The former winner of Survivor: Tocantins found himself eliminated after making a crucial mistake in his game play – trusting Russell Hantz that is. In a new interview with RealityTVWorld, JT,25, speaks out on his elimination, his decision to trust Russell and not Sandra, and the things we didn’t get to see on TV.
Excerpts from JT’s interview below -
Reality TV World: Why were you so arrogantly confident that Russell could be trusted? [Rupert Boneham] even told you during last night’s episode that he must be on the Villains tribe for a reason. Didn’t you think it was possible he was playing you?
J.T.: Oh yeah, I definitely came off way more confident than I felt like I was. (laughing) There was a couple days we contemplated the plan. When it was all packed into one episode, it looks like we were really confident.
My first thought was the women alliance when they voted [Tyson Apostol] off. When I said that, Rupert brought it up at the next three challenges. They just picked up on that and started feeding that — played it up. But we were never really sure about Russell at all. When it first started, I was excited about it. But as soon as we spent one night together at our camp [after the merge], we knew we were in trouble and that I had made the wrong move.
But in doing that move, we wanted to do a couple things. We also knew that Russell may keep the idol for himself and vote Parvati out just to try to make me think that he’s one of us. That’s what I thought he would do. That was my thoughts, that he was going to think, “Okay, I’ll vote Parvati out to keep this idol. I’d be a step ahead of the game.” But in all honesty, I would have voted him out next. That was my thinking — worst-case scenario, he keeps the idol. Who cares? We’ll play along and let him vote Parvati out and that’s all we really wanted done anyway. There’s more than one angle to it.
Reality TV World: Did you ever start to believe that there might be some truth behind what Sandra had told Rupert about Russell? Because last night’s episode was a little unclear, but you still seemed confident that Russell was on your side even after Parvati willing stepped down during the Immunity Challenge.
J.T.: No. After Parvati stepped down we knew we were at the losing end of some deal we didn’t know about. That’s actually when I act like I’m stepping down, Parvati and [Danielle DiLorenzo], that got them really excited. I was in pain. I was like, “Oh no. They’re just waiting for me to get down.” So I knew I was in trouble.
Reality TV World: At that point did you believe Parvati and Russell were working together?
J.T.: No. I did not know that. I thought Parvati might even know more than what Russell knew. I thought she may even have something over him, which she did with the idol. But I didn’t expect that.
Reality TV World: What made the Heroes’ decide to target Jerri instead of Sandra and would you have gone after Danielle instead if she had not won Immunity?
J.T.: We probably would have went after Danielle. But we knew Russell wasn’t with her and we knew that we wanted him to vote Parvati. So we let it slip that we were voting Sandra, that way he would vote Sandra and we’d have an out if he wasn’t with us. That’s why I thought Parvati got tipped off by one of the girls because Russell fell right for it. But Parvati somehow knew we were voting Jerri. Nobody ever talked about Jerri.
Reality TV World: You already said you didn’t expect Parvati to do what she did last night, but did you really think there was any chance she would give it to someone else?
J.T.: We thought she might give it away because we were so obvious that we were voting Parvati that she probably wouldn’t believe it. So we knew there was a chance, but we thought Jerri would be the last person. We knew they didn’t get along.
Reality TV World: There’s been a lot of talk about whether it was fair or not for Russell to get to play the game without anyone having gotten to seen his season first. Do you think he would have had any chance of making it this far if you guys had all seen his Samoa season before Heroes vs. Villains was filmed?
J.T.: I think there’s arguments to both sides of that. I played Tocantins and had never seen any of them play and had done really well versus seeing a lot of different players, so it can be argued either way. Everyone knew when we were going out there that there was one person when we got there that would be from a season that we were not familiar with. None of us hesitated to play it. It’s all in the game. It makes it more difficult.
Reality TV World: Even if you did completely trust Russell, giving him a Hidden Immunity Idol without ever seeing Survivor: Samoa or spending one day with him in camp is an incredibly bold and risky move. Why did you consider his joining the Heroes at the merge such an important move, were you that certain you were going to have no chance to get someone else like maybe Sandra to flip?
J.T.: It didn’t ever really cross my mind that I could get one of the girls until afterwards. Once we merged, everyone was scared to talk to each other. It made it clear that they had a plan, and we were vice-versa. It was pretty set in stone. There was never anybody really wanting to trade except Sandra. It appears that. Unfortunately I never got a chance to talk to her.
TELL US- WHO’S THE BETTER PLAYER? PARVATI OR RUSSELL?