Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance castaway Vytas Baskauskas talks to Reality TV World about his short-lived experience and being the first boot from the season.
Vytas, who previously competed on Survivor: Blood vs. Water, was voted out of his Ta Keo tribe during Wednesday night's premiere of Survivor's 31st edition on CBS. His tribemates sent him packing via a 6-4 vote at Tribal Council on Night 3 of the game.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Vytas dished about his mistakes, pre-game alliances and what surprised him most. Below is the first half of his interview. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: I think it's safe to say you were blindsided, that you thought the vote was going to get rid of Abi-Maria Gomes? Could you confirm that or elaborate on what really played out?
Vytas Baskauskas: I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you. I was definitely not blindsided. What kind of happened was that, you know, I knew my name was being thrown out there a lot. My whole strategy was to come in and lay low. And within about 30 minutes of hitting the beach, I got word that my name was being thrown out there.
So, it's tough because you can't really lay low. When people are gunning for you, you can't really lay back. I kind of realized that Abi was annoying people, so I just kind of started trying to rally people around Abi. And I figured I could do a lot of that -- kind of finish that up -- after the challenge if we lost the challenge.
But we went straight from the challenge to Tribal, so I knew my name was going to get thrown out there a lot, and I had wondered if I had done enough to get people behind Abi-Maria instead of me.
But I didn't, and when it was 4-4, I wasn't surprised. When we got to that point, four votes for me and four votes for Abi, I said, "Okay, here's where it's going to happen. Right here." And, you know, when I didn't get those numbers, I wasn't shocked. I was disappointed for sure. But I was definitely not blindsided.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you think the twist Jeff Probst announced of going straight from the Immunity Challenge to Tribal Council hurt you.
Vytas Baskauskas: A little bit. I think I probably should've had more foresight. I screwed myself. You can't really blame anybody but yourself. You have to know that there's going to be twists in the game. I should've known that going to a challenge at 11AM instead of 9AM meant that something different was going to happen that day.
Usually we go early in the morning to our challenges. So, it was on me, for sure, definitely not that twist. But yeah, had I had more time, I think I could have rallied more people around on the Abi vote instead of the Vytas vote.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words your tribe voted you out because they saw you as a big threat. After watching the episode back, do you still feel that way? Because it almost seemed like there was a little bit more of a personality clash than your tribemates being intimidated by you.
Vytas Baskauskas: Yeah, I don't think it was because I was a threat. I think that Kelley Wentworth never really liked me. We never really connected on the beach. It's kind of how it started with [Shirin Oskooi]. You know, Shirin hit the beach and she got her alliance and the people she had pregamed with, and she was like, "Let's get out Vytas," right off the bat.
I think that was because Shirin was intimidated by me and I think, in general, she has an issue with male authority figures, and she felt like I had power in that game. She wanted to make sure that she could get me out. And I think she did a good job of rallying the troops.
You know, not only did she kind of go at me with getting people to vote me out, but she went at me in her side interviews as well. I did think that that's fine, you know, we kind of sign up for that. People are going to go out and try to get you, and I don't really think it was so much of a personality clash.
Me and [Peih-Gee Law] really connected, me and Jeff Varner really connected, me and [Spencer Bledsoe] connected. Those people liked me even though Shirin and Wentworth didn't. But, you know, those are only two of the votes. So, you have to rally people with logic, not just like, "Hey, I don't like this person." And their logic was that, "That dude's a huge threat. We've got to get him out."
Reality TV World: Shirin pointed out to Spencer and Jeff that you had a lot of connections in the game -- old and new school -- including people on the other tribe. Could you explain where that line of thinking came from, and were you disappointed someone ended up on the opposing Bayon tribe because you saw yourself working with him or her?
Vytas Baskauskas: I mean, of course I would've loved to see if [Ciera Eastin] was on my tribe. Me and Ciera connected, but that's an obvious connection. It's tough to say who I would've liked to work with, because I mean, [Stephen Fishbach], I would've loved to work with that guy. Monica Padilla, I would've liked to work with her. Jeremy Collins. There's plenty of people I'd want to work with on the other tribe as well.
Shirin, yeah, that conversation she had about my connections, that was the first conversation she had on the beach with people. That happened about 30 minutes in. And people came back -- Varner came back and told [Terry Deitz] that, Terry came back and told me that, and I was shocked! I was kind of blown away that people were gunning for me right out of the gate.
Shirin is savvy. She's a good talker. She's a smart girl and she had that [influence] to rally the troops against me. I didn't really have connections though. That's the thing. Most people had somebody from a prior season or somebody they knew from a connection from another season. I definitely wasn't the most connected person out there.
Reality TV World: You mentioned earlier how Wentworth didn't like you. There was a little bit of an awkward exchange between you two on the beach at one point. What was the deal with that?
Vytas Baskauskas: We were meeting for the first time. I never met Kelley Wentworth and we got to the beach and I said, "Hey Kelley. Nice to meet you." And she was like, "Great. My dad's not here. Your brother's not here. We're good to go," kind of just referring to the fact we played on Blood vs. Water seasons and we were playing our own games now. I was hoping that she and I would connect.
Unfortunately, we didn't really get to talk a lot. We had a division in our tribe in that there were a lot of people who worked on our shelter and there's a lot of people who were kind of going out on the beach and going walking and strategizing. I was more of a shelter person and she was more of a beach person.
And I know the episode showed me last night trying to talk to the girls a lot. That wasn't really what I was doing that time. Most of my time was being spent in the shelter talking with Terry, Kelly Wiglesworth, [Woo Hwang]. I spent most of my time there.
Reality TV World: Just to be clear, did you have any pre-game alliances?
Vytas Baskauskas: No, well, I did. But those people didn't get on. People that I actually talked to, like on the phone or in person, were Brad Culpepper -- who I love from my season -- and [Shane Powers]. Shane and I have been friends for like 10 years. We went out to breakfast. I mean, we were just cultivating more of our friendship than a pre-game alliance.
By proxy, Shane had pregamed with Terry and Jeff Varner. So I was like, "Okay, I'll go with these guys," because Shane made them seem like trustworthy people. I had a relationship with Spencer before the game. He and I are friends. He had come and spent the night at my house one night a long time ago and we play chess all the time.
I thought that he and I had a stronger bond than we did. And I was very surprised that he kind of betrayed me like he did. But that's part of the game! No hard feelings.
Reality TV World: Yeah, the show portrayed you as wanting to flirt with and manipulate the women into working with you. I was going to ask you if you felt that strategy was a mistake, but it sounds like you think the editing made you appear a little sleazy when you weren't? (Laughs)
Vytas Baskauskas: I think it's an easy lie to create because I had a backstory in which I did that in my last season. But that was definitely not what I was trying to do out here. Even when I was showing Shirin yoga, that wasn't my idea. Shirin and I didn't talk before the season. We sent one text to each other. It was actually a Twitter direct message. I just read it last night.
I was like, "Hey! I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing with you." And she was like, "Yes, I can't wait. I need to do some yoga out there. I need to do yoga every day." And so when we got out there, she saw that me and Wiglesworth were doing yoga, so she asked Kelly, "Hey, show me some stuff."
So then Kelly was showing her some yoga stuff and then she was like, "Hey, Vytas! Why don't you show me too? Kelly was like, "Yeah, go show her some yoga!" And it wasn't even my idea.
But I was like, "Sure, I'll show you some yoga moves." And she was like, "My back hurts." So I was trying to show her some stuff that would help her with her back and posture, and it came off as marmy and creepy. And I just kind of got a laugh out of it, you know?
Like, I did those things. I didn't think they were creepy in the moment, but you can place scenes together in the context that makes it seem pretty creepy. And that's how they did it! (Laughs)
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Vytas' exclusive interview.