Erika Casupanan, the communications manager from Ontario, Canada, took home the title of “Sole Survivor” in the December 15 finale of “Survivor 41.” Erika is the first woman to take home the coveted prize since season 34 winner Sarah Lacina.
Erika took to Instagram after the finale to celebrate her win. The 32-year-old shared a picture of herself in front of fans holding a bouquet with the caption, “I have a lot of things to say and a lot of people to thank. For now here’s this.”
‘Survivor’ Fans React to Erika’s Win
Erika’s win received mixed reactions from fans. Some fans thought the win was well-deserved, while others felt that Erika’s “Survivor” resume wasn’t impressive enough to take home the grand prize.
One Twitter user wrote, “Sorry but Erika did not deserve to win Survivor. She did NOTHING. A petty jury. They didn’t respect the game. Erika is a smooth talker smh.” Another fan tweeted, “a competitive season of Survivor, sullied by an undeserving winner. Erika didn’t deserve that win and I’ll die on that hill.”
Former “Survivor” villain Russell Hantz also weighed in on Erika’s win, tweeting, “I’m not even saying Erika played a bad game because she did not! Erika beats me every time but Xander played a perfect game for a 20 year old kid! His strategic game was great his physical game was good and his social game was amazing.”
Erika fans were quick to defend her gameplay on Twitter. Many fans blamed “Survivor” producers for giving Erika an underwhelming edit that didn’t capture how well she played the game.
“Survivor” alum Gabby Pascuzzi took to Twitter to congratulate Erika on her win and expressed her frustration at producers. She wrote in a tweet, “tonight i celebrate a woman, a woman of color, a filipina winning my favorite show! Tomorrow i burn down the show for under-editing her pre-merge.” Another fan tweeted, “survivor learn how to edit a woman winner please and thank you.”
Former “Big Brother” winner Andy Herren also defended Erika’s win on Twitter. The season 15 winner wrote in a tweet, “I will forever defend a great player who gets a somewhat invisible edit because I know how it feels! It can be so frustrating to be really proud of your game only to get off the show and learn that basically none of your hard work was shown. Erika deserved that win!!!”
‘Survivor’ Fans Rally Behind Xander Hastings
Season 41 castaway Xander Hastings joked about losing to Erika in a December 16 TikTok. The Florida native posted a video of himself sitting in a bathtub clutching a bottle of wine while Taylor Swift’s song “All Too Well” played in the background with the caption, “realizing my bank account does not have $1,000,000 in it.”
Xander undoubtedly played an impressive game this season. He scored an immunity idol and an extra vote early on in the game and went on to win multiple immunity challenges. Some fans were surprised when the University of Chicago student didn’t receive a single vote in the finale, given his impressive resume.
Fans took to Twitter to express their frustration. One user wrote, “Xander was absolutely robbed of that win. unreal.” Another user wrote, “Xander is criminally underrated he’s strategic, intelligent, HILARIOUS and an all around good guy so sad he didn’t win.”
Other fans felt that Xander made some critical mistakes in the game that made him undeserving of the “Sole Survivor” title. One Twitter user wrote, “Xander did NOT deserve to win…what did the kid do for 26 days besides hold onto and misplay advantages? He was a total passenger the whole time, never once at the center of the vote and when he had the opportunity at F4 [final four] he fumbled the bag,” Another fan echoed the sentiment, tweeting, “You know, Xander played a fine mediocre game, but the move to keep Erika was HORRIBLE and he definitely did not deserve to win after that. Her social skills ATE.”
Season 42 of “Survivor” will air in March of 2022.