Matt Elrod was the second person voted out of Redemption Island, and yet he still made it all the way to the finale. His journey came to an end in the final duel as he admired some pretty trees and oh-so-briefly lost his concentration, allowing his vase to tip over and fall. He called into EW.com today to discuss his unique experience on the show, why he signed up in the first place, and whether or not he is actually dating Andrea. Read on after the jump for the complete interview.
Matt, by my calculations you spent 672 days at Redemption Island. Or at least it seemed like it. Was it as much of an emotional roller coaster as it seemed to be for you?
It absolutely was. It was probably even more of an emotional roller coaster than they showed. In the mornings I’d wake up and be miserable and cold and hungry, and then by the afternoon I’d normally kind of lighten up and be in better spirits, but it was a day-to-day thing and I was all over the place for sure.
What was harder: Bring blindsided twice by your own tribe, or then having to watch yourself get blindsided twice by your own tribe on TV?
Well, the second time I got blindsided on the show it was actually kind of funny because I was like “Who does that?” But then watching it on TV, it was a little bit harder to watch because you’re seeing what everybody is saying. At the same time, I kind of like the way everything panned out for me. I’m pretty happy with it, so I can’t really complain too much either way.
You had some strong words for the final three at that last Tribal. How do you feel now about the concept of separating the game from life in terms of one’s actions?
I love the game. I respect the game a lot. I respect Rob as a person and as a Survivor player. And that’s one of the reasons that he’s so good because he can distinguish between the two. I think it’s doable. I don’t think there’s any problem with playing the game — it’s just not where my heart was going into it. And really the only reason I didn’t play is it wasn’t my true motivation for going to play the game of Survivor, I guess.
What was your true motivation for going to play Survivor then?
I guess, really, I wanted to glorify God and get his name out there and try to encourage anyone I could. I felt like I had been given a platform and I wanted to use it just the best way that I could. I don’t know if people saw a weak, crying kid struggling to put one foot in front of the other or a broken man trusting in something much greater than himself and trying to show the love and joy and peace that he felt.
I think we saw both!
[Laughing] Probably so.
Would you have been able to lie and backstab and tell people they were going to the end with you even if they weren’t, like Rob did?
This was Rob’s fourth time playing the game. Obviously he’s got a little bit of an advantage and quite the skill set for sure. My first go round, had I wanted to go that route I really don’t think I could have played that game as well as he did. But if I were to go back and play it again, I could play it that way. I’m not sure.
So after all the misery you were put through, you would go back and play Survivor again if asked?
You know, I’m about 50-50 on this one. Some of me wants to go back and some of me just wants to stay so I’m not really certain.
C’mon, you guys always go back. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people and they’re like “I’m not going back” and there they are again.
I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out in the future when we’re doing an interview.
We will, and I’ll say, “See, I told you!” Now let’s say Andrea had made it to the final three. Would you have voted for her to win?
I think I absolutely would have voted for her to win. I mean Rob played a perfect game, but to be honest with you, I was looking for a reason to not vote for him. And Andrea was a hard, hard worker. She’s great in challenges. She’s tough as nails. I think I would have voted for her for sure.
I know you were pretty upset with her when she first got to Redemption. So did that pass quickly?
I was being cordial with her. I just wasn’t being overly nice to her and she came out and started saying I was giving her evil eyes and started attacking me and that’s where things kinda went south. But she did what she had to do, and I’ve got to respect that. I can’t tell anyone how to play the game, and she’s a good gal. So there was no bad blood there, and if there was, it didn’t last long.
What about if Mike had made it back into the game and into the final three? I’m guessing he would have gotten your vote also.
Oh, goodness, yeah. Mike would have gotten two of my votes if that were possible.
That whole exchange with Probst at the reunion about whether you and Andrea are dating was really awkward, so let’s make you awkward again and follow up on that. What’s the deal there? I still can’t figure out what’s going on.
I mean, I don’t know. We’ve talked a lot since we got back from the show. I think we’re just at different places in our lives right now and maybe want two different things out of life. I look forward to being a great friend in the future but I can’t say for certain what I’m doing tomorrow let alone a year from now. As of right now, we’re just friends.
To see my pre-game joint interview with Matt, check out the video player below. Also make sure to read my interview with winner Boston Rob Mariano as well as the Survivor: Redemption Island finale/reunion recap, And for more Survivor news and views all year long, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.