An injury may have been the downfall for Derek Xiao and Shannon St. Clair’s games on The Challenge: USA as they were eliminated by Enzo Palumbo and Justine Ndiba on Wednesday, August 10.
The Big Brother and Love Island alums, who were randomly paired up by the algorithm this week, were thrown into the arena by daily challenge winners David Alexander and Desi Williams. Shannon says the elimination was “so frustrating” after having suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the day.
“I couldn’t reach not one tire coming off,” Shannon exclusively tells Us Weekly of her short height also being a disadvantage. “We tried to tell T.J. [Lavin], like, how, how is this gonna work? I can’t even jump up and get them off ‘cause you have to pull them off, and Derek couldn’t help me. There was such strict rules. He was taking them off and giving them to me and I was running. They wouldn’t even allow that. So we had to figure something out. Derek made a step stool and put two tires underneath. So I could literally climb up and get them off, which I felt was not showed at all. Plus, that was unsturdy so I was, like, wobbling, falling off, rolling my ankle every time I hit them.”
“It ended up being an incredibly horrible strategy because the base just wasn’t sturdy enough,” Derek agrees. “I didn’t realize these tires were deflated to, like, 10 psi. So they just had no rigidity behind them. Shannon could even stand on one of them straight.”
While the duo tried to downplay Shannon’s injury throughout deliberation to avoid being called into the arena (as the guys were nervous they could later be paired with her), Derek was busy “spitting game” and “doing damage control,” she says.
“I knew me and Shannon were on the chopping block,” Derek tells Us, before adding, “It’s actually funny. The previous night, after the challenge, we had gone out to the bar. I had no idea that we were even a name in consideration. So I was like, ‘Shots!’”
Derek also addresses backlash he and close ally Alyssa Lopez received following comments they made about The Cookout alliance from their season of Big Brother last summer.
“I do have conflict with the phrasing of the word revenge,” he says. “And even on the show, I was very careful not to use that word in my interviews because it was never about that. It was literally just about a lack of trust. And going into this game, I was very, very, very careful about who I wanted to work with, and I felt comfortable working with Alyssa ‘cause I felt like we were working from a mutual background. We both were like, ‘OK, we’re both very aware of who we can trust.’”
Derek continues, “We started building up our circle slowly from there. We pulled in Angela [Rummans] ‘cause I was like, ‘OK, yeah, this is also like a neutral third party.’ And then we started working with the Love Island girls who were also a neutral third party. I wanted to kind of stay away from anything that was like ‘this person’s burned me in the past’ and ‘this could happen again.’”
As for where he stands with his season 23 castmates today, Derek tells Us, “I will say I am probably one of the most naive people on this planet. So you might have to ask them to get the actual perspective on it. But, I think we’re good. Honestly, I came off of the Challenge and I was like, ‘I’m best friends with everyone.’ I didn’t know there was actual beef like that. So I’m pretty naive when it comes to these things. I thought it was good. I had a great time, but you know, I don’t know. Maybe if you asked someone else, they would say something different.”
The Challenge: USA airs on CBS Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.