Lauren Alaina Among the Early Winners on Sleeper Reality Show, ‘Beyond the Edge’
Country fans might have figured Craig Morgan would dominate Beyond the Edge, a new celebrity reality competition on CBS. But it was Lauren Alaina's team that benefitted from a poor decision from the opposition and won $4,000 for charity on Wednesday night (March 16).
The two country stars join former NFL-ers Ray Lewis and Mike Singletary, former NBA star Meta World Peace, model Paulina Porizkova, actor Jodie Sweetin and reality stars Colton Underwood and Eboni K. Williams on a Survivor-like show that has the potential to be a real sleeper hit. Quickly, viewers learned that everyone is truly vulnerable in some unique way. Well, everyone but Morgan.
The "Almost Home" hitmaker is an Army veteran who was stationed in Panama during the ousting of General Noriega in 1989. As such, he underwent special training for living in a Panamanian jungle, which is where Beyond the Edge is filmed. So, while others worried about the snakes and bugs and jaguars, Morgan smiled saved his energy.
The show works like this: Two teams compete with the winning team getting money for their charity and a perk, which during Wednesday's premiere was an island spa day. The losing team gets nothing, but no one has to go home, per se. This is the most curious part about Beyond the Edge. As of now, the celebrities seemingly get to decide when they've had enough and want to "ring the bell." Two appeared ready to do just that after the first day!
The challenge was an obstacle course that involved teamwork to move a quarter-ton crate, trek to the water, paddle to pick up a clue, trudge through a mud bog and solve a puzzle. There was also a mule involved, but frankly, the animal served no purpose. The first three sections went relatively smoothly for both the red team (captained by Sweetin of Full House fame) and the blue team (Porizkova). Williams was a real leader on the boat for her blue team, counting out a rhythm to keep her three teammates in sync.
She struggled in the mud, however. Actually, the Real Housewives of New York City cast member might still be stuck there if not for Morgan and Lewis, who pulled her free. That's not what cost the blue team though.
Their team's mistake came at a crossroads where the first team to arrive had to decide between the short route or a longer route that included a clue. Against Porizkova's advisement, they took the short way home and didn't come anywhere close to finishing their puzzle.
Meanwhile, the red team used Meta World Peace's height to pull down the clue, ran back to camp and put their puzzle together like they had the answer, which they kind of did. So, each received $4K for charities like Alaina's the Next Door and Sweetin's Girls Inc. At the end of the episode, everyone received a $2,000 bonus for charity just for surviving, so Morgan's Operation Finally Home is on the board.
Where this show strays from typical celebrity reality shows is in the tone. Everyone was very supportive throughout the first episode, which you might not expect knowing a Real Housewife and the guy who anchored the 2004 Malice at the Palace are involved. Meta World Peace was perhaps most vulnerable and compelling character of the night. It was startling to hear such a big, tough, professional athlete admit he's afraid of the dark and spending a night in the Panamanian jungle terrified him.
Meanwhile, Williams felt she was holding her team back, and both looked certain to stand and ring that bell, until Lewis and Singletary — a Hall of Fame player and former NFL coach — offered impassioned speeches about their competition's worth and how everyone has doubts about themselves. It was honest and touching — and it worked. For at least one night, no one rang the bell, and as the credits closed, the viewer was left rooting for each of these celebs to get over their respective anxieties.
While the two country singers were featured prominently throughout Ep. 1, neither one has shared their personal story at length yet. That's sure to come during Beyond the Edge, a show that may be more therapy than competition for everyone involved.