The Challenge: USA just featured the biggest blindside of the season to date, and it led to the crumbling of the Big Brother alliance. After Kyland Young and Alyssa Lopez won the daily challenge, the rest of the Big Brother players thought that they would be safe. But, Kyland and Alyssa had revenge on their minds and their target? Big Brother 23 winner Xavier Prather and his partner, Survivor's Shan Smith. After Xavier and Shan ended up losing their elimination, they spoke to PopCulture.com about the episode, and they held nothing back.
Alyssa and Kyland shocked the house, and viewers, by throwing in Xavier and Shan against Justine Ndiba and David Alexander. Of course, no one was more shocked than Xavier and Shan themselves, as Alyssa was meant to be one of the Big Brother winner's closest allies. However, both Kyland and Alyssa were set on getting revenge for what went down on Big Brother 23. Unfortunately for Xavier, that meant that he was in the direct line of fire.
Considering this act of betrayal, what do Xavier and Shan have to say about their fellow Challenge: USA competitors? Well, it's safe to say that they won't be making any alliances with Alyssa and Kyland anytime soon. Read on for everything they had to say about the jaw-dropping episode. (This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
PopCulture.com: Let's get right into it. What was going through you guys' minds when you heard your names get called down there? I just don't understand really what was going on.
Xavier: In a word, stupid ... It's not that they took the shot at me. Obviously, I thought, there were five people from my season. I could see all of them having a reason to want to take a shot at me. I just won. They don't want to see me or help me win again. I get that. But, at a time where it doesn't really benefit you to do so strategically, why would you do [that]? And not only that, but here's the other thing: you're doing it at this early, and we might come back. If we come back, you think I'm about to work with y'all because y'all, 'This is because of Shan?' You think we believe that book...? Come on now. We [are] not stupid. Shan and I have played these games before. We're not stupid.
Shan:Do you think that we're idiots? I was just so, 'What on earth?' And here's the thing, we had heard rumblings in the house that, yeah, maybe; maybe it could go this way. But, strategically, you guys don't have the numbers at that point. It doesn't make any sense ... And Tyson [Apostol] said it, 'You all are eating your own.'
Xavier: The part that was difficult was, from every angle, we're just, 'Okay, how are you guys playing this long term?' Short term, even if you get us out, you just took out a person who was never coming for you. So, what was the benefit there? Long-term, y'all said Big Brother didn't trust any people. Did y'all think this move really gained a lot of trust? If anything, they just saw, hey, we can control these guys to do our dirty work for us, and then, when the time comes, probably discard them and not really think twice about it. So, I'm just, why are you...? And I've played with them before. I'm, 'You guys are better than that. You guys are smarter than that. So, what are y'all doing?'
PC: And you mentioned it's not a good look for them. You were even looking out for them, even a couple weeks ago. You looked out for Alyssa in that elimination there.
Shan: She wanted her moments. She couldn't own up to it that she wanted her moment, publicly. When you're going to make a big move, and you're going to be a big woman, then do it. Grab your cha-chas and do it. Speak your mind. Say it. But she was hiding behind this, 'Oh, it's a Shan thing.; And it just didn't make sense. Xavier had her back in that house. I saw it. We all knew Xavier would take a bullet for Alyssa. We believed it. We saw it. And it's like she shot her best ally in the foot. It didn't make any sense.
Xavier: That's just how these games go. We made good television though.
PC: Shan, as you said, Xavier, you were looking out for Alyssa. Would you have gone to the end with her, or were you looking out for the other members of the Big Brother alliance?
Xavier: Generally, my thought process coming into the game is [that] I want to get as many Big Brother people to the final as possible. That was my thought process. Obviously, the algorithm really put a wrench in that. But I was, 'Will all nine of us make it? Probably not. But could six of us make it? I still think that's a very real possibility. We have to be willing to lose some numbers, but overall, all of us can make it.' Of the Big Brother group, I was closest with Alyssa. There were conversations that we had had prior to the season, where I was, 'I got you now.'
Xavier: On Big Brother, I had The Cookout. I could not have you. And if you don't understand that, there's not much I could do with that. But I could not have your back. Fully. Fully. On The Challenge, me, Azah, Kyle, and Tiffany did not have a conversation where we were, 'Hey, 2.0? Y'all ready to do it again?' No. We wanted to bring DX [Derek Xiao] and Alyssa in the fold. We want to work with you guys. The reason why we did what we did on Big Brother is because there's never been a Black winner. There's been Black winners on The Challenge. Come on. Let's do this. Let's do it. BB23, let's get it. And they thought differently.
PC: Hundred percent. And you guys mentioned it too. You were so close to winning that elimination. So, what would've happened had you gone back into the house?
Xavier: Ooh! We would've had some fun. Survivor would've gotten the first round draft pick. I was coming for everybody in Big Brother besides David and Enzo. And I probably wouldn't have wanted to come for Angela just because she was a beast. And if you have a partner, it's hard not to want Angela. But David, Enzo, and... Angela probably would've been safe. Everyone else from Big Brother, I woof. Whoo. Him, him, her, him, him, him. All that.
Shan: I think no. I keep saying and in my heart, I pray. I'm, 'God, you saved me.' Because had I gone back in that house, I don't even know what I would've done. I would've lit that house on fire. That's the only reason I'd go back on The Challenge, is I'd hope that some of these people would be back on that same season because I would light that place on fire. You think you've seen crazy, but I would've lost it. I would've lost it. Because we were so close. It's not like it was a blowout. That's why I'm, "It wasn't even a good risk. It wasn't calculated. It wasn't smart." Because what if we had really come back? We would've had money, and it would've been done. I'd have been locked in with Xavier for life.
PC: As we're winding down here, my last question: what is your relationship like with these people now? Xavier, especially. Alyssa and Kyland, are you speaking with them? And Shan, I've seen a lot of social media stuff there. So, what's the vibe like with them?
Xavier: I'll go first. I would just stick to Kyland and Alyss, because I'm still very close with Tiffany and Azah and [Hannah] Chaddha and Big D [Derek Frazier]. Talk to them pretty much weekly. But, with Alyssa and Kyland, I feel like I had to take a step back from those relationships. Kyland and I were never super close. After his eviction, him and I could never be best friends. That just is what it is. Now, with Alyssa, her and I, she was easily the person I was closest to. But then, I don't know. I think, when it comes to her, I don't think she's a bad person by any means. I know a lot about her, and I would never say that she was a bad person. It's just... because I allowed her to get so close to me, where I don't really let people, many people, get that close, it affected me in a game. So, I feel like, with her, I just have to make it more of a co-worker relationship. You know? We get there at nine am, we clock in? 'Hey ha-ha. Chi chi chi. Yeah, what's up? We going to have a good time at work.'
PC: Shan, what about you?0comments
Shan: Yeah, I don't have the closest relationships with Alyssa and Kyland that maybe Xavier did. But, as a person watching Big Brother during their season, I never really liked Kyland. I didn't [like] the way he left the house. I didn't like his remarks about Xavier's family. So, I wasn't a fan of him then. And when we got back, and he reached out to me, I told him, 'Honestly, I don't really respect you as a person. I wish you the best, and I think you're a formidable competitor, but I don't really want to be friends.' And so, that's where our relationship ended. And then, Alyssa tried to pop off on me on Twitter for no reason. It didn't make any sense. So then, I clapped back. And then I was, 'Shan, Twitter's not a real thing. Get off of it.' Because it felt really toxic after a while.
Shan: Because I was just waiting for her to say something back, which she didn't. I don't even know why she started this. But yeah, to be honest with you, like Xavier, I don't wish either of them bad. But, I'm less diplomatic than Xavier. I don't really like Alyssa. And yeah, I don't really like her. And that's really all. I don't think you're going to like everybody. And I don't really like her.