How Kyland Young Balanced Competition and Bonds on ‘The Challenge’!

From back-stabbing contestants to an on-air love interest, Kyland Young went through it all on MTV’s ‘The Challenge’! Here are some of the juicier details Young disclosed while on the Heal Squad podcast. 

An On-Screen Romance

For those who watched The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion, it would be hard to forget Young’s rather flirtatious interactions with another contestant, Melissa. The pair spent a considerable amount of time together, most notably during a night out together at a club. Young remembers fellow contestants chanting for the two to kiss, but, attributing to his autism diagnosis, failed to do so, calling it “definitely a moment where I was overstimulated.”

“I’m taking in a lot of information, and I had maxed out my capacity for new experiences,” Young said. “I find myself fairly regulated in planning.”

Despite the fact that they had already been talking by this point in the show, Young realized he never told Melissa about his autism, and that’s why she took offense at first. She was understanding afterwards and it was a learning moment for the two.

“I might do something that is interpreted different, and it’s not because I don’t like you,” Young said. “And my brain operates efficiently; efficiency and communication is usually not very polite or sensitive.”

Audience Preferences

As with most reality TV, the audience can be ruthless at times and maintaining a good relationship with the fans can make or break your run on a show. Young found two factions within The Challenge’s audience — those who craved the high emotions and tension, and others who focused more on the games and activities themselves.

“You have so many people that are there for the competition, and then you have so many people that are there for the drama,” Young said. “Both of them are at odds, usually saying, ‘This one sucks because they don’t have more competition, this one sucks because they don’t have enough drama.’”

Archetypes and Casting Choices

Moving towards the cast, Young admitted that The Challenge seeks jocks, alpha males and females, and “catty” people who love confrontation. Young feels as though most wouldn’t classify him under any of those descriptions, though, but he appreciates the fact that they keep the show interesting.

“They have people who have short fuses,” Young said. “They love a good short fuse because that keeps things spicy.”

Young said contestants do try to break free of these archetypes over time, yet that could be a double-edged sword. The audience would rather see over-the-top reactions and drama to please their reality TV dreams rather than contestants leaning towards a more analytical, laid-back approach.

“That’s been interesting as the game has evolved, where people are watching and they’re like, ‘You know what? Having a short fuse tends to be bad,’” Young said. “So then you have all of these people coming on the show who are now holding back, they’re a little bit more reserved, which is making the audience unhappy.”

Aftermath and the Potential of a Reunion

Young said the bond between the cast of The Challenge compared to that of Big Brother, the other reality TV show he starred on, wasn’t as strong, particularly due to less proximity with one another, and he doesn’t keep in touch with everyone. Still, Young refers to competitors Horacio and Nurys as “family” and two people he’s sure don’t have any ulterior motives.

Even with there being less of a connection with the cast of The Challenge, Young said he enjoyed his time on the show, keeping the door open for a reunion down the line.

“As far as future seasons of The Challenge, I love the game, it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced,” Young said. “I would love to do more, that’s the plan.”


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About the Author

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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes is a Junior at Iona University, majoring in media and strategic communications, and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. In his free time, Robert loves to spend hours practicing the bass guitar and hunting for his favorite artists at vinyl record shops.