'Game Changers' host Jeff Probst explains why the vote steal was non-transferable and weighs in on Cirie's big move gone wrong

By Dalton Ross
May 18, 2017 at 12:01 AM EDT
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  • CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the most recent episode of Survivor: Game Changers. Also, make sure to check out an exclusive deleted scene from the episode above, read our full episode recap, and watch PEN Fan Forum: Survivor here or on the free PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) app available on your Smart TV, mobile and web devices.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with the most pressing question first: What is the feeling when you see Aubry Bracco running full steam towards you in bear hug mode after winning an immunity challenge? And did you start to have finale flashbacks of Kissing Bandit Dawson running through your head?
JEFF PROBST: She got out of her stance quickly, had a great stride, driving her knees and using her arms very well. I was tracking her from those first steps and knew she was going to be at full speed when she collided into me. I stabilized my core while trying to act casual as she wrapped her arms around me. I give it a solid eight on the hug scale. I did not at any point oddly think of Dawson. I was actually thinking more about what she said about having a crush on Cochran. Is there a budding romance?

Let’s get into the madness of Cirie attempting to use Sarah’s vote steal. Let’s take this part first: When you came up with this twist, why NOT allow the vote steal advantage to be transferable, like an immunity idol?
After 34 seasons, one of the biggest joys and biggest challenges is trying to create a season that is familiar but different… predictable but uncertain. So we look for opportunities by tweaking things a little bit. But, we NEVER saw this one coming. Never even considered it might happen.

Give us your on-the-scene take on what was going on there with Cirie trying to play the advantage, realizing she couldn’t, Sarah taking the advantage back, and all the whispering and huddling that followed it. What stood out to you?
What stood out to me is that it is no longer unusual to have players stand up and walk over to another player and whisper in their ear! It’s now a normal part of Tribal if you are truly concerned that something has gone haywire. But it was clear that Sarah did not trust Cirie. She felt betrayed and even though Cirie was begging her to trust her, it’s a pretty big hole to dig out of when you get caught trying to use someone’s advantage in a way that appears to be against them. But I was definitely shocked when I saw the votes and realized it was Michaela that was going home. Sarah took it right back to Cirie and hit her where she lived. She took out an alliance member and Cirie’s protege. Powerful move.

Give me your take on the two folks voted out. I was very impressed with Andrea’s game this time as she took what she learned her first two times playing and clearly built on it. And Michaela is an interesting one because she was such a force last season, yet never seemed to gel with her tribemates or gain much respect out there (even in challenges) this time around.
Andrea is a big time player. She knows what she is doing. I think she is actually still underrated. She listens to her gut, doesn’t hesitate to make a 180 move, and will tell people how she feels. She’s a great example of how hard it is to win the game. You can play really well and still fall far short.

Michaela is a different situation. Nobody knew anything about her and she was playing with very experienced players. I think the lack of information put people on edge. You combine that with her fiery attitude and it’s going to be tough going. Also, because nobody had seen Michaela in her previous season, they did not realize how powerful she is in challenges and never gave her a chance. I think this group missed the boat on Michaela. She’s a very smart woman, great at challenges, and if she played again I think might put the pieces together. Cirie gave her some great advice, and that wisdom is probably the biggest takeaway for Michaela. I would invite her back in a second and would align with her just as fast.

Okay, big finale coming up next week. What can you say about it?
Hmm… let’s see… how many times have I said, “This season is called Game Changers and it lives up to the name!” Well, I’m gonna say it one more time. I promise. More game-changing moments still to come.

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