Featuring more than 200 contestants, Season 14 of American Ninja Warrior could easily go down in history as the most brutal season yet. With ninjas as young as 15 entering the competition, the new episodes capture the trials and tribulations of the best athletes. Making the ninjas' job even harder are the new obstacles, which, as Anthony Storm, the EP of American Ninja Warrior for A. Smith & Co. Productions, exclusively told Distractify, are bound to challenge the pros and the rookies alike.
'American Ninja Warrior' Season 14 Winner Predictions: Here's who to keep an eye on.
For the shooting of the qualifier episodes, the 300+ crew behind American Ninja Warrior set up shop in San Antonio, Tex. The semi-finals were taped in the backlot of the Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles. To match the high-octane energy of the finals, the team of magic-makers once again hit the road, building a very impressive obstacle course in Las Vegas. As Anthony exclusively told Distractify, Season 14 has a few surprises in store for the viewers, including the ninja lineup.
As Anthony explained, the creators of American Ninja Warrior have a few tricks up their sleeve to make the casting a smooth and easy process. Keeping their eyes glued to local competitions, sourcing valuable information from trusted coaches, and going through heaps and heaps of audition tapes are just some of the strategies they rely on to ensure that the most relatable individuals will get the chance to step into the spotlight and showcase their talents on American Ninja Warrior.
"We do accept submissions, but for the most part the teenagers that we've brought in to compete are ones that we're familiar with from American Ninja Warrior Junior," Anthony said about how they select the youngest competitors on ANW. "American Ninja Warrior Junior has really been a great breeding ground for the big show, it's given us an opportunity to see how these kids compete on a bigger stage, [and] it's given us a chance to see them on the types of obstacles that they might have to face when they're on the big show."
Jordan Carr, Casey Rothschild, and Katie Bone are ready to shake things up on 'American Ninja Warrior.'
A handful of female contestants — we are buzzing for you, Jordan Carr — have already made the headlines after acing the obstacle courses in the qualifier rounds. As Anthony said, Season 14 marks an unmatched opportunity for female athletes who are ready to shake things up and show the male contestants how things are done on American Ninja Warrior.
"We already had our first teenage female, [Jordan Carr], hit the buzzer. There's more young women coming up later in the season that we have really high hopes for," Anthony said. "Katie Bone is an elite Olympic-level rock climber whom we expect big things out of. I would keep an eye on those two women and then a number of our returners look like they're in peak condition this year."
Katie Bone has already demonstrated freakishly good skills in Season 2 of American Ninja Warrior Junior, and, as Anthony suggested, she could come back with a vengeance in Season 14 of American Ninja Warrior. Who knows? We could be reaching the end of the reign of male athletes on American Ninja Warrior. Either way, a paradigm shift might be underway.
As Anthony suggested, Season 14 chronicles the steady rise of well-prepared, hard-working ninjas whose real strengths lie in adroitness and brain power, as opposed to body muscle. Jay Lewis, for instance, defied all expectations with his string of incredible appearances in Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior — and he is bound to up the ante in Season 14.
"I'll name a handful of our most elite athletes. Jay Lewis comes to mind who is off to a great start already this season," Anthony said. "And Jay is 5'4" and 115 pounds, and no offense to Jay, but I haven't seen the muscle on him yet, as a result, and I adore him, but Jay is an incredible athlete."
R.J. Roman and Flip Rodriguez are already reaping rewards from the strenuous training sessions they conducted together. R.J. Roman has already made it to the semi-finals, which demonstrates that he is destined to achieve great things. Anthony told Distractify that R.J. and Flip teamed up to prepare together, further proving that there is strength in numbers.
"R.J. Roman looks like he's really put in the work," Anthony said. "Flip Rodriguez is off to [a great start as well]. He and R.J. have been training together in Florida, and they look really committed to having their best seasons ever."
But who will snatch up the $1 million cash prize?
Season 14 of American Ninja Warrior concludes with five extra-demanding episodes taped in Las Vegas. Who will come out on top? There's no way of telling at this stage. Catch new episodes of American Ninja Warrior every Monday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC to find out who will win big.