“The Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines” may be over, but it’s far from the end of Johnny Bananas’ kingdom reign on MTV’s reality competition series. Zap2it got to speak with Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio recently about his loss this past season, what the cameras didn’t show and his involvement in “Rivals 3.”
Zap2it: You played a very strategic game. How do you compare your performance to seasons’ past?
Johnny Bananas: I wiggled my way out of some very precarious predicaments. I wish we had been paired as bloodlines for the entire show, because once we were separated into teams, it was a popularity contest. Nobody wants to see me on the show. So basically, it was me and my cousin [Vinny] against the entire house.
But from a strategic standpoint, to make it to the second to final elimination, and never [go into The Pit] — and to wiggle myself out of situations as many times as I did — I literally told my cousin, because he’s like “Man, I wanna go in. I wanna compete.”
I was like what we’re doing is 1,000 times more difficult. Anyone can go into to an elimination, win and come back. But staying out of elimination when every target in the house is on your back? So difficult. And the fact that nobody else saw the ace in the hole …
The ace in the hole?
The whole Cara Maria and Abe thing. That was just gold. We knew Abe was first alternate. We knew two teams had already got sent home. I see Cara and Tom f***ing around and I was like oh my God. This is the last guy’s girlfriend you want to be fooling around with. You’re basically making out with Charles Manson’s girlfriend here. Not a great idea.
So Cara knew he might come?
Oh, Cara knew. She was terrified. She goes, “Johnny, do you think they’re going to bring in Abe? And I didn’t want her to stop what she’s doing so I was like, “No way! Absolutely not.”
And they did.
So when Abe came to the house, I was just like I am going to sit back and watch this unfold because there’s no way this is not going to get out. But then he comes in, a week goes by and no one says anything!
My cousin is like we have to blackmail Tom. And I’m like, listen, this is best thing that could’ve happened to us. Because right now, the way the alliances are set up: It’s Tom, Cara, and Abe in this alliance that’s based on lies! The second they turn on us, all we do is let them know what’s going on and the whole thing implodes … and it did.
It was incredible and I honestly think it was the most evil genius strategic move in “Challenge” history.
You mentioned during the reunion your cousin threw a lot of challenges?
Yeah, that didn’t make to air. The way the game was set up, it was almost like we were each other’s security blanket, because if someone wanted to take me out, they had to throw him in and nobody wanted to go against him or me.
The way our alliance worked being paired up with Kelly-Anne and Anthony, it benefited us for the Blue Team to always lose. [Vinny] didn’t purposely lose every one, like the cargo one, [Vinny just] s*** the bed, but it was all part of the strategy. They just didn’t show it.
Tell us about 'Rivals 3.' It's been confirmed you're a cast member. (Rumor has it that his rival teammate will be Sarah ... )
It's going to be unlike anything you've ever seen. It's going to be a great f***ing season.
So what's next for the Johnny Bananas brand?
I don't know. What can I say? Dude, I've managed to turn my 15 minutes into nine years. One of the producers that did my original season of "The Real World," -- Mark Saliga -- when it wrapped, I remember asking him, "Dude. What are the odds of me getting on a challenge?" And he said, "Pretty good. You might see a challenge one day."
And here we are on what ... 14 now? I've been able to make a living out of it, gain some notoriety of out it. It's like a dream come true.