Survivor

Despite being a strong competitor, Stephanie Valencia found herself eliminated on Survivor: Redemption Island after making the fatal error of teaming up with Russell Hantz.

In a new interview with PEOPLE, the 25-year-old waitress discusses why she chose to align with known villain Russell and stay loyal to him, plus the reason she let it all out when leaving Redemption Island. Excerpts are below –

Did you know aligning with Russell would put you on the wrong side of the numbers?
I had no idea the sheer panic that his presence brought to the other tribe mates. I didn’t understand it. I mean, I know he had this reputation, but if we had kept winning we wouldn’t have had to worry about it. Then we get to the merge and you can get rid of him if you really can’t stand him.

You could have jumped ship when you knew Russell was going down.
I didn’t want to come off fake. I didn’t want to be like, “Everything’s fine.” My feelings were hurt. He was part of my alliance and now I have to try and be two-faced with these people and say, “I’m glad we got rid of Russell! Things are better around camp.” I just couldn’t do that. I thought maybe they would respect my loyalty.

You definitely made all your feelings known when leaving Redemption Island.
I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to cry. But I couldn’t hold it back, and I was like, “Well, I’m already crying, let me say everything that’s on my mind.” I felt so much better after letting Rob know that [Zapatera] can’t be trusted. I don’t want them to succeed. When I take losses in real life, I feel like I’m a lot more graceful. But this isn’t real life – it’s a game.

A new episode of Survivor airs tonight on CBS at 8/7c during which the tribes will be merged, and someone from Redemption Island will get to return to the game! It seems like the decision by the Zapateras to chose strength over loyalty (David over Sarita) right before the merge might come back to hunt them.

TELL US – DID THE ZAPATERA TRIBE MAKE AN ERROR BY CHOOSING DAVID OVER SARITA? ROOTING FOR MATT TO COME BACK INTO THE GAME?


It was a classic case of playing too hard too soon as Survivor outcast Kristina Kell found herself ousted after being on the wrong side of the numbers early on in the game.

In a new interview with PEOPLE, Kristina, 46, slams former Federal Agent? Phillip, calling him “insane and paranoid” and explains why she thought the duel match with Matt was unfair. Excerpts are below –

How did you end up on the wrong side of the numbers so early?
Well with Andrea, Ashley and Natalie, I have 20-plus years on those girls, so that was a barrier to start with. And then Rob came in as our “hero.” Those girls were star struck by him. And I include Grant in that group of girls. They would walk down the beach together singing and holding hands. The three girls would bound after Rob like three Bo Dereks in 10. It was a ridiculous situation. So I was stuck with the older folks in the tribe.

Speaking of the older folks, you really did not get along with Phillip.
He just had this frantic, insane, mental diarrhea that would just flow from his mouth and infect everyone there. He was paranoid. One day, his underwear flew off a clothesline while it was drying and he accused everyone of trying to steal his underwear. He’s just insane and paranoid and delusional … and an idiotic blowhard.

You looked ready to collapse when you dueled with Matt.
It was tough. I was at a disadvantage. I hadn’t eaten in a day and a half; I hadn’t had water. I hadn’t slept. And then I had to go move heavy blocks around. I almost fainted a few times but my ego just wouldn’t let me faint on TV. You think they could have given me the keys and the stick, but no, they give me the heavy blocks. And they put me up against this 22-year-old Adonis who had gotten a good night’s sleep and been on the island for a few days. Matt played hard and I unfortunately lost.

And airing tonight on CBS is a new episode of Survivor during which Matt and Krista duel on Redemption Island and bond over a luxury item. While back at camp, Phillip seeks to weaken Rob’s powerful alliance. The episode airs at 8/7c.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON KRISTINA’S INTERVIEW? DO YOU THINK ROB’S ALLIANCE IS SMART FOR NOT VOTING HIM OFF?

Russell Hantz was finally voted off Surivor for the first time ever as his Zapatera tribe was able to accomplish a feat that no other tribe in the history of the show has been able to do.

In a new interview with E! News, Russell discusses being voted off, calls Boston Rob “fake” but praises his game, reveals he actually tried to form an alliance with the guys, and once again denies leaking out any Survivor spoilers. Excerpts are below –

Is Russell Hantz really a softie inside—is the villain all an act for Survivor?
When I get out there I get so in the game. I get to a point where I am focused on one thing: that’s the game. I’m able to step out of who I am and play this game. That’s why I’m so good at the game—I’m able to step out and be a different person. The difference between me and Rob is with him, that is what you see. Rob, we ain’t best of buddies and we’ll never be. I know good people, from the South mostly…I’m the guy who will give you the shirt off my back in real life. I’m the guy who will come get you at three o’clock in the morning and bail your butt out of jail. To me, what I see in Rob as a person is he’s fake, 100 percent. He is what he is on the show. Him and [Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains winner] Sandra, that’s them. That’s their personality, in real life.

What’s your opinion of how Rob is playing the game this season?
I think he’s playing excellent. I think Rob is doing a great job. He has it under control. I don’t know what happens at the end of the day, but if anybody wants to make a bet with me right now, I’ll make the bet. I know how it feels when you have control of the tribe. My tribe’s about to fall to pieces because I’m not there. Mark my words.

Why didn’t you try a different strategy this season—why you didn’t switch it up and try to ally with the men?

I did. You didn’t see that part. First I went up to Stephanie and said OK, I wanna align with you. This is what I’ma do, I’m gonna go to the guys, I’ma align with them, and I’m tell them I talked to you. I’ma tell them we have your vote so it’s gonna be four, we need another person, because Krista didn’t like me at this point. She thought she’d be conceived of that Natalie girl I’d be resentful of. So I talked to Mike and Dave, they were like high-fiving me, [saying] “Yeah man, let’s do this!” I said, “I’m telling you one thing: I talked to Stephanie. I don’t want to keep nothing from y’all, but if there’s any way possible I wanna drag her along with us, because that’s just another vote. Whenever you’re ready to get rid of her, we’ll get rid of her.” That was a lie. I wanted to keep her because she was like Parvati—she had a strategic mind like Parvati. So did Krista, but they don’t show Krista in that light. That was the best alliance I ever had. Ever. That’s how hard the game is—I still didn’t make it.

Can you comment on reports that you leaked Survivor spoilers? What is your opinion of people who leak reality show spoilers?
It sucks. The thing is, it’s easy to say it was me, because I’m the villain. Everyone’s asking me this stupid question. I don’t want to give it any credit because that’s exactly what these people want—they want credit.

You mentioned Celebrity Apprentice—are we going to see you again on TV?
I’ll be back. It might not be Survivor, but I already have something in the works—and it’s gonna be good.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON RUSSELL’S INTERVIEW? IS HE ONE OF THE BEST SURVIVOR PLAYERS? DO YOU THINK ROB HAS A GOOD CHANCE AT WINNING THE GAME?

The latest episode of Survivor did not disappoint as Russell Hantz was voted off the show for the first time ever.

It seems Russell’s Zapatera tribe members had watched the show one too many times as they were on to Russell from day one. In fact, the six-member majority alliance proceeded to throw the immunity/reward challenge last night, snapping their 2-game winning streak, just to get rid of Russell, whom they referred to as the extra fat that needed to be trimmed off.

Russell‘s ultimate demise was probably the fact that he could not get his hands on the hidden immunity idols — something that has helped him tremendously on his two previous seasons of the show.

By the time Russell realized the other 6-member alliance wanted him off the team, it was already too late to save himself though that did not stop him from trying a last minute ditch effort to sway Julie‘s vote. Julie convinced him she was on his side, but ended up staying loyal to her alliance.

The result of the tribal council was a rare three-way tie, orchestrated by ex-NFL player Steve, who is arguably the leader the six-member majority alliance of the Zapatera tribe. And despite Stephanie‘s redonkulous ramblings, the end result was a re-vote that sent Russell home.

Even better was the fact that Russell’s alliance members lied to him about Matt (“the blonde guy”) losing the Redemption Island duel to Francesca (“the black chick”). Russell was surprised to see Matt upon arriving to the Redemption Island.

This however doesn’t necessarily mark the end for Russell as he still has a chance – albeit a very very long shot – to get back into the game. Francesca on the other hand is off the show for good after losing the duel to Matt.

Meanwhile, Rob continues to rule his Ometepe tribe as well as his groupie alliance. Safe to assume Rob will not be suffering Russell’s fate anytime soon.

TELL US – WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT’S SURVIVOR & ON RUSSELL BEING VOTED OFF?

If you have yet to watch the premiere episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, please feel free to stop reading this while also heading right over to the CBS website to catch this episode. Yes, it was that good!

And for those who viewed the debut last night, you might be willing to attest that the tribal council was without a doubt the wackiest ever, and also one of the best ever.

The episode began with show host Jeff Probst introducing the returning all stars Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz to the two different tribes. Rob’s tribe seems happy and eager to have him on their team, while Russell’s tribe is willing to make do with the hand they have been dealt. Francesca makes a critical error at this point in the game when she opens up her mouth and states, “They’re troublemakers. I don’t think they’re here just to help us out.” Bad move Francesca, bad move. With those words, Francesca immediately put a target on herself.

Despite giving his Zapatera tribe a sweet speech about being a changed man, we immediately see Russell is back to his old tricks as he singles out the young Stephanie to be his new Parvati. The men in Russell’s tribe however are not so impressed and are already on to him, planning to vote him out the first chance they get.

Things take a more entertaining turn on Rob’s Ometepe tribe as his groupies… oops, most of his female tribe members seem to swoon over him, make googly eyes at him, and are eager to join his alliance. Let’s all hope Amber has nothing to worry about. One person not too willing is Kristina who immediately goes looking for an idol clue. Rob is on to Kristina, who is aware Rob is on to her and now realizes she poses a threat to Rob.

Meanwhile, “federal agent” Phillip, who for some reason has decided his saggy red briefs is the way to the $1 million prize, decides to pull the women together and let them in on a little secret. He used to be a “federal agent” yall!, as the ladies pretend to be impressed. Phillip also makes certain to put a target on his back by criticising the others and pointing out all that they are doing wrong. Francesca and Kristina both seem the most irritated with Phillip and his know-it-all condescending attitude, but the two ladies made a fatal Survivor error when they decide to form an alliance with an unstable game player. This brings their alliance to three versus Rob’s six member alliance.

This makes way for an epic tribal council as Phillip just flies off the handle for some unknown and unprovoked reason, proceeding to out his alliance while also revealing Kristina’s immunity idol. Phillip however makes certain to let us know he is not unstable, and what better way to prove that than by mispronouncing Francesca’s name a number of times. Who knew Francesca was so hard to pronounce?

Kristina takes a great risk by not using her idol and Francesca is the tribe’s first causality as she is voted off to the Redemption Island. Great episode overall. Would like to see Francesca return to the game as she appears to be a strong player. Those chances are however very slim. Pretty gutsy move by Kristina to not play her idol but her days on the tribe are numbered. She is that player who played way too hard, way too quickly. It will be interesting to see if Russell’s tribe does get rid of him quickly or allow him to make it far in the game.

Meanwhile, in other Survivor news, Russell Hantz is now denying the allegations that he leaked out Survivor spoilers for the two previous seasons he was on. “The problem is with me, I am that villain and people take shots at me. Even though it’s not really who I really am in real life. So, you know, all I can say is it’s 100 percent false. It’s hard for me to sit there and take it, but I don’t give it any credit whatsoever,” said Russell on CBS The Early Show this week.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON EPISODE ONE OF SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND? THOUGHTS ON THE CAST AND THE TRIBAL COUNCIL? SHOULD THE TRIBES VOTE OFF RUSSELL & ROB?

It seems that Russell Hantz is not only untrustworthy in the game of Survivor, but also in real life.

According to a new shocking report by the DailyBeast, Russell is responsible for leaking the accurate spoilers for the show during seasons 19 and 20, both of the seasons he appeared on.

How did this revelation come about? Well, it all began when Jim Early, a Survivor message board commenter, was able to accurately predict the order of eliminations and other spoilers for the two consecutive seasons of the show.

And while most networks simply ignore those who post spoilers, CBS took notice and decided it was best to file a lawsuit against Jim, who in turn decided to reveal the source of his information. Jim tells the DailyBeast that he started talking to Russell on the phone during which Russell would give him little details and tidbits. However, once Russell realized how much attention those teases garnered on the message boards, he decided to turn things up a notch.

“He just started coming out and telling me what happened: who was leaving, who won challenges,” Jim said. “All I had to do was pick up the phone and say ‘hello’ and I had anything I wanted.”

Jim reveals he handed CBS email spoilers he also received from Russell. It seems CBS was very pleased with all the information they got and ultimately decided to drop their lawsuit against Jim due to his “cooperation.”

As of the moment, it remains unclear if CBS will penalize Russell, who is set to appear on the upcoming season, for his actions. The DailyBeast reports the Survivor cast members’ contract clearly states contestants may not reveal “the elimination of contestants and the selection of any winner.” The penalty for doing so? “Liquidated damages” of $5 million.

As for why Jim gave up Russell as his source, Jim claims it is “because of his attitude about the whole thing,” and because Russell had tried to implicate another player.

And while Russell has yet to publicly comment on this story, he did make the following post on his facebook page recently. “If you love the game, you won’t go to spoiler sites. Like who really wants to know who wins the superbowl before you watch it play out? Don’ t be a retard, lol just watch it play out and you will like what you see.”

The new season of Survivor premieres Feb. 16.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS REVELATION? SHOULD RUSSELL BE PENALIZED BY CBS?

TMZ is reporting Survivor Nicaragua winner Judson Birza aka Fabio was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

According to law enforcement sources, cops first noticed Fabio riding a skateboard in the street, which is considered illegal. Fabio was then stopped by the cops during which they noticed he was acting strangely.

Ultimately, the cops determined he was under the influence and arrested him. TMZ adds that Fabio was also booked for an unrelated DUI warrant as well as a probation violation.

He was held on $37,000 bail. A new report by TMZ this morning states Fabio posted bail last night and was released, with a white stretch limo coming to pick him up. Nice to see he’s putting his $1 million winnings to good use.

Fabio seems to be denying the charges as he told TMZ, “Dude, this is such bulls**t … I got treated like a baby.”

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON FABIO’S ARREST?

Just a few weeks following the finale of season 21, CBS is now unveiling the cast of the all new 22nd season of Survivor: Redemption Island, which will reportedly include two former all-stars.

The battle begins this season in Nicaragua where the 18 castaways will be divided into two Tribes of nine: the Ometepe Tribe and the Zapatera Tribe. The tribes are comprised of individuals from all different backgrounds with the same ultimate goal: to be the Sole Survivor. While 16 of the contestants are new to the competition, two are former castaways who will be given another chance to compete for the million dollar prize and one last shot at redemption.

CBS has released the names of 16 out of the 18 castaways with the promise to reveal the final 2 contestants at the end of this week. It is heavily rumored that those two remaining contestants are none other than rivals Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano. Their return would definitely make for an interesting season.

As we have previously reported, this season of Survivor will be a bit different thanks to some new rules. In fact, host Jeff Probst explained the rule changes two weeks ago. The biggest change being that eliminated contestants do not leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home with the duel winner going on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will get a chance to return to the game. The other rule change is that producers will get to decide whether or not people who quit the game during the jury stage will get to stay and vote for a winner.

The new season of Survivor premieres February 16 at 8/7c on CBS. The cast photos and bios below –

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE THE CAST PHOTOS AND BIOS!

UPDATE – CBS has now confirmed that the remaining two castaways are returning vets Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz.

“Having never been awarded the title of Sole Survivor, Hantz and Mariano return to compete for the $1 million prize and one last shot at redemption,” CBS said in a statement. “They will each join a separate tribe of all new castaways at the start of the game, but it is the tribe who will ultimately decide if they will welcome the knowledge of an experienced veteran, or view these former castaways as a threat.”