When it comes to relationships, things don't always go as planned the first time around. But in the name of love—and reality TV—MTV decided to wrangle up some of their most memorable love hungry contestants from past seasons of Are You the One? to give them another shot at forming a bond with their scientifically-chosen perfect match in Are You the One: Second Chances.
The show, where 10 perfect matches from the original series will compete for a $250,000 prize, will be hosted by Real World: Philadelphia alum, Karamo Brown. The returning couples are: Shanley and Adam (Season 1), Ellie and Nathan (Season 2), Devin and Rashida (Season 3), Mikala and Cameron (Season 4), Kaylen and Asaf (Season 4), Tori and Morgan (Season 4), Francesca and Giovanni (Season 4), Alicia and Mike (Season 5), Carolina and Hayden (Season 5), and Casandra and Derrick (Season 5).
A spring preview of peak TV shows—both new and returning—that will be premiering between March and May 2017.
TV Insider caught up with Brown, who holds the distinct honor of being the first openly gay African-American to appear on reality television, to get an inside scoop on the Are You the One? spinoff, talk about some of the wildest challenges and reveal which pair had the hardest time rekindling their relationship.
How did you get involved with Are You the One: Second Chances?
I’ve been hosting for about three years now. I was a social worker and a psychotherapist before, but I really wanted to go after my dreams. They were looking for hosts and I knew I had to get in there. Since I was one the Real World, I knew what those kids were going to go through. Even though it’s been 10 years, I still know what they’re dealing with. Secondly, with the training that I do have, I thought it would be very interesting to dig a little bit deeper. So, I just went in to MTV and was like, “Hey, give your boy a chance!”
How does the show differ from the original Are You The One?
In the original series, everyone is hooking up with each other and no one really knows who their perfect match is. While there’s still a lot of hooking up on Second Chances, it’s done between the scientifically selected couples. So, there’s still that element, but now there’s a little less distractions from other people. You have to really figure out why you’re a match.
A lot of these contestants went into this thinking they were supposed to fall in love and have 14 children, and while that is the case for a few lucky former cast members, romance is not the common denominator for every pair. Your perfect match could be what you’re looking for business-wise, they could be the partner you’ve been missing to formulate the next billion-dollar business. We’re looking beyond sexual and into the different types of relationships people can have with one another.
They’ve traded in the "Truth Booth" for "The Choice." Can you tell us about that?
There’s a secret twist at the end of each elimination round called "The Choice." I’m really excited about it! The couple up for elimination will be in front of me basically explaining why they’re there and hash out where they went wrong. Then they each have to make a decision that will ultimately affect their perfect match in a way you’d never imagine. They get to decide whether their perfect match goes home miserable or with money in their pocket. It’s the first time I’ve seen it done on reality TV and it’s going to blow everyone’s mind!
There’s going to be a lot of tears this season and I just wanted to be there and say, "Run, girl, run!"
AYTO always gives its contestants crazy challenges to compete in. What are some of the wildest missions you remember?
Some of the most interesting ones for me were the mental challenges. There’s this crazy puzzle challenge where the couples have to work together to find the missing pieces scattered all across Melbourne [the show was shot in Australia]. You literally can’t get to the next spot without solving the preceding clue. Some contestants took hours to finish, while those with better communication skills completed it within 30 minutes.
What are the biggest relationship problems the couples struggle with most on the show?
I would say there’s two: communication, as I mentioned before, and trust. Trust goes a long way in this series, because you not only have to believe your perfect match has what it takes to get the job done, but you also have to be sure you can do it together. Things got difficult at times, because you have some contestants who are self-reliant and aren’t used to relying on others to do things for them. That was actually something I witnessed the first episode with Kaylen and Asaf.
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Were any of the contestants really hesitant about giving things a second chance?
Oh yeah! About half of the contestants were hesitant about the whole thing. Gio and Francesca are the two people that stand out to me the most regarding hesitation. Gio reminds me so much of myself when I was younger, which is so weird, because I’m totally not that guy anymore. They both came in with similar attitudes like, “I don’t know if I want to be here with him and I don’t know if I want to be here with her.” After the first challenge, things begin to shift and they start to see each other in a way that I don’t think they saw before. It was really nice.
Do you believe in second chances?
Most definitely! If you can be honest with yourself and your partner about the second chance and grow from the lessons you’ve learned in the past, then I truly believe things can work out for the best. I’m actually in a relationship now where we gave each other a second chance and it’s been the happiest relationship ever! I’m thankful for that, because we put everything out on the table and moved forward from there.
Was there a couple you were secretly rooting for?
Yes, there are two! I was rooting for Morgan and Tori first and then Alicia and Mike. Although I watched the previous seasons, once I actually met them on the first day, I knew that if we weren’t on the show I’d actually hang out with the four of them. It automatically made me start rooting for them. Also, when it came to the challenges and digging into their personal relationship, those couples really impressed me.
Which retro MTV dating show would you most like to see back: Next, Room Raiders or Parental Control? Why?
Probably Next, because I was actually on that show. They did a Real World celebrity edition and I ended up saying next to all of them! I would totally do it again though.
If you could pick 3 celebrity ex’s worth giving their relationship a second chance, who would they be?
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Ripping a part the family is going to be extremely hard on those children and I would hate to see it happen. There was real passionate love there, so if they could just put their egos aside, I think they could work out their differences.
Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom. Not to sound like an episode of RHOBH, but I think she was part of the enabling. His battle with drugs is nothing new and I think she was so unaware that she was enabling him, that she never received counseling for herself. I think they both could’ve grown together if they received help, instead of just him receiving treatment and her pointing the finger. I believe they really loved each other.
Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. I’m a little devastated that she’s out here thottin’ on the street corners, while Kermit is on my Instagram sipping tea. I need y’all to cut this foolishness and get back together.
Are You the One: Second Chances, Series Premiere, March 22, 9/8c, MTV