'Survivor' finalist Romeo Escobar insists Final 5 believed his fake Immunity Idol was real and saved him
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/06/2022
Survivorfinalist Romeo Escobar has insisted the Final 5 players of Season 42 believed his fake Immunity Idol was real and it helped to advance him in the game to the Final 4.
When only Romeo, Maryanne Oketch, Mike Turner, Jonathan Young and Lindsay Dolashewich were left in the game, Romeo announced at camp he had found a hidden Immunity Idol and planned to play it for himself at the next Tribal Council session to ensure his safety.
After Mike won Individual Immunity, Romeo knew he was vulnerable of being voted out that night, and so Romeo kept up his fake-idol story untilSurvivor host Jeff Probst announced it was time to play an idol at Tribal Council.
Romeo, a 37-year-old pageant coach from Los Angeles, CA, proceeded to throw his fake idol in the fire, but neither the finalists or the jury seemed very surprised.
When asked if he thought he had fooled anyone with his fake idol, Romeo said, "They're going to tell you no because we've had conversations and they're like, 'We knew that was fake.' No, you guys didn't," Entertainment Weeklyreported.
"And this is the proof in the pudding. Well, Lindsay will tell you. She was like, 'We thought it was real and we thought you were ballsy for not playing it before when you knew you were at the bottom.'"
Lindsay, however, toldEW in her own interview that she never bought into Romeo's alleged hidden Immunity Idol.
"I didn't buy his idol. I don't think anyone bought his idol. Like, if he was really on the block every single vote, he would've used it by now," Lindsey, who was voted out in fifth place, explained after the Survivor 42 finale aired on CBS.
"So I don't think he really got it past anybody, but there was no point in fighting him on it because, at that point, I knew no one was really going to be voting out Romeo based [on] what our assumed resumes were."
Romeo, however, feels differently about the turn of events, arguing that the Final 5 castaways thought his fake idol was real because even Mike asked to see it.
"Mike even made me show it to him. He wanted to vote me off so bad because he had this father-daughter relationship with Lindsay," Romeo claimed.
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"He wanted to vote me off so bad that he didn't want to believe that I had an idol that he forced me to show it to him."
Romeo continued in his interview with EW, "And [Mike] went, 'Well, let me see it. I just want to see it. I want to compare it to mine. Hey, let me see it. Congratulations. I want to see it.' And I'm like, 'Sure, Mike, I'll show it to you later.'"
But Romeo didn't have his fake idol prepared at that time.
"So I had to run and take the beads off of my torch and my canteen and I quickly had to make one," Romeo shared.
"I had already seen what they looked like because I had seen [Drea Wheeler's]. So I was like, 'I'm just going to make one,' and I made one. These hidden Immunity Idols weren't that impressive this season so I could make one that looked exactly like Mike's, except mine was blue, his was green."
Once Romeo made his fake idol, he showed it to Mike at camp.
"I'm like, 'Here it is Mike.' And he's like, 'Yep, that's it, that looks exactly like mine. Done deal.' So he'll tell you, 'We knew [it was fake].' No, you didn't," Romeo argued.
"Because if you knew, you wouldn't make me show it to you, and I showed it to you and that bought me an extra day. I was going to go."
Romeo was convinced the tribe was going to vote him out at Final 5 and the fake idol saved him.
"Even though they knew that I was not a threat and that I probably wasn't going to win and Lindsay was a threat, they were going to take the four of them because they felt that they deserved it more than me," Romeo claimed.
But Lindsay also disagreed with this theory, telling EW that Romeo was not the target at the Final 5 Tribal Council and his fake idol definitely didn't save him from being voted out.
"I didn't think that people were really going to think that Romeo was going to be as big of a threat as I was. Therefore, I didn't think that Romeo would be even a contender to be voted out for five," Lindsay said.
"He was already set. So him having an idol, I was like, 'Oh cool, you have an idol, but regardless, you're staying, so cool.'"
Regardless of whether Romeo made it to the Final 4 because of his fake idol or because the other castaways wanted to take him further as a goat at that point, Romeo went on to win the Final 4 Individual Immunity Challenge, which secured him a spot in the Final 3.
As the winner of that challenge, Romeo was able to choose one person to go to the Final 3 with him, and he picked Maryanne. The decision left Mike and Jonathan to compete in a firestarting challenge, which ended with Mike going to the Final 3.
"When we were at four, I was like, number one, I have to win this Immunity Challenge to make it to Final 3," Romeo recalled, still believing that he would have been the target.
"And number two was to prove to people that nobody carried me. I sat myself in one of those Final 3 seats."
At the Final Tribal Council of theSurvivor season, the jury voted to crown Maryanne the winner through a 7-1-0 vote. Romeo received zero votes, and Mike earned himself one vote from Jonathan after defeating Jonathan in fire.
Romeo apparently doesn't believe taking Maryanne to the end cost him $1 million because he doesn't believe he would have won the game against anyone in the Final 5.
Romeo said going into the Final Tribal Council and jury questioning, he already knew that he was "dead in the water."
Maryanne told EW after the Survivorfinale aired late last month on CBS that she thought whipping out her hidden Immunity Idol -- that no one else knew about -- during the jury questioning "clinched" her victory.