Alec Merlino talks 'Survivor' and what he expected at Tribal Council (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/29/2018
Alec Merlino was voted out of Survivor: David vs. Goliath in the first of back-to-back Season 37 episodes to air Wednesday night on CBS.
Alec, a 24-year-old bartender from San Clemente, CA, became the eleventh castaway to leave the game and the fourth jury member on Night 28 through a unanimous vote of 9-1 at Tribal Council.
Alec, however, voted for Carl Boudreaux, a 41-year-old truck driver from Beaumont, TX, who currently resides in Houston, TX, because Carl appeared to be in charge of the Davids and had previously made his impressive "idol nullifier" play against Dan Rengering. Alec also accused "the godfather" of being cocky.
Alec was targeted because he was the biggest physical threat left in the game. In fact, he placed second in the Individual Immunity Challenge right before his vote-off, lasting nearly six hours in a showdown of balance and endurance against Christian Hubicki.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Alec talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the first portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: What gave you that impression other than knowing you were the Davids' target? Did someone tell you before Tribal you were definitely getting voted out?
Alec Merlino: TheSurvivor gods spoke to me when I woke up that morning. I had a gut feeling. When I woke up, I was like, "I know my name is on the chopping block."
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And then I was just scrambling all day, trying to make things happen and trying to make it work and hoping things would go my way and we could blindside Carl.
I was like, "Dude, this is such an epic time to blindside Carl, when he's least expecting it." In most people's eyes, I was a unanimous vote. I was the obvious target. They were like, "Dude, you've got to get this kid out before he starts winning everything."
And so I think this grand idea of, "Dude, we've got to get the godfather out," -- and Carl was "the godfather," so we were like, "We've got to get Carl out" -- and it all really all weighed on Christian and [Gabby Pascuzzi] and whether or not they could "cross over" and vote in my favor.
And, like, I knew before Tribal they wouldn't. [Kara Kay] and [Alison Raybould] came to me and they were shaking their heads and I was just like, "Oh man, it's my time, isn't it?" And they go, "Yeah."
So I was like, "Dangit! That's a bummer." So I told Alison and Kara, I was like, "Dude, look, just put my name down." I was like, "I get it." Because I knew no one else -- they told me, "You're going home."
And I tried to plead my case at Tribal! I was not going to give up yet. So I tried to state my case and was like, "Yo, it's anyone's game at the Immunity Challenges. There's been four different people that have won so far. It's not like I've won all four of them."
I was like, "If I won four out of four, then I would understand, but I've only won one!" So I was like, "Keep me around, I'm not a threat." I tried, but I went out swinging.
Reality TV World: Did you feel betrayed by Christian? Because he was shown telling you, in a convincing-looking way, that he wanted to keep you around so you could be a shield for him in the game given he's a big threat as well.
Alec Merlino: No, I don't feel betrayed at all. Everyone should own their game and everyone should stand by their decisions and not regret it. So I knew when Christian voted me out and didn't vote in my favor, I was like, "I get it. You have a plan in place that doesn't involve me."
So I was like, "I totally respect it, bro. To each their own." I was bummed to leave the game obviously, like, no one wants to leave the game. You want to make it as far as you can and that's what I went out there to do.
But, no, I respect Christian 100%. He was so rad and I was like, "Man, you played a good game." I think in his confessional, he had said, "It's purely for the betterment of my game."
Reality TV World: Well do you think there was more to your vote off than you just being "a challenge beast," as they called you?
Alec Merlino: Honestly, I hate talking about myself. I don't like being, like, "Oh I was charming and I was a social threat." But maybe I was a social threat, or maybe I was playing a more charming game than I thought. I really don't know.
I don't know how people perceived me out there. I don't know if it was more than the fact I was a challenge beast. I think I got closure at Tribal when Gabby said at one point, "You're just too charming!"
And then I said, "Yeah, but I'm a [shield], or something like that." And she was like, "Exactly. And look, and now you're saying this! You're [creative]." And I was like, "Alright, I get it." I was like, "Well, thank you, I'm flattered I guess."
Reality TV World: What did you make of Angelina's sudden decision to join the Davids? I know she wanted to make a statement that she could be a vicious player, but do you really think that was the best move for her game?
Alec Merlino: I mean, no one can know for sure, right? Just like in a decision to vote someone off, you'll never know. The game ofSurvivor is minute to minute, so you don't know. You can sit here and say, "What if I did this? What if I did that?" But no one is going to know.
There are millions of directions the game can go. It's insane how quick it changes. You could literally say one sentence to someone and it completely changes who they're with -- it's insane how fast the game is moving out there.
So, for Angelina to switch and go with the Davids, good on her part. Like, she saw where our loyalties lied and that we weren't with her, so good for her for being a go-getter and getting after it and aligning with people she could potentially trust, I guess. So, yeah.
Reality TV World: Since you knew you were in trouble, did you ever consider bluffing and just telling your tribemates you had a hidden Immunity Idol?
Alec Merlino: Oh my gosh, yes! But not until after I got voted out! I don't know why! And that's why I said I don't want to regret anything, because like I said, what if I bluffed? Would people have [fallen for it]?
You can never look back and regret anything in Survivor because my mind was in a certain place. It was so wrapped up in, "I need to talk to Christian and I need to have as many conversations as I can" rather than trying to figure out a plan and focusing on a fake-bluff plan.
So that didn't even really cross my mind. Is it something I could have done? Yeah, probably. Would it have worked? I don't know.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for more from our exclusive Survivor interview with Alec Merlino.