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Xander Hastings was a finalist and fan favorite from ‘Survivor’ Season 41. His strategic game is debatable, but his physical and social games were undeniably strong. His incredibly genuine and friendly demeanor won him the hearts of both his tribemates and the viewers. This is why it was so shocking to many to see Xander make it through the final tribal council without a single vote to his name.
So what went wrong? Did Xander’s tribemates not like him as much as he believed? Were there mistakes the viewers never saw air that ruined his chances at becoming sole survivor? In an interview with EW, Xander goes into detail on what he thinks went wrong. Along with plenty of other details and reflections about his time on the show.
Why Xander Lost
“I was surprised at no votes. I wasn’t surprised at the loss.” Xander said in the interview. He said his confidence in a victory at the end of the game was shaken upon receiving the coldest of glares from his former alliance member Ricard on the jury.
Ricard was undoubtedly one of the best players of the entire season. His strategy, social and physical games were nearly unmatched. If it was not for an advantage that led Erika to win the final five immunity and how large of a threat Ricard had made himself by being such a dominating player, he very well could have won the season. The influence he had over the cast with his smooth-talking was huge. So to have him at ponderosa down-talking Xander’s game was a death sentence to Xander having any chance of receiving votes in the final three.
Burned Bridges At Yase
In the end, Xander was the only member of his original tribe Yase to make it to the final three. He was surrounded by former members of the Luvu tribe, who dominated in the pre-merge and didn’t end up in tribal council a single time. The Yase tribe bonded through repeated losses at the beginning of the game. So it makes sense to believe that the Yase members who made it to the jury (Tiffany, Evvie, and Liana) might want to at least put a couple of votes on their own tribemate to win the game. Xander thought the same.
“It was almost like to vote for a Luvu would be to invalidate all the hard work that we had to put into surviving pre-merge.”
But in the end, Xander believes that being the only Yase at the end of the game may have hurt him more than helped him. As his former tribe members believed he didn’t do enough to ensure their longevity in the game.
“I think my biggest burden with the idol was the fact that since everybody knew about it, and everybody wanted me to play it for them. And by not playing my advantages, I essentially voted them out.”