Top 5 Curveballs 'The Challenge' Has Ever Thrown

Across 22 seasons, the scope of "The Challenge" has changed a handful of times. Two teams have battled against each other, individual competitors have gone head-to-head for one big grand prize and now, even exes are being forced to work together to get the job done. Once the rules of each show are explained, though, they're generally set in stone. Just kidding...

Since TJ likes to shake things up every once in awhile (understatement of the century), there are times competitors have had to pay dearly for getting too comfortable within the parameters of each game's set of rules. Take a look at our top 5 "Challenge" twists.

1. It's not over yet... ("Rivals")

When the collection of frenemy finalists (...and Leroy and Mike) thought they were out of the woods and into the last mission, TJ informed them they'd be moving from the comforts of Costa Rica allllllll the way to Argentina. And while the trip seemed like an adventure, it was short-lived for CT and Adam, who were eliminated from the game just before the big dance and forced to fly home almost immediately after touching down. At least they got one good glimpse at the mountains...?

2. The beasts are let out of their cage ("Cutthroat")

After the fat from the Red and Blue teams had been successfully trimmed, both groups decided to send power players into the penultimate Gulags in the hopes of hammering out definite wins. But when Johnny, Tyler, Theresa and Tori stepped into the elimination round, they discovered they'd be battling against two of the most feared competitors in "Challenge" history--Tina and CT--instead of each other. The girls bested Tina pretty easily (though Tori took Tina out more quickly than Theresa did), but neither Johnny nor Tyler were able to stand up against CT.

3. Congratulations! Enjoy your death sentence ("Gauntlet 2")

Before the Rookies and Veterans got down to the us-versus-them competition, they found out they'd be fighting within their own teams--for what, though, they weren't yet sure. Jo, Alton, Ruthie and Adam emerged victorious from a modified "King of the Hill" competition, but the sweet taste of victory was short-lived when TJ informed the four that with the honorable title of team captains (woo-hoo!) came the burden of being automatically sent to the Gauntlet any time their teams lost (sh**!). It was good news for Alton, but none of the other three survived the game or saw a single cent.

4. Every underdog has his day ("Fresh Meat")

When Darrel and Aviv, Derrick and Diem, Tina and Kenny, and Wes and Casey entered the last mission before the finals, it seemed like a sure thing that the former pair of teams would advance, and the latter two--generally considered the game's weakest--would battle it out in Exile. But when TJ announced that the mission's victor would decide BOTH teams that would be put up for elimination, an advantage that hadn't yet been granted, it completely changed the shape of the game, especially since the day's challenge was a no-skill-required equalizer. Kenny and Tina pulled out the unlikely win, sent the game's two strongest teams into the next Exile and secured themselves a nice second-place finish in the finals. Unfortunately, D&D went home right before the big day, a story they'd both come to know all too well.

5. Left in the dust ("The Island")

The Face-offs were done, the keys were given out and it looked like the remaining teams vying for the big cash prize were set. Then, TJ gave those left in the dust one last chance to snatch a key from an existing holder, and everything changed. As could probably be predicted, Evelyn was the big winner of the last-chance Face-off, but what wasn't as predictable was Ev's choice to take Dunbar's key instead of that which belonged to her archenemy, Johnny. Bananas made a last-minute plea bargain with the perpetually visored tough girl, and she agreed to leave his key chain occupied if he let her be a part of his final team. Sadly, this left Paula backstabbed and relegated to the second-string team, which lost the finals by a nautical mile.

+ Do you agree with our Top 5? Sound off in the comments!

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