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Survivor: Spencer Bledsoe weighs the cost of his Tribal Council threats to Jeremy

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Spencer Bledsoe played a really strong season of Survivor. Which is why as great as winner Jeremy Collins also played in Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance, it was a surprise to see Spencer (along with fellow finalist Tasha Fox) get completely shut out in a 10-0-0 jury vote. On a show known for cruel twists, the cruelest of all may be that the personal connections Spencer strove to make his second time playing may have actually ended up costing him in the end, at least according to one juror we spoke with.

Spencer called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) to discuss with co-host Jessica Shaw and yours truly all that went both right and wrong for him this season, explain why he stopped watching the show, answer as to whether he regrets making those threats to Jeremy at Tribal Council, and speak as to whether he will ever don a buff again.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I am sure you were doing jury math in your head constantly out there. What did you think the vote would look like before you went to that final Tribal?

SPENCER BLEDSOE: Hoo, man. Going into the final Tribal Council I thought that Kass was probably voting for Jeremy, I thought Andrew Savage could go either way. I actually bonded quite a bit with Savage. Kelly Wiglesworth, I had no idea. For Joe, I had no idea. I actually thought I had a good shot at Keith’s vote, and Kelley Wentworth I didn’t realize how mad she was. I thought I did have a shot. So basically I thought maybe a little worse than 50/50 going in against Jeremy, who was an absolute competitor as well. But I thought I had a shot. I thought Jeremy had a shot as well.

How did you feel about your chances after Jermey’s mic-drop revelation about the unborn baby boy?

Honestly, when he first said that I was just thinking, that’s amazing! I wasn’t really even calculating. Ten seconds later, I was calculating and realized that yeah, I was out of it. I knew I had lost. But you know, the thing is, Jeremy wins anyway. I think Jeremy probably beats me without that revelation. I think the jury saw him as having played the better game. It’s easy as the viewer, it’s easy looking back in hindsight and everything, but at the time I thought I had a shot, and he did too.

How about your threats to Jeremy at the Tribal Council before that where you told him you would work to turn the entire jury against him? I have no problem with saying something like that in private as an empty threat if you think it will help you stay in the game, but doing it in front of the jury was certainly risky.

Yeah, I don’t know. I think I could’ve phrased it better. I probably shouldn’t have said it in a way like I had such influence over the jury, because obviously I wouldn’t have had such influence over the jury. I probably should’ve just stuck to “I will 100 percent vote for her.” Probably just a more reserved way of saying a similar thing. But as far as morally, it was always just gameplay. So it ruffled feathers on the jury. I was just hoping it would be gameplay. I probably just got a little too emphatic with it.

We spoke to Kelley Wentworth earlier and she said you were much more arrogant in general than what we saw on TV and alienated people and burned a lot of bridges. What do you make of those comments?

[Clearly surprised] Huh. Yeah. I think I didn’t feel that way, to be honest. One thing wasn’t on TV, which I don’t know if she mentioned, is Kelley and I did bond quite a bit. We talked quite a bit about some personal things, so that betrayal was especially rough. I actually felt worse about betraying Kelley than betraying anyone else. But you’d have to talk to her more. I definitely never was trying to alienate people. I can’t think of anything where I was pushing people away. I was definitely trying to have the best situation I could with everyone.

It’s so interesting because we heard constantly from you about working hard to make personal connections to improve your game, but that may have ultimately been your downfall because like we saw with Coach on South Pacific, when you make personal connections and then betray them, people are much more hurt than if you just did it clinically and at a distance.

Yeah, how smart am I? I didn’t realize that if you get close to people and betray them, they’ll be mad. You’re right, I did. I focused on relationships, and the downside of that is people don’t feel happy with you. That doesn’t explain every vote. You don’t lose just because you betrayed people. There were absolutely jurors sitting there who looked at it objectively and thought Jeremy played the better game. With Kelley, with a couple other people, I guess I was able — and I was doing it genuinely, I wasn’t feeling it in this evil calculated way — I was able to broker with them, but I wasn’t able to overcome.

Were there any votes you thought you would get that didn’t come through?

There wasn’t a single person I thought I got their vote. I thought I had a shot at a few people’s votes. I thought maybe Joe, maybe Keith, Ciera — I had a shot at her vote. Those were three people who I think gave me a fair shot. Their questions were fair, they heard me out, and so I felt like I’d have a shot there, if maybe one of them went my way, but I wasn’t feeling confident.

We heard you tell Jeff Probst at the Reunion that you stopped watching this season at one point. Why was that?

It’s because every week was a chance to second-guess something. The vulnerability of emotion was great. I didn’t have a problem with my edit, I wasn’t upset with how I was being shown, but I was just sort of kicking myself every week. Knowing I lose, knowing how it turns out, it’s very easy to watch and be like, “You dummy, you didn’t see it coming? You had your chance to get rid of Jeremy and you didn’t do it.” And so, yeah, I think it just made more sense for me to compress all of that feeling into the last 24 hours than to watch every week and every week be like “Aagh!” I think it was just a healthy thing for me to focus on life and forget Survivor for just a couple weeks.

But that’s not easy! What did you do Wednesday nights?

My girlfriend and I usually tried to do something fun most Wednesday nights. We’d go to dinner or something. I’d just try and keep a low profile on social media. The friends who would text me a lot about the show and what was going on, I’d be like “Hey I’m not watching, no spoilers!” [Laughs] I just tried to do my best to mitigate what I would see. Of course, things would slip through the cracks, people would send me links to videos. But I did my best to stay offline, stay off social media as much as I could.

Could you see yourself playing a third time?

I could, but I don’t think I will. I made a terrible joke the last time I interviewed with you and answered this question, so I feel bad. But I’m actually telling the truth. I don’t think so.

I’ve spoken with other players who don’t want to do it again, and for many of them it’s not playing that’s unappealing, but rather having to then relive it on TV later and go through the whole process of obsessing over everyone commenting on how and what you did.

Yeah, it’s definitely harder. I think it’s overcome-able, but I’d be lying if it didn’t bother me a bit when I see people say like “How could Spencer not see that Jeremy was gonna beat him? How could he not consider voting Jeremy out?” It’s like, I’ve weighed these things out in my head, and I thought it through. I thought it through very wrong, but trust me, I thought it through. So without the ability to explain myself, I kind of just have to let go as far as what the show puts out there. So it’s hard. It’s hard going out there, it’s hard watching it. It’s a good experience in a lot of ways and I’m really glad I did it, but I think as far as what I’ve gotten out of it versus what I have left to get out of it, I feel happy with where I’m at.

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