Exclusive: Andrew Savage talks 'Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/18/2015
Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance's new Orkun tribe snuffed Andrew Savage's torch during Season 31's eighth episode Wednesday night on CBS.
Savage, who previously competed on Survivor: Pearl Islands, became the eighth castaway voted out of the game and the season's second jury member. His Orkun tribe ousted him via a 9-3 vote instead of Kelley Wentworth because she unexpectedly played her hidden Immunity Idol at Tribal Council on Night 21 of the game.
Savage referred to his shocking vote-off as "stunning," and he certainly didn't mean his blindside was beautiful. In fact, he admitted his exit ripped his heart out of his chest.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Savage talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: You seemed at points disgusted by the drama Ciera Eastin created, but maybe after watching the season back so far, you understand why she threw you under the bus or no? What did you think of Ciera as a person and player in Survivor?
Andrew Savage: As a player -- and I said this during the episode -- Ciera is a very dangerous player. She's very, very good. Her social game is incredible, and she tells these lies that ring true, and it's very concerning when you're the target of those lies. And it's scary. She's a great social player on Survivor.
As a person, I will say this. I like Ciera as a person and I have nothing against. I have no ill will whatsoever. I will just say that if I'm on Survivor with my mother, there isn't any set of facts under which I would vote her out. And that's just me. Ciera voted her mom out. I totally get it, but that's Ciera and that's not me. But, you know, I like her as a person and she's a heck of a Survivor.
Reality TV World: This season is all about a second chance. But they're repeating Individual Immunity Challenges from prior seasons that some of the castaways had participated in -- or even won, like Keith Nale and Tasha Fox the one before that. In the past, a player might win a Reward Challenge, and as their prize, get to practice the Immunity Challenge ahead of time. So do you think this is unfair, that it offers players too much of an advantage? I mean, Keith almost won again last night.
Andrew Savage: Yeah, that's really interesting. I hadn't even thought of that, like, practice makes perfect, right? But I actually don't think it's unfair. When you're in the game of Survivor, we're all sleep deprived and starving and dehydrated and beaten up by the game, ravaged by the bugs, you know?
So, we're all on equal footing. If someone did a challenge in a season back and did particularly well, I don't think that's an advantage. I look at the Reward Challenge in the boat, picking up the puzzle pieces and the crates, we blew that.
They didn't even show one part of it where [Abi-Maria Gomes] jumped in the water too soon and we actually had to bring the boat back. We lost about five to six minutes in the challenge because of that. That put the nail in the coffin for us. I don't think that having any experience in challenges is a true advantage out there.
Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, whom did you assume was going to get voted out next? I know you and [Joe Anglim] wanted [Stephen Fishbach] gone, but did you think the tribe would rally to get Wentworth out?
Andrew Savage: So I (laughs) -- everything was so raw to me, Beth, when I was voted out. I thought that [Tasha Fox], [Jeremy Collins] and Joe were going to kick out Wentworth -- that they were clearly going to extract the venomous with a vengeance for my ouster. When I was heading over to Ponderosa, that's what I was thinking. That's what I was hoping!
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Reality TV World: Based on everyone's position in the game when you left, who did you think had the best shot at winning the game?
Andrew Savage: Wow. That's a difficult question because I'm on the jury now and I know how it plays out. I have to be sensitive to that. When I'm leaving Tribal and going to Ponderosa, I'm thinking that [Kimmi Kappenberg] is in a great spot, right? I mean, no one has written her name down. She's an interesting choice.
And when you go to final Tribal, there are a lot of things crossing your mind, like need. Their financial need. And Kimmi is not independently wealthy and could certainly use the money -- as many of them can. And she's likable. She's playing a good game, she blindsided [Monica Padilla]. Kimmi is in a good spot.
Reality TV World: Some viewers have criticized the show for giving you such a "hero edit," possibly because you're really good friends with host Jeff Probst. What's your reaction to that and would you agree the editing has put you in a very favorable light?
Andrew Savage: I would agree with a couple things. I agree that the editing of me -- first of all, let me say that every person who plays Survivor is never fully appreciative or 100% supportive of their edit. Everyone across the board. For my edit, I'm happy with my edit.
I'm not 100% happy with it or satisfied with it. There's a bunch of things that they showed that I wasn't happy with, but they did show what I hoped they would. So, I'm happy with my edit. We'll start with that.
And I will say this about my friendship with Jeff Probst: If anything that worked against me in Second Chance, he was incredibly -- and you don't necessarily see this -- but he was very hard on me at Tribal. You know, Tribal is an hour, and hour-and-a-half easy. You see seven minutes of it.
And [Probst] is firing these questions and extracting information, and he had it out for me a bunch of times. So, I'll also say this about Jeff. He's a consonant professional. He would never, ever cross the line of impropriety based on a friendship.
And we're not best friends. We're friends, but we're not BFFs. There is never any circumstance under which Probst would compromise his values or the ethics and the morals of the show, especially when it comes to editing.
The editors have a story to tell and that's what they're doing. And they do it well and they do it accurately. So the way they edited me, that was my second chance story, and it had nothing to do with the fact that I have a past friendship with Probst.
Reality TV World: Ciera yelled at everyone to step up their game and make moves to get off the bottom. She said in a 9-person alliance, naturally people are on the bottom. But Fishbach argued this season is different with all the swaps and what not. How do you feel about that? Do you think people were just afraid to make moves or that was their best strategic option?
Andrew Savage: So, I love your question, Beth! And I actually answered it at Tribal but it didn't make the edit. So, Ciera makes a good case, right? But the reality is, she kept saying, "Play the game, play the game, play the game!" But we were actually playing the game better than she was, because we were on the top and she was on the bottom. And it frustrated the heck out of her.
If I were her, I'd make the same pitch. I'd make the case, you know, "You guys are playing the game, but you don't want to be four, five and six. And some of you are. You might not know it, but you are. And you need to make a big move to get to the top."
It's a great pitch. But here's the reality of the situation, is we had our alliance of seven or eight, and we actually hadn't -- as a group -- stacked or ranked everyone. And so what I said to the group was, "This is our alliance. Let's take this to Day 30, and then we'll figure it out. No stacking. We're all equal."
And that was kind of the evolution of the game. It wasn't stack-ranking. It wasn't me, Jeremy, Tasha and Joe ready to top everyone else below us. Beth, it was a democracy. And so, I get Ciera's frustration, and I found it really entertaining. But she said, "Play the game!" And we were playing the game incredibly hard.
I mean, it's not easy to gain trust out there in an all-stars season and to work together to pull off blindsides like we did. And with all the tribe swaps. And so were we playing the game?! Harder than imaginable. And she was just frustrated because she was on the bottom. She was playing a good game but without respecting all the personalities and tranquilities like in our game.
Reality TV World: You could also make the argument that not separating yourself from the majority alliance at this point was simply the best strategic option at that time.
Andrew Savage: It's a smart play! Look at [Spencer Bledsoe]. Brilliant, brilliant kid. He wasn't going to upset the apple cart! He was in with us. He had the chance to swap or flip -- and it would've been a flop if he flipped to go with [Kass McQuillen] and Ciera to vote out Tasha -- but it wouldn't have been smart.
It wasn't the time to make a big move and he's super smart. He's not stupid. And that's what everyone was doing, was buying that time and playing a very good strategic game -- not the most exciting strategic game, but Ciera wanted the big moves. It would be foolish for any of us at that point to make a big move. It wasn't necessary.