NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.
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MEGA IMPORTANT NOTE: Cast your vote for the best Tribal Councils ever in this year’s “Survivor” Hall of Fame.
One thing is for sure about “Survivor: San Juan del Sur.” If your name is Jon (or John), you’re leaving with an idol in your pocket.
I spoke with the latest member of the “Survivor’s” Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda Club the morning after his elimination and had a chance to ask him about broken alliances, missed idol opportunities, and his campfire renditions of our favorite Disney movie…
Gordon Holmes: I know you had a rough evening, so I wanted to do something to cheer you up. Are you ready?
Jon Misch: (Laughs) Ready.
Holmes: (Singing) Gotta keep, one jump ahead of the breadline. One swing, ahead of the sword. I steal, only what I can’t afford.
Misch: (Laughs) That’s everything!
Holmes: That’s all I’ve got for you.
Misch: You’re the man! That is awesome! (Laughs) I can’t believe everybody knows that about me now.
Holmes: Even if doesn’t end up on TV, your fellow Survivors will tell the world about your Nicaraguan “Aladdin” performances.
Misch: (Laughs) Did Jeremy say that he thought I was faking because of that?
Misch: When I was voted off, Jeremy told me that he thought when I was doing all of these skits and singing Aladdin, and Genie, he thought, “This is an act. Nobody is this goofy.” And then he said the moment he realized it was real was after the merge and Jaclyn saw me doing this and said, “He’s going to be a great father.” And Jeremy realized it was real.
Holmes: I like the idea that you’re being entertaining around camp, but then in your aside interviews you’re like, “I got all these jerks fooled.”
Misch: (Laughs) It’s all part of the game.
Holmes: So, Missy stabbed you in the back last night. Put me in your shoes when you’re so close with someone and then they send you home.
Misch: We were even closer than people could see from the show. Since the tribe swap, Missy and I talked about being in the final three together. Regardless of “Survivor,” we just talked about personal issues. We had a very close friendship out there. You probably saw how confused I was when I saw Jaclyn’s name twice. I was so oblivious to the fact that I was going to be blindsided. Then I was like, “Oh yeah. They’re splitting the votes, stooge. You have an idol.” It was a huge shock, but I can’t say I was mad at her. It was very upsetting. I preached it more than anybody else that we’re playing a game. I blindsided Jeremy. I have so much respect for him. He’s a huge role model for me. It’s part of the game.
Holmes: You and Natalie were on the original tribe together. What was your relationship like before the swap?
Misch: Before the swap, Jeremy did a good job of selling me on me, him, and Drew and Missy was going to help us out as a fourth. So, before the swap I felt very good with those four. But, I was trying very hard to talk with Kelley and Julie and Natalie, but I didn’t have a lot of success. Maybe because I was so hyper they were just like, “Get away from me. Stop doing ‘Aladdin.’” (Laughs) I didn’t really have a huge alliance with her before. Jeremy was the centerpiece.
Holmes: Everybody I’ve spoken to thinks that if Julie hadn’t quit, that Jeremy would have gone home at that Tribal. Is that the way you and Jaclyn were leaning?
Misch: It was. I was so mad when Julie quit because I had finally gotten up to the courage, and Jaclyn too, to vote out Jeremy even though he’s a friend of ours. As soon as we did that, Julie quits and we’re like, “Oh no! Please let us go to Tribal anyways!” It ended up being a huge game changer. After Exile, we decided to go another way.
Holmes: I heard that Jaclyn is now your fiancée.
Misch: She is. We were engaged October 22nd.
Holmes: Congratulations, sir.
Misch: Thank you.
Holmes: I think you two kissed more than any two Survivors ever.
Misch: (Laughs) I’ve heard that. I don’t know why… But I think they showed every single kiss.
Holmes: I don’t blame you guys, you’re both very attractive. But after 30-some days without a toothbrush, I might just go in for a fistbump.
Misch: One of the strangest things…after “Survivor” I went in for a dentist appointment. My dad’s a dentist, so I just kinda went in to get my teeth checked out. This was five days after so I’d been brushing my teeth. My gums were back to normal. They said it was the best checkup I had ever had because we weren’t having any sugar, there was nothing to cause decay or anything like that. And, I didn’t notice her having terrible breath. We both smelled like campfire.
Holmes: Is there any update on your father’s health issues that you’re comfortable sharing?
Misch: He’s still fighting.
Misch: He does chemo once a month because the type of cancer he has they have to be continual. There’s no remission for this. So, during his chemo it’s a little harder. But about a week after he’s done, he’s my normal dad. It’s great to have this time with him.
Holmes: How does he feel about his kid and his future kid-in-law running around Nicaragua?
Misch: (Laughs) He loves it. I actually did not want to go. I didn’t want to miss that time with him. We knew about the prognosis and the diagnosis and all that. But he was insistent that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and “I don’t want you holding back from that because of something that I’m going through.” He was excited before the show was on. The fact that we got to watch some episodes together made it all worth it.
Holmes: When you and Jaclyn had your tiff on the island…
Misch: (Laughs) Yeah.
Holmes: I’ve been there, my friend. I’ve never been there in the midst of a game for a million dollars. Can you say, “I know you’re mad, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry” or would that make things worse?
Misch: I was saying that. I said, “Jaclyn, you can be mad, but we need to talk about what’s going on tonight.” And…it’s very hard to stay emotionally stable when you’re starving and you’re around a group of people you can’t trust very much. I just trust people. She’s a better “Survivor” player than me. She’s wary about things. That’s why you saw her saying, “What if Natalie’s blindsiding you.” And I’m saying, “No, I’m not worried about that.” So, for her being around that group for so long was very hard. She never trusted anyone. It was a different perspective for her, that’s why I think the argument was harder on her.
Holmes: So you’re like a trusting Sultan, buddying up to Jafar and she’s more of a skeptical Princess Jasmine?
Misch: (Laughs) Yes! Definitely. That’s perfect.
Holmes: You need to share that with her later.
Misch: I definitely will.
Holmes: You guys were always in the middle. But it never really seemed like it was by design. Was staying the swing vote the plan or was this a situation where you were easily swayed?
Misch: I’m really glad you asked that. I’m good friends with Dan Gheesling, one of the winners of “Big Brother,” and he gave me a few tips. One of them was to not talk strategy with people until they bring it up. In doing that, we maintained friendships with both alliances. Our goal was to be friends with our alliance, but don’t shun the other alliance because they can be very helpful to you. Missy had a lot of people who didn’t like her on the other alliance. So did Baylor, so did Natalie. We were the only two people that played both sides. Not in that we were always talking strategy, but we maintained the relationships so they felt comfortable coming to us to talk about the game. On social media people said we were so lucky, but it’s not luck. You have to position yourself to be approachable.
Holmes: Alright, let’s do word association. We’ll start with Wes.
Misch: I’d say frat boy hunter.
Misch: That’s a hard one…genuine.
Misch: Absent minded.
Misch: Role model.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Jaclyn.
Misch: (Laughs) Love of my life.
Holmes: You’ve entered the unfortunate fraternity of people who have left the game while holding an idol.
Holmes: Does that stick with you? Are you going to be able to move on? Should we hold an intervention?
Misch: I’m dying over here, man. (Laughs) It’s hard. The thing that’s more frustrating is that they didn’t show a lot of conversations where I said I was having trouble trusting Natalie and Missy together. There were a few times leading up to that Tribal. We went back and forth about it and I said, it’s stressing me out too much. We’re going to pick one now and we’re going to go with it and keep it until the end. And at that moment, we decided we trust them because we didn’t think Missy would be swayed. If Missy wouldn’t, then Baylor wouldn’t because she just does what Missy does. It sucks to be in that group, but I don’t hate it. I made it to the final six. It was a fun game and I don’t regret anything. If I trusted someone to much, then I don’t consider that a flaw.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.