‘Amazing Race’ Winner James Talks Competing on ‘The Challenge: USA’

James WallingtonThe winner is not the only one The Amazing Race season 32, he’s a reality TV superfan, which he hoped would help him heading into compete on The Challenge: USA.

“Once I took off the fangirl goggles, and looked and assessed the room, I was a little intimated,” the Michigan native, 33, exclusively tells Us WeeklyInterview with the cast, which you can view above. “I’m not going to lie. Because these are people – I mean, I watch all these shows. Every single person on the show was someone I knew. The Challenge with me.”

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount ©2022 Paramount, All Rights Reserved.

Because he’s seen so much Big Brother, Survivor, Love Island and the show he won, that could help him navigate the “web of how these relationships worked” and “how I fit into that web of relationships,” he explains, adding, “I definitely think having that knowledge gave me a leg up over some other people who may not watch all these shows.”

James was also aware that having a set strategy doesn’t exactly work on The ChallengeBecause the rules are constantly changing, sometimes even in the middle or last season, it can be difficult to plan ahead. “It’s always so difficult to go in with a plan because just watching so many seasons of The ChallengeFormat is, I believe, the most important factor in how you navigateThe Challenge overall,” James tells Us. “So not knowing really what the format was going to look like, I didn’t really want to go in with a set plan.”

James was confident when it came time to the social side of the game. “That’s where I think I was going to excel going into The Challenge: being a social player and then when it came to the challenges, really making sure I never gave up,” he says.

The Challenge USA Cast Revealed Cast
Laura Barisonzi Courtesy Paramount

While being a former winner could definitely make him an easy target, he also knew that the “Big Brother 23 crew,” as he calls it, of six players could hopefully draw eyes away from him. “I think I would be a little naive going into this to think there wouldn’t be, at some point, some show lines,” he says.

“I’ve been watching The ChallengeSince its inception Real WorldCompare Road Rules,” James tells Use. “It was a show that I grew up with. Just like Survivor Amazing Race, so to be a part of it was a crazy, weird dream come true.”

The Challenge: USAPremieres on CBS Wednesday July 6th at 9:30 PM ET/PT