Alec Merlino talks 'Survivor': Losing that "excruciating" Immunity Challenge was "devastating" (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/30/2018
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 a portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: You were the first Goliath to turn on your own and then you played a game in the middle of Davids and Goliaths. Looking back, do you regret trying to work with the Davids so much -- or maybe just the opposite in that you regret sticking with the Goliaths for as long as you did?
Alec Merlino: I don't regret playing with the Davids at all. I don't regret one thing. I don't regret any of it. I stand behind everything that I did. I really just wanted to go out there and play, and the theme played such a huge part throughout the season.
We continued time and time again to see this David vs. Goliath, and it was so us against them -- "come with us" or "come play with us." So, for me, I was like, "Dude, I just want to drop the buff and play with people that I dig and that I vibe with."
I just wanted to play with personalities, and so for me, like with the "Strike Force," that was just me trying to play with personalities that I really dug, and so for them to be like, "Well, what if we have to take out another David? We don't want to do that."
And I was like, "You guys, I just really want to play with you." I was like, "Let's just let the Strike Force get to six and then we can really duke it out." So no, I don't regret playing with the Davids. I wanted to go in there and play a well-rounded, personal game and really give it my all.
I didn't want to just stick around with one alliance, the Goliaths, and ride it until we swept. That wouldn't be fun. It wouldn't have been fun for me and it wouldn't have been fun for anyone to watch. I just really wanted to go out there and get after it!
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
Reality TV World: Speaking of the "Strike Force," Christian and Nick were super close inside that alliance, calling themselves "Mason Dixon." But last night, we didn't see Nick talking to Christian at all before the Carl vote. And then Christian teamed up with Gabby and Goliaths to vote off Carl, which seemed to totally stun Nick. Do you think "Mason Dixon" fell apart?
Alec Merlino: Oh, who knows! There's a lot of stuff to this game that, like you, I don't know. I'm in contact with all these people and we all talk about it after each episode, but it goes back to my point of the game is changing so quick.
Your closest ally can become your biggest enemy in a minute. I'm not saying Christian and Nick became huge enemies, but yes, there were times when Nick was blindsided and he was like, "Wait, what just happened?!" And there were times when I was blindsided, like, "Oh my God. What?!"
The game was moving and changing so fast, it's just hard to keep up with. So for me, personally, I really don't know if Christian and Nick's alliance kind of fizzled out, I really don't.
Reality TV World: I can only imagine your reaction when Carl got voted out after you and he showed up at Ponderosa. (Laughs)
Alec Merlino: I know!! I know! I was pretty bummed, like, "Why couldn't you do this when I pitched it the first time?!" But Carl is a good dude. I was stoked. I was like, "Good thing it's you," because him and I were at Ponderosa, kicking back and drinking beers. And I was like, "Well, you got ousted right after me, so cheers!"
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that move was made? Because Carl's exit evened up the David vs. Goliath numbers again. The Davids allowed themselves to be vulnerable again.
Alec Merlino: It did! Yeah, 4-4. I guess when tribal lines were officially blurred, I wish it had been Carl before me obviously, but I think another reason that I went is perception is reality on Survivor.
So, for Carl to go home when it should've been the night I went home, people would've perceived it as, "Wow, what a great move on Alec's part. He convinced everyone to vote for him and we blindside Christian."
And so, people also considered that. Perception is reality, and how people perceive things -- when you're fighting for your life, you want to pitch it to people in a way that's, "Okay, how do I pitch it to them so it's viewed as a betterment for their game?"
So, yeah, for me to try to pitch it, it would've looked like I was the mastermind behind the whole thing and we blindsided Carl and boom, it's on my resume. I get it. I get why I went home.
Reality TV World: Survivor fans are talking about that epic Immunity Challenge showdown between Christian and yourself. After more than five hours, you just seemed to step down. Could you elaborate on what happened there, because it didn't seem like your body gave out? Maybe Christian's storytelling drove you insane and you just had to end it? (Laughs)
Alec Merlino: (Laughs) Oh my gosh. So, it was nearly six hours and it was the most exhausting, mentally draining, excruciating -- like the most pain I've ever been in in my life. It was insane. There's no emulating that in normal life. There's no way you can do it.
I encourage everyone to go step on a perch or stand against a wall with your hands behind your head and your heels on a tiny little platform and tell me how it feels after five minutes. It was insane!
But Christian just outgamed me. He's such a stud. His storytelling, about four hours in he started telling stories. It wasn't really for six hours, but my hat is off to him because he distracted his mind just by telling stories and talking to [Jeff Probst]. I was just like, "Oh my gosh."
And then I just stepped off. It was devastating. It was really weird in that moment because I don't know what was going through my mind. It was obviously one of the hardest things I've ever done. It was devastating that I lost and also that I just, like, wow, let go.
But there's a silver lining to everything. I think about that moment and I think about in my daily life now, like, "Dude, don't give up. Don't quit."
I can't say I regret it; I'm really happy for Christian because he was a beast in that challenge. And then I got voted out, and that was all Christian's doing right there. So, it was a bummer, but yeah, the challenge, I just want to be like, "Jeff, why did you put that in there, bro?!"