‘The Challenge: USA’ episode 2 recap: ‘Yeah Buoy’! Who floats to the top and who gets bothered in ‘Oh Say Can You See Tiffany’? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

MTV’s original competition series “The Challenge” got a CBS-style facelift with more than two dozen former contestants from “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “The Amazing Race” and “Love Island” competing against each other in a brand new reality TV show titled “The Challenge: USA.” T. J. Lavin hosts the grueling program, which will air every Wednesday night on CBS (and stream on Paramount Plus) throughout the summer. Click through our photo gallery of “The Challenge: USA” cast photos to see which 28 all-stars are competing.

SEE ‘Survivor’ winners list: All seasons

Tonight the CBS reality titans take on their next challenge, “Yeah Buoy,” where they must gather letter pieces from a rotating buoy high in the sky and form as many words as possible. Meanwhile, a “Survivor” legend looks to cement their dominance in the game, a crafty “Big Brother” player is a little too popular with other Challengers, and two “Love Island” exes must put their differences aside in order to win a challenge. Follow along with our live blog of Season 1 Episode 2 titled “Oh Say Can You See Tiffany” beginning at 9pm ET/ 8pm CT on CBS.

SEE ‘Big Brother’ winners list: All seasons, plus spin-offs

9:00 p.m. — Previously, on “The Challenge: USA”! Each player was given $1,000 to start their individual challenge accounts, and in order to increase their prize money they will have to win challenges or eliminate their opponents. For the first challenge, competitors chose a co-ed partner and teamed up to see who could repel down a building the fastest…while solving math equations. Tyson Apostol & Angela Rummons won the challenge and banked $5,000. Kyland Young & Azah Awasum finished in last place and were automatically sent into the arena. Tyson & Angela sent in Javonny Vega & Cely Vazquez to face off against the “Big Brother” duo in the arena. In the end, Kyland & Azah proved the stronger pair, sending the “Love Island” teammates home and banking an extra $1,000 in their challenge accounts.

9:05 p.m. — Tonight’s episode picks up with T.J. explaining that the teams will be randomly selected each week moving forward. The players are shocked, thinking they had chosen their partners for the entire season. So let’s give this machine a roll! Partners this week are: Kyland & Sarah Lacina, Derek Xiao & Tasha Fox, Cayla Platt & James Wallington, Tyson & Justine Ndiba, Leo Temory & Angela, Xavier Prather & Azah, Cashel Barnett & Tiffany Mitchell, Enzo Palumbo & Alyssa Lopez, Danny McCray & Desi Williams, Domenick Abbate & Shannon St. Clair, Ben Driebergen & Shan Smith, Cinco Holland Jr. & Cashay Proudfoot and David Alexander & Kyra Green.

9:10 p.m. — After being newly paired up, teams head back to the house. Cinco & Cashay are the most disappointed in their draw, since they are exes who will now be forced to work together. Cashay has no interest in communicating with Cinco, but she knows she has to put those feelings aside to win. James & Cayla are also feeling vulnerable because they’re both from “The Amazing Race,” which is already low in numbers. Meanwhile, Justine feels awkward around her partner, Tyson, because he just sent her best friend Lecy home last week. Tyson tells her to “keep it cool” and he doesn’t care about her feelings. He just wants to win! Over in the gym area, Tiffany flirts with Cinco in hopes it will stop him from ever putting her in the arena. Is she willing to do whatever it takes to stay safe? Damn straight. But other people in the house (mainly from “Survivor”) already see Tiffany as a major threat, with Shan telling her alliance, “She’s running that BB23 clique” and “She has connections with a lot of these people.”

9:15 p.m. — It’s a new day and a new challenge! T.J. explains ‘Yeah Buoy,” in which two teams at a time will rush into the water, climb up and jump onto one of two buoys. The buoys have letters on them. Each player can collect five letters at a time before jumping back into the water, swimming to shore and forming as many words as they can. The team to form the most words in 20 minutes will win today’s challenge. The winners will also split a $10,000 prize to go into the challenge accounts. Let’s go!

9:35 p.m. — First up are Kyland & Sarah vs. Angela & Leo. Apparently this is harder than it looks, because Kyland & Sarah got 5 words and Angela & Leo only got 4. Next up, Azah & Xavier take on Cayla & James. Cayla can’t seem to hang on to the buoys at all and at some point James hits one and starts crying in the water. This can’t be good. At the end of their 20 minutes, Xavier & Azah have 3 words. Cayla and James have 0. Yikes! In Round 3, Domenick & Shannon score 2 words and Enzo & Alyssa score 4. In Round 4 Shan & Ben score 5, while Cashel & Tiffany score 6. Round 5 has Derek & Tasha scoring 3 and Cashay & Cinco scoring 4. In the meantime, Cashay & Cinco showed solid communication and were even arm-in-arm at the end. It looks like some old wounds have been healed. Finally, in Round 6 we saw David & Kyra score 4 points while Jusine & Tyson scored 9. Tyson grabbed practically every letter on the buoys, purposely trying not to breathe hard in front of his competitors as we went by them. He wants to show complete and utter dominance. Ha! He’s totally condescending, but also absolutely the most entertaining person so far this season. Only one team remains that has a chance to defeat Tyson & Justine and that’s Desi & Danny. They scored 6 points, which means James & Cayla are heading to the arena. Tyson & Justine will decide who they will face off against. Tyson now has $11,000 in his bank account, leading all competitors. Justine’s account increases to $6,000.

9:40 p.m. — Everyone returns to the house. James & Cayla know their options are limited. Enzo & Alyssa and Xavier & Azah are the only all-“Big Brother” teams. James also asks Justine if she would consider nominating Tiffany & Cashel as well. He’s knows that’s a risk for Justine to nominate Cashel because he’s from “Love Island,” but if they can get rid of Tiffany, he thinks the “Big Brother” alliance will completely crumble. She’s the glue. Justine says she’s not ruling anyone out and acknowledges Tiffany is probably the most powerful player in the game. Meanwhile, things are heating up between Tiffany and Cinco, as he carries her off to bed and lifts her into her bunk. This aggravates Cashay, to which Tiffany responds in the Diary Room, “That ain’t your man! Period!”

9:45 p.m. — It’s morning and Cashay seems like she’s ready to stir up some drama! She is telling Kyra that Tiffany is intimidated by beautiful women because they can ruin her hold over Cashel and Cinco. Cashay says Tiffany wants to control the men in the house and they’re threats because they’re beautiful women. Kyra acknowledges that Tiffany pulling all of the guys in around her makes her a target, but she seems much less bothered and catty about it than Cashay. Meanwhile, as those two gossip, Tiffany is having a conversation that matters with Tyson, who holds the power. She’s giving him advice on who to throw in the arena. Tyson wants to be on good terms with Tiffany and considers her an ally. Tiffany is no fool and she knows Tyson has to target a “Big Brother” duo so she suggests Enzo & Alyssa because losing them would be less detrimental to her game than losing Xavier & Azah at this point.

9:50 p.m. — T.J. welcomes everyone back to the arena, where James & Cayla emerge, ready to compete. Next, Tyson & Justine announce they’ve selected Tiffany & Cashel to go into the arena. The rest of the house breathes a sigh of relief. In the Diary Room, Tyson reveals that he initially thought Tiffany was the glue to the “Big Brother” group, but after talking with more “BB” players, most seem to just want her gone, particularly Xavier and Alyssa, who know how manipulative she can be. This isn’t “Big Brother” anymore!

9:55 p.m. — Tonight’s arena is called “Knowledge is Powered.” There are four stationary bikes connected to a giant power station. Their goal is to light up the power station by pedaling their bikes as fast as they can. It’s a combination of endurance, and a memory game, as they’ll have to memorize symbols and recreate them on a wall. There are three phases of the challenge and three sets of 12 symbols. The first team to complete all three phases will stay in the game and take the other team’s money.

9:59 p.m. — The horn buzzes and the cycling begins! James & Cayla begin their memory component first as Cayla recalls how a memory challenge lost her $1 million on “The Amazing Race.” “I’m not gonna freak out,” she promises. Tiffany & Cashel begin their memory section later, but finish first, taking over the lead. Soon after, James & Cayla tie things up. Next the “TAR” team takes the lead 2-1, followed by a 2-2 tie and then finally a winner is revealed. The winner of tonight’s arena is James & Cayla! That means Tiffany & Cashel will be the second team heading home. Tiffany says she respects Tyson and his decision because “he’s a player.” The women seem particularly thrilled to watch Tiffany leave. Was Tiffany really threatened by them or was it the other way around? James & Cayla get another $1,000 in their challenge accounts, which brings them each to $2,000.

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