Exclusive: Alan Ball talks 'Survivor' -- Why I didn't put the target on Ashley Nolan or Devon Pinto to save my game
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/20/2017
Alan Ball was voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers after a tribal swap during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Alan, a 31-year-old NFL player from Detroit, MI who currently resides in Houston, TX, was voted out of his new "Levu" tribe -- which was comprised of a mix of Healers, Hustlers and Heroes -- on Day 11 of the game through a 2-2 vote instead of his personal target, Joe Mena, a 34-year-old probation officer from Bronx, NY who currently resides in Tolland, CT.
Although it was a tie vote in which Desi Williams voted for Alan and Ashley Nolan voted for Joe, Joe played a hidden Immunity Idol for himself, meaning the votes against him did not count.
Meanwhile, Alan's fifth tribemate and assumed ally, Devon Pinto, received a secret "advantage" from a castaway on an opposing tribe that blocked his ability to vote.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Alan talked about his Survivor experience and that shocking Tribal Council session. Below is a portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Desi wasn't happy with Joe at one point after the Immunity Challenge, and she was even crying about how a conversation he had sparked ultimately threw her under the bus. Did you ever try to pull Desi in, to work with her?
Alan Ball: I definitely did, and at one point, I believed that she was onboard. And I think what kept her offboard is that she knew Joe had the idol. For her, the safety for her game was to just stay there at least until the idol was out of his hands, because it would've made her vulnerable to him if she would've flipped on him too soon and he had that idol.
Reality TV World: Devon wasn't able to read his so-called advantage until he was sitting at Tribal Council, but did he at least share the news with you that he had an advantage of some kind prior to that moment? Or was that whole thing a shock to you once Tribal unfolded?
Alan Ball: Nothing. Nothing. And that's the thing, I was kind of caught offguard because when he started reading it, I did have a question in my mind, like, "Okay, Devon, who are you really with now? Because you didn't tell us anything about this." So when he started reading it, I'm like, "Okay? Devon, who are you really with right now?"
Because when we left Tribal and we left camp, I knew Devon was with me and Ashley, so when he started reading it, I was like, "Okay, who are you with now? Because I haven't heard anything about an advantage. I feel like you would've revealed it to us if we were really on the path to get rid of Joe."
But when he got done reading it, I was like, "Okay, he didn't even know what that advantage was!" (Laughs) So then I was more at ease with the fact he really was with us by the time he got done reading.
Reality TV World: Ashley and yourself didn't get along the best on your original Heroes tribe. So was there a part of you that wanted to turn on Ashley after the swap, or did you never even really consider that option?
Alan Ball: You know, that's something that came up, and somebody asked me what could I have done differently, and I think that was something I could have done differently.
But I think who I am and the game I was trying to play was to be loyal to the people that I was loyal to. And even though we didn't get along that well on the Heroes tribe, I felt as though I had a duty to remain loyal to the Heroes tribe for as long as I could.
And I think if I would've flipped on Ashley -- which would've been very easy to do, because Joe and Desi offered me the opportunity to get rid of Ashley -- and when we were arguing, I had the chance not to speak up for Ashley. And I took a lot of heat on my back for speaking up.
But I could've played the role where I didn't have to, but I think if I would've showed up at that next challenge without Ashley and Ashley gone, and standing next to Joe, Desi and Devon without doing all I could, that would've put question marks in [Ben Driebergen]'s eyes, that would've put question marks with [Chrissy Hofbeck], and [JP Hilsabeck] as well.
So, for me, I feel like long-term it was better for me to have Ashley get through the storms we were having after the swap as opposed to getting rid of Ashley for the simple fact I was still trying to remain loyal and build [trust] with my original tribe. So I felt as though I had to keep Ashley as close as I could to show my tribe, like, 'This is what I'm battling with.'"
Reality TV World: Was there ever a point when the tribe considered just getting rid of Devon, since he was the lone Hustler, and then duking it out between the two pairs afterward if you happened to lose another Immunity Challenge?
Alan Ball: You know, Joe offered that up early. That was one of the things Joe offered as soon as we walked on the beach; that was one of the first things he said -- "We need to get rid of Devon. We need to get rid of the swing vote and take the power from him."
And for me, at camp, it was like, "Yeah, that sounds good," but at the end of the day, that puts me in a vulnerable situation, and it puts the Heroes in a vulnerable situation because if we could continue to let the Healers stay six strong -- who are winning everything -- that's not good for us in the long run, if we get to the merge and you all stay strong.
There's six of y'all and only five of us [Heroes] remaining in the game no matter what happens to the Hustlers. So I didn't want to give them that power, thinking long-term in terms of getting rid of Devon at that point. Now, when we got to Tribal, did it cross my mind? Absolutely.
After he read his advantage, it was kind of like, "Okay, I could easily stay in this game right now if I were to just whisper to Ashley and somehow make something with Joe and Desi during this Tribal," to say, you know, "At this point, let's just eliminate Devon. He has no power here, he's not of use to us, he's not of use to you all. We could eliminate him," and like you said, "battle it out two on two and just take ourselves out. But hopefully we win so we wouldn't be back in this situation."
But again, we left camp, me and Devon talked, and I felt we were in a good place in terms of what we had to do. So, like I said, once I formed that bond and I kind of gave you my loyalty, I'm going to ride with you, and that's where I was at with Devon. So I didn't feel like I wanted to flip on him at Tribal, even though it may have saved my game!
To read the first portion of Reality TV World's exclusive Survivor interview with Alan Ball, click here. And be sure to check back with us soon for more.