‘The Challenge: USA’: Shan & Xavier on ‘Stupidity’ of ‘Big Brother’ Betrayal

Shan Smith and Xavier Prather in The Challenge: USA
Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

The past came back to bite Big Brother‘s Xavier Prather and Survivor‘s Shan Smith in Episode 4 of The Challenge: USA.

After Big Brother‘s Alyssa Lopez (who still felt like a pawn from BB23) and Kyland Young won the daily (trivia, host TJ Lavin’s favorite), they made a bold move and threw in Prather and Smith to face off with the pair who’d lost, Love Island‘s Justine Ndiba and Big Brother‘s David Alexander.

Prather and Smith discuss that betrayal that led to them being eliminated from The Challenge: USA.

It’s a well-known fact how much TJ enjoys trivia. And we could see it as soon as you walked up. So how was that daily for you?

Smith: Oh, that daily. Honestly I’m paired with Xavier. I’m a pretty smart cookie. I’ve got my PhD. He’s pretty smart. He’s an attorney. It’s like, we can’t go wrong here. This is the dream team. But they ask these questions that are just — I’m gonna say it: It was just a stupid question. And then not only that, but right after that, what are the heaviest animals? Zodiac signs. It’s like, what? This is so freaking rigged. This is so unfair.

Prather: Yeah, like we get a Jeopardy! question and they get like Hooked on Phonics. I’m like, what is this? Come on now, keep some consistency with the level of difficulty of these questions. You didn’t just say list a bunch of currencies. You said top eight traded world currencies. That means we have to be up on the trends. I am off the grid 99% of the time. People don’t ever see me. You think I’m keeping up with what’s happening in other countries? We got enough problems in America.

Domenick Abbate, Angela Rummans, Xavier Prather, and Shan Smith in The Challenge: USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Smith: It was not fun. The free fall, I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. All I could think about was the fact that this thing opens up beneath me and I’m gonna fall. This one was so calm. He’s like, “I think we got that wrong. I think we’re gonna fall. Are you ready to fall?” But we got through it. We only had to fall once, so that’s good.

Shan, you’d said that you didn’t trust Xavier as a game player because he’s Big Brother but you did as a partner. How did you both feel being partnered up, especially since show alliances were fading at this point?

Smith: I don’t think that show lines should have faded just yet. I don’t think that was the smartest move strategically for Alyssa and Kyland. I’ll just put that out there. But yeah, I did not trust Xavier because he was a Big Brother player. That was it. There was nothing else about him that I didn’t trust.

But here’s the thing: I was happy to be partnered with Xavier when the algorithm chose us because the thinking was, Survivor and Big Brother, we’re not going after each other just yet. Let’s get rid of the Love Islanders and the Amazing Racers. Then we can go at it in the end. That made the most sense for both sides because we had the highest numbers. They didn’t want our heat and we didn’t want their heat just yet. It just didn’t make any sense. But yeah, I trusted Xavier and so I was happy that I got him and we all were thinking it’s good insurance just to be paired with each other. That’s what makes sense. But clearly other people had different thoughts, blinded by pettiness and revenge.

Xavier Prather and Shan Smith in The Challenge: USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Prather: I personally was extremely excited. I love every single partner that I had. I had Azah, Tasha, and Cayla, they were all great. Shan was actually the only partner that I had, though, who didn’t lose a daily challenge and go straight into elimination.

And then you guys got blindsided…

Prather: Can we focus on some of the positives, Meredith? Like how good they looked up there while they were about to drop? Can we do more positive stories?

We have to talk about that blindside. Because Xavier, you’d said it was fine if they threw you in but you were ready to come back. Then Shan, you’d said you can’t trust Big Brother. So were you both completely blindsided when they said your names? Or had you kind of expected it?

Smith: I had an inkling and he had heard some rumblings — I heard rumblings too, but I was like, “It doesn’t make sense. That’s not a good game move. They have to know that Survivor would eat them alive if they took out Xavier this soon.” I knew that you just couldn’t trust Big Brother, but this would just be stupidity. You’ve been in the reality TV competitive game show world, you gotta know that this wouldn’t be smart. I still don’t get it.

Shan Smith in The Challenge: USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Prather: Shortly before the elimination itself, David had tipped me off that my name had been brought up and that let me know, OK, we have to be seriously being considered by the people in power because everyone in the compound knew Alyssa and I were best friends, so no one would be stupid enough to go up to Alyssa and say my name. The only way my name’s being brought up is if you guys are saying it to people and then they’re just not saying no.

So when David told me that, I was like, OK, I probably should get ready. But at that point there wasn’t enough time to do anything because the challenge and the elimination were in the same day, which normally there’s time in between. This time there wasn’t. So it was like, I have to hope. I have to pray that logically they see what the smart move is and just go after the Love Island duo, which makes the most sense. You’re still taking out a big threat. Cinco is the biggest man on the compound. You will still be making a big move, it’s just a big move that’s not gonna result in much blowback for you.

Smith: Yeah. And after the free fall, I said to you, you feel good with Alyssa and Kyland? He goes, oh yeah, I feel good.

David Alexander, Justine Ndiba, T.J.Lavin, Shan Smith, and Xavier Prather in The Challenge: USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Prather: I was like, I feel decent. They’re Big Brother. We should be fine. It doesn’t make sense for him to come after us. If they come after us, it’s just stupid. You see in the episode, the first red flag for me came during my one-on-one with Kyland and Alyssa. Because you see me say, if you guys are literally coming after me because of BB23, then just do it. Because the questions they were asking me were purely based off of the last game. So I’m like, if you guys still feel some type of way, just be real about it. Say that you’re not over BB23, throw me into elimination, and if I come back, I’m coming for both y’all asses. Just know that. Let’s just call it what it is. This isn’t Big Brother. I’m not giving you a jury vote. You can just tell me. We’re friends or we were friends. It ain’t gotta be all this.

Speaking of that, Xavier, as you left, Alyssa called out, “Love you X.” And then Azah said she expected you to leave the Cookout group chat. So have you spoken to Alyssa and have you left that group chat?

Prather: I definitely did not leave the Cookout group chat. [Laughs] Azah was just playing around. And then Alyssa, we’re definitely not as close as we once were. We used to talk probably every day, every other day. There were some times where we would go dark because I had things going on or she had things going on, but as soon as we came back, we were back to talking every day. But yeah, recently, I would say over the last month and a half, hardly any communication. Since the show’s aired, her and I haven’t really talked. We talked after she watched the preview of the episode because I think she wanted to explain some things and then I’m sure we’ll probably have another conversation soon. But other than that, we don’t really talk. Just kind of is what it is.

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Smith: Sorry, X.

Prather: It’s alright. Alyssa’s not a bad person. I never want to give the impression that Alyssa is a bad person. There are certain aspects that people don’t really know about what was happening just before the game that she knew that have changed how I view our friendship. I took a page out of Dr. Will’s book and I now feel like I can’t have those super close friendship because it makes it seem too personal when they make a game decision. So it’s like, I can’t get that close with you again because it hurts, and that’s not fun to deal with.

The Challenge: USA, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS