'American Grit' recap: Tawanda "Tee" Hanible's team down to only one member after losing Ivette Saucedo
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/20/2016
American Griteliminated another member of Marine Gunnery Sergeante Tawanda "Tee" Hanible's team, Ivette Saucedo, during Thursday night's broadcast on Fox.
Ivette, a 35-year-old model who was dubbed "The Equestrian" on the show, was one of two remaining members on Tee's team. After being chosen to compete in "the circus," Ivette was the first person to give up and ring the bell, ultimately sealing her fate in the new survival and military-themed reality competition.
"I hope I showed people not to judge a book by it's cover. I know that [my team is] proud of me, but I still feel really bad [Tony Simmons] has to do this by himself," Ivette said following her ouster.
"But I know he's tough and I know he can do it, and I know he'll always have Tee so he won't be alone. Like any experience, it makes you grow and it makes you a better person. I did learn a lot from everybody and will have them in my heart forever."
American Grit's episode began with host John Cena explaining the four teams led by military heroes would embark on another challenge called an "evolution." The four leaders are Tee, Army Sergeant Noah Galloway, Army Ranger Nick "The Reaper" Irving, and Navy SEAL Commander Rorke Denver.
The two remaining civilians on Tee's team were Ivette and Tony "Touchdown Tony" Simmons, a 41-year-old sports performance coach and former NFL player.
Noah's team consisted of David "The Olympian" Neville, a 31-year-old college track and field head coach; Clare "The Fisherman" Painter, a 47-year-old horse trainer and fisherman; and Mark "The Lumberjack" Bouquin, a 26-year-old Timbersports athlete.
Nick's team was comprised of Jim "The Boston Cop" Vaglica, a 54-year-old police officer; Cameron "The Wrestler" Zagami, a 22-year-old professional wrestler; and Kimberly "KJoy" Joy, a 38-year-old yoga instructor.
Rorke had recruited Tabatha "The Roller Girl" Chandler, a 39-year-old registered nurse; Mario "The Triathlete" Robinson, a 25-year-old personal trainer; and Ashley "The Marine's Daughter" Hazlett, a 31-year-old event coordinator.
The season's sixth evolution required each team to push they psyche and strategy to the limit by building functional bridges in order to cross four obstacles along a 60-yard field without allowing their feet to ever touch the ground.
The teams would face cable wires, a huge wall, 40 yards to cross using only barrels and wooden planks of wood, and a maze of poles. If at any point a person's feet touched the ground, his or her team would be forced to return to the start of that particular obstacle.
The first team to make it to the final platform would not participate in the circus and therefore be safe from elimination. Team Noah ended up winning the evolution, reclaiming their throne from Nick's team. This marked Team Noah's fifth win of the season out of six evolutions.
John then explained the three losing teams must send one member into the circus, the most brutal combination of military exercises which Rorke previously described as "a savage beating." The first person to give up/fail/pass out in the circus and ring the bell would be sent home.
Rorke, Nick and Tee were tasked with choosing which one of their team members would represent them in the circus.
Tee only had one option since Tony previously competed in the circus, so Ivette had to go in by default. Rorke sent Tabatha in because she has so much heart and is a tough competitor. Nick saw a lot of himself in Jim and therefore had him compete. Nick thought Jim possessed unbeatable mental stamina.
For the circus, the three participants were instructed to complete a muscle-draining obstacle course complete with climbing a three-story cargo net, ascending a 30-foot log structure and tumbling down a canyon.
At the end, the civilians had to stand on an endurance platform, where they were required to squat inside a tiny 3 by 5 foot frame while holding onto a piece of timber that was balancing a cylinder. John explained the pain would start kicking in after a couple of minutes, and the idea was to maintain balance, focus and the same position for as long as possible.
If at any point the cyliner fell or a civilian stepped outside of the frame fit for a child, he or she would be out of the circus.
Jim got to the endurance platform in first place and therefore received a two-minute advantage to rest. Ivette finished the first half of the circus in second place, so she won a one-minute advantage. Tabatha, whom Rorke nicknamed "Goldie," was forced to start the endurance portion immediately.
Because Tabatha took her time in the obstacle course, Rorke believed she had conserved her energy and would be fine. After one hour, Ivette dropped the cylinder and rang out.
"Ivette was the backbone of our team," Tee told the cameras. "She was able to inspire Tony on a lot of these missions. Her determination and fire always impressed me. Our team is not going to be the same without her."