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James Clement the tenth castaway eliminated from 'Survivor: China'


By Christopher Rocchio, 11/30/2007 

The apple has been compromised.

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James Clement didn't use either of the two Hidden Immunity Idols in his possession, which ended up being a bad move as the 30-year-old grave digger from Lafayette, LA was blind-sided by those he was aligned with and became the tenth castaway eliminated from Survivor: China during last night's broadcast of the long-running CBS reality competition series.

"I have the two idols and I guess I should have played them. I am kind of disappointed in myself.  I kind of caught a feeling but I still didn't do it," explained James following his ouster, holding the two Hidden Immunity Idols in his hands as he spoke.

"Dealing with those people -- trying to hold those fruit loops together this whole damn time -- it was killing me!You can't be angry with anybody because it's a game and they played their best hand and they did what they were supposed to do. I rolled the dice too many times and I just got caught up."

Survivor: China's eleventh episode picked up immediately where the tenth episode left off -- with host Jeff Probst informing the seven remaining castaways that there was still "more business to attend to" after they had voted Michael "Frosti" Zernow out of the game during the show's ninth Tribal Council session.  Jeff dismissed Frosti's fellow jury members  -- Jean-Robert Bellande and Jaime Dugan -- and said the castaways would be competing in their next Reward Challenge at Tribal Council.

The group was relieved since they were presumably expecting another elimination. Jeff explained the rules, as he would ask a series of questions based on Chinese culture. Each time the castaway got one right, they'd score a point. First castaway to five would win Reward, where they would travel by private jet to the ancient Shaolin Temple, one of the origins of martial arts. They'll enjoy a martial arts demonstration, a hot meal and an overnight stay.  In addition, the winner would get to choose two people to take with them.

The Reward Challenge then commenced.  Everybody answered at least three of the first four questions correctly, however James; Todd Herzog, a 22-year-old flight attendant from Pleasant Grove, UT; and Peih-Gee Law, a 29-year-old jeweler from Marina Del Rey, CA, were the only ones to answer all four correctly. 

Peih-Gee was the only one who knew that receiving a red envelope in Chinese culture met cash was your gift, and she claimed Reward.  Erik Huffman, a 26-year-old musician from Nashville, TN, was Peih-Gee's first choice to accompany her to the Temple, not surprising since the two are the only original Zhan Hu tribe members remaining.  Pei-Gee then chose Denise Martin, a 40-year-old school lunch lady from Douglas, MA, to also go with her for Reward.

The next morning the merged Hae Da Fung camp was quiet as all the castaways slept, except James, who as usual was up and about doing chores.  The boat then arrived to pick-up Peih-Gee, Erik and Denise.  Denise said she had "such love" for Peih-Gee, but was also "concerned" and "very, very nervous" that she was leaving her allies back at camp, worried they'd strategize behind her back. 

Once the three left, Todd; James; Amanda Kimmel, a 23-year-old hiking guide and Miss Montana USA 2005 from Los Angeles, CA; and Courtney Yates, a 26-year-old waitress from New York, NY, were the only ones left at camp.  Todd called it a "nine-day advance sneak preview," meaning he expected the four to the Final 4.

"When Denise, Peih-Gee and Erik left for their Reward, we were all like, 'Ooh!  This is nice to have just the four of us.  It could be this way.  We could keep it this way,' said Todd. "There was no arguing."

James agreed, and said he'd like to see present company "frolic all the way to four."

"The four of us right now are in the proverbial garden of Eden. The Lord said don't bite the apple. If Eve would have listened, they would still be frolicking naked in heaven. I just want us to frolic naked as long as we can!" said James.  "So don't be tempted by Peih-Gee and Erik. Don't bite the apple!  Leave it alone!"

While Todd and James were seemingly comfortable with the Final 4, Amanda had her doubts.

"Right now I'm kind of just going along with everyone," said Amanda.  "In all reality, I don't feel comfortable going to the Final 3 with any of them. This is the time in the game that a change needs to be made. This is my chance to make something else happen the way I want it to happen."

Peih-Gee, Erik and Denise were enjoying their Reward -- however realizing her neck was on the chopping block -- Peih-Gee thought it might make sense to try and strategize as well.  She suggested that if they could convince James to vote with them, they'd have four votes and be able to "pick off Todd."  Denise knew what Peih-Gee was trying to do and just went along with it as to not ruffle any feathers.

"Peih-Gee and Erik are definitely on the outsides.  But you don't want to make enemies," said Denise.  "So I mean we're just going to have to wait and see what happens at this point."

The three then arrived at the Shaolin Temple, and Denise revealed she had been taken karate for the last eight years and was close to becoming a black belt.  The three received a kung-fu demonstration and learned some moves from some kids before Denise was asked to give her own demonstration.  She shyly obliged, and Erik was "impressed."  That night they ate dinner and slept on floor mats, which looked moderately comfortable.

The next morning there was some awful weather pounding the Hae Da Fung camp, and Amanda, Courtney, James and Todd huddled in a cave to protect themselves.

"This rain storm is hell when you are sitting in a muddy hole in a swimsuit you have been wearing for a month, crammed, hunched over like this, looking out, praying for the clouds to go away," said a sullen looking Todd.  "I am done with the rain... Done!"

The boat came back carrying Peih-Gee, Erik and Denise, and Amanda was the only one who left the cave to great them.  Peih-Gee then made the mistake of venturing into the cave and gushing about the trip to the Shaolin Temple.

"The cave is the best thing I have right now," said Courtney.  "The cave is my happy place. What I don't like is when everyone and their damn mother decide they like the cave too! Peih-Gee comes sidling up in there and I'm like, 'I'm going to kill you.' And then you want to start talking? No get out of here! No talking in the cave!"

Denise then pulled Todd aside and asked if everything was "still cool," and he assured her "of course."  Denise then revealed Peih-Gee and Erik were trying to "work" on her to become the third member of their Final 3 alliance, suggesting they blind-side Todd at the next Tribal Council.  Needless to say, Todd wasn't too pleased with the plan but Denise assured him there was nothing to it.

Erik then tried to gauge James to see if he'd be willing to align himself with the two former Zhan Hu members.  James was pretty noncommittal about the idea and told Erik to ask what the "powers of be" say -- referring to the former Fei Long tribe's five-person majority.

"There is an original group of five and a group of two," said James.  "Erik is not that smart. Why would I go from the nice happy five to the evil two? I am not going to eat that apple. They can tempt me as much as they want but I'm just not having it.... He should know that I'm really not going to flip on nobody at this point."

The next day, Amanda and Courtney decided to go for a walk together, and Amanda laid-out her plan to shift the power in the game by blind-siding James so he doesn't use one of his two Hidden Immunity Idols.

"I have a really good idea.  We get rid of James tonight," whispered Amanda to Courtney, who was skeptical at first.  Amanda was persistent.  "The thing is -- to get James out -- he can't expect it and he doesn't expect it right now... We're pretty much giving James a Top 3 spot right now! He deserves to win the $1 million!  I'd give him $1 million!  He's done the most around camp, he's been crazy-good in challenges..."

Courtney looked absolutely amazed that somebody had a strategic idea who wasn't named Todd, but agreed to go along with Amanda's plan.

"I have come up with a plan to get rid of James," said Amanda.  "He is in control right now because he has the Immunity Idols. So he definitely has to be blind-sided tonight... James keeps telling everyone, 'Stay away from the apple.  Don't eat the apple.  This is our Final 4, that's it.'  I'm not only ready to bit the apple, I'm ready to make the whole friggin pie!  All we have to do is make sure he doesn't win Immunity today."

Hae Da Fung then gathered for Survivor: China's next Immunity Challenge and Jeff explained the rules.  Each castaway would throw three Chinese stars at a series of targets, with each having a different point value: a one-point target, two-point target, three-point target and a five-point target. The three people with the highest point total at the end would move onto a sudden death round, in which they'd have one opportunity to score. The person who scores the highest in their final throw wins.

Peih-Gee went first and scored zero points, Todd scored three and Denise scored two.  Erik -- who threw left-handed -- Courtney, James and Amanda all scored six points and went to the sudden death round, where the target was moved 10-feet back.  Courtney didn't compensate for the new distance and threw her star right into the ground.  Amanda got two points, Erik bested her with three points, and James' star bounced off the target.  Erik won Immunity.

Back at camp, James was confident that since Erik won Immunity, Peih-Gee would be the next castaway booted from the competition.  What James didn't know was that Amanda's plan was continuing to develop, as she told Todd it was a good time to take control away from James.  Todd was still concerned about leaving Peih-Gee and Erik around, so Amanda said they could get rid of one of them at the next Tribal Council once James -- and his muscles and two Hidden Immunity Idols -- were out.

"I guess if there was a time to do it, it would be now," agreed Todd.

The two decided to "play up" around camp like their still ousting Peih-Gee as to not give James any idea what's going on so he wouldn't even be tempted to use one of the Hidden Immunity Idols.  Todd realized the problem was that Peih-Gee and Erik were most likely going to vote for him -- so if James did use the idol -- the person with the next highest vote total would be booted, meaning Todd would be sent packing.  Courtney and Denise were then brought on board.

Meanwhile Peih-Gee and Erik were enjoying what they assumed would be their last day together when Peih-Gee saw James' Hidden Immunity Idols hidden in the ceiling of the structure that they all sleep under.  While Peih-Gee said she was "resigned" to go home, she figured she'd do some last minute lobbying with what she believed was some new information.

Peih-Gee confronted Amanda and asked if she knew James had the two Hidden Immunity Idols.  When Amanda just stood there and stared, Peih-Gee asked if Amanda even knew the Hidden Immunity Idols existed.

"Yes," answered Amanda.  "I'm not stupid Peih-Gee."

Now feeling stupid herself, Peih-Gee had to explain how she only just came to learn about the idols and thought it might be a prudent plan to eliminate James next.

"Peih-Gee... Just slow down, okay?" Amanda told her.  "You just need to not do anything and just trust me. Act like you are going home... and just keep it like that."

Peih-Gee wasn't stupid either and understood Amanda's underlying message that James was going to be blind-sided, sharing the news with Erik.  James then had one final chat with Amanda before Tribal Council, making sure it was Peih-Gee who was being voted for.  She said yes.

"I've been the main guy trying to hold this thing together, and that's what I'm going to try and do," said James. "Tonight is pivotal.  We get past tonight, I'm good... I will have the idols there. They will be in my possession, just in case. If I get a sense that somebody is going to do something they're not supposed to do, I will play the idols. I have to."

Survivor: China's tenth Tribal Council commenced, and Frosti, Jean-Robert and Jaime entered as the first three members of the jury.  Peih-Gee told Jeff that since Zhan Hu's numbers are dwindling, it's been like "battling against a brick wall" in trying to make some headway in the competition.  James knew that Peih-Gee was "doing what she's doing" and admired her for it, but still liked his odds better because he assumed he had the majority on his side.

Peih-Gee then taunted James with Erik's Individual Immunity necklace and reminded him that she won the previous Immunity Challenge, which is why Frosti was booted.  Everybody then took a shot of explaining what Survivor trust is.

"Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer," said Todd.

"I don't trust anybody at all," said Denise.  "You never know if it's going to be you."

"It's possible [to trust somebody] if you have the same strategy, if you have the same goal," said James.  "That's the only time you can really trust somebody.  If you know that they really need you -- and you really need them -- they all bond together.  If not, you really can't trust anybody."

Jeff asked if anybody wasn't "overly concerned" it could be them going home, and Erik was the only one who raised his hand, meaning James must of at least had a twinge of doubt that he was absolutely safe.  Peih-Gee once again claimed she fully expected it was her time to go, and the seven remaining castaways cats their votes.

Before Jeff revealed the results, he gave James one last chance to play one of the idols.  When James decided not to use one of the idols, Todd's expression turned from nervous to elated.  As Jeff read the votes and it became clear James was going to be booted, he looked embarrassed. 

James voted for Peih-Gee -- who voted for Todd -- but the other five votes all went against James, who was eliminated from the competition with two Hidden Immunity Idols still in his possession.  The jury laughed as James exited the Tribal Council area.

Survivor: China's next episode will air on Thursday, December 6 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Reality TV World will not be publishing an interview with James this afternoon.  In a move that all but confirms his participation in Survivor's still-unannounced but currently-filming second all-stars edition, CBS has announced that James -- similar to what happened with Survivor: All-Stars participant Rupert Boneham in 2003 -- will not be available for post-show media interviews.  No reason was given for his unavailability.]

(Photo credit CBS)


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