Exclusive: 'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' castoff Nick Maiorano talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/08/2016
Survivor: Kaoh Rong -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty's newly-merged Dara tribe voted Nick Maiorano out during Wednesday night's broadcast on CBS.
Nick, a 30-year-old personal trainer from Redondo Beach, CA, was blindsided and voted out of his tribe on Night 22 at the game's seventh Tribal Council session once the girls joined forces to get him out.
Nick, a former Beauty tribe member, became the seventh person voted out of the tribe although nine castaways have left the game overall -- two of them due to medical evacuations.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Nick talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: So clearly you were blindsided. What was going through your mind as Jeff Probst was reading the votes?
Nick Maiorano: Yeah. (Laughs) So I had seen [Debbie Wanner] write down my name. You can tell by the pen strokes, so as soon as I saw that, I was like, "Oh no! I'm in trouble." And so I knew it was coming in a sense. The reasoning was like, okay, this is the order where I'm voted out, which was a bummer. But it was fun for me to watch in the end.
Reality TV World: Jeff Probst revealed five votes for you and obviously there were only three Brains on the outs. Whom did you guess had betrayed your alliance as you were walking out of the game and therefore did watching the results of last night's Tribal surprise you?
Nick Maiorano: That's a great question. So during that Tribal, the whole time, I'm thinking, "Okay, [Kyle Jason] and [Scot Pollard] are going to be the ones voting me out" -- that they were going to be a part of this block voting me out. Because before that Tribal, when we were strategizing, [Michele Fitzgerald] told me that I was going to be the potential target.
So, going in, I thought, "Okay, it's a possibility that Scot and Jason will vote for me." And so reading the votes, I was like, "Oh my God! Scot and Jason did vote for me!" And I thought I had corrected that back on the beach.
So I didn't realize it until I got to Ponderosa -- or as I was getting to Ponderosa. I was like, "Oh my God! The girls are the ones who flipped?! They just ruined their position in the game." So I was upset that I didn't realize that it was the girls instead of Jason and Scot.
Reality TV World: Just to clarify, what exactly did you think was going to happen heading into Tribal? I assume you thought the majority would split their votes between Debbie and Aubry Bracco, with Debbie being the target? But now you're saying you didn't know where Scot and Jason stood, so that's interesting.
Nick Maiorano: Yeah, so the plan was to split the vote. We talked about -- it was the seven of us that were in the Brawn and Beauty alliance -- and I was confident of that, that we had [the plan] solidified. And I had spoken to Scot and Jason after Michele told me that I was the target. I spoke with them and thought, "Okay, they're not lying to me. They're being honest. They want to split the vote."
So I thought I had corrected the issue when the issue wasn't even there. They weren't the ones coming after me. It was [Cydney Gillon] and it was the Brains. So to see Michele and [Julia Sokolowski] flip as well, it was disappointing from a strategic standpoint, but I understand it from an emotional one.
Reality TV World: I was going to ask you a little more about your relationship with Michele out there. It seemed unclear how close you were, like whether you were truly a package deal or not.
Nick Maiorano: I thought we were as close as we could be. Obviously she felt otherwise, but I always had her back on the Beauty tribe because she would've been the first person voted out Days 1-3.
That obviously changed and they became an all-girls alliance after that, but I was always protecting her. I don't know if she picked up on it or, if she did, she didn't really appreciate it. And she shouldn't have, because I didn't come across the right way. I didn't treat her right in communicating with her.
And then on Brains, I was protecting her again because everybody wanted her out. It was frustrating for me, and I took that out on her, and I shouldn't have. So, I always thought we were close, and I think she did too. We had an alliance, but it just wasn't as tight as I thought it was.
Reality TV World: So your relationship with Michele, I'm assuming, is probably the reason why you weren't worried about an all-girls alliance forming initially. Is that right?
Nick Maiorano: Well, I wasn't worried about being voted out because strategically, the dynamic of the group didn't favor Cydney, Michele and Julia to flip at that point. I think Michele was in the right to vote me out at some point -- in case she thinks I can beat her at Final Tribal.
But yeah, I was confident because I was playing, like, a zero-sum game, which you shouldn't do because there's emotions involved in Survivor. So, yeah, that was my downfall -- being too strategic in the thought process of what everyone else was going to do and what was the best move for them.
Reality TV World: Do you have any idea why Tai Trang voted for Jason? (Laughs)
Nick Maiorano: That was funny! So here's the thing. The idea was to vote for me after that [Immunity Challenge] because Cydney was pissed off at me for blowing her spot up with the potential girls-alliance thing happening. But Michele and Julia didn't want to vote me out.
So, in their mind, they kind of knew, hey, I was going to stick by them. So they pitched it to Cydney and pitched it to the Brains -- and Tai was in that conversation -- to vote out Jason.
They were open to it! But eventually, Debbie said, 'No, [Joseph "Joe" Del Campo] is not going to remember whom to vote for, so we have to stick with Nick.' And I guess Tai didn't wind up getting that piece of information that they were going to stick with Nick, so he wound up voting for Jason.
Reality TV World: That's definitely surprising because Tai and Scot seemed incredibly close, and Jason was tied to Scot.
Nick Maiorano: Yeah, that's why it was a real bummer because it was like Scot and Tai were bonding. But there were signs of Aubry and Tai bonding while we were out there, and I kept telling Scot and Jason that, but you just don't know for sure until there's a vote. And he wound up siding with Aubry on that one!
Reality TV World: We saw Cydney blow up at you, Jason and Scot at camp because you guys were skeptical of an all-girls alliance and she caught you asking Julia about it. Did more happen that viewers didn't see? Because Cydney was livid and it seemed to come out of left field.
Nick Maiorano: Yeah, well, she didn't know what I was saying to Julia. And I explained it after the fact, like, "Hey, Tai was going to vote with you guys." Because Tai was there, we were worried about him. And obviously maybe Cydney didn't believe it, but she didn't know for a fact that we were talking about the all-girl alliance.
But Jason and I had known that Cydney and Debbie had gotten close on Brains, but I don't know if there was another reason then. Maybe she was worried I was getting too close to Scot and Jason and she was kind of on the outs, but the funny thing is, Scot and Jason were planning on blindsiding me with Cydney at the 8 spot, and I was planning on blindsiding Jason, Scot and Cydney -- with the help of Michele and Julia -- at the 9 spot.
So, I think Cydney just got a little over anxious and she didn't want to listen to Jason anymore. And she just tried to make a move before they were willing to. It was Jason's fault for not communicating with her well, and it's my fault for not communicating well with Michele.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Nick's exclusive Survivor interview.