Everyone's favourite 'sneaky' player, and resident expert at NOT finding hidden immunity idols, Steve K, was eliminated from Australian Survivor by the Contenders during last night's tribal council.
His ousting comes in the wake of another shock elimination from the Champions tribe the night before, when they voted out Damien Thomlinson. And, honestly, I don't know how much longer I can bear to watch the contestants kick-off the most interesting players each night. But, the show must go on!
After getting off to a rocky start in the first episode, Steve K managed to form a bond with the 'bromance' alliance of Benji, Robbie and Zach. Unfortunately, this left him in the lurch with their opposing alliance in the tribe: the 'gals.
Shonee, Fenella and Anita formed an early alliance, with other contestants Tegan, Heath, Jenna and Paige floating between. It led to an unpredictable tribal council, with the 'girls' alliance, plus Heath, Jenna and Tegan, voting out Steve. Wildcard Paige chose to vote for Shonee, proving she's here to play her own game.
While Steve's alliance with the boys ultimately led to his elimination, he insists he was trying to 'get in' with the other contestants, too, and was blindsided by the vote.
We caught up with Steve K after his elimination, to find out more about his intended strategy, his thoughts on the 'bromance' alliance and who he thinks will win Australian Survivor: Champions V. Contenders.
TV WEEK: You went in to the competition strong, from the first episode you were searching everywhere for a hidden immunity idol. Do you think that being so obvious about searching for the idol put a target on your back?
Steve K: Of course, if people found out about it, but I did it in a very sneaky way. No one knew I was doing that, it just appears that way on the show. In the first episode, Matt felt that he was on the chopping block and he needed to make a diversion, and he made it me, like I'm the bad guy, and it kind of worked because everybody was spooked.
I had to do a bit of a re-group and I was buttering up to everybody before the tribal council, it seemed to work! Originally they were planning to vote 11 to 1, but after my impromptu chats with everybody it came down to 6 to 6, and then you know what happened at tribal council. When he [Matt] opened his mouth, he dug his grave.
After the first tribal council, when you realised people wanted you out, did you think about changing your strategy?
Not really, I was still looking for idols. I mean… why isn't anyone else looking for idols? They should be! But part of my tactic from that point forward was, I needed to start identifying the 'alphas' and then from there I could find how the alliances forged. That's what I was doing. There were three groups there: you've got the bromance, then you've got the girls team – which formed in response to the bromance – and then you've got the 'in betweeners'.
I thought to do it justice, I just had to focus on one group at a time. So I started off with the boys, because I saw that there was this dynamic duo forming like Batman and Robin, which was Benji and Robbie. So I jumped in, sussed them out, and decided to try join. With Zach, we became the fab four. We were actually looking for a girl [to join the alliance], we were eyeing Paige or maybe Tegan, but Tegan was getting closer to Heath. We still hadn't given up on Paige, we wanted to make it the fab five, but unfortunately Paige just kept everything close to her heart and we didn't know if she was a double agent or not.
Were you blindsided by the girls' decision to vote you out? Do you think it was wise on their part?
No, I knew the girls were up against me and gunning for me all the time. I hardly know them, I'm trying to understand them, but once I got voted out I realised how intense they were about trying to get me out, for whatever reason. I was blindsided by Heath and Tegan. When we missed out on the immunity challenge and had to go to tribal council, I knew we had three or possibly four votes against me by the girls. We approached [Heath and Tegan] and we thought we got their agreement, but then at tribal council they flipped.
I don't think they had any intention to follow through on their promise, but that's all fair. All is fair in love and war, as they say, that's the game! You get blindsided, you get double-crossed. I didn't expect that, because I actually cornered Heath just before tribal council and he agreed to go for Paige, I looked him square in the eyes and I believed him.
Obviously no-one wants to leave the game early on, but do you think the tribe made a genuine mistake voting you out so soon?
Yes, there are two dimensions here. The first one, is that I'm not a big fish at the time, there are bigger players there who are immediate threats. Secondly, what happened is that our harmony is over, there is distrust and mistrust set in now because of what happened at tribal council. With Heath in particular, and Paige as well, I can't blame her. They are going to implode; I'm concerned the tribe will finally just cave and they're going to start getting paranoid with each other. It's regrettable, because what I was trying to do was get everyone focused on beating the Champs. It's us against them, not us against us. And that's lost now, after last night. But, you can't turn back time!
Do you think any of the Contenders have what it takes to be crowned sole Survivor in the end?
I think, in terms of game play, probably Tegan would be at the front. But she'd want to watch her back, because she's aligned with Heath, who you just cannot trust. He's playing hard. Another possibility is Robbie, he's not the biggest guy - which is Zach - but he's up there. I've just got a good feeling about Robbie. I think he's got the maturity to get him through.
Australian Survivor airs Monday to Thursday, 7:30pm, and Sunday, 7pm, on Network Ten.