Challenge: All Stars Recap: Jay Talks Return and Elimination

Jay Mitchell took matters into his own hands and tried to earn his star on The Challenge: All Stars, but wound up getting eliminated by Steve Meinke. The firefighter won the daily challenge during the Wednesday, June 5, episode and replaced Leroy Garrett in the elimination to try and get a coveted star for a spot in the final.

Season 4 of All Stars was only Jay’s second time on The Challenge and his first time returning since his disastrous finish on Battle of the Exes II in 2015. On that season, he quit in the final after being unable to complete the eating portion and received major backlash from fans.

“Everyone thinks that because of my exit on Battle of the Exes that they wouldn’t call me again – they called me for, like, the next five seasons,” Jay 36, exclusively tells In Touch. “I was in the fire department and in the Academy, then I got into the firehouse and I wasn’t able to do them. So after all this time has passed, to get that call shocked me.”

Despite still getting “tortured and hated on” for quitting Battle of the Exes, Jay says he knew he could “hang with the best,” which is why he eventually agreed to return. “Everything kind of aligned perfectly,” he explains. “I had my vacation from work at the exact same time period that it was going to film and I was like, ‘Maybe this is a sign, like, I need that redemption.’”

Jay performed well week after week on All Stars 4, which helped him form relationships in the house that he didn’t have before filming began. “I honestly worked with almost everybody in a sense, one way or another,” he admits. “I was doing very well in all of the challenges and everyone kept coming up to me saying, like, ‘Hey, pick me on the next one if it’s teams.’ Unfortunately I made all of these deals and I never needed any of them because I was never in the bottom [and at risk of being voted in] anyway.”

Coming onto the show, Jay already had a close alliance with his longtime friend Nicole Zanatta, who he said was his No. 1 in the house. However, he quickly formed a tight bond with Cara Maria Sorbello, who became his No. 2 ally.

“The situation with Cara was very very simple and dry. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like when people get bullied. I’ve been in that situation for a majority of my life,” he says. “So when I saw Cara getting that same heat and feeling that same way, I was like, ‘Girl, I know where you’re coming from.’”

Although the two had never met before filming began, Jay reveals that they “clicked” because they both had such a strong desire to win. “We were both in it for the money, we both loved the game, and we were both athletes. We saw eye-to-eye,” he continues. “And then to watch everyone gang up on her and go behind her back and treat her the way they did … she’s a great competitor and it’s like, you know what, you guys all wanna bully her, then bully me too. Let’s do this together.”

Jay wanted to go against Ryan Kehoe in the elimination, but Ryan, 43, decided he wasn’t ready to compete in an elimination just yet. Since Cara, 38, and Nicole, 33, were both in the middle group in charge of voting players into elimination, they voted the way Jay wanted. However, the three men in the middle group – Derek Chavez, Ace Amerson and Adam Larson – all teamed up with Ryan to vote for Steve and Leroy, 39.

Since Jay won the daily challenge, he had the opportunity to replace one of the men in elimination and compete himself. He promised Leroy that he would take his place and he stayed true to his word, which is why he went up against Steve. The elimination involved going underwater to retrieve puzzle pieces and then building puzzles based on different color shades. As someone who doesn’t love the water and is color blind, the challenge wasn’t in Jay’s wheelhouse, but he put up a good effort before getting sent home by Steve.

Since Steve already had a star, he got to steal a star from one of the other star holders and give it away. Adam, 45, voted Steve into elimination, even though Steve thought they were friends, so he decided to steal Adam’s star and give it to Ace, 45.

Meanwhile, Jay went home with his head held high. “I’d definitely do another season,” he shares. “Work comes first, but as long as those things line up, I would 100 percent come back. I could absolutely take one of these down and I know I’m going to. I was already spending the money in my head, that’s how sure I was that I was going to win, and I’ll do it again. I got the confidence. I know I can compete. I’ll go against anybody. I do not care. I’ll continue this redemption tour for the rest of my life.”

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