As the premiere episode of Spies, Lies & Allies was coming to a close, host TJ Lavin revealed all sorts of twists and turns, including that Nam Vo had to leave The Challenge.
It was a surprising moment, as Nam had been featured in the Global Activation special just days before the premiere and was also in the opening rescue mission for Season 37.
However, he was mysteriously “deactivated” later on. TJ shared that detail briefly after the eliminations went down since Nam was one of the winning competitors’ teammates. So what happened to Nam Vo, and why did he leave the Challenge?
Heads up, as this post will contain some light spoilers for Spies, Lies, & Allies Episode 1.
Nam Vo featured briefly in Spies, Lies & Allies season
On Monday, August 9, MTV aired the Spies, Lies & Allies Global Activation special to introduce the new and returning cast members to viewers. In the first half of the episode, footage showed the Americans hanging out at The Challenge house before being sent off on a mission.
Later on, the international stars showed up at the house. Most of them were rookies, except for Kyle Christie, Tula “Big T” Fazakerley, and Nam Vo.
Nam had some conversations with a few castmates including Kyle, and rookie Gabo Szabo about the game. He was nervous about what was going on and said he wished he could be as chill as Gabo at the moment.
Soon, an alarm went off at The Challenge house, and TJ Lavin popped up on a flatscreen, informing them it was time to get their partners. Nam was included in the group who left for the opening mission.
He also participated in that opening mission where he rescued Survivor star Michele Fitzgerald as his partner. Later in the episode, Michele was one of the competitors involved in the elimination, and due to a twist, she was partnered with Corey Lay. They won the Episode 1 elimination.
TJ Lavin revealed that Michele and Cory could be partners, go back to their original partners, or infiltrate and steal another partner with the win. However, TJ shared that Michele’s original partner, Nam Vo, had to leave.
In Nam’s place, they brought out a replacement, with Ed Eason from The Circle, giving Michele Ed as a choice to go back to. She opted to steal Devin Walker instead.
Rumors surface over why Nam Vo had to leave Season 37
The removal of Nam Vo randomly at the end of Season 37’s first episode was a major surprise and came with no explanation beyond TJ saying he was “deactivated.”
That left things up to speculation as far as what happened with Nam on The Challenge. As some fans may have seen, Season 37 was halted by production back in late April due to a cast member having a positive COVID-19 test.
When that happened, the cast all had to quarantine for a week or two, and then filming resumed in Croatia. However, when the filming restarted, Nam was apparently not part of the cast.
Some online speculation suggests that Nam had COVID-19 and was too sick to return. The Instagram account @jaychallenge._ regularly provides inside details and speculation about the show. A fan asked about Nam’s departure, and @jaychallenge._ gave the rumored explanation.
It’s also worth noting that rookie Berna Cambeldek revealed she had COVID-19 and was in quarantine for The Challenge. It’s possible that she and Nam both had positive tests within the same timeframe. No other cast members have revealed they had COVID-19.
From how it looks, the positive COVID-19 test arrived after the opening challenge and before the first elimination took place. So Nam left at some point between that opening mission and the first elimination. Surprisingly, no reason for him leaving was ever provided on the show, though.
It marks Nam’s second season where he had to depart without going into elimination. Nam was deactivated in Episode 12 of his rookie season, Double Agents, due to an injury.
Monsters & Critics has reached out to Nam for comment on the matter, but he has yet to reply as of this report.
The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.