Tiffany Seely Breaks Down Her ‘Survivor 41’ Jury Vote

Xander Hastings and Tiffany Seely in Survivor 41

YouTube Xander Hastings and Tiffany Seely in "Survivor 41."

“Survivor 41” ended last month in a somewhat surprise victory for Canadian communications manager Erika Casupanan. Although fans were rooting mostly for 20-year-old Xander Hastings, Erika swept the jury against both Xander and Deshawn Radden in a 7-1-0 vote. Her win came as somewhat of a shock to some fans, who thought Xander played the better game; others, including the jurors who voted for her, defended Erika, arguing she played a masterful under-the-radar game with a stellar Final Tribal Council performance.

Recently, Tiffany Seely, the first member of the jury who voted for Erika to win, spoke about her jury vote, the three finalists, and what Xander did that tanked his game near the end.

Here’s what you need to know:

Tiffany Went Into Final Tribal Council ‘Open’

In an interview last week with season 39 contestant Lauren Ashley Beck, Tiffany was asked whether she had a winner pick in mind coming into Final Tribal Council, or if she was open to voting for anyone. Tiffany replied that she was completely open, and was not bitter at all, despite some fans online claiming that that was why she didn’t vote for Xander. Instead, she said, Xander had a lack of strategy and social awareness that she believed would have been necessary to earn her vote. She explained:

I was completely open. Everyone’s like, ‘oh the jury was so bitter’ – no…I was not bitter, I love [Xander], he’s a great kid, he’s young, what’s not to love about him? But I just saw evidence after evidence that there was just something missing, social awareness of some sort that comes maybe with age, or maybe he was just super excited and lost sight, who knows?

Tiffany added that Xander’s strategy was clearly lacking, given that he was on the wrong side of the vote a number of times. “I think we just really listened,” Tiffany said of the jury. “And remember, we’re watching it in front of us every night at Tribal, and seeing who’s pulling the strings and what’s really happening and who’s really behind these votes. And unfortunately, Xander was not right on many of the votes…he was not right I don’t even think once. So there was a lot of stuff that if you really paid attention you would see.”

For those interested, Xander was on the right side of the vote four out of the seven post-merge Tribal Councils he participated in (including two Tribals in which the vote was split and tied; on the re-vote he voted correctly both times).

When it came to whether Xander was seen as a threat to win the season, Tiffany responded that she didn’t think he was, noting castmate Evvie Jagoda‘s reference of him doing “eye-rolley things.” “Like oh, of course you’re going to step out because you have an idol in your pocket, you know?” Tiffany said. “But I also think that he was almost not socially a threat. He had connections, but nobody was too worried about him because they were all fighting amongst themselves.”

Xander’s Choice to Take Erika Might Have Been His Game-Ending Move

Survivor 41 fire making finale

YouTubeErika Casupanan and Xander Hastings watch as Deshawn Radden and Heather Aldret make fire at the final 4. Tiffany Seely said Xander’s choice to take Erika to the end was his “fatal error.”

Perhaps one of Xander’s most infamous moves was in the finale, after he won the final 4 immunity challenge, when he chose to take Erika to the final 3 over Dehsawn and Heather Aldret, both of whom were widely seen as lesser threats to win than Erika. Although Xander truthfully explained to the jury that he did so in order to prevent Erika from scoring more points from jurors, it proved to be a fatal mistake anyway, with Erika netting nearly all the jury’s votes in the end.

Tiffany explained that this move was a “massive shift” that occurred in the game, and could have been what killed Xander’s game in the end. Apparently, Tiffany, who said she knew how Xander played the game, even predicted this move ahead of time, saying Evvie could attest to this. “I said, ‘Xander’s gonna take Erika’,” Tiffany said. “Evvie’s like, ‘no way,’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, he’s gonna take Erika.’ Because he wasn’t reading stuff right. And that could be his age, it could be because he felt so empowered, that he was missing the social cues.”

Tiffany broke down her thinking further by saying that whoever made it to the end must have by definition played a good game, so there had to be more factors in play when it came to casting a jury vote. Tiffany broke it down:

If you look at him as a person, did he play a great game? Yes, because he got to the end…so it’s kind of like, how are we looking at this? But when he brought Erika instead of Heather, that was like, you just do not have a read. [That move] was, like, mind-blowing to everybody else except for me…it was just sort of par for the course.

She went on about Xander’s game, “It was a weird season. Just unprecedented stuff…he’s just such a student of the game that you would never think that he would make that fatal error at the end. But nobody’s really saying that too much, which is weird to me too, it’s not being brought up that much.”

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.

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