‘Survivor 41’ Juror: Deshawn and Xander Never Stood a Chance

Deshawn Radden and Xander Hastings

YouTube Deshawn Radden and Xander Hastings in episode 12 of "Survivor 41."

Last month, Erika Casupanan was revealed as the winner of “Survivor 41,” beating out Deshawn Radden and fan favorite Xander Hastings in a landslide 7-1-0 vote. This was somewhat controversial among some fans who felt that Xander played a better game and deserved the win. However, since the finale, several jurors have given post-game interviews revealing more about the season’s contestants that viewers did not really get to see.

On Monday, sixth-place finisher Danny McCray, the only juror to vote for Deshawn, broke down the Final Tribal Council, the near-unanimous jury vote, and revealed what it was about Deshawn and Xander that made them so unlikely to ever win going into the finals.

Here’s what you need to know:

Danny Reveals Four Jurors Were Dead-Set Against Deshawn

Deshawn Liana Danny Ricard Shan Survivor 41

YouTubeFrom left to right: Deshawn Radden, Liana Wallace, Danny McCray, Ricard Foyé, and Shan Smith (hidden) in episode 10 of “Survivor 41.” Danny said he believed that Liana, Ricard, and Shan were never going to vote for Deshawn to win.

In an interview with “Survivor Specialists: Phil and Alexa” on Monday, Danny said he “knew” that Deshawn had almost no chance of securing the votes of Tiffany Seely, Ricard Foyé, Shan Smith, and Liana Wallace going into the Final Tribal Council. Shan and Liana were the other two members of the season’s “All-Black Alliance” (along with Deshawn and Danny), who Deshawn and Danny both blindsided when they voted out Shan in episode 10. Danny even added that even had Deshawn beaten Erika in the dramatic final 4 fire-making challenge instead of Heather Aldret, he still likely would not have gotten those four votes.

Danny also did not note Heather, who has said, unsurprisingly, that she was dead-set for Erika as a juror, given their tight bond during the game. It may be safe to assume that Erika would have done the same had the roles been reversed. Ricard has also revealed that had Heather been sitting in the final 3 instead of Erika, she would have gotten his vote.

If Danny’s statement is true, Deshawn would have had to swing all three other jurors (plus Danny) to his side if he wanted a fighting chance. Even in that case, however, Xander, who would be the tie-breaking vote, has said that he would have voted for Erika over Deshawn.

Danny explained that he came to this conclusion based on the discussions that were had at Ponderosa, which is part of why he came to believe that Erika was the favorite going into Final Tribal. Evvie Jagoda echoed this fact in a recent interview.

Xander Faced Similar Problems During Final Tribal Council

Noting that Deshawn’s chances were not helped by his inability to articulately respond to hard-hitting questions about his questionable strategy, Danny added that Xander faced a similar problem. “I’ll say that the same thing happened to Xander,” Danny said, referring to Deshawn getting flustered during Final Tribal.

“Xander was asked a question that took him totally out of the mindset of talking about his game. I won’t say what it was, but I thought it was out of bounds for when you’re talking about game and then talking about maybe how you look at people outside of the game, you know? So I felt bad for him in that sense.”

Danny elaborated on why Xander’s chances of winning were slim at best going into Final Tribal:

I will say this, Xander had an opportunity to make more big moves, in my opinion, and he did not. People also felt that some of the things that he was doing was [disingenuous]. I think Xander’s a great guy, but when you’re playing ‘Survivor,’ that happens. So I think a lot of people were saying that.

Fifth-place finisher Ricard has confirmed these sentiments in exit interviews, revealing that much of the jury found Xander’s game “inauthentic.” Danny expressed similar thoughts in an interview before the finale, saying that much of the jury “did not respect” Xander’s game, both because of his perceived inauthenticity, as well as what they saw as a lackluster game. Although many fans had Xander pegged as a favorite going into the finale, it has only become more and more clear with time that there was much about the season which the edit failed to convey.

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.

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