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Survivor

EXCLUSIVE: Australian Survivor’s Jericho spills on his blindside, his emotional outburst and why Luke Toki didn’t return

“Had I known that the target was on me, I would have been grabbing my torch trying to burn everyone!”

By Erin Doyle
Loveable larrikin Jericho Malabonga quickly became a fan favourite in season two of Australian Survivor and his charm and sneaky tactics managed to take him all the way to the end.
But like Shane Gould before him, Jericho fell victim to the winners' curse in the All Stars season and he was eliminated in Tuesday night's episode as the votes between him and Daisy came down to the wire.
Following his exit, Jericho chatted to Now To Love about his blindside, what it was like competing without Luke Toki by his side and what the deal was with his tears at Tribal Council.
Former winner Jericho became the second person voted out on Tuesday night. (Image: Network Ten)
You were the second person eliminated and the first from your tribe, how are you feeling about leaving so early?
It was so weird, because I'm used to skipping to Tribal Council and never getting my torch snuffed. I'm always used to winning it. It felt a little bit awkward – I didn't have the numbers on my side but it was a great experience and even JLP came and nudged my shoulder and I thought "Oh, he was rooting for me."
Shane Gould got voted out last night and as another former winner, she said she had a target on her back from the start. Do you feel a similar way?
Obviously both of us are two very different types of winners. At the start of this game, it's very important how much you contribute to challenges and maybe at the start she was also someone who people felt would be a drag for challenges on the physical side.
So I thought originally that she was voted out for that reason whereas from my end I know that I can contribute to those challenges. It was a matter of if people found me a threat so much so that I was too dangerous to be kept around.
Jericho thinks he got voted out because was a threat. (Image: Network Ten)
Jericho joked that it "felt awkward" for his torch to be snuffed by JLP. (Image: Network Ten)
You got a little emotional at Tribal Council, was that genuine or were you trying to get people off your back?
You know what – it was. It's funny you ask me that because when I rocked up there I was really emotional and I think even before Tribal Council, I was really crying and those tears were really for Moana [Hope], thinking that she was going and I think about it and I go like "Wow, how much in these five days do you really care about people."
But in saying that, when you asked me if it was real or not, well during the time when I got really emotional - the ten seconds of the emotional - I quickly snapped out of it in my head and thought "Jerry, you're at Tribal Council, let's see if you can leverage and see if we can try and persuade people to come on your end". And I know that someone like Phoebe [Timmins] was still kind of questioning and doubting her decision. So while I was able to tug at her heart, that was a power move. That's where I thought my tears could be just as useful.
Do you think you gave it everything to avoid being eliminated? Is there anything you wished you did differently?
I definitely didn't give it my everything - only because it was a blindside. Had I known that the target was on me, I would have gone harder and I would have been grabbing my torch trying to burn everyone! I would have done everything I could to try and stay in that game.
But the good thing about being in Survivor is that if you want to get rid of someone, you have to blindside them. Otherwise, if they have an inkling that it's them, they will do everything in their possibilities to make sure that they can change the tide. And unfortunately, I couldn't get a feeling that my name was going to be written down. I saw that last-minute.
Jericho battles out against Locky. (Image: Network Ten)
Earlier in the episode, you were quite vocal about Locky Gilbert, saying "everything that comes out of his mouth is full of crap". What was it that made you not trust him?
Because I can read the guy! He's a big kid. As much as he's a muscly, chiselled abs guy, at the end of the day I see the little boy that's in charge of him. Sometimes you can read people so easily and when he was lying through his teeth, I was like "Bullcrap!" Why would they bring two people – only two people – to collect a reward after a reward challenge where we put our whole bodies on the line? Of course, they're going to be faced with a dilemma. I know because I went through that in a previous season and I had that dilemma.
Another big thing about the All Stars season of Survivor is you didn't have your best mate Luke Toki with you. What was it like not having him around?
It was like, the best feeling! I was like, "I finally get more airtime!" [laughs]. No, I literally think that if I had to choose my All Stars, he would get in there. But people have lives. People have families, especially Luke, who's spent quite a bit of time away playing twice already so I get it. Then there's people like me who have no lives! [laughs]. I have time to play around on this big playground with other big kids like Locky.
WATCH BELOW: Luke Toki plays Who Wore It Better. Story continues below...
Last year when Luke didn't win, there was a huge GoFundMe campaign, which raised $500,000 for Luke. What did you think as you watched that money rapidly rise?
The way that I looked at it, I keep replaying in my head that thing in season two where he played with me, he was telling me the story that if he ever won, he'd take his kids to Disneyland. That was all his wish and to see that GoFundMe page skyrocket, I was thinking, "Mate, this is your time to receive. You've actually done so much for your family, you have a heart of gold". This is the time where good things happen to good people. And I was just super proud of him.
Do you guys still catch up regularly now that you're no longer filming?
Yeah, I go over to his place every couple of weeks and he even goes, "Hey Jericho, I've got a wedding to go to in Bali, can you come over with the family and you look after the kids?" What is this? He makes me his slave all of a sudden! Like mate, I'm no servant – I won! Remember: he's not the King of the Jungle anymore! But nah, we're at the stage now where I'm like basically part of the family. I'm Uncle Jerry to the kids.
Jericho and Luke: the ultimate bromance. (Image: Network Ten)
You won your own wad of cash after being crowned Sole Survivor in 2017, did you do anything fun with it?
I bought a house! Obviously, that's not fun but it's adult, so it's a huge thing. And after buying it, now I'm like, now I need a GoFundMe page [laughs].
Who's your money on to win Australian Survivor: All Stars?
Ooooh, to be honest, there's a difference between who I think has potential to win it versus who I want to win it. It'd be pretty cool if we had a funny chick like Shonee [Fairfax] won it. She's hilarious! Everything she says in her confessionals crack me up but in terms of who has the potential to really take it out? At this stage, from how I'm seeing it and my shrewd perception from the five days that I was there, both David [Genat] and Locky have really got everything in control and they're using their charms to get all the numbers. They have this rivalry with Mat Rogers who I think can also, if he chooses to really go out there and put everything on the line, he could really get to the end.
And who do you think is going to be the next one out?
On my side, if my tribe loses, it's possibly going to be Jacqui [Peterson], purely because she's not someone who's contributing to the challenges as much as the others and is expendable.
"Uncle Jerry" with Luke's partner and kids. (Image: Instagram)

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