A Big Brother betrayal? Xavier Prather, who won season 23 of the show, was eliminated from The Challenge: USA alongside his partner, Survivor alum Shan Smith, during the Wednesday, July 27, episode after a surprising move from two former allies.
While the former says he “had gotten tipped off” by David Alexander (against whom they eventually lost the elimination), he still felt blindsided, especially because the entire cast “knew Alyssa and I were thick as thieves.”
So why did Alyssa and Kyland take the shot at their own so early? “I don’t think Alyssa and Kyland are very smart players,” Shan exclusively tells Us Weekly in our exit interview, which you can watch above. “I just don’t think that they are. And I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it was very short-sided. They were blinded by revenge and blinded by pettiness. I get it, this was a former castmate of yours. He won. We all, at some point, were thinking X should not win this Challenge, but in terms of Big Brother’s survival and longevity in the game, it just didn’t make much sense.”
While Kyland was a member of The Cookout on Big Brother 23 that made history and helped crown Xavier as the first-ever Black winner, Alyssa was his No. 1 ally outside that alliance.
“We understand they felt slighted or betrayed or backstabbed, and we expected that, as members of The Cookout,” X says. “We expected the only people we talk to after the show to just be Cookout members after the show. We felt everyone else was going to feel wronged. And they weren’t necessarily wrong in feeling like they had been betrayed because they had, but we’re not betraying you guys because we don’t want to work with you guys, or don’t like you guys. We’re doing this because for 22 seasons a person who looks like us has never won that game.”
As for where they stand with Alyssa and Kyland today, Shan tells Us, “I think [Kyland] is a user. I think he’s a manipulator. I just don’t really enjoy him as a person, and I’ve been honest with him about that – that I don’t want to be your friend. And Alyssa, I don’t believe her as a person. I think she’s always playing Big Brother. I think she’s got a lot of issues she’s gotta work through in her life that she just hasn’t taken the time to do.”
She adds, “There’s no friendship for me, moving forward, with those two, but X, I hope the best for you and Alyss going forward because I know you guys were really close.”
Xavier, who previously had a friendship with the two, says, “I would try to take out of Dr. Will [Kirby]’s book, which is where he viewed people he went on these shows with more as coworkers than friends. I think that’s probably an approach I’m going to take similarly moving forward.”
“I don’t find them to be bad people, and I’m not going to address anything they’re dealing with personally because I think everyone has their own battles that they’re fighting, and I’m not going to undermine anything they could be going through,” he explains. “But I would say my relationships with them moving forward, I would just approach more like a coworker type of relationship. I’m not here praying for your downfall and I’m not here hating on you or anything. We come in, we go to work. We do what we do. You go home. I go home.”
The Challenge: USA airs on CBS Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.