The new season of Tropika Island Of Treasure is in full swing and after Tumi Voster and Mark-Anthony Bingham were the first to be eliminated, front-runners Melinda Bam and Kelly Gunnell (Team Coral) exited the show in what has become one of Tropika Island of Treasure’s most shocking eliminations.

Melinda and Kelly have been dominating the challenges throughout the season but after the leaderboard was cleared, their luck turned. Last week, the two received three points in a general knowledge challenge and the team couldn’t seem to pick themselves up. After being on the losing team of the human foosball challenge in last nights’ episode, Melinda and Kelly were the first team to complete and ultimately win the next puzzle challenge. But, after a tie-breaker challenge between competitors and #TeamBlue contestants Sbahle Mpisane and Nondu Mabizela, the two found themselves in the elimination challenge.

The elimination challenge saw bottom three teams Team Coral (Melinda Bam and Kelly Gunnell), Team White (Khanya Mkangisa and Mpande Buthelezi) and Team Yellow (Nay Maps and Rudi Witkowsky) test their puzzle-solving skills yet again and, shockingly, Team Coral came in last. The elimination came as a shock to the remaining contestants and is a reminder that anybody could leave at any time.

I caught up with Kelly after her shock elimination:

What surprised you most about yourself being on TIOT and the island?

TIOT8 was definitely an experience that taught me so much! An individual win is always satisfactory, but when you’re part of a team it means so much more. The competitive environments I have previously been exposed to were challenging, but there wasn’t a million rand on the line so I never had to worry about having the thickest skin. TIOT8 was a totally different ball game – it was extremely intense and emotional. I didn’t think it would affect me as much as it did. But it was so much fun.

Where do you think you could have improved?

Not being so awkward in front of the camera! Haha! Prior to being teamed up with Melinda I think I was very nervous (and uncomfortable in front of the camera). For me this was a completely different experience, I’ve never done anything remotely close to this so I maybe doubted my capabilities. But once Team Coral came together Melinda helped me find my confidence and feel more comfortable!

What was the best thing about being teamed up with your partner?

Melinda “bubbles” Bam… where do I begin?! Melinda is always positive, no matter the circumstances. Hence where “bubbles” came from, because you can’t say “bubbles” without smiling! Melinda has a very happy aura and just being in her presence lifts your spirits.

Who did you think your biggest competitor was?

I think our biggest competitors were without a doubt Team Red (FIYAH) Brendan and Lisanne!

Why should people continue to watch TIOT8 for the remainder of the season?

Well well well, I think it will only get more interesting from here on out!
As the competition progresses I can only imagine the challenges getting harder, the Slenda Twists being even more complicated and the contestants getting more fierce!

What advice do you wish someone told you before the show?

I wish someone had told me how real reality TV is. The emotions and ups and downs.
I don’t know if I could have been more prepared for such but it definitely caught me off guard how real things were. And maybe to have practiced untying knots – those were definitely the bane of existence!

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