There’s a “Survivor” theory that postulates that the first juror sets the tone for the rest of the jury.
When you’re Spencer Bledsoe and the first juror is the person many consider to be your mortal enemy, “Chaos” Kass McQuillen, that can’t be a good sign.
I spoke with “Survivor’s” “Young Lad” the morning after the “Second Chance” finale and asked him about Kass’s influence, Jeremy’s bombshell, and a mistake he made with Kelley…
Spencer Bledsoe: Did you enjoy the finale?
Gordon Holmes: Yeah, once I could do the math behind that Tribal and my head stopped spinning it was a blast.
Bledsoe: Jeff had your back with the lightboard.
Holmes: That telestrator needs some kind of branded name like the Probst Tron.
Bledsoe: We can figure something out.
Holmes: You’re the chess master. You’re thinking three moves ahead. Did you anticipate Jeremy making the clean sweep?
Bledsoe: That was my biggest fear and my biggest fear came to fruition. (Laughs) Every step of the way I thought Jeremy was playing a super strong game and could win. With seven people left I weighed it back and forth. It was a really tough decision for me. With five people left it was a tough decision. I considered going to Wentworth and Keith and saying, “Let’s vote Jeremy out.” But, I told myself I could do it at four. I obviously didn’t get that chance.
Holmes: What did you think your chances were against the jury?
Bledsoe: I thought I had a chance, but I was quite afraid of what ultimately happened. He crushed me.
Holmes: That final four Tribal really hurt you when you told Jeremy that you’d vote for Kelley to win and try to get other people to join you. What happened that got you worked up enough to make that claim?
Bledsoe: I think it was Jeremy playing the game well. I think he saw that I could only hurt myself by talking. And, he made it seem like he was up in the air more than I thought he was previously. I got up in my own head and wondered if I was being voted out. I thought, I might be hurting myself, but I’d be kicking myself more for not saying those things in the moment and then being voted out. It was time number 9,471 that I zigged when I should have zagged.
Holmes: So, you’re crediting Jeremy with shaking you up. Kelley didn’t have a hand in that?
Bledsoe: Yeah, I would say so. I knew Kelley was voting for me, so my real worry was Jeremy. Jeremy was the one considering making it a tie. Kelley deserves a lot of credit for playing a great game, but in that instance Jeremy got me to shoot myself in the foot.
Holmes: In “Redemption Island,” Boston Rob had that no cross-alliance buddying up method. Whereas you guys have Kelley and Jeremy chilling out in a hammock. That would drive me insane.
Bledsoe: Oh yeah. We did talk about that. That was probably the only time Jeremy was off talking with someone, that and the awesome moment where he was trying to get Keith Nale’s attention. Those were the only times the he really talked to them. We did stick together, we didn’t want to make each other paranoid. We didn’t have BR rules in place, but kudos to Jeremy for getting those conversations in and getting Keith’s attention, which was awesome.
Holmes: It only took him half an hour, so it was worth it.
Bledsoe: (Laughs) That was the best moment in the green room. You’ve gotta love Keith Nale.
Holmes: There’s a lot of talk about the first juror setting the tone for the jury. In this case it was your buddy Kass. Did that worry you?
Bledsoe: At the time I wasn’t sure. Kass and I had a long, heartfelt talk on the beach when we first swapped. I apologized for a lot of what happened in Cagayan. We mended some fences. I really thought we’d moved past a lot of that stuff. I thought things would be fine. I don’t think Kass was necessarily that spiteful against me. I think she was very objective as far as who she decided to vote for. But, I do think it was a factor. Kass absolutely hated Tasha and was very venomous toward Tasha. And, there’s also the jury house. People have admitted that they were spreading rumors about me. Kass was spreading things about me that I think ultimately hurt me. I can’t fault her at the end of the day for thinking Jeremy played better. He did.
Holmes: What kind of rumors were being spread about you?
Bledsoe: Kass and Stephen were going around telling people that I was extremely rich. That my mom had won this huge lawsuit divorce settlement. That’s just completely untrue. I used the money from the first time I played “Survivor” to help my dad get out of credit card debt. This time I’m using the money to give a loan to my sister. I have a thousand dollars in my bank account now. So, I don’t know how that got started. But there was this perception that I was a spoiled, bratty, super rich kid which was unfortunate.
Holmes: I wrote in my notes, “The Man Who Can’t Be Killed.” You’re like a cockroach.
Bledsoe: I can’t give myself enough credit to say that’s a strategy. It’s a bunch of nerves and a bunch of luck. It just happened that Varner was more pissed at Shirin than at me. And then Kass had something against Woo and wanted him out. I’m at the right place at the right time. I’ve had awesome good luck and awesome bad luck. I’ve had these close calls.
Holmes: You were on a tribe with everyone at some point. So word association is going to take about 45 minutes. Let’s start with Monica.
Bledsoe: OK, I’m doing something really special. I didn’t do this in advance. This is off the cuff.
Holmes: It’s supposed to be. Don’t listen to Shirin. She’s a horrible influence.
Bledsoe: (Laughs) I think Monica…I feel bad for her. It’s tough. She was a player. My heart goes out to her.
Bledsoe: Great friend.
Holmes: “Word association cheater” would also be accepted.
Bledsoe: Look, I can neither confirm nor deny that I helped with her cheating. I think she was pretty on point.
Holmes: I’ll give her that. Varner?
Bledsoe: A little more electric.
Bledsoe: Grounded, bad ass. She’s great in life.
Holmes: Terry Dietz?
Bledsoe: Awesome guy.
Bledsoe: My very gracious tae-kwon-do instructor.
Bledsoe: I guess fifteen years ago. Literally every time Probst would talk to her he’d start, “Kelly, fifteen years ago you were blah blah blah.”
Bledsoe: Amazing player. I think Ciera is the person I’m the most shocked at how good she was. She was the person who my vision of how good she was went up the most.
Bledsoe: Golden boy.
Bledsoe: Sharp. Sharper than people give her credit for.
Bledsoe: Love Keith. He’s the funnest guy to be around.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Jeremy.
Bledsoe: Earnest, deserving, happy for him.
Holmes: Let’s jump back in there with Wentworth. It seems like there was more animosity than we were shown. Why did you say, “betrayed”?
Bledsoe: I meant betrayed as in; I betrayed her and I felt really bad about it. What you missed is that we got really close. We talked about a lot of personal stuff. We related to each other, we connected. We had a trust and so that was the bond that I felt the worst about breaking. And I didn’t realize how upset she was. I’ve never had any bad feelings toward Kelley, but she probably has some toward me. I felt bad about that one.
Holmes: You’re sitting at final three and Jeremy drops the baby bomb.
Bledsoe: (Laughs) Baby bomb.
Holmes: It’s a thing.
Bledsoe: I’ll give him credit, I think he was going to beat me without the baby bomb. But, “I have a son” was probably the best speech in Tribal Council history. That was game over.
Holmes: One of the things I wanted to ask about was the importance of picking a narrative. Yours was obviously that you’d grown as a person emotionally over the season. Is that something that gets brought up for the first time at Final Tribal or are you sprinkling bits of that as the season goes along?
Bledsoe: That was the entire time. There’s this idea that I got out there and then things started going poorly and I thought, “Oh dear, I’ve got to change.” But, it really wasn’t that. I think I’ve grown from my first season and I thought that was valid. It’s on me for not proving that to the jury. But, what I was talking about was real to me. It was a special experience.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes