The final season of CBS’s “Survivor” ended in a surprise and somewhat controversial victory for Canadian communications executive Erika Casupanan.
Though many fans were shocked by Erika’s win, and some said the win should have gone to third-place finisher Xander Hastings, Erika’s editing for a winner was also very understated, and die-hard fans of the show know edits can lead to a skewed perspective on that what happened during the game. This was evident during and after last season’s finals when many of the season’s judges and finalists defended Erika and her game.
This was highlighted most recently when ninth-place finisher Evvie Jagoda discussed a little-known anecdote that transpired at this season’s Final Tribal Council that has not been edited. Here’s what you need to know:
One element of Erika’s game that fans and participants alike have praised is her appearance at the Final Tribal Council. Die-hard fans of the show know that all Tribal Councils, including the Final Tribal Council, last hours longer than we see on screen, making it impossible for viewers to get a full picture of how the finalists performed . Nonetheless, from the relatively brief glimpse we saw, it was clear that Erika was putting on a dominant performance, arguably the best of the three.
Apparently it was enough to convince Naseer Muttalif, who placed 10th, to change his vote for Erika at the Final Tribal Council, a change of heart he loudly announced to the rest of the cast. According to Jagoda in a recent Deep Dive interview with Rob Cesternino, while Erika may have been the favorite for the Final Tribal, she ended up getting at least one vote.
Naseer, who Evvie said didn’t get along very well with Erika during their 17 days together on Luvu and Viakana, openly announced mid-Final Tribal, “Erika, I promised you I would never choose you, but I’ll change that tonight – I’ll vote for you!”
Naseer, whom Evvie referred to as the juror “least likely to be right [Erika]’ probably planned to vote for Xander, given their close connection and Naseer’s praise of him during Final Tribal (where he told Xander he had a ‘very kind heart’ and was proud of him). However, Erika’s performance clearly influenced him.
Erika also shared the story in an EW interview shortly after the season finale. She said she went into the tribal council not believing she would get Naseer’s vote because they had a “really challenging” relationship with Luvu. However, when Naseer made his statement, she said, “I remember in the tribal council thinking, ‘Oh, I have Naseer on my side. That’s an achievement. I never thought I would get Naseer.”