Reigning Challenge champ Cara Maria Sorbello breaks down that crazy elimination, all that Kyle drama, and more in her latest blog

By Cara Maria Sorbello
July 24, 2018 10:01 PM

After winning MTV’s The Challenge: Vendettas earlier this year, Cara Maria Sorbello is back in action for her 12th season, Final Reckoning. As she vies for the $1 million prize alongside rival and partner Marie Roda, she’s blogging about it exclusively on PEOPLE! Follow Cara Maria on Twitter at @CaraMariaMTV.

When we last left off, Kyle and Brad won the Wreck Yourself challenge. Now the fun part: house politics/poli-dicking. How is this going to shake out? Let’s break it down:

Paulie, Kyle, Faith, and me

We’ll start with the love circle: Faith, Paulie, Kyle, and myself. After the challenge, Paulie mentioned to me on the side that if Kyle were to vote him in purely based on his flirting with me, it would be a “p—y move.” Paulie further explains that his issue is that if Kyle wants me, he should take me (he’s had that conversation with Kyle before). But running around and hooking up with other people while trying to keep me on the line and control who I can and cannot flirt with… is a bitch thing to do. This was all said within earshot of Marie, who tells Johnny, who tells Kyle.

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Much is lost in translation during that long line of telephone and Kyle’s manhood is now threatened at the thought that Paulie could have called him a “p—y.” So the confrontation goes down. Paulie clarifies what was said and throws the target onto Shane; Shane went off on Twitter last season and blasted Kyle’s plastic surgery photos all over the internet. Kyle swore that he would destroy Shane and get rid of him by any means necessary. But will the completely disrespectful and embarrassing things Shane blasted everywhere about Kyle outweigh Kyle’s jealousy of me and Paulie’s little flirting relationship? Hmmmm…

Unfortunately, my drama with Paulie and Kyle effects more than just us. Natalie (my most trusted girl in the house) explains to me that what’s going on is putting her team in danger and asks that I fix it. My frustration is that Kyle is making it known that he can do whatever he wants, but he won’t let me do whatever I want. But, I push down my pride and have a little chat with him to try to save Paulie and Natalie. Kyle tells me he wouldn’t put me in, but won’t guarantee he won’t put in Paulie. He makes it very known that he’s jealous. He’s so jealous, in fact, that he wants to vote Paulie out of spite, and use a physical relationship with Faith to really drive it home with me. Sounds normal. I try to appeal to Brad, the other half of the Kyle team, but I’m not sure any of it is working or that there is anything I can do.

Kyle, Faith, Angela, and Johnny

Kyle then jumps into bed with Faith. (At this point, I only knew that they had kissed — I didn’t know that more had progressed. Kyle apparently made a habit of sneaking into Faith’s bed at night and ignoring her throughout the day). Seems like they are both using each other, though. Kyle gets physical with Faith to hurt me. Faith gets with Kyle for gameplay and story line. She already admitted to me that she watched all the shows and was a big fan of me. She knew that getting involved with Kyle would help her stay safe in the game and also help her try to steal some of my light. Her teammate, Angela (part of the self-proclaimed “team stole ya man”), has the same strategy in mind, but with a different vet…

Angela, who lives with her boyfriend back at home, has her eyes on Johnny. I’m surprised that as much as Angela talked about her boyfriend in the house, it’s not even mentioned in this episode. But it’s clear there is an attraction between the two of them. Maybe Johnny is flirting with Angela to make Natalie squirm. Maybe he is genuinely interested. However, one thing is clear: Rumors have stirred that Angela came in with a mission to hook up with Johnny for not only protection in the game, but also, again, for story line. Curiouser and curiouser…

Let’s get down to the voting

Twist #1: Everyone gets to vote…. but they get to vote in secret.
Twist #2: The winners don’t exactly get to vote someone directly in, but they do get TWO votes as opposed to every other team’s ONE vote, plus they are the only people safe from elimination.
Twist #3: The votes will not be revealed until the elimination itself. Meaning everyone has to pack their bags. Do you know what a pain in the a– that is? We are going to be literally living out of our suitcases. Stay packed so you don’t have to GET packed. No one can breathe easy except for the winning team. On top of this, we don’t know how the competing team is going to be chosen to go against the actual VOTED team. SO MANY QUESTIONS! The anxiety in the house is through the roof.

My team

Surprise! Marie and I do not agree in the voting room. She says she has everyone in the house, minus my most trusted two girls, Tori and Natalie. She would rather put our OWN NAMES IN than vote any one of the many other teams in the house. There is a chance that other people are either burning votes on us, or actually voting us in. Putting our own names in could be the nail in the coffin. Stupid move. Not doing it. I overturn Marie and vote Faith and Angela. They are the new people who I have zero connections with. Makes it easy. Plus Faith is connected to Kyle. So there’s that.

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I end up throwing my partner under the bus and telling Tori and Natalie what Marie was fighting with me to do in the voting. I don’t like Marie. She did everything in her power to USE ME to become my partner. She wanted social media followers. She wanted a chance at the final. She made this “team” happen despite me doing everything in my power to not let it happen. So clearly, I’m not happy. I don’t trust Marie. I do not like Marie. I do not want to work with Marie. Right now, this is a team of ONE. She’s just along for the ride.

Cue Marie (hyper-aware of the cameras) playing it up in the worst acting role ever. Poor Marie, the victim. I’m the damn victim in this situation. MY PARTNER IS MARIE. MARIE! The girl who QUITS. The girl who makes a JOKE out of this whole experience. The girl who makes friends with everyone in the house but does not have ONE person who truly has her back. The girl who FORCED us to become partners. No Marie, I’m not buying the whiny crybaby act. Because believe me, at this point in my Challenge life, I know when the tears are real and when they are put on for show — I’ve done it all myself. If we actually do win this thing, maybe Marie can buy some acting classes.

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Finally, the elimination, a.k.a. ARMAGEDDON!

Twist #1: The stage is lit up to show who got the most votes.
Twist #2: The stage lights up to show WHO voted for the chosen team. I guess these votes aren’t so private after all….

Sylvia & Joss, Zach & Amanda, Kam & Kayleigh and Brad & Kyle (who are safe) vote to throw Paulie & Natalie into the Armageddon — and Paulie and Natalie get to choose among them who they’ll battle. Paulie wants to try to take out a strong team and asks for Joss and Sylvia. Natalie wants Kam and Kayleigh. In the end, Natalie gets her wish, and they duke it out in an elimination called “Think Outside the Box,” where one person is strapped to a bungee cord and must fetch puzzle pieces that their partner in a cage has to assemble to escape.

What you didn’t see

Paulie specifically asked production whether it would be the same bungee cord Kam and Kayleigh were given regardless of if he or Natalie ran with the cord. He was assured that it would be. Well, SUPRISE: It wasn’t. There was an equalizer.

Paulie gets TWO double-thick bands that are also SHORTER than Kam’s. Kam, with her thoroughbred legs and grit, stomps her way over to the puzzle pieces. She walks herself right over to the cage and holds herself there to help Kayleigh put together the puzzle. Paulie, who trains with bands on the regular, can barely even reach a puzzle piece due to his incredible handicap restriction. Natalie is also having a hard time just getting the pieces through the opening and putting the puzzle together.

Regardless, you can’t take anything away from team KK. It’s clear Kayleigh and Kam are DOMINATING. Kam, in true elimination boss fashion, gets Kayleigh all her pieces and coaches her through putting the puzzle together. It’s hard to actually see the puzzle you are building when you are so close to the pieces. These two work together like pros and steamroll Natalie and Paulie. Team KK is looking to be a force in this game. It’s beautiful to see how a confident Kam brings out the “killa” in Kayleigh.

So Natalie and Paulie have to leave with their tail between their legs. However, they are about to be pleasantly surprised with another chance thanks to the Redemption House.

I love Kam and Kayleigh, but a lot of people have their backs. Natalie and Paulie, I knew for sure, had mine. Kyle wins this round. I go back to the house with one less trusted alliance in my corner… a partner I can not work with… and feeling a little more hopeless for what is to come.

Stay tuned for more recaps and insider info that you can only get here!

The Challenge: Final Reckoning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on MTV.