Nick, a 27-year-old public defender from Williamsburg, KY, who currently resides in London, KY, walked away with the $1 million grand prize through a 7-3 jury vote over Mike, a 47-year-old filmmaker from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and previously competed on The Amazing Race.
Reality TV World: At the start of Final Tribal, Elizabeth Olson admitted the jury was undecided and open about whom to vote for. What did you think your chances were of winning going in to that Tribal, and how do you think jury questioning affected your chances? How confident did you feel leaving that session?
Nick Wilson: Yeah, so, going in, I thought, "Alright, this is fine. I just won the game," like when I won the final Immunity Challenge.
And Elizabeth said that, and I'm glad she did, because I was like, "Oh man, they're not just going to give me this victory. I've got to earn it, and I've got to fight for this win right now."
So, I'm glad she said that because it made me bring my A-game in the Final Tribal, and I felt like I did a really good job of presenting my case -- but so did Mike and Angelina. I mean, really, all three of us did a really good job at that Final Tribal Council.
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Reality TV World: Were you surprised at how many votes Mike earned or that Angelina received zero votes? Christian, for example, voted for Mike and I don't know if that was a shock to you.
Nick Wilson: I wasn't surprised to see Mike get three votes because he did play a good game, I mean, it was well deserved. But I was surprised one of those votes was from Christian; I thought he would vote for me.
And I thought Angelina could get some votes too. I really thought Dan was going to vote for her, but yeah, he voted for me. So, I'm not super shocked she didn't get any, but I did think she was going to get some.
Reality TV World: Why do you ultimately think you won the game? Do you think your Immunity Challenge run at the end of the game was a factor in the jury voting -- or maybe the fact you were the last David standing? I recall some castaways saying earlier in the season that if a David made it to the end, he or she would win automatically.
Nick Wilson: I think that's accurate. It helped to be the only David in the end, but it's an interesting question about the immunities. Because at the Final Tribal Council -- which they didn't show -- somebody on the jury asked Mike and Angelina if I didn't win those necklaces, would I still be sitting there?
And they said I would, that we had a close bond and a great alliance and they didn't plan on getting me out. But at the same time, I know Mike is a player. I was thinking, "If I don't have a necklace at Final 5, Mike would try to gun for me," just because I know how good he is at the game.
So, I'm glad I won and I didn't have to find out, but it's a really interesting prospect to think if some of them were gunning for me, I really think Angelina might have played her idol for me at Final 5.
Reality TV World: Oh wow. Well, do you think Mike's success and wealth played any role in why he didn't win more jury votes? Do you think some of the jurors based their vote on, "He doesn't need the million dollars?"
Nick Wilson: Absolutely. I think he had such a complex and strategic game that people would've voted for whom they think deserves it and played the best game.
But at the same time, when somebody is sitting there literally saying, "I don't need the money. It's not about the money. I don't even want the money," I think the jury is going to take that into account, especially when he's sitting next to somebody like me who is from Kentucky and a million dollars is a huge deal to me and could be life changing. So I did think that came into play.
Reality TV World: Whom were you hoping would win the firestarting challenge, Mike or Kara? And why? While I thought Kara might've been your better option at the time, it sounds like if you thought the jury wouldn't vote for Mike given his wealth, he might have been the better choice.
Nick Wilson: Yeah, at the time, I hoped Mike would win because I felt an allegiance to our Final 3. And also, I knew he was rich and I thought the jury might not vote for him because of that.
Looking back, I think that was a misread on my part. I think the best scenario for me would have been if I was with Kara and Angelina [in Final 3].
Reality TV World: Speaking of Angelina, why did you choose to take her to the Final 3? Did Angelina really convince you she was the weakest player left or did you already have your mind made up at the time she wouldn't receive many jury votes and therefore it was an easy decision?
Nick Wilson: I mean, I did think a lot about it that day. I don't think she convinced me. Honestly, I thought I could beat any of them! I thought I could win no matter who I was sitting next to.
And so, I kind of just wanted to make a decision that would show I was in charge and I was trying to make good decisions and something that the jury would respect. So, Angelina, I thought, was the one I thought the jury would think was smart to take to the end.
She was also the person I trusted the most at the end. So to take someone I had a relationship with and also who I thought might not get any votes, I think that was the best move.
Reality TV World: When you started climbing the ladder to get the idol Angelina had found the clue to, were you planning to give her the idol after retreiving it or were you going to try and keep it for yourself? (Laughs) Because according to Survivor's rules, the idol would have technically been yours if you touched it first, right?
Nick Wilson: According toSurvivor rules, if I went up there and grabbed it, yeah, I think it would be mine. But I had no intention of doing that. I was just going to walk up there, grab it, and hand it to her. (Laughs)
She wanted to do it herself, and so I was like, "Yeah, that's fine. No problem." We had time because we were at the Reward, so it was no problem. But yeah, I really was just going to be like, "Here's your idol."
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you weren't concerned at all about Angelina having an idol in her possession.
Nick Wilson: Yeah, I was comfortable with her having an idol, and honestly, one of my biggest mistakes was that I had an idol and everyone knew I had an idol. So, I mean, the thing with idols, I think it's just most important to know where they are. I don't have to have it as long as my ally has it. So, yeah, I was okay with Angelina having an idol.
Reality TV World: Did you really believe Angelina's goal was to go to the Final 3 with Mike and yourself, as she had said during that spaghetti Reward? She seemed to think you all had an equal shot to win because you played different games.
Nick Wilson: Yeah, I believed her, that she wanted to go to the end with me and Mike at the time. I felt like we had a Final 3 and it was a genuine one, at least as far as me and Angelina were concerned.
But I think Mike had his hands in a bunch of different pots and had a bunch of different options. But as far as me and Angelina, we were genuine and committed to us being in the Final 3.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the rest of our exclusive interview with Nick Wilson as well as more interviews with the other castaways in this season's Final 6.