Ahead of the premiere of ‘The Challenge,’ HL caught up with Devin Walker for scoop on what to expect, where he stands with Josh, why fans should appreciate the rookies and more.
Devin Walker is back for season 37 of The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies — but he’s not the same, pot-stirring Devin who we’ve seen in seasons’ past. “Every season, I try to compile what I’ve learned from previous seasons and become the best version of myself and give myself the best chance of winning,” Devin told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Last season, I made some real errors, mainly with my mouth. So, coming into this season, I really wanted to focus on not being the center of attention, not having targets on me, but instead, diverting them and letting other people feel like they were in the driver’s seat.”
The five-time Challenge vet added that he became a “valuable asset” to multiple alliances in the house because of his quieter demeanor on Spies, Lies & Allies. “For the first time in history on this show, myself and Kyle [Christie] put ourselves in a position where we were desired by pretty much every alliance in the house,” Devin admitted. “It was something new, but definitely something that’s going to be very entertaining. I think that the two of us, in particular, made strides this season that will be a different side than you’ve seen from us in the past.”
Plus, that doesn’t mean he won’t be bringing the drama on occasion. “I have downgraded my ladle to a teaspoon in terms of pot-stirring,” Devin joked. “But I still have a utensil in rotation. It’s just a little more subtle, it’s a little more calculated, and it’s a little quieter. But sometimes subtlety is the most effective tool. I can’t completely turn myself off. It’s impossible. But I did the best that I could to put myself in the best position. For me, that meant focusing on the game and not the other agents.”
When it comes to Devin, fans may also be surprised to see him team up with his season 36 nemesis, Josh Martinez, this season — but it was all based in strategy. “Josh and I have actually done some off-season training together. Not necessarily of the physical kind, but of the social and partying kind,” Devin revealed. “We found ourselves in the same place at different events, and even took a very fun and entertaining Mexico vacation with Tori Deal. So, we had to put our differences behind us. For both of us, that was probably the best decision. When the two of us are on the same page, instead of tryin to control each side of the house and pin them against each other, when we have one common goal, that’s a strong duo.”
Josh and Devin had a huge feud on The Challenge: Double Agents, but once they were both eliminated, they realized they were fighting the wrong battle when it came to going up against each other. “We realized what exactly the house had done to keep us pinned against each other,” Devin explained. “In those Double Agents fights, there’s not a single person in there that’s trying to stop that. They’re trying to keep us away from each other so neither one of us gets disqualified for fighting, but nobody ever said to us, ‘Hey, you’re giving everybody exactly what they want right now.’ So once we figured that out on our own, it was not going to be a “we-get-played-by-the-whole-house” season again. We are moving on.”
The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies premieres on Aug. 11 at 8:00 p.m. MTV and will air every Wednesday in the coming weeks. Check out more intel about the season from our interview with Devin below:
On how he trained physically to come on this season: Your boy put on some pounds! I’m walking into this season about 210. I knew that I’m never going to win a speed competition against these kids, and if I don’t put some weight on, I’m never going to have a chance in any of these strength eliminations or challenges. So I’ve got a decent balance and average stamina, and I felt like I really needed to tack on some mass and at least have people thinking twice before sending me into an elimination and risking going against me.
How does the format compare to season 36? There are definitely some parallels, but you’ve never seen a format like this. Essentially, it’s similar, but there are some twists put into play that make this season unlike any other. It kept us on our toes like never before. The voting is insane. You’re not going to be confused, you are going to be fired up, because it’s like season 36, but a massive level up. It had a glow up. They ironed out some kinks. I think, personally, it’s more entertaining. When you get power in this game, you really get power.
How did you feel about all the rookies coming in this season? They’re not just rookies — they’re superhuman, mutant rookies. We’ve never seen a cast of rookies like this. They sent a shockwave through the veterans. The variety of shows that they came from — it’s intensive, strategy-driven dating games, as well as some new additions from classics like Survivorand Big Brother and some shows that I personally didn’t even know existed. It was very interesting to see all of the different skillsets that were brought to the table this season and the well-roundedness of almost all of them.
On which rookies to look out for: There’s a few duds, don’t get me wrong. We’re not going to bat a thousand. But off the top of my head, get ready for Emmanuel [Neagu], get ready for Logan [Sampedro], get ready for Michaela [Bradshaw] get ready for Michele [Fitzgerald]. These players could and will likely be back time and time again, and for good reason. They did their homework. They didn’t just roll out of bed not knowing what show they were going to. They trained for this. They did research on us.
On why viewers should watch even if they’re skeptical about so many rookies: My advice would be to replay time to five years ago — think about how you felt about the rookies then and think about how you feel about them now. History’s going to repeat itself, and you will love some of these agents. Give them a chance. Not all of them are going to be for everybody, but there will be some fan favorites out of this crop of rookies. Also, there’s a legitimate language barrier this season for the first time. We’re dealing with half the cast speaking English as a second language, so if you like confessionals from your veterans, you’ll definitely see some screen time from your favorites. That’s not to throw shade at all — I was incredibly impressed with our international agents and their ability to speak multiple languages. But just from an articulation standpoint of explaining things and the ability to register the game and translate things in the interview chair, they’re obviously at a disadvantage there.