Every season of Survivor, it seems that one of the strongest players in the game is always one of the first players voted out right post-merge. For this season, that strong player was Josh Canfield, the singer/actor/writer who seemed to be not only a fan favorite, but a popular pick to win it all. On Wednesday night’s episode of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur,” Josh saw his torch snuffed all too soon.
Josh thrived in the social aspect of the game and was mentally and physically sound. He was in a solid alliance. He was poised to vote out Jeremy, whom he perceived as being his biggest threat in the game and therefore was seemingly on the brink of conquering the world.
But then Julie quit the game, robbing Josh of his victory over Jeremy. Josh had flipped Jon and Jaclyn to his side and had the numbers to pull off the blindside, but Julie’s exit gave Jeremy new life. For immunity it then came down to Josh versus – who else? – Jeremy, but Jeremy came out on top. Suddenly, just three days removed from a potential huge move in the game that would have kept him in the majority alliance, Josh found himself being sent out of the game and to Ponderosa, as the first member of the jury.
Earlier in the game, Josh immediately connected with Baylor, but inexplicably wrote her name down after their first Tribal Council. Although Josh saw it differently, this move might have been a big mistake, because Baylor could have been a valuable ally. Instead, she was integral in voting Josh out of the game. Josh would continue on, working his way through the game on the strength of his social skills, but he would grow paranoid as the game went on. None of that ultimately really mattered however, because the others saw him as a humongous threat to win it all, so therefore he had to go. Perception is reality, as Probst reminded us yesterday.
I had the chance to speak to Josh today, a day after the episode aired that saw him voted out. Here’s the full conversation:
Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: Josh! Man, I didn’t want to have to be talking with you this early in the season!
Josh Canfield: (Laughs) I know, I didn’t want to have all these interviews, either.
Tom Santilli: I was definitely rooting for you as were many people out there.
Josh: Well thank you.
Tom Santilli: So talk to me about Julie quitting. That was a huge thing to have happen to your game. If she doesn’t quit when she did, you blindside Jeremy and are sitting pretty.
Josh: It was just really disappointing. I was still hoping after she quit, that Jeff Probst was going to come out and hopefully tells us that we were still going to Tribal Council. Because at that time, I knew we were pretty solid with Jon and Jaclyn and that vote for Jeremy was pretty much solidified. So when he said no Tribal Council, that kind of screwed everything up. In the game of Survivor, over the span of three days, everything can change. Anything and everything. But besides the point that Julie’s quit kind of sealed my own fate, it’s just disappointing when someone quits. We’re kind of all family out there, even though we’re part of different alliances, we are all playing the game together. So when someone quits we all feel betrayed. We’re all going through this. It is hard. But we’re all doing it together. So it was hard.
Tom Santilli: They were really building up the rivalry heading into last night, between you and Jeremy. You were shown as having a lot of respect for him as a player, but you also saw him as a huge threat. What was so dangerous about Jeremy to you?
Josh: The biggest reason he was a threat to me was because he had a beef with me, to get me out. So whenever someone is trying to take you out, you have to take them out before they take you out. That’s Survivor 101. That was my biggest thing, I knew from the get-go that he saw me as the biggest threat and the leader so I needed to be taken out. So I noticed that Jeremy obviously had some sort of control, because he was telling everybody that I’m this person and they’re all listening to him. So I knew I needed to take him out.
Tom Santilli: You were really solid with Alec and Wes from your originally tribe and you stayed with them to the end of your game. But Reed on the other hand was not shown as forming any tight bonds with anyone at Hunahpu. Was that surprising or disappointing to you that Reed wasn’t able to form any real close alliances? If he had, you both would have been in a much better position post-merge.
Josh: What ended up really happening, and I guess this is another whole reason why we were targeting Jeremy…Jeremy on day one sort of threw Reed under the bus with their tribe. Jeremy saw Reed as a threat, and ended up wanting to take that dominance. So he said things and made up things about what Reed was doing, and he turned everyone on his tribe against Reed. So Reed was on the very bottom of his tribe from day one. I knew that because sometimes we would go to challenges and Reed would sort of mouth it to me. Basically saying that if they lost that challenge, he was going home. So every time we lost, I was actually OK with it, because I was actually in a good position at my camp. We can lose, because that means Reed is staying in the game. So I wasn’t surprised to find that Reed didn’t have an alliance because I was aware that he was at the bottom. I didn’t understand why until after the merge. Did it affect my game? Absolutely. Because now the only connections we had were the ones that I had made at Coyopa. He had nobody else to bring into our alliance, except for Keith, who really was brought in because of Wes. So it was difficult.
Tom Santilli: Explain the whole thing with Baylor early in the game, throwing a vote her way during that early Tribal Council. Did that end up being a big mistake for you in the game? She seemed to have been super-loyal early on, but ultimately she had a hand in voting you out last night.
Josh: No, I don’t think it was a mistake at all. Which is sort of funny because she brought that up in this past episode. That’s not how she felt. I think that she was just trying to find a justification to vote me out. What actually happened during that vote is that I didn’t tell her beforehand (about voting for her), because I didn’t know beforehand. I knew where everyone was standing with the votes, we were voting out Nadiya, and it was a 6-3 ratio. There was a point in the Tribal where someone was talking about Baylor but wasn’t saying her name. John Rocker was sitting next to me, and he points to Baylor. I thought to myself, I can use this and act like him pointing to her was really him telling me to vote for Baylor. So maybe I was like out of the loop and he didn’t fully trust me and now he was telling me who I should vote for. So I was going to use that to vote for Baylor, who wasn’t going home, but it would solidify my place with the guys because it shows that I was willing to do whatever they asked, and it would also hide the fact that me and Baylor were close. They’ll never think that I am aligned with Baylor. So when I got back to camp, I played dumb, and explained what I did and they understood. Was she ever waining after that? Maybe. But I was 100% with her. I don’t regret that, because the next episode, the only reason Rocker trusted me to vote for Baylor in that next vote, was because of that previous one. Because he trusted me, I was able to switch my Baylor vote to Val, to get Val out, whom he was trying to work with.
Tom Santilli: Alec and Wes were portrayed as being the worst of the “rude dudes” at camp last night. Both of them are in your alliance. Was their any effort on your part to talk to them about how they were behaving and get them to think a little more strategically with their actions?
Josh: See, there is only so much you can do when you’re in an alliance because you don’t want to piss off your alliance either. Me going to Alec and telling him to shut up or to treat the girls better…there were moments where me and Reed did do that. We would say careful, don’t piss off the girls to Alec. He would just say, I’m trying, I just can’t stand them. I just didn’t realize how big of an affect it was having on them. We’re not around the whole time, we’re away, doing interviews, so you don’t see everything that is happening all the time. I personally was on top of Jaclyn, I was talking to her all the time, talking strategy, really making her feel comfortable. Even at Tribal Council last night, they didn’t show it, but I called her out. When she said the guys were just being really rude to me, I called her out and asked her about me. And she was like, OK, well, everyone except for Josh. So then I was like, then why vote out Josh? (Laughs)
Tom Santilli: Jaclyn felt disrespected, clearly. But did you think that Jaclyn was underrated at all, or underappreciated, while you were in the game? She seemed to have influence over Jon even though nobody – maybe except for you – was really talking to her or involving her strategically.
Josh: (Pauses). No. (Laughs). Not really. I would love to sit here and say that I think she was undervalued or was being underappreciated, but really I don’t think she is.
Tom Santilli: Watching the season back on TV, you now know that Keith found and had an Idol. He was a part of your alliance, and had he been more of a team player possibly, that Idol could have come in handy last night for your entire alliance. How frustrating was that to discover?
Josh: Yes. (Laughs). I don’t think Keith had the foresight to understand that if he would have shown his Idol to his alliance at that pivotal point in the game, that we could have gotten Jon and Jaclyn on our side because of the Idol. And even if not, we could have used the Idol on me to get Jeremy out, or whomever, and therefore we would then have had the dominant alliance. Instead, I think his only thought was this is for me, this is only for me. And it’s like, well yeah, it is for you, but you also have to look at the greater picture for you, you can’t just look at what’s best for you. If he would have revealed that Idol early on, I definitely think that would have changed things.
Tom Santilli: So you talked a lot on the show about your personal plans with Reed, that you hope to get engaged and married. Any update in that area?
Josh: Reed and I are still together and we are doing amazingly well. Definitely engagement is in the future, possibly near future. So that is still going strong. I think Survivor really solidified our relationship. We’re very thankful for Survivor. It showed us that we can go through the worst of times and that we still love each other and can get through anything.
Tom Santilli: Many people out there commented on how you seemed to be getting the “winner’s edit,” which makes it even more shocking that you are gone so early. You can’t really know ahead of time how you are going to be portrayed on the show or how people are going to receive you. What has the fan reaction been like?
Josh: I’m very grateful. The fans have been so overwhelmingly awesome, especially since this vote out. It’s just been crazy, I can’t even keep up on Twitter. I feel so priviliged that people reacted that way and seemed to respect my game play and are really sad that I left. I’m grateful for my portrayal. I can’t say that I was shocked, especially early in the game with how Coyopa kept losing, so they had to focus on our tribe. I was doing a lot of those moves early on that made things change. In one sense, I felt that they were going to have to portray me in this way because of how I was playing, but then again I thought they also could have shown me as like the evil mastermind or a huge villain. The audience has just really come around me and I feel incredibly blessed.
Tom Santilli: Well best of luck to you and Reed. What’s next for you, will we see you again?
Josh: I mean, if they ask me back on the show I’ll be there! But there’s some other career-wise things coming up soon that I’m excited about, so hopefully everybody will be seeing more of me.
Be sure to join me next Wednesday for another episode preview, full recap and instant analysis, and of course, the next exit interview next Thursday.
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