Dan Rengering talks 'Survivor': Christian Hubicki may go all the way and win it all, but Nick Wilson surprised me! (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/28/2018
Dan Rengering was eliminated from Survivor: David vs. Goliath after a dramatic Tribal Council in which two secret advantages were played as well as a hidden Immunity Idol during Wednesday night's Survivor Season 37 episode on CBS.
Dan, a 27-year-old S.W.A.T. officer from Lake Butler, FL, who currently resides in Gainesville, FL, became the tenth castaway to leave the game on Day 25 through a 6-3-2 vote at Tribal Council.
Dan had played a hidden Immunity Idol for himself; however, Carl Boudreaux played his "idol nullifier" to void the power of Dan's idol. In addition, Nick Wilson played his "steal-a-vote" advantage, stealing Alison Raybould's vote and voting twice for Dan.
"You think when you have an idol you're golden, but I just got knocked out of the game. Who would've thought that there was a doggone idol nullifier? Who's ever heard of that?! It took the Davids two advantages and turning some Goliaths to take me out. I take a lot of pride in that," Dan said following his Survivor ouster.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Dan discussed his Survivor experience and vote off. Below is the concluding portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: You said in the last episode you played your idol for the wrong person when John Hennigan went home. Just to confirm, had you known John and Angelina were both targets at the previous Tribal Council, would you have played the idol for him instead?
Dan Rengering: Oh absolutely, in a heartbeat. Because the biggest reason I played it for Angelina was because I told her I would and then because I wanted to keep our Goliath numbers strong and keep our alliance strong -- or what I thought was my alliance at that point.
Keeping John over her would have kept our alliance strong and, you know, that's my boy! So I would have loved to keep him longer.
Reality TV World: Your relationship with Angelina seemed tumultuous. You both would trash each other in confessionals (laughs) but then you both had each other's backs when it became time to vote. Was it simply about keeping the numbers or was your relationship a little deeper than that?
Dan Rengering: Yeah, I love Angelina! She's smart, she's a good person and she was a good player, but there's definitely moments when you're out there on an island and you can't talk to anybody but each other.
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It's like brothers and sisters, you know? And brothers and sisters go at it with each other; it's just a part of it.
Reality TV World: As a jury member, what criteria did you think was important when determining the winner of Survivor?
Dan Rengering: I definitely wasn't bitter at all. How I was taken out of the game was part of the game. I wanted to vote for whoever played the best game; that is what I wanted to do, no matter what.
I have a lot of respect for the game and I love the game, and I felt the winner deserved to be who played the best game overall.
Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, did you think Christian was the biggest threat remaining? And after watching the season play out on TV, do you still feel that way or do you want to give credit to someone else for playing an excellent game that maybe wasn't apparent to you while you were still in it?
Dan Rengering: So while I was still in it, Christian was definitely it. I was like, "That dude is going to go all the way and win this whole thing."
And watching it back, [Mike White] has played a really great game. Nick is playing a great game. Those three guys are playing a phenomenal game right now.
Nick surprised me. I didn't know how involved Nick was until I started watching the game. I'm a big fan of him watching the show... [I underestimated] Nick for sure. The Mason Dixon alliance, the Rockstars, I mean, that guy is killing it out there!
Reality TV World: He was also the very first target of the season I believe, but then he worked his way up.
Dan Rengering: If [Pat Cusack] wouldn't have gotten hurt, Nick probably wouldn't be in the game at this point. It's insane! He's doing so good. He turned his game completely around from those first few days, and it's awesome to watch.
Reality TV World: When you left the game, what did you predict was going to happen next? Based on the way the numbers fell after your vote-off, did you still think the Goliaths were going to come out on top?
Dan Rengering: Oh man. I mean, when I went out of the game, I was just worried about eating, to be honest, and hanging out with John. (Laughs) But I didn't know how it was going to play out, you know?
Whenever I came out, I thought Christian was going to take it all the way, for sure. That was my thing. I was like, "Christian is definitely going all the way. The numbers are even now. The game is open for everybody and anybody."
And Christian was the most strategic player. He was the smartest one. He had seen everything happen four steps ahead of everybody else. I definitely had a lot of faith in Christian.
Reality TV World: The Davids sure do have a lot of tricks up their sleeves.
Dan Rengering: I mean, they just keep pulling it off, and it's fun to watch! They just keep going.
Reality TV World: When I talked to John a week ago, he regretted not building connections and bonds with original David members because he was so set on being loyal to the Goliaths. Would you say you made that same mistake? And looking back, do you wish you had done anything else differently?
Dan Rengering: Oh, absolutely! I made surface-level connections with a lot of them. Me and Carl talked ball, me and [Davie Rickenbacker] talked nerdy things.
And me and Nick talked about how he's from Kentucky in the woods and I'm from a super small town in Florida, so we kind of connected.
But it was kind of just like me making surface-level relationships instead of having unique relationships where you can talk strategy when you build up that little bit of trust. I wish I would have done that a little bit better, for sure.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show this season?
Dan Rengering: I actually got recruited. I had a viral film of me last year in September while I was working and I got contacted by one of the casting producers, and it was game on from there.
To read the rest of Reality TV World's exclusive Survivor interview with Dan, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.