'American Grit' recap: Four new military cadres introduced, one competitor goes home
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/12/2017
American Grit kicked off its second season with four new cadres from the military, 17 unique contestants, and one elimination.
American Grit premiered Sunday night with host John Cena explaining Season 2 would be very different because the competitors were looking to regain grit they had lost or find grit they never had in the first place.
Unlike the first-season cast filled with physical players, strong athletes and tough individuals, Season 2 features people that may be viewed as weak, materialistic, cocky, insecure, vulnerable and more.
The cast includes people from all walks of life and backgrounds, including individuals with disorders -- such as anxiety and OCD -- crippling fears such as swimming, or health issues such as being overweight. Going into the new season, each person had something to prove to him or herself as well as others who doubt or criticize them.
The show's four new military heroes are Grady Powell, an elite Green Beret; Chloe Mondesir, a Marine; John Burk, a U.S. Army Drill Sergeant; and Riki Long a fellow Marine.
Stealing a page from Season 1, each of these four cadres will be shown advising and leading a team of contestants through a series of difficult challenges and obstacles. At the end of every episode, one cast member will lose a competition, ring the bell, and be ousted from the running for $250,000, which will be awarded to the last person standing.
The cadres were able to hand-pick their teams based on first impressions, conversations and observations.
The cadres were also able to evaluate the 17 contestants during the season's first challenge in which everyone had to hang above a lake filled with alligators by their feet. The contestants were frequently dunked into the lake while hanging upside down with blood rushing to their heads.
The first person to drop out of the challenge was supposed to be the first contestant sent packing, however, John allowed all the competitors to stay once they conquered 30 minutes of this grueling task. John and the cadres were extremely impressed by the determination and courage all 17 people exhibited.
At the end of the hour-long episode, the cadres had to select their teams. In the time it took the military heroes to choose team members one by one, the 17 competitors were forced to spin a beach ball high above their heads without ever dropping their arms. Once a person was picked, he or she could stop spinning the ball.
Grady opted to have the following cast members on his team: George Foreman IV, a 28-year-old from Houston TX; Herman, a 26-year-old from Billings MT; Michael, a 38-year-old from Brooklyn, NY; and Gigi, a 20-year-old from Glassboro, NJ.
Chloe selected Janessa, a 36-year-old from Los Angeles, CA; Nathalie, a 45-year-old from Youngsville, LA; Shermon, a 22-year-old from Brooklyn, NY; and Alison, a 36-year-old from Seattle, WA.
John decided he wanted the following competitors on his team: Hannah, a 23-year-old from Newburyport, MA; Melanie, 29-year-old from Brooklyn NY; Chris, a 48-year-old from Merrick NY; and Will, a 23-year-old from West Hollywood, CA.
And Riki's team consisted of Gill, a 36-year-old from Vernal UT; Richard, a 32-year-old from Berryville TX; Carla, a 26-year-old from Chino, CA; and Scarlett, a 24-year-old from New Brunswick, NJ.
Due to these decisions, Heather, a 36-year-old from Lakeland, FL, was eliminated from the Season 2 competition. She wanted to compete on American Grit after dealing with the heartbreak of a cheating husband.
When Chris was the only other person left standing at the end of the beach-ball challenge, John explained he wanted Chris on his team instead of Heather simply because the guy needed more help. Chris was used to always being the last person picked for a game, and he had many social and mental issues to overcome.
"Would I have loved to stay here longer? Of course, I'm bummed. But there's a reason I'm going home right now. I don't know what it is, but I'm confident that it's supposed to be like this and there's something great right around the corner for me," Heather said following her ouster.