Exclusive: Alan Ball talks 'Survivor' -- I think Joe Mena was really intimidated and threatened by me
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/19/2017
Alan Ball was voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers after a tribal swap during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Alan, a 31-year-old NFL player from Detroit, MI who currently resides in Houston, TX, was voted out of his new "Levu" tribe -- which was comprised of a mix of Healers, Hustlers and Heroes -- on Day 11 of the game through a 2-2 vote instead of his personal target, Joe Mena, a 34-year-old probation officer from Bronx, NY who currently resides in Tolland, CT.
Although it was a tie vote, Joe played a hidden Immunity Idol for himself, meaning the votes against him did not count. Meanwhile, Alan's fifth tribemate and assumed ally, Devon Pinto, received a secret "advantage" from a castaway on an opposing tribe that blocked his ability to vote.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Alan talked about his Survivor experience and that shocking Tribal Council session. Below is a portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: How frustrating was it to be voted out of Survivorbecause of two twists that were totally out of your hands -- a hidden Immunity Idol and a secret advantage? (Laughs)
Alan Ball: (Laughs) I mean, there are two sides of it. I'm definitely frustrated because when you see someone like Joe with that amount of power and him being able to change the game outside of anything he did on his own power but go dig up an idol, I mean, that's definitely frustrating, especially because of who it is.
But then, looking back on it, I could walk away with kind of my head high for the simple fact there was really nothing I could do at that point. I think my fate was kind of dealt when Devon started reading that advantage and Joe pulled out that idol. I think I played the best game I could play.
I know I had a lot more to show, but at the end of the day, I played the game and if that's how I had to go, I mean, what can I do? It wasn't by a mistake I made. It was like, "Hey, somebody found an idol and somebody had an advantage that wasn't an advantage." So I guess I had to go!
Reality TV World: Going into Tribal Council, how confident were you that Devon, the swing vote, was working with Ashley and yourself? And had the three of you already decided to put three votes on Joe or was that decision made as Tribal unfolded?
Alan Ball: So we were pretty confident! I was confident and so was Ashley in the fact we had Devon on our side. And, you know, I think that's one of the things that -- even if you asked me, "What could have been done differently at Tribal?" -- I didn't do anything for the simple fact that Devon, I thought he was pretty loyal, and the fact that at least right then and there, our mission was to get rid of Joe.
So I think we were all -- no matter how he really felt about working with us or no matter what he planned to do, at that moment in time we were all on the same page in terms of what had to happen. So, I think I was confident in the fact that, "Okay, we're all here; we all have the same goal. Joe has to go."
And before we left camp, we had discussions about how the vote would go. We thought about maybe moving the votes on Desi or switching the votes up somehow. We definitely had discussions, but I think we were all to the point where Joe had to go.
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I mean, everyone was annoyed with him, he was getting on everyone's nerves, and he had to go. I think we were so far down that road, and after Tribal started going and everything ensued, it was like, "Okay, now everyone is definitely on the boat, the same boat, that Joe has to go."
Reality TV World: Did your alliance actually think an idol was going to be in play or did you prepare for that just in case?
Alan Ball: If anybody out of the three, I think Ashley had the strongest suspicion that Joe may have had an idol. And for me, you know, I may have been naive. I didn't give Joe enough credit to have the idol.
For him to do what he was doing, I just didn't -- I thought the way he was playing, that he would be the type of person to say, "I've got an idol!" And he didn't do that. And so, I've got to give him a little bit of credit for that in terms of keeping that a secret for as long as he did, especially with all the chaos that was going on.
So there was definitely talk, and like I said at camp in the water in the last episode, you know, "If they do have an idol" -- because it was in the dark -- "I'm going to be the one that goes home."
I knew Joe saw me as a threat; I knew he was kind of intimidated by me. So I knew if anything happened, if anything wasn't going to go as planned, I was going to be the one gone.
Reality TV World: Is that why you think Joe and Desi voted for you instead of Ashley? Because Joe was shown arguing that Ashley was the weakest member of the tribe and he wanted to keep strength around.
Alan Ball: You know, I think Joe was really intimidated by me. I think he really saw me as a threat. And for him, I think when that whole chaotic moment ensued at camp, it was kind of like he got a wake-up call that I wasn't just about to sit and let him talk and do everything that he wanted to do.
I feel like if you put me in a ring with somebody and they bark, I'm going to try to bark louder. That's just (laughs) who I am, and I think at that point, he kind of realized, "Okay, if I keep Alan here, I have to compete for control in this tribe."
And I think he saw me as a huge threat to how long he could last in the game if he kept me around. I think the easiest thing for him was to try to make that tribe weaker so he could be stronger. And that's what he did by getting rid of me.
Reality TV World: What do you think would've happened if Joe didn't play the idol or played it for Desi instead when the vote was 2-2? Do you think Ashley or Desi would've flipped on the re-vote or that the tribe would've drawn rocks?
Alan Ball: I honestly want to believe -- I never got the feeling from Desi that she really wanted to be under Joe, and I think she was bound by the situation that he had an idol, they were both Healers, and they were in a new tribe.
And I think for her, she was put in a situation where, "I don't want to work with him but everything has to align for me to get away from him." And that's kind of what I was getting from her.
So I would like to believe, because if we had... and we had Desi, what do we have to do to get you to write Joe's name down? So those conversations happened, and I honestly believe if it would've came down to that, she may have flipped on Joe, just because of the type of player he is. (Laughs)
But you never know. There's a chance Ashley may have flipped on me; we had a history. But I think that Desi may have flipped on Joe. I really do believe that.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for more from our exclusive Survivor interview with Alan Ball.