He added that the twist didn't affect his own game all that much, but it definitely shook things up in a good way. "Hearing that, I was like okay, well, I have no problem going into an elimination and proving myself, but now everybody's going to have to do it," he added.
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As Shafaat went on to explain, this twist will allow everyone to show what they're made of, including longtime veterans of the MTV show.
"I'm not really trying to disrespect the old challengers or anything, but I feel like a lot of them just played each season based on what they did five, six seasons ago," Shafaat said. "It's kind of like their name holds weight or something. It's a new season. Yeah, you've won an elimination three years ago, but that has nothing to do with how good a shape you're in this season. Can you still do that? Can you still do it against these new people?"
"We're here to do challenges," he continued. "Eliminations are part of the show, so if you want a chance at the money at the end, everybody's going to have to go in there and show what they're made of. It's not just I did it three years ago, so I'm good now, I can just compete at the end."
While Shafaat was first introduced to audiences via Big Brother, he told PopCulture.com recently that his talents might be better suited for The Challenge. Still, that doesn't mean that he would rule out a return to the CBS series in the future.
"I would definitely do Big Brother if the opportunity presented itself, but I definitely am a fan of The Challenge now," he said. "I feel like it's definitely way more my cup of tea, The Challenge. Big Brother was fun and all, but I feel like a lot of the challenges on Big Brother are like carnival games, like roll the ball down a hill and then whoever gets it closest to the circle wins. There's not a lot of talent or athleticism involved."
Seeing as though Shafaat will be able to show off his athletic abilities in a major way during The Challenge, fans may just be in store for a redemption arc from the former Big Brother player.
When asked what he'd want to share about his upcoming experience on the MTV series, Shafaat shared, "I guess I could say like when I was on Big Brother, I messed up my game there at the end. I know a lot of people are looking for me to redeem myself, so if they're looking for it, they might get it this season."
The Challenge: Total Madness premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.