Well, that was strange.
Going into the final three, I was convinced that neither Michele nor Tai had a chance. Even with Michele winning the power to remove a jury member (and choosing one of Aubry’s strongest allies, Neal), it didn’t seem like it would make much of a difference.
(That said, Neal totally changed my opinion of him when he verbally attacked Michele while leaving tribal council. Way to be a bitter jerk, ice cream man.)
When the jurors asked their questions and gave their little speeches, they pretty much ignored Michele. Nick took the time to lecture the final tree and essentially came across like a condescending idiot. (I can’t believe I ever thought he was hot!) Scot and Jason both spent most of their time attacking Tai. The only questions directed at Michele were vaguely dismissive. Listening to the jury, it was obvious that they all knew that Aubry was the strategic player and that they were all angry towards Tai.
And it seemed so obvious that Aubry would win. I assumed that Michele would get Julia’s vote and I thought she might have a chance to capture Nick’s vote. Otherwise, everyone was going to vote for Aubry. The vote would be 5-2 and Aubrey would win.
And I was okay with that. Admittedly, I have not been a big Aubry fan. I found her to be whiny and I got sick of listening to her brag about how she was playing with “logic” when almost all of her votes seemed to be based on emotion. She spent too much time complaining about not being popular and her vendetta against both Julia and Michele felt petty. Aubry’s game seemed to largely be about getting revenge against the pretty girls that she resented when she was in high school. But, even with all that taken into account, Aubry still played a good game. She was a good strategist, she was a good competitor, and she was responsible for almost every blindside that happened over the course of the season.
Aubry was the obvious winner, right?
Michele won and, despite the fact that she was the member of the final three to whom I most related and that I wanted her to win, I was still shocked. Michele not only won but she won in a blow-out. Michele received 5 votes. Aubry received only two — one from Joe and one from Debbie. Even if Neal hadn’t been removed from the jury, it wouldn’t have made a difference. Not even Cydney, who was often Aubry’s closest friend on the beach, voted for Aubry to win.
(I’m guessing that Cydney was angry that, in the end, Aubry decided to keep Tai and to try to get rid of her. If Cydney had made it to the final three, I would have wanted her to win. Hopefully, Cydney will return for another season.)
How did this happen? Well, I think some of it was because, as Michele herself admitted, no one expected her to make it to the end. She exceeded everyone’s expectations and it’s totally possible that everyone on the jury assumed that she must have played a better game than she actually did. As Jeff put it, everyone loves an underdog.
But ultimately, I think it comes down to this being a bitter jury. Out of the three final survivors, Michele was the most likable. Tai had betrayed almost everyone on the jury. Aubry often struggled to relate to people on a social level and, when she answered the jury’s questions, she came across as rather cold. If Aubry had emphasized her own journey, going from crying during the first night on the beach to totally controlling the game, she might have done better. Instead, she emphasized the “logic” of her game. By refusing to make her final appeal a personal one, Aubry made a good case but not an exciting one.
Michele, meanwhile, had the type of personal connection with the jury that both Aubry and Tai lacked. Michele may not have played the strongest game but she was probably the only one of the final three that the members of the jury would actually want to hang out with outside of the game.
In other words, never doubt the importance of a social game. You may be a great strategist or a compelling competitor but if people don’t like you, why should they give you a million dollars?
Personally, I was hoping we’d get a little bit more insight into what the jury was thinking at the reunion show. However, Australian singer Sia decided to crash the show so that she could give some money to Tai and a charity of Tai’s choice. And Sia being Sia, she proceeded to go on and on and on and on. As a result, we didn’t really have any time left to get insight into the jury. So thank you, Sia, for making the the finale of Survivor all about you.
And consider this: Michele won the game and got a big cash prize. Tai came in third and got absolutely no votes but still got money. Meanwhile, Aubry got two votes, came in second, and got absolutely nothing.
(For that matter, neither did Cydney. I mean, if we’re just going to give money to the Survivors for the hell of it, it seems like a rich celebrity could step up and help out Cydney and her mother.)
Well, that concludes this season of Survivor! It was a pretty good one and don’t worry, Aubry fans! I’m sure she’ll be back for an All-Stars season. (For that matter, so will Tai.) Apparently, the next season of Survivor will be Millennials vs Gen X. I’m a millennial but I hate my generation so I’m torn about who I should support.
I will be back for both the next season of Survivor and the Amazing Race! And, of course, starting in June, I will be covering Big Brother over at the Big Brother Blog! Hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Love you all!