“Survivor: Cagayan” has been nothing if not surprising so far, with blindsides happening on a regular basis. LJ McKanas was the latest victim when Tony Vlachos decided he needed to get LJ out before LJ came after him. McKanas tells Zap2it he was surprised Tony made that call so early on in the game.
Zap2it: Are you glad you went on “Survivor?” Was it everything you expected it to be?
LJ McKanas: Yeah, it was awesome. I’m so happy I got a chance to do it. Just for the simple fact of the things that I did not realize I take for granted out in the real world. That alone holds so much weight for being so appreciative that I got this opportunity.
Were you surprised about Tony flipping on you? We honestly didn’t think he was going to just yet.
I’ll tell you, I still don’t know how or why he wanted to make that decision that early on. I did everything that I could to purchase his loyalty. There’s only so many things that you can say, but using that Idol in reciprocation to his, I thought OK, this is a situation where he’s playing the game harder than anyone else — maybe too hard — and he has these paranoid tendencies and he can’t sleep at night, so I tried to use that as a token of security that we had a plan from the beginning and I am going to commit to it.
To watch last night’s episode and see what transpired, I was really shocked that he made this decision. Not so much that he made the decision in general, but when he made the decision, because there are so many people and so many variables left in the game.
What about Woo — were you surprised he flipped on you?
I’m not really surprised at Woo. I felt like Woo was kind of just along for the ride. He linked up to one of the more assertive players, and if Tony wants to decide what’s going to happen in the game and he considers Woo his biggest ally, [Woo is] going to conform to what [Tony] says. … I’m not surprised at all that Woo conformed to what Tony’s requests were, especially when it looked like it was in Woo’s best interest.
The castaways have seemed really unpredictable this season from what we’ve seen on TV. Is that a fair characterization of what you experienced out there in the game?
Yeah, 100 percent. Not even because I’m on it, but this season as been one of the best seasons. Even when I know what happens, it’s one of the best seasons that I’ve watched unfold. Everybody has their unpredictability, and all it takes is that one piece of energy, Tony as an example, to make everybody concerned and make them unpredictable … a little bit of him testing everybody makes paranoia.
When you were eliminated from the game, who did you think was in the best position?
Hmm, good question. When I left, I was thinking that Tasha was in the best position … she is a clear challenge threat and all she needs to do is win a couple individual immunities. [Last night] it was her, Spencer and Jeremiah deciding who was going to go home, so I thought she was in the best position. That’s why I unfortunately made the decision to stand her up because I couldn’t figure a circumstance where she could say something to me that would make it worth the risk of putting myself at risk.
If you couldn’t win the money, was there anybody in particular you were rooting for to win the game?
I was actually rooting for Spencer because he understands the game, he plays the game, he was, in my opinion, on probably the worst tribe in “Survivor” history and they fought through it. I knew that was something that was difficult too — [the Brains] had built a bond that we hadn’t because they’ve gone through adversity and all of the fat and the water’s left the building and now they’re tight. He understands the game, he’s very articulate and he’s playing. He tried all the time. I was shocked that he was weebling and wobbling out there with the block on his head and never giving up. So I was rooting for him, and I would hope that he wins if I didn’t.
“Survivor: Cagayan” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.