Dan Rengering talks 'Survivor': Kara Kay's betrayal, his idol play and Alison Raybould's stolen vote (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/26/2018
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?!" Dan said following his Survivor ouster.
"It took the Davids two advantages and turning some Goliaths to take me out. I take a lot of pride in that. I'm pretty sure [Kara Kay] flipped her vote. It kind of hurts a little bit, but if she wants to work on the bottom of the Davids, then that's her problem, not mine."
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Dan discussed his Survivor experience and vote off. Below is a portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: At the beginning of Tribal Council, you seemed pretty confident the Goliaths were going to stick together. So why did you end up playing your idol for itself? Was it just Nick's "steal-a-vote" advantage that left you feeling uneasy or was there more to it than that?
Dan Rengering: Nick's "steal-a-vote" advantage was definitely a part of it, and then also, right before we left for Tribal, Christian said they were going to vote for me. So I was definitely fairly confident.
Honestly, I was questioning it when Nick stole Alison's vote obviously, when I was asking Kara about what to do or what she thought, but yeah, I was fairly confident they were coming after me at that point.
Reality TV World: You said at the beginning of the episode you felt taken advantage of and unappreciated, so did those feelings have anything to do with why you decided to protect yourself instead of sticking out your neck again for a supposed ally?
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Dan Rengering: No, not at that point. That was three days later and three days in Survivor is a lifetime. Things change so quickly and fast in the game, you know? So that definitely was not a part of my thought process at that point.
Reality TV World: Once Nick played his "steal-a-vote" advantage, Alison, Alec Merlino and Kara were shown whispering to each other and coming to an agreement -- but you apparently weren't a part of that. Do you think those three planned to stay "Goliath strong" heading into Tribal but then Nick's ability to vote twice ultimately changed their minds?
Dan Rengering: Man, that's a tough question! I think, I mean, watching the edit back, I definitely think Alison was thinking about keeping "Goliath strong," but I think they were on the fence. And I think Nick's "steal a vote" sealed the deal for them. That was the thing that sealed the deal for them, for sure.
Reality TV World: Yeah, since we couldn't see how Alison was going to vote, I was wondering what you thought about her personal plan heading into Tribal Council.
Dan Rengering: Watching it back, she was definitely thinking about it because she talked about it even when we were at the David camp. So it had to be a part of her thought process.
Reality TV World: It's likely though Alison probably would have voted for Angelina since Kara and Alec worked with the Davids to split their votes between yourself and Angelina.
Dan Rengering: Yes, that's a safe assumption. I was thinking the same thing, for sure.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Nick chose to steal Alison's vote instead of your own or perhaps Angelina's vote? It seemed like an odd decision given viewers were aware Alison was actually trying to work with some of the Davids and team up with them.
Dan Rengering: Well, I could see a couple of different reasons. It throws me off, for sure, because I obviously wasn't sure whether to play [my idol] for me or for her. And then it makes it harder for her to argue when they go back to camp, "Oh, I was going to stick with you guys..."
It definitely takes some power away from her, not just from being able to vote but from a strategy and social standpoint in the game. It definitely pulls from her and plays to his advantage and keeps him stronger and her weaker.
Reality TV World: Do you think Kara and Alec went behind Alison's back and warned the Davids she was considering staying Goliath strong? And maybe that's why the Davids wanted to block her vote?
Dan Rengering: That's definitely a possibility. Definitely. For sure. But do I know for sure that happened? No, not at all. But it's definitely a possibility.
Reality TV World: You were shown asking Kara if you should play your for idol for Alison at Tribal Council once her vote was taken away. Viewers couldn't make out what Kara said in reply. So how did she respond?
Dan Rengering: Yes she did, but I was still on the fence after that, to be honest. Because I wanted to take care of my people and take care of my team, and Alison was part of my people. But I came to the conclusion the Davids were really smart and they were definitely probably trying to pull a fast one, which they did.
Reality TV World: I wonder if Kara knew about the "idol nullifier" then, because she was obviously part of the plan to blindside you. It would be weird to tell you to play your idol when she was well aware votes were coming your way and she wanted you gone.
Dan Rengering: I don't know! I don't know the answer to that. Yeah, I think it [was weird] too, watching it back, for sure.
Reality TV World: You were pretty certain at the time you left the game that Kara flipped on you. Could you clarify what gave that away for you?
Dan Rengering: When all the votes on the Goliath's side weren't from Christian and Angelina and [Mike White] definitely looked the most surprised out of everybody. I picked up on that!
Reality TV World: Were you disappointed or angry with Kara when you discovered what she had been plotting? You assumed when you left the game Kara had betrayed you, but watching the season back and seeing her confessionals and whatnot, does that rub salt in your wounds?
Dan Rengering: No, not at all. We were all out there playing a game, and so people are going to do whatever they have to do to win. That's part of it, and so I can't be mad at anybody for that.
Reality TV World: What's the current status of your relationship with Kara now?
Dan Rengering: She lives on the West coast and I live on the East coast, so there was no way that [a romance] was going to work... It's pretty impossible to do. That's a really long distance.
Reality TV World: Have you maintained a friendship at least?