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Survivor: Michaela says Jeff Probst almost let Cirie play the vote steal

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The other contestants never really gave Michaela Bradshaw a chance to play on this season of Survivor. And I mean that literally as they even forced her to sit out a challenge even though she is as fierce an athlete as there is. Regardless of the reason, Michaela never gelled with tribemates on Survivor: Game Changers, so she became expendable once Cirie failed to make a big move with Sarah’s vote steal.

But what if Cirie had been able to play it? According to Troyzan’s Twitter feed and Michaela herself, there was confusion at Tribal Council over the advantage, and host Jeff Probst almost let Cirie play it — which could have potentially changed the entire season — until Troyzan spoke up and pointed out it was non-transferable. (You can read Probst’s comments on the twist and the non-transferable nature in our weekly Q&A.) Michaela spoke about that and a lot more when she called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) to talk about her time on the island, and you can now hear the entire thing on the EW Morning Live podcast below. Here are a few highlights from our chat:

On why she was the one voted out:
“I was what they call guilty by association. Cirie was genuinely believing that Tai was a threat and wanted to protect Sarah. Why? I don’t know. So she comes up with this crazy idea that ‘I’m going to take Sarah’s advantage, steal Sarah’s vote just to vote Tai out of the game.’ And what happened was, Sarah got spooked by that because she didn’t okay that. Sarah was smart enough to give Cirie the advantage at the last minute so Cirie never actually had a chance to read it. And then when Cirie tries to play it, Sarah’s upset so of course Sarah wants to vote Cirie, but somehow the vote pushes from Cirie to me. And Troyzan, Brad, and Sarah twice vote for me and I go home.

“[As for why me] the thing is you’ve got to think about where we are on the game at this point. It’s very simple for one person to win immunities all the way to the end, right? So up to this point, the only person left in the game who has won immunities consistently is Brad, so who is a bigger threat: Cirie, who doesn’t swim, or me? And that’s kind of how it went. I don’t think Troyzan was a major decision maker. I just think everybody was running to Sarah. Sarah spooked so now Sarah wants to send Cirie home and someone said, ‘Not Cirie. Michaela.’ And that’s all I know.”

On what Sarah was whispering to Michaela at Tribal Council:
“Sarah told me to vote Tai. And that didn’t make sense to me because Sarah didn’t want to vote Tai the whole time. But the first person Sarah went to was Tai, and I believe Sarah told Tai to vote for me and he didn’t want to, which is why Sarah took Tai’s vote.”

On Troyzan’s tweets saying he was actually the one who pointed out that the vote steal was non-transferable and that “even Jeff was confused who could use the Advantage until I had him tell Cirie to re-read the clue that said NonTrans!”
“I think that Sarah said it first, ‘cause Sarah knew. And then it almost blew over. Jeff almost allowed Cirie to play it anyway. But then I think Troyzan did point out, ‘Well, non-transferable means non-transferable,’ and then Jeff said, ‘Read it again, Cirie.’ And when she read it again, it was done. So then Sarah got to take her vote back.” The game changed. Troyzan should have kept his mouth shut!”

On why the Game Changers cast did not seem to embrace her out on the island:
“I thought about that a lot and that is something that was affecting me out there — this idea of on the one hand being completely underestimated, but on the other hand, you’re considered so intimidating to people. And for most of the game, I was on the outside. At the beginning of the game, I found a couple of cool friends, and I had to rely on Sandra a lot. That was one person that really opened up to me the first half of the game. And I’m glad that she was there. And the second half of the game, that person was Cirie.

“But by and large the majority of a lot of other people, they just never gave me a chance. And it doesn’t make sense to say, ‘Oh, they didn’t see you [play],’ because Zeke wasn’t treated that way. So in my mind, I was like, maybe it’s just one of these social dynamics. Maybe there is something about me that is extremely foreign to these people. It was a very strange situation and I just couldn’t make headway with a large chunk of the people there. And even if you look back, there’s only seven people left in the game, and you rarely see certain people ever talking to me. Because they literally wouldn’t. For what reason, I do not know.

“So it was very strange. I know that I could have navigated it better, but I found myself towards the end of the game being a little resentful towards that. And just overwhelmed by the drama of it. Maybe I could have done something better to have overcome the place that I ended up falling as far as the social strata of this game.”

On whether she wants to come and play a third time:
“I don’t know. I’d love to have a million dollars, let’s just put it that way. I think from my experience on the jury, I saw a lot of returning players who were bitter about their placement and bitter about how it went. And I know that I’m happy right now that coming out of this Survivor experience I have a positive experience. And I’d love to end it on a positive note. And the only thing that would make it more positive is a million dollars. So if I could keep my mind in a place where I could do that again, really believe I have a shot at the million dollars and make the adjustment I need, then sure! But if I feel like I’m going to become a bitter Betty if it doesn’t work out all the way my way, then it’s better to end this with a happy bow.”

Listen to the entire interview above. You can also hear our Andrea interview as well as our conversations with Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) and Matt Walsh (Veep).Or subscribe on iTunes to listen on the go. Also make sure to check out our Survivor episode Q&A with Jeff Probst as well as my full recap, and for more EW Morning Live podcast news, follow us on Twitter @EWMLPodcast.

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