‘Challenge: All Stars 4’: Brad Fiorenza Reveals Heartbreak & Lack of Sleep Contributed to His Elimination

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Brad Fiorenza is one of the most seasoned veterans in the cast of The Challenge: All Stars Season 4, and he knows better than anyone that this was simply not his season. It started out strongly enough. Once the vet-heavy cast got settled into their Capetown, South Africa-set mansion, they competed in an individual challenge that saw him finish in second, beating out every other guy in the game.

However, once the team challenges got underway — and so many of them were tricky brain games — Fiorenza found himself in the bottom more often than not.

Following his exit from the game, TV Insider caught up with Brad Fiorenza to find out his perspective on the season, what fans might not have seen, and what exactly was going on with that baby towel situation.

This season, you seem to have a little bit of trouble. But the thing was, in the first challenge, you crushed it. So do you think having these randomly assigned teams may have been a problem?

Brad Fiorenza: Oh, 100 percent. And I hate to say that because I love playing on a team. And I love feeling I can contribute. I love feeling like we have clear segregation of duties where you know who’s working on what, and what to set as far as expectations for yourself. I mean, I don’t really overanalyze other people’s roles, but for myself, personally, I truly like to feel like I left my best on the field…. I’m one of those people that truly believes you can’t win them all. But as long as you do your best, you still win in your own way. I don’t feel like I got that this season. I felt a little frustrated and confused, and there were some other issues as well. I was struggling with sleep.

I won’t get into too much personal stuff, but I did go through a pretty rough breakup right before I left for the season. I was with somebody for a little over three years. We’d been living together. We broke up right beforehand. And I’m kind of a softy. I love deep, and I was hurt, to be honest. So I remember even walking through the airport and trying to talk myself up like, “We’re going to just focus on the game. We’re just going to compete to the best of our ability. I’m so happy to be here…” Just trying to be grateful and present in the moment. And to be honest with you, it was a lot tougher than I thought. I struggled with sleep at night.

It’s kind of hard to sleep in a room full of people that you’re so excited to be around because these challenges are, I mean, they’re so exciting to even show up to now, so when I get there — not to sound like a complete geek, but I’m super excited, so it’s hard enough to sleep already. And then I would also have thoughts about the recent breakup and some other stuff, and I did struggle with sleep, and I was taking naps in the middle of the day. That’s really not my style. I mean, I’m usually the one that wakes up in the morning, and I kind of annoy people that aren’t morning people because I wake up and I’m like, “It’s a new day.” I’m all excited. And I felt like this season, I was not really getting much of that. I was staying up late. I wasn’t sleeping well. I can kind of see it on my face at certain times during the season when I knew like, okay, that was a couple of rough nights. So I think between the teams and the struggle with sleep, I was not having my best season for sure.

You’ve said before that you’re your own worst critic and your toughest competitor, that you’re very hard on yourself. Do you think you got into like a cycle of self-doubt, maybe?

It’s definitely not positive momentum that I was running with. I felt like after the first challenge, I was in a pretty good position. And again, I don’t really think that helped with the sleep too much either because then I’m like, “Oh, we’re off to a good start!” And then it’s like, “Oh, actually…” And then the challenges kind of changed from that individual competition to the teams. We weren’t performing. I mean, honestly — I don’t want to get too ahead of the interview here, but the challenge when I was paired with Laurel [Stucky], oh my god, embarrassing. Honestly, I don’t know when I’ll be able to truly — well, I can’t say I’m still beating myself up about it, but it’s so hard to watch. It really is. I did follow Leroy [Garrett]. Leroy was one of the upfront runners, and I followed him right up those stairs. And then even when I finally got over to the group, there was still a chair left, but I was so wound up from the mistake that I didn’t even notice the chair that was open. And honestly, it’s still like I just kind of want to go back and shake myself. I just didn’t have the best season.

Yeah, speaking of that, it also seemed like Laurel was kind of harsh. Was it hard to work with her when she was yelling at you like that?

Honestly, that’s one of Laurel’s good competitive traits — maybe not the best social trait if I’m saying that properly, but I understand her competitive edge, and I try to keep that in mind. So for me personally, I was excited to be paired with her. Sure, she was being hard on me. I think there was a lot of validity to what she was speaking to, but I just didn’t know how to fix the issue in that moment. I was short on sleep. I wasn’t as focused as I wanted to be. And I kind of felt bad for her. I mean, in the end, it actually didn’t count that far against us because it was just for a slight delay the next round, but in the moment, I know how serious she plays this game. I tried to play it equally as serious. And had I brought my best work to the table, I think we would have done much better, and I think that was her expectation for me. And that’s just how she processed that.

So going to this challenge, you had some struggles with spelling…

I’ll tell you this because I did study child psychology, and I have a teaching degree for K through 9 in the state of Illinois. I did take the ED TPA, which was a pretty difficult task. Relatively recently, I went back to school to become a teacher.

Unfortunately, there was a period of time where I was put into a private school, and I did have a hard time focusing in class, especially when a teacher didn’t use a lot of hand movements or didn’t use a lot of visual aids. I had a fifth-grade teacher who wrote in cursive on an overhead projector and just black marker. And it was brutal to listen to her just talk at the same speed she was writing, and she wanted us all to copy the notes down verbatim. Teachers really don’t teach like that anymore. I’ll get right to the point. I was not bringing in my homework, and I’m still in fifth grade. The teacher pretty much put me in the hallway every day for most of the year. So I spent most of my fifth-grade year in the hallway staring at a locker, and I think that that really set me back with spelling. Because I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this before, but they say if you have, I think, two or three bad teachers in your primary years, that you really can’t bounce all the way back from that. And I will say I have always struggled with certain words, and spelling — and I can spell, don’t get me wrong. If I could write out and look at it, I could say, “That doesn’t look right,” and I can edit my own work. When you put me on a challenge and I’m looming or over water, I’m already kind of freaking out. Even when I’m trying to relax myself or just stay focused, when the person before me goes, and I know I’m next, it’s an intense feeling.

Yeah, T.J. Lavin always says that the trivia is deceptively hard because it’ll be easy questions, but you’re in a very high-stakes situation. Speaking of which, being yeeted from the trivia game looked especially painful. Was that worse than it looked, or did it look worse than it was?  

I mean, I used to ride motocross and supersport motorcycles and stuff. I still have a supersport motorcycle … So for me, I mean, if you’re not going to the hospital, you’re doing all right without any major medical issues. But I mean, it is pretty intense, and you don’t know exactly how to follow, and it does have a level of excitement and distraction. But I’ve got to be honest, I mean, it’s the pressure even leading up to that [which is worse]. Even when they’re doing it on buildings, and you know they’re not going to drop you all the way to the ground, it’s still pretty darn intense. It’s hard to focus.

Back row, L-R: Kefla Hare, Adam Larson, Janelle Casanave, Ace Amerson, Brad Fiorenza, Tyrie Ballard-Brown, Laurel Stucky, Leroy Garrett, Kam Williams, Derek Chavez, Steve Meinke, Tony Raines Front row, L-R: Averey Tressler, Ryan Kehoe, Brandon Nelson, Rachel Robinson, Flora Alekseyeun, Nicole Zanatta, Ayanna Mackins, Jay Mitchell, Veronica Portillo, Tina Barta, Cara Maria Sorbello, Jasmine Reynaud in The Challenge: All Stars, season 4, streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

You’ve obviously been doing this a long time, but this season, there were some folks that hadn’t been around for a long, long time. Was there anybody that surprised you this season?

Let’s see. I think Adam [Larson] did amazing. I didn’t really know his prior performances. I think he played a great game. Averey [Tressler] also played a great game. And one player that really stands out in the stadium challenge where I was paired with Laurel is Derek [Chavez]. I was looking at how fast Derek can run, and I was surprised to see how he was leading most of the rounds. And I really thought, “Wow, he’s got a lot more gas in the tank than I thought.”

Yeah, he’s been surprising fans a lot, too. Moving on, you and Ace seem to be good friends in real life. Were you surprised that he kind of kind of went back on that and voted for you?

You know what? We had a conversation beforehand, and I thought he was going to go in a different direction. So I was disappointed. He did reach out to me and try to explain the reasoning, and I understand it, but yeah, I was surprised for sure.

What about Cara Maria [Sorbello]? Were you surprised that she voted for you and also that she was rooting for Adam in the elimination?

You know, I didn’t remember hearing her rooting for Adam in the elimination. I’m not surprised. We also had a conversation; she had come to me, and we were speaking beforehand, and she made it out like she was gonna go in a different direction… I do think that as much as I can get along with her outside of the game, I don’t know how we would play in the future, but I’ve never really played a good game with her in the past. So I just feel like I’m a little disappointed.

… I guess that’s one of the things about her. She plays a pretty selfish game… and it’s not a bad strategy for a lot of people, do you know what I’m saying? But I try to keep my word or at least keep my conversations and communication clear. So I feel like there wasn’t clear communication between her and I feel like she plays the odds. And I wasn’t expecting her to do that. I was surprised, yeah.

Going into the elimination, it seemed like you had a stronger strategy than Adam. Was it as simple as you messed up one and had to restart it?

Yeah, that was not my favorite elimination, and honestly, that could have been it. I really wasn’t looking at what he was doing. I just know for me personally, it didn’t unfold very smoothly. That was a hard one. I mean, I remember watching the cast walk away. It’s always a sad feeling. And I was kind of just in shock. I thought I was coming back. I was confident going in not knowing what the game was. Then I saw the game and didn’t know how to feel anymore because I’m looking at this game like, “Okay, we train a lot for the physical attributes of this game, and then you get hit with a twist,” which is pretty common, and I didn’t adapt as well as he did.

Speaking of adaptations, if you were to return for another season, what changes would we see from you next time?

I think that I talked to other cast members about this. I think the hardest part of the game that people overlook is just being able to be in the house for extended periods of time — to travel, to have jetlag, to move into a house with so many exciting people. And then it’s everything from sleeping, keeping your diet, some form of exercise to keep you feeling like you’re on your regimen, and I think that is one of the biggest in the challenge, is just feeling like yourself three weeks in. Because you’ve got such a different environment, and there’s so much to adapt to, and then it’d be impossible to capture this side of it, but there’s a lot of downtime. And they don’t show probably 90 percent of that downtime, but that is the marathon portion of this that is hard to capture.

Speaking of downtime, I have to ask about the towel situation. I mean, were you really allergic?

Let’s go into this, okay, because what I thought — so first of all, there was nobody in the room when I got in the shower, so the room was empty. And when you when you travel to different countries, you don’t know what kind of laundry detergent [they have]. So this issue started on All Stars 2. And Janelle [Casanave] was the one that had the hypoallergenic detergent that made me actually switch my detergent permanently. I think that made it worse, to be honest. But when I got there, the first thing I noticed was the detergent.

So what I did was I started wringing out the hand towels, and I would use those to dry off, and I kind of skipped off into the shower. And then I took my shower, and when I came back in the room, there were people having a conversation, and I’m like in the skimpy towel, and I’m kinda like, “Oh crap!” And to be honest, I was shocked they used it. But I saw that, and I was like, “Oh my gosh. They used it.” And I would absolutely bring those towels out all the way… I’d run them under the water for a couple of minutes because my eyes start to swell shut when I have an allergic reaction, and I didn’t want that to happen again. So I was taking all the precautions I possibly could. And then I saw the shot and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe they use that coming back to the room.” But it was kind of silly.

The Challenge: All Stars, Wednesdays, Paramount+

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