Winning six straight duels (and an immunity challenge after that) was not enough for Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth to take home the million dollars on Survivor: South Pacific, but it did win him a cool $100,000 as the winner of the fan favorite vote. The fourth place finisher called in to chat about his final challenge blues, bizarre sprints, living-on-the-edge strategy, and why he voted for “spoiled brat” Sophie to win.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s up with the sprinting out of Tribal Council every time? I love that!
OZZY: I have no idea. Tribal Council is always taking too long in my opinion. So I kind of like to speed it up a little bit, like when you need to walk from your seat to go vote. I’m just trying to hurry things up a tiny little bit. I understand that there’s a solemness to the whole occasion, but I don’t know, it’s kind of my thing in a way.
We talked before the game about you going to Redemption Island on purpose, which you ended up doing, and we talked about you collecting all the jury votes there and then coming back to win, which you were so close to doing as well. Dude, our pregame strategy sessions rock!
Yeah, man. It was the one time my strategy really almost paid off. I tried to stick with that plan and was very, very close. But one thing I didn’t count on was how incredibly weighty the pressure would be at the end. It’s one thing to be going to the duels, where of course if you lose you’re out. But to know you’re at the very end and this puzzle is a million dollar puzzle — it was just so hard. My mind went blank, pretty much. It was really difficult.
Well, the mental exhaustion of having to perform in your eighth win-or-go-home contest must have been immense by that point.
Coming so close and having it slip right through is tough.
Compare this to the two other times you played. In general, you seemed to be having a ball this time out.
Oh, yeah. This time I wanted to really just enjoy the experience and embrace everything about the experience as it went on. And I think I did it. I wanted to play the game to show people that you don’t need to play the game from a place of fear. I think fear really ruins Survivor a lot of times. The game could be so interesting if people would just embrace the fact that they’re out the in the elements and don’t need to be afraid of things. Yeah, you might go home, but at least you played a cool, really awesome game, and that’s something to be proud of. I just think it’s so annoying when people go out there and play from a standpoint of fear. They make really weak moves because of it. So you might as well go out there and give it everything you got. And if you fail, you fail knowing that you played as hard as you possibly could, and that’s exactly the way that I wanted to do it.
In the so-close department, which one is more painful, this one where you knew you’d win if you took that last challenge, or Cook Islands where you lost by one measly vote?
Cook Islands, because this is all my own doing, if that makes any sense. It was all up to me and I just have to take some solace that there is some grand master plan that is bigger than myself that I can’t quite perceive at this moment. Maybe I just don’t need that million dollars. I’ll just have to make my million dollars the old fashioned way. Walking away with $100,000 plus is not too bad either. I didn’t get first place but I basically got second if you look at it monetarily. And in my opinion I really did win the game in terms of how people saw it play out at home.
You called Sophie a spoiled brat and then wrote her name down for a million dollars. Why?
Because you got to respect. I thought she played like a spoiled brat with me, but at the same time we both have very strong personalities and we weren’t able to jibe out there. All of a sudden when the cameras turn off and the game is over you find that the people that you despised end up being the people that you like the most. Eliza is a perfect example. I could not stand her in Fans vs. Favorites, and once the game was over and we were hanging out, I was like, “Damn. This girl is really, really cool.”
You and Sophie have clearly kissed and made up. What about you and Coach?
I think Coach is going to take this hard for a while. At final Tribal, I gave him a chance to win my vote. I lobbed him a softball and I just wanted him to come out and say, “Look, I know I didn’t play honorably. I may have tried to but I didn’t. And the fact is, I still played a damn good game.” I just wanted to hear some more honesty. I would have voted for him, but the fact is, he didn’t do that for me and own up to the way he played.
Any regrets besides losing that last puzzle challenge?
One thing I wish is that I had told Coach — it probably still wouldn’t have changed anything — is that I wish I would have said, “Hey, man. Do you want to lose to me or do you want to lose to Sophie? Because you’re not going to win this game. So who do you want to lose to?”
Sophie, Coach, and Albert all called you arrogant. Are you arrogant, Ozzy?
I don’t think so, There might be a little bit of that. But when it comes to playing the game, and being out there and surviving — yeah, I know what the hell I’m doing. I really do. And I love it and I have a lot of fun. Maybe a little bit of that arrogance is just confidence and comes across the wrong way.
To read our interview with winner Sophie Clarke, click right here. For Dalton’s finale recap, click right here. To enjoy our finale Q&A with Jeff Probst, click right here. Also click on the video player below to see an exclusive deleted with Ozzy, as well as our pregame interview with Sophie. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.