'The Challenge: USA': Desi Williams Opens up About That 'Devastating' Final and DQ

The final for The Challenge: USA posed an array of problems for the competitors, leading to all but two competitors to quit or DQ. Fans have plenty of thoughts about how the situation panned out, but one thing that they can all agree on is that Desi Williams, in particular, was "robbed." Desi ended up disqualified after her partner, Enzo Palumbo, chose to quit shortly after beginning the first leg of the final. As Desi explained to PopCulture.com, the disqualification left her understandably devastated. But, the circumstances behind the disqualification also left her a bit confused due to what a member of the production team allegedly told her during the ordeal. 

Desi explained that she felt a "yo-yo of emotions" about the situation. The Survivor alum said that, at first, she was "happy" to be paired with Enzo so that she could get their partnership out of the way for the rest of the final. Of course, she didn't expect Enzo to quit during the very first part of the final. She recalled what took place, "He started freaking out. I just saw the money just being ripped away from me and I tried everything. I mean, I told him to grab my foot, I'll swim us to shore. [I] told him, 'Think about your dad, think about your kids.' He was just in such a state of panic that he was physically pushing me away. He was cussing at me. He was telling me he took a swim lesson, so he was fine. Don't worry about him. But obviously, I needed to be worried." Desi continued to say that it was "devastating in the moment, devastating to watch it back again."

Considering that she was disqualified during the first leg of the final, Desi didn't even get the chance to see how she would handle the rest of it. Even though she didn't get that chance, she does think that she would have put up a great fight. While nearly everyone quit, Desi said that she would "like to think that I wouldn't have." She added, "There's nothing that I've ever quit on. I literally went into this final saying, a mantra in my head, 'If I'm not dead, I can keep going,' ... "So, I like to think that I would've done just that. Unless I literally was on my deathbed, I would've kept going with that mountain. But easier to say that on this side than in the moment."

Interestingly enough, Desi shared that there was one point during the ordeal that made her think that she would be able to continue. Desi said that she wanted to complete the swim for her "own self-dignity," but that the production team urged her to get into the boat that came to rescue her and Enzo. At that point, production apparently told her to stay in the boat in order to "save" her "energy" for the "other legs." So, she was left "confused."

"They take us to shore, we get off the boat and then she's like, 'Oh, actually I had it wrong you are disqualified,' which is what I thought it was initially, which is why I was pleading so hard," Desi recalled. "So yeah, there was a little bit, there's obviously a little bit of confusion there. There were other cameramen and producers that were like, 'We tried to get it so you could keep going and be partnered with a female.' But, at the end of the day, I think it was all happening so quickly and they were behind schedule and a lot of elements happened." 

Desi may not have been able to walk away with the win, but she is leaving the experience with something possibly even greater. In terms of wat she's walking away with, the Survivor contestant said that she believes that she's now a "better, more confident woman." She said that in one of the earlier weeks, fellow competitor Angela Rummans said that she believes that she can achieve anything that she put her mind to, leading Desi to question whether she felt the same herself. As she explained, "I think by the time I finished this game, I had that level of confidence. I feel like if I'd never go on a reality show again, that's something that I will take with me and am so grateful to have had this opportunity to gain that."