'Survivor' castoff Danny McCray reveals why castaways didn't see Xander Hastings as a threat and stopped targeting him
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/14/2021
Survivorjury member Danny McCray has explained why his Viakana tribe didn't seem to view Xander Hastings as a threat and stopped targeting him.
Danny, a 33-year-old ex-NFL player from Houston, TX who currently resides in Frisco, TX, was voted out of Survivor in sixth place on a re-vote instead of Deshawn Radden on Night 23 of the game at Tribal Council during last week's penultimate Season 41 episode.
When the players cast the first round of votes at Tribal, they were split between Danny and Deshawn -- but not a single vote went to Xander, a seemingly-savvy player who also had a dangerous idol in his pocket.
But Danny admitted none of the castaways were really worried about Xander winning the game, Entertainment Weekly reported.
"If you watch the jury and you hear what people say about him, a lot of people did not respect the game that he was playing," Danny told EW of the 21-year-old app developer from Jacksonville, FL who currently resides in Chicago, IL.
"A lot of people thought that when he stepped out of the challenges that it was for show and it wasn't because he really cared. So as the game goes on, you're like, 'This guy is not an issue. Why are we worried about the idol?'"
Danny said, in fact, most of the remaining players hoped to go to the Final 3 with Xander because they assumed he'd be easy to beat.
"A lot of people want to go sit at the end with Xander so they can explain how they played a better game than he did," Danny explained.
"So it just became a non-issue, which is why I went to him and [said], 'Hey, we need to vote out [Heather Aldret].'"
Xander was apparently not even discussed as a potential voting option for the Night 23 Tribal Council.
"We never thought about voting Xander at this last Tribal Council because he's a good guy to take to the end and he can also help us beat [Ricard Foye]. So it would have worked out for us two times," Danny said.
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Ricard, a 31-year-old flight attendant from Lynnwood, WA who currently resides in Sedro-Woolley, WA, was Viakana's main target -- and everyone appeared onboard with the plan to get him out -- but then Ricard won Individual Immunity, his second personal win of the season.
"I think the only person that would have really run away with it if I was in there was Ricard," Danny said of the castaway who had orchestrated the blindside against Shantel "Shan" Smith.
"He was playing an incredible game and I've been trying to get him for the last two votes and he's been able to get away from it. So he's playing excellent."
And Danny said Xander had "been on the ropes fighting as an invisible opponent."
"So we've had him kind of sitting back, not being able to do much," Danny noted of Xander.
"Heather and [Erika Casupanan] are just now starting to show what they're able to do. So I think I had a good case for being able to explain my way to a win."
Danny would have had better luck in the game had he actually stumbled across an idol during his intense search on the island prior to his ouster.
"I'm just making myself feel a little better and saying that [the idol shown on TV] was just a little trick from the cameras and that it was an illusion and it wasn't really there," Danny admitted.
"I walked around that island almost every day to look for an idol. And I looked in that same place, because it was very obvious that something could be hidden there."
Danny insisted he had looked in that "same place so many times" and "didn't see anything."
"So maybe just that one time I was kind of brushing over it and didn't look as hard as I needed to," Danny noted. "But that was very, very unfortunate. I was hoping it was an extra vote that would have saved us."
Danny was voted out of the game over Deshawn even though Deshawn had thrown Erika under the bus for saying she may not want to go to the end with her closest ally, Heather.
However, Deshawn's move may have actually helped him get a step further in the game considering he had pissed off Erika and some of the other jury members.
Danny, who was arguably more likeable, pointed out, "I was able to step back from the game and see how many people were upset with who, and who didn't like who, how many people stabbed each other in the back."
"So if you look at the jury and you see how many people disliked Deshawn and you see how many people did not have that relationship with me," he continued, "I thought it would have been just fine for me to go with Deshawn [to the end] and be able to explain my case."
Danny told EW that he'd probably have a shot to winSurvivor had he made it to the finale, which airs Wednesday, December 15 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
"I actually think I'd do okay. It depends on who's sitting there," Danny concluded.
The castaways who will be featured in the finale are Xander, Ricard, Heather, Erika and Deshawn.
Survivorhost Jeff Probst announced after Danny's elimination that the five remaining castaways will face two Immunity Challenges, two Tribal Councils, and one fire-making tiebreaker in their next three days of competition.