Although many fans were shocked at Erika’s win, with some saying the win should have gone to third-place finisher Xander Hastings, Erika’s edit was also very low-key for a winner, and diehard fans of the show know that edits can create a warped perspective of what went on during the game. This became clear during and after last season’s finale, when many of the season’s jurors and finalists came out swinging in defense of Erika and her game.
This was highlighted most recently when ninth-place finisher Evvie Jagoda discussed a little-known anecdote that happened at this season’s Final Tribal Council which didn’t make the edit. Here’s what you need to know:
Naseer Openly Declared He Was Changing His Vote
One element of Erika’s game which fans and contestants alike have praised is her Final Tribal Council performance. Diehard fans of the show know that all Tribal Councils, including the Final Tribal Council, go on for hours more than we see onscreen, so it is impossible for viewers to get the full picture of how the finalists presented themselves. Nonetheless, it was clear from the relatively brief glimpse we did see that Erika gave a dominant performance, arguably the best of the three.
It was enough, apparently, to convince 10th place finisher Naseer Muttalif to change his vote for Erika at the Final Tribal Council, a change of mind which he proclaimed vocally to the rest of the cast. According to Jagoda in a recent “Deep Dive” interview with Rob Cesternino, although Erika may have been the favorite going into the Final Tribal, she did pick up at least one vote by the end of it.
Naseer, who Evvie said did not get along very well with Erika during their 17 days together on Luvu and Viakana, announced openly partway through the Final Tribal, “Erika, I promised you I would never vote for you, but I’m changing that tonight – I’m voting for you!”
Shan: The Jury Had ‘No Choice’ But to Vote for Erika
Naseer, who Evvie described as the juror “least likely to vote for [Erika],” was likely planning on voting for Xander, given their close connection and Naseer’s praise of him during Final Tribal (where he told Xander he had a “very kind heart,” and was proud of him). However, Erika’s performance clearly swayed him.
Erika also imparted the story in an EW interview shortly after the season finale. She said that she went into the Tribal Council not believing believe she would get Naseer’s vote, because they had a “really challenging” relationship on Luvu. However, once Naseer made his declaration, she said, “I remember thinking in Tribal Council, ‘Oh, I have Naseer on my side. That is an achievement. I never thought I was gonna get Naseer’.”
Eighth-place finisher Shan Smith reiterated the fact that Erika was the frontrunner at the Final Tribal Council in an interview Thursday with “Survivor: Island of the Idols” contestant Lauren Ashley Beck. She portrayed runner-up Deshawn Radden‘s Final Tribal Council performance largely negatively, and said that Xander didn’t have an effective gameplay. “She knew that we gave everybody else no choice. We would have to vote for her,” Shan said. “That was her move, I feel.”
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.