Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Survivor’s Jonathan LaPaglia reveals what he really thinks of Osher Günsberg filling in for him at the All Stars live final

''He's trying to take over every hosting gig in Australia right now so why not one more?''
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Australian Survivor wouldn’t be what it is without its host, Jonathan LaPaglia.

However due to travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, the 50-year-old television host is unable to attend the live finale but will instead appear via satellite from his LA home while The Bachelor‘s Osher Günsberg will take over for the live Q&A.

Ahead of the All Stars finale, Now To Love caught up with JLP himself to see how he’s really feeling about being in lockdown many miles away for the finale plus, who his top pick to win is.

Now To Love: JLP! How’s isolation treating you in America?

JLP: It’s fine, California’s been in complete lockdown for the last two weeks and we’d kind of been doing that for a week-and-a-half before that anyway so we’re coming up on a month of doing it. The family’s getting a little bit stir-crazy but for me as an actor, there’s long periods when I’m not working anyway, it’s not that much different for me.

You seem like a very active, outdoorsy family so it must be extra tough for you guys.

Yeah they’ve closed everything here – hiking trails, beaches, everything so it’s definitely a challenge.

Jonathan playing soccer on the beach with daughter Tilly.

(Image: Instagram @jonathanlapaglia)

You’re appearing on the 2020 Survivor All Star via satellite, are you feeling a little sad it’s not going to be filmed as planned with you at the live finale?

Totally. Logically it was the right thing to do, we really didn’t have any choice. With the 14 day quarantine in Australia, I couldn’t attend but from an emotional point of view, it was tough. This was my team, I’d been coaching them all season and then not to be there for the final game is kind of a bummer. But you know Osher’s going to be there, so they’re going to be in good hands.

Yes, you put an Instagram post up about Osher filling in for you. He seems like a decent replacement.

Totally, he’s trying to take over every hosting gig in Australia right now so why not one more?

It’s the Survivor/Bachelor crossover episode we’ve been waiting for!

(Image: Instagram @jonathanlapaglia)

Back on Survivor and the finalists David, Sharn and Mo. What are your thoughts on this final three?

I think they’re all really strong players. What’s interesting is that they’ve all had very different games, they’re very different game players and I think that makes for an interesting finale. It’s not like we have one obviously dominant player and one goat, we have three really strong players and all three are worthy winners in their own right so it’s going to make for an interesting showdown.

If push comes to shove and I had to choose one person, David has probably played the strongest game of all of them across the board not only socially, strategically and physically but he’s also been supremely entertaining along the way with all his pop culture references. He’s really a triple threat so I think it’s fair to say he’s Australia’s favourite to win but having said that, he needs to win that final challenge.

If he doesn’t win that final challenge I can’t see the other two taking him to the end. If you want to be in the final two, that’s the only guaranteed way of getting there so if he doesn’t win then it could be a repeat of Harry last year.

But it’s going to be a great finale, it’s going to be a great finish to the season and it won’t disappoint.

Golden God David is JLP’s pick to win the All Stars season.

(Image: Network Ten)

We saw some amazing All Stars return for this season. Was there anyone in particular who stood out for you?

I feel like pretty much all of them grew as players and as people which was great to see. I feel like they really took note of their strengths and weaknesses from their first time round and changed their game accordingly but if I had to pick one person who really stood out, I think Brooke was quite prominent this season.

She’s always been a challenge beast both in her first season and this season – that’s undeniable – but her social and strategic game really was on point this time round. She played a good chunk of the game from the back of the pack and still got incredibly deep into the game and I think that’s the marking of an All Star. I was impressed at how she grew as a player.

The other great thing about her also was that when things get really tough some players panic, they don’t think clearly and they make bad choices but she never panicked at all. She was always level-headed even when it looked like she had no option, she was nose to the grindstone and she’d figure out something that she could try and do and that’s how she kept advancing.

“She played a good chunk of the game from the back of the pack and still got incredibly deep into the game and I think that’s the marking of an All Star.”

(Image: Network Ten)

Another significant moment in the season was when Lee was forced to bow out after his mother suffered a stroke. What did you make of the contestants bringing back the Towel Challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Stroke Foundation?

I think it’s great. I think it’s great that they turned a really heartbreaking and negative situation into something really positive. It was heartbreaking to watch that, it’s terrible for anyone to go through that but particularly when you’re stuck on an island away from your family and loved ones. My heart really goes out to him and his family but kudos to him for turning the situation around and trying to bring awareness to the prevalence of strokes and raise money and awareness.

The contestants all joined up for an epic towel photo shoot for a charity calendar too so are you going to be sending your shot over from America?

Yeah sure, no problem!

WATCH BELOW: Australian Survivor: All Stars‘ Lee Carseldine finds out his mum suffered fatal stroke. Post continues after video…

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Filming may be postponed for now due to the coronavirus but what are your thoughts on Locky as our latest Bachelor?

I think Locky’s a great choice. He’s a big hunk of a man, he’s a hot guy, I think it’ll work out well. He’s six foot four, he’s square-jawed, he’s a grade-A side of beef, he’s perfect. What do you think of him?

Well, we’d like to see Brooke as Bachelorette!

Me too!

Locky’s a “grade-A side of beef” in JLP’s eyes!

(Image: Network Ten)

Back to Survivor, is it true that you test all the challenges before we see them on air?

Yeah, we always test the challenges and I give most of them a crack, or parts of them at least to see what’s involved. It also helps me to come up with commentary.

Some of them must be hard to commentate though, like that one where contestants have to hold their breath underwater from behind a grate.

That one I skipped, I kind of understood what that one’s like!

The Australian Survivor: All Stars finale airs tonight at 7:30pm on Channel 10

Even Jonathan tries out those epic looking challenges.

(Image: Network Ten)

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