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TJ Lavin Breaks Down ‘The Challenge’ Season 33, Sheds Light on Past Controversies

In 2005, TJ Lavin took over as host of MTV’s The Challenge (then called Real World/Road Rules Challenge) and he’s never walked away — and doesn’t see that day coming anytime soon.

The host, 42, joined this week’s “Watch With Us” podcast to break down the upcoming season and shed light on the past — including Final Reckoning, which fans complained had the least challenging finale in years.

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“A lot of people were blaming me, but in the production’s defense, it was a lot of things that happened behind the scenes that people didn’t realize,” Lavin explained to Us, revealing that, due to inclement weather, things had to be changed at the last minute. “It’s super hard to say that it wouldn’t have been an awesome challenge, but we were all pretty bummed that it wasn’t so hard as it could’ve been, but I think we more than made up for it. I think you guys are definitely gonna see what time it is next season.”

TJ Lavin Breaks Down 'The Challenge' Season 33, Sheds Light on Past Controversies
TJ Lavin on ‘The Challenge.’ MTV

However, one part of the season 32 finale that was more difficult than it appeared was the hot coals. Usually, Lavin isn’t allowed to test out the challenges, but for that part, he asked “the hot rock guy” if he could do it.

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“I was like, ‘So you mean to tell me if I walk across this thing I’m not gonna burn my feet?’ He said, ‘Nope!’ It was when the rocks first got there, and he goes, ‘Just walk across with confidence and you’ll get across no problem and no burned feet,” the BMX pro explained. “So, I took my shoes and socks off right then and there, walked across the red hot coal, and got third-degree burns all over my feet … I had blisters all over my feet for months!”

The Las Vegas native also hinted on season 33 being the “most grueling” one yet — and promised he wasn’t just saying that. “It is next level. Like, I can’t believe that we did it,” he said. “I looked at the final challenge … the final challenge alone made me completely sick.”

As for the new cast members, including Survivor, Big Brother and American Ninja Warrior vets, Lavin was pleasantly surprised. “There are no layups, no slouches,” he said. “Everybody’s pretty bad ass; the elimination rounds were so intense and they were so like serious. Like, the people that you’d never expect to dig so deep do, and they really prove themselves.”

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For more from Lavin, download the “Watch With Us” podcast here and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.

The Challenge: War of the Worlds premieres on MTV Wednesday, Feburayr 6, at 9 p.m. ET.

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