The Challenge 411: Get The Lowdown On Season 29's Invasion Cast

Eighteen Underdogs will square off against eight proven Champions

The playing field will be a little less than level when The Challenge returns for Season 29 and pits underdogs against proven champs. But cast members who remain winless are hungrier than ever to best the game’s titleholders and taste victory for the first time.

When the new installment -- called Invasion of the Champions -- premieres on February 7 with a special two-hour episode, 18 Underdogs will battle for 12 spots in the game’s luxurious Oasis. Still, the thrill of the sanctuary will be short-lived, as they’ll discover that the only way to earn the game’s huge prize -- $350,000 -- is to steamroll through eight seasoned players -- the Champions -- who have already claimed Challenge spoils and know how to win a final.

So who’s striving for their first blue ribbons, and whose walls are already decorated? Look at the Champions and Underdogs competing on Invasion of the Champions, and tell us who you think has the best shot at winning.

CHAMPIONS

  • Bananas

    Bananas might have some karma coming his way after taking the money he and Sarah earned on Rivals III and running. But he’ll keep running -- and keep fighting -- until he’s got nothing left and is intent on extending his legacy as the winningest contestant ever.

  • CT

    A reliable performer, yes, but CT has also proven to be a bit of a loose cannon over the years. Three years after his last Challenge, though, he insists he’s changed. “I used to have a chip on my shoulder, but I’m not that same guy anymore,” he says.

  • Darrell

    Let’s allow his resume to speak for itself — Darrell won four out of his first four Challenge tries. Having made his MTV debut 15 years ago on Road Rules: Campus Crawl, he’s become a bit of a legend, but will his fellow competitors collectively ruin his Invasion chances?

  • Zach

    For all of the games Zach’s played, he’s only got one Challenge win etched onto his resume, and he’s aiming to prove it wasn’t a fluke. But will his history of entering into shaky relationships (*cough, Jenna* *cough, Ashley*) mean he’ll be too easily distracted?

  • Laurel

    “I don’t play with my emotions,” the Free Agents victor says in perhaps the most spot-on scouting report. Laurel’s never minced her words, and her elimination-round record is stainless -- will she remain one of the game’s heavy-hitters?

  • Cara Maria

    After just falling short of a W a handful of times, Cara Maria finally touched Challenge gold with a win on Battle of the Bloodlines. And, now that she and Abram have finally broken up, she insists nothing is holding her back.

  • Camila

    Camila’s hot head got the best of her on Rivals III when an explosive argument sent her packing early. On Invasion, though, she’s focused and ready to add a second win to her resume.

  • Ashley K.

    The Real World: San Diego export might have found success on her first and only Challenge -- Battle of the Seasons -- but she still feels pressure to prove herself. Will lightning strike twice for Ashley?

  • UNDERDOGS
  • Anthony

    Debt incurred during Anthony’s college years has landed him in his parents’ basement, and, well, he’s more than ready to fly the coop. “Winning is the goal, and anything short of that is a disappointment in my eyes,” the Are You the One? contestant insists.

  • Bruno

    Bruno might have faced down his demons on Real World: Skeletons, but his closet isn’t clean, and there might be more waiting on Invasion. The Underdog says he’s beaten the odds “every time” and is prepared to handle any curve ball tossed his way.

  • Cory

    Revenge could be the driving force Cory — who was unexpectedly tossed from Rivals III — needs to go the distance on Invasion. Like Hunter, though, he’s got a weakness for women -- can he keep his focus to finally secure a W, or will the prospect of a hookup lead him astray?

  • Dario

    After just falling short of the final on Rivals III, Dario has risked it all to pursue his dreams of being a Los Angeles real estate agent and is sleeping on friends’ couches. Finally, he gets to compete on his own, but will he make smart choices as a lone wolf?

  • Hunter

    The Adonis with a heart of gold has got a particularly noble motivation for winning -- he wants to open a gym for people with special needs. Still, Hunter -- above all others -- is distracted by beautiful women. Will sex interfere with his game and send him packing?

  • Nelson

    Nelson, who grew up in poverty, will battle tooth and nail to prove someone’s past doesn’t dictate his future. “I fought every day. I did not give up, and I turned my life around. I’m here to win,” he says. But will another Underdog stop him in his tracks?

  • Shane

    Darrell’s former Road Rules cast mate has remained winless across five Challenge tries but is fighting particularly hard on Invasion for a worthy cause: “I want to start my own LGBTQ business in Charleston, [South Carolina],” one of MTV’s gay pioneers says.

  • Theo

    The former collegiate football player lost his cool on Real World: Bad Blood and was sent home early, but don’t expect him to make the same mistake again. He’s got the focus and drive to succeed and has a cause worth fighting for -- helping his mom back home.

  • Tony

    Tony’s southern-boy charm is often obscured by his explosive temper -- the kind that got him kicked off of Rivals III. But he’s a father of two now and says he’s ready to get a handle of his emotions and finally walk away with a win.

  • Amanda

    The Are You The One? alum’s short fuse seems to be lit in perpetuity, but she says she’s trying to keep her cool on the Invasion battlefield to win and help support her sick father. Will she strike the necessary balance between fiery and focused, or will she shoot herself in the foot with her “pop-off queen” tendencies?

  • Anika

    At 5’3”, Anika’s not really a threat to the naked eye, but she insists there’s a “fighter on the inside,” and that it would be a mistake to label her “fragile.” Will she be a David to the game’s resident Goliaths, or will more seasoned warriors mow her down en route to the final?

  • Ashley M.

    At first glance, Ashley’s a boy-crazy party girl, but she proved on Rivals III she’s got more than a little fight hidden inside. She says she’s grown up a great deal from her “Smashley” days, but will she have matured enough to keep her eye on the prize and ignore the distractions still to come?

  • Jenna

    Jenna’s continuously defied expectations as a Challenge competitor but has never quite secured a first-place finish. Single for the first time since she was 15, the Real World: Ex-Plosion alum is totally focused, but will an unlikely ally kill her chances at a victory?

  • Kailah

    There’s little that can get Kailah -- a live-fast, die-young type -- down, but her feistiness won’t sit well with her fellow competitors on Invasion, and she’ll quickly earn more enemies than friends. Will a single confidant help her to hang tough, or will backlash be too much to bear?

  • LaToya

    After coming out swinging on Free Agents, the bubbly Real World: St. Thomas export is looking to fly a bit further under the radar on Invasion. Still, a new romance might kill her plans — will LaToya be able to stay away from the drama as promised?

  • Marie

    The “older” and “wiser” Marie says she’s ready to redeem herself for her Battle of the Seasons elimination. She’s got a business mind, but it’s her heart that could get her into trouble when an Invasion crush begins to demand attention. Can she stay focused?

  • Nicole

    The newly single police officer is eager to make the most of her first Challenge outing and says she gave up a relationship just to play the game. Still, it won’t be long before she catches the eye of another suitor (or two), but will one of her closest allies do her wrong?

  • Sylvia

    The wedding planner and Real World: Skeletons export is fighting for cash to open her own event space, but she’ll be caught between old friends and new allies on Invasion. Equal parts sweet and abrasive, Sylvia might still prove to have the same short fuse that got her in trouble in Chicago.