'Survivor' recap: Kellie Nalbandian blindsided and voted out after exciting return of 'Survivor' auction
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/16/2023
Survivor's Season 45 castaways blindsided and voted out Kellie Nalbandian at Tribal Council after the exciting Survivor auction returned during the Season 45 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.
Kellie, a 30-year-old critical care nurse from Weston, CT, who currently resides in New York, NY, was voted out of her Dakuwaqa tribe on Night 16 of Survivor through a 5-3 vote instead of Jake O'Kane, a 26-year-old attorney from Hanson, MA, who currently resides in Boston, MA, at Tribal Council.
"This one burns, I'm not going to lie. I feel like I had a lot of game left in me, and I had a bad gut feeling today; I didn't listen to it," Kellie said in her final words.
"But I did everything I could to try to set myself up in a good position, and I just was one step too slow. So credit to everybody else, and I'm honored to have had the opportunity to play Survivor."
The Survivor broadcast began on Night 14 at the Dakuwaqa camp following Nicholas "Sifu" Alsup's elimination.
Drew Basile, a 23-year-old graduate student from Birmingham, MI, who currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, was glad to be locked in with Emily Flippen, a 28-year-old investment analyst from McKinney, TX, who currently resides in Laurel, MD.
But Drew didn't like the fact they had given Bruce Perreault, a 47-year-old insurance agent from West Warwick, RI, "a symbolic victory" by letting him survive the Tribal Council. He planned to take away that victory from Bruce at the first opportunity.
Jake, for his part, regretted voting for Julie Alley, a 49-year-old estate attorney from Brentwood, TN, and he acknowledged how he needed to stop being so "reckless" in the game.
Jake told Bruce that he'd listen to him going forward, but he really didn't want to follow the herd.
"I'm sucking at Survivor right now. Hopefully I stop sucking," Jake joked in aSurvivor confessional.
Julie knew she had received votes from Kaleb Gebrewold and Jake, and she never expected Jake to vote for her. Jake apologized to Julie for having lied to her face for an entire day, and Julie determined that she could no longer trust -- or work with -- Jake.
"I think that lines have been drawn. It's kind of feeling like Old Belo vs. Old Reba now," Julie told the Survivor cameras.
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On Day 15, the girls woke up together and discussed how they had a 6-4 majority in the game.
Kendra McQuarrie, a 31-year-old bartender from Haverhill, MA, who currently resides in Steamboat Springs, CO, saw this as a potentially opportunity for "six badass women" to start taking out some guys.
Julie noted how she'd love to be a part of a women's alliance but she was still going strong with Drew and Austin Li Coon, a 26-year-old graduate student from San Jose, CA, who currently resides in Chicago, IL, whom she trusted 100 percent.
The women talked about how they needed to blindside Bruce so that he wouldn't play his hidden Immunity Idol, and Kellie couldn't wait to get rid of Bruce.
"Bruce has been trying to control not just me, but multiple other players this whole game, and you don't want to keep living with somebody who is inhibiting your gameplay," Kellie explained. "So if these girls want to help me take out that target, wonderful!"
Later that day, a boat pulled up to Dakuwaqa's camp with an unusual bench onboard.
Kendra read a script aloud informing the Survivor castaways that the Survivor auction was back.
That afternoon, the players would have a chance to bid on food items. But first, they needed money.
Scattered in the jungle were 40 bamboo tubes filled with cash.
The Survivor castaways had to search among the trees and brush for tubes, but they could only collect one at a time. Upon finding a tube, a player had to return it to the bench and drop it in his or her basket before going looking for another one.
Bruce noticeably took his time and just walked around while the other castaways searched frantically for money and ran around.
Some of the highest rollers were Emily with $500, Austin with $700, Kellie with $700, and Dee Valladares, a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Havana, Cuba, who currently resides in Miami, FL, with $900.
The Survivor auction, which hadn't been done since 2015, commenced on Day 15.
Survivor host Jeff Probst explained how there would be no advantages in the auction -- just purely food and good fun.
"We have prepared 15 items for today's auction. Only the first five [items] are guaranteed. Once we get to beyond five, between six and 15, that number will be determined by me drawing a number between six and 15 from a bag," Jeff explained.
"I'll take that number, put it [down], and I'll know what that number is -- but you won't. So if that number is nine, that means there will be nine total items."
The auction would therefore end without warning. The castaways cared because at the end of the auction, whoever had the most money left would lose his or her vote at the next Tribal Council.
The Survivor castaway with the most buying power would therefore also be facing the most risk.
Bidding would be in $20 increments. Bruce only had $80 to spend while everyone else had hundreds of dollars to spend.
Item 1 was pretzels and a cold beer, and Kendra won it with $360. Item 2 was french fries and a soft drink, and Kellie won it with $500.
Item 3 remained covered, and Emily won it with $440. Emily feared it was going to be bat soup, but it turned out to be a glass of white wine and a beautiful meat and cheese charcuterie board. Emily was overjoyed, and her fellow Survivor castaways celebrated her big victory.
Item 4 was a chocolate milkshake, and Dee spent all of her money, $900, to drink it.
Item 5 remained covered, and Katurah Topps, a 35-year-old civil rights attorney from St. Louis, MO, who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, spent all of her money, $480, to win it.
Jeff then gave Katurah a chance to trade it with a slightly smaller covered package. Katurah stuck with the original item, and inside, were two giant fish eyes.
"I like sushi, but this has gone a little extreme," Katurah admitted.
Katurah chose not to eat the fish eyes, and so the Survivor item went back up for bid. Austin paid $100 for it and dove right in, grossing everybody out.
Item 6 was also covered, and Drew paid $520 for it. Drew received a bowl of candy, but he had been hoping for carbs and calories. Drew tried to negotiate for something else, but Jeff wouldn't budge.
Item 7 was a giant slice of pepperoni pizza. Austin took the prize at $600, spending the last of his money.
At this point, five Survivor castaways were left with money, and Julie had the most money at this point.
Jeff revealed Item 8 to be a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Julie bought the Survivor dental collection for $420, using all of her money.
Item 9 was a beautiful chocolate cake. While Jake bought it for $540, which was everything he had, he got to share it with two other people. Jake selected Bruce and Julie to join him, but they had a very short amount of time to eat it.
Item 10 happened to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a margarita, and potato chips, and Kellie was all in.
The PB&J was the last item, and at this point, Bruce had the most money left. The auction was over, and so Bruce lost his vote at the next Tribal Council session. Bruce admitted the auction went horribly for him and he was now very vulnerable.
"But I have a hidden Immunity Idol to at least protect myself at the next Tribal," Bruce noted to the Survivor cameras.
After the auction, Emily explained how she liked the idea of teaming up the women conceptually; however, she had already built a solid alliance with Drew and Austin.
Thinking about her own game and what would be more likely to propel her forward, Emily warned Austin that the women were coming together to take out the men. Drew didn't think the new women's alliance would last, and so he didn't seem worried.
Drew thought this was great news because the women wanted Bruce gone, and so did the guys. Drew tried to build relationships with the other women as a result, especially Katurah, who didn't like Bruce at all.
Katurah then spoke to Drew, Austin and Julie about how she'd like to target Bruce, and the trio allowed Katurah to feel like it was her idea.
On Day 16, it became time for Survivor's next Individual Immunity Challenge.
Jeff explained that each castaway must hold onto a rope that was attached to a log containing one-third of his or her pre-game body weight. At regular intervals, a player must move one knot lower on the rope, making it even more difficult.
Once a person dropped, he or she was out of the challenge. The last person left standing would win immunity and be guaranteed a spot in the Final 9. That night, one person would be voted out and become the second member of Survivor's jury.
In addition, there was a large bag of rice up for grabs, which would easily get the castaways through to the end of the game.
"Four people need to sit out of today's challenge and give up their shot at Immunity and, in other words, be vulnerable at tonight's Tribal Council, in order to get this rice," Jeff announced.
Dee and Emily volunteered to sit out, and then Jeff incentivized the group to sit out by punching a hole into the rice bag. As rice poured out, decisions had to be made quickly. Drew volunteered to sit out, and then he was followed by Katurah.
Jeff plugged up the hole, and Austin thanked the people who had made a big sacrifice for the tribe.
Of the players who participated, Kellie was out first, and then she was followed by Kendra, Austin, Julie and finally Bruce.
Bruce won Individual Immunity, and Bruce appeared very proud of himself. Both Kendra and Katurah thought this was the worst outcome.
"No vote, he's got an idol in his pocket, and he's got an Immunity necklace on. Not a bad day to be Bruce," Kendra lamented to the Survivor cameras.
"Of course Bruce wins!... He's my ball and chain," Kellie complained.
The target then shifted onto Jake, but Emily feared Bruce may play his idol to save Jake. Kellie also worried about her safety since she appeared to be close to Bruce.
Emily planned to convince Jake that nothing was up so he wouldn't play his "Shot in the Dark." But when they asked whom he wanted to vote for, Jake could tell they were waiting for him to say a name first.
"I can tell they want me to trip up. They want me to throw someone out there, and I'm not going to play that game," Jake told the Survivor cameras.
Kellie and Emily told Jake that they needed his vote and so he shouldn't play his "Shot in the Dark," and Jake claimed he was "down." However, Jake was well aware that he was the backup option to Bruce.
Jake didn't think that anyone was discussing an alternate name, and so he frantically began searching for a hidden Immunity Idol. Katurah kept an eye on Jake, and Drew called Jake "desperate."
Jake then asked Bruce if he'd play his idol for him, and Bruce responded by saying he'd need to "gauge the room" that evening.
Drew realized putting all votes onto Jake would be risky, and so came up with a new plan. Drew pitched the idea of getting Kellie out.
"Then we can split the vote safely and flush the idol next time," Drew explained to the whole Survivorgroup.
"It's crazy how much power Kellie has," Austin added in Drew's defense. "Everybody wants to work with her."
Drew suggested Kellie would be a great option and then the whole group could return to Jake vs. Bruce next time. Drew explained how Kellie was "the brains" in her alliance with Bruce.
"Personally, I'd like Jake out," Julie announced.
Drew acknowledged that the Survivor group had a point because Jake was a loose cannon, and so everyone had a big decision to make.
At Tribal Council on Night 16, Jake had trouble gathering his thoughts and verbally expressing himself. Jake announced how if everyone was going to "dog pile" on him, the person next to the bottom was making the wrong move that night.