I said as much in my recap of Wednesday's (May 7) "Survivor: Cagayan," but Tasha Fox has no doubt that if she hadn't been voted out and if she'd been allowed to make it into Final 3 situation, she was going to win, whether she went up against Idol-finding mastermind Tony or fellow Brain Spencer.
"Hand's down, I would win the million dollars regardless of who I sat next to," Tasha told me in this week's exit interview.
Of course, getting to the Final 3 required getting out of last week's Tribal Council and that required counting on Kass and Woo to flip against Tony.
That didn't happen.
But just because Tony seems to be in a power position from what we've seen on TV, Tasha hints that her own Jury sentiments may not be so clear. She gives a perspective that may be illustrative of what we can expect over the next couple weeks on "Survivor" and it may be surprising.
In her exit chat, Tasha talks about Tony's valuable henchmen, Kass' scapegoating, her frustration and not talking to Spencer sooner and what she would have told LJ if he hadn't stood her up on the beach.
Click through for the full Q&A...
HitFix: Going into that last tribal, how confident would you say that you were in Woo and Kass going with you? Or how packed-up-and-ready-to-go were you? What was the mix?
Tasha Fox: Right. So I would say on the level of 1-to-10, I had about "1" confidence in Woo and Kass, just because it's Woo and Kass.
HitFix: But Spencer seemed to have some confidence. Or do you think Spencer was also down there around a 1?
Tasha: Yeah, I think that given the fact that Woo has consistently been Tony's right hand man and not displayed any initiative in making a move to credit his own game, that's why I didn't have any faith in Woo. And then Kass, since the flip, she was basically an antagonist the entire time and I think emotionally, Tony pissed her off for a couple of days because they were arguing and emotionally she was upset at Tony and thought about doing something different, but in the end she wasn't really willing to.
HitFix: Knowing how poorly Russell Hantz did with juries, do you regret mentioning his name with Kass in that conversation?
Tasha: I don't really think that me saying that about Russell in any way, shape or form made Kass change her mind. I think that for her to even consider the fact that she might have a chance of winning is just ludicrous, so it doesn't really matter to Kass who she sits next to. She won't win. But if in her mind she thinks she has a chance against Tony versus me? OK. Either way she would be losing.
HitFix: Do you also think Kass is misinterpreting how much people hate Tony? Or were people really hating Tony by that point out there?
Tasha: I think it was a pretty known fact that people were hating Tony. Every time we'd go to Tribal Council, you just look at LJ's face, you look at Jefra's face. They were a bitter Jury and it was evident by the eye-rolling that Tony was not very well-liked. But, at the same time, people they may respect his game.
HitFix: You never know with Juries whether the bitterness is going to predominate or whether the respect might win out. What read were you getting?
Tasha: I think I was getting the feeling that we were all, or a lot of us were, fans of the show, we knew the show, and that we would probably all respect a good game, but here's the thing, though, about Tony's game: His game is only as great as Woo and Trish would allow it to be. They played their subservient roles very well and they stuck to those roles. So if you give me a Trish and give me a Woo, yeah I'm a rock star too. So on one hand you can say, "Yeah, I really respect Tony's game," but, "No, I really respect Trish and Woo's game, because they are facilitating Tony's game." So it's not even guaranteed if he made it to the end that he can make a compelling argument that he did it by himself. You did it on the backs of Trish and Woo.
HitFix: But presumably there has to be some control in order to get Trish and Woo to play those specific roles. Or do you give them credit for choosing to play those roles?
Tasha: Yeah, I give them credit for choosing to play those roles. Like I said, if Woo or Trish are at the Final 3 with Tony and Trish says, "You know what? My strategy was to let Tony get the blood on his hands and for me to wash it off and I played my role," I might respect that strategy, because maybe that's a strategy in itself. So I see Tony's getting a lot of credit, but maybe Woo and Trish are playing the game that they want to play, too.
HitFix: In your exit, you said that you felt it was smart for them to vote you out, because you felt like you could go on another Immunity run. In a Final 3 situation, do you think anyone out there beats you with a Jury?
Tasha: Absolutely not. Hand's down, I would win the million dollars regardless of who I sat next to. I felt my narrative, starting from Losing Luzon, that was a great narrative. And even if I would have sat next to Spencer, I saved Spencer twice in the game, so even sitting next to him, even though our stories were pretty similar, there were a couple of chances that he could have been out of the game had it not been for me.
HitFix: How were you feeling about your relationship with Spencer out there? You guys obviously didn't start out very close, but you became closer due to circumstances. How tight were you by the end?
Tasha: You know what? I would say that we both recognized that we had basically the same goal, which was to try to break up Tony and his tight alliance and that will bring two people together, obviously, without any trouble. So I wouldn't say that we came together willingly. It was just by default that we had the same goal and we could count on one another to try and accomplish that goal. So yeah, it was just the circumstances. I wish I would have known Spencer before Day 7, because maybe we would have been tighter from the beginning, but he really kinda was under Garrett's thumb and really didn't talk to anybody, so I'm like, "Man, I had a jewel in Spencer, but didn't know it until a week into the game."
HitFix: Talk a bit about those first few days. How low did you get as your tribe spiraled for the first week.
Tasha: Oh my gosh! I applied for the show three times. I finally get on and I'm like, "I know I can play this game. I really am a triple-threat." And then I end up on Luzon and I thought it was laughable that I waited 13 years to play this game and I'm on this tribe. So yeah, my spirits were down and I was like, "I need to just try to survive Luzon." That was my No.1 goal. But I must say this, though: I appreciated the experience, because what it did was prepare me for the strategic, physical and social game that I would have to play at the Switch and the Merge, whereas the Beauty and Brawns, they were living it up. They really weren't tried and tested. We were, so I was already in game-mode when it came to the Switch and the Merge. I would say that it was a good experience and had I not started out on Luzon, I don't know that I would have had such a great narrative to tell if I did, in fact, make it to the end.
HitFix: When you look back on those early votes from Luzon, do any of them seem like mistakes? I'm thinking of maybe keeping J'Tia and sacrificing strength? Or do you feel like you had no choice at that point?
Tasha: Oh my gosh, keeping J'Tia was the absolute right decision. Had I voted out J'Tia, that would have given Spencer and Garrett the power to decide, if we lost again, they could have decided whether to keep Kass or to keep me. So strategically, I wanted to continue to play my million dollar game and not get caught up on a five dollar bag of rice. So people really couldn't understand like, "Why didn't you vote out this person? Why didn't you vote her out for dumping your rice?" I'm like, "It's five dollar rice and I'm playing a million dollar game." So voting out Garrett solidified J'Tia and I and Kass as the decision-makers in the tribe and it worked out perfectly. Any other decision besides keeping J'Tia could have put me on the chopping block for the next vote.
HitFix: But seeing how unsteady Kass has been with all of her alliances, did you sense that the time? Were there signs that maybe you didn't read?
Tasha: Yeah, I knew Kass was emotional, because she was really pissed about the rice. Anybody that is more concerned about the rice than their game? I was like, "OK. She's emotional." But that's why I said that had I know Spencer prior to Day 7, I would have gone to him. He would have been my right-hand man and he's solid, but I didn't know that, because I didn't know him. I only knew him through Garrett. So yeah, I knew Kass was unstable, but if you hit the right emotional buttons, you'll get exactly the result you want from Kass.
HitFix: But with that... Kass has been going on and on about people ignoring her and people not paying enough attention to her. Doesn't that mean that you missed buttons you were supposed to push?
Tasha: No, I think that's called scapegoating, so if she wants to put off her bad decision on me by saying that I ignored her, that she felt like she was on the bottom? That's fine. Just use me as a scapegoat. But I talked to Kass every single day. We strategized every day. Her, Spencer and I sat on a log every day at New Aparri to plot our next move. So Trish played on her emotions, she was feeling some-type-of-way about Sarah and I think was jealous of the attention that Sarah was getting and made her emotional move. That, honestly, I really feel didn't have anything to do with me or the relationship we had. It was just a quick emotional move and, like I said, she just used that as the reason for making a bad decision. So I don't sign on to that.
HitFix: You talked about Tony's strong supporting cast and how important that has been to him. You had Spencer with you. Is there anyone you wish that you had cultivated more? If Spencer's your right hand man, someone who would have been your left hand man?
Tasha: Oh my gosh! You know who I really wish would have taken me up on my offer? LJ. I plotted his path to victory. Had he listened, he would have undoubtedly gone with me. Oh man. He had the best shot, in my opinion, in his position. But he wasn't ever willing to listen to it. I could have worked some magic with LJ for sure.
HitFix: Well, he stood you up on the beach when you wanted to talk to him. Give me the pitch that you were planning on giving him.
Tasha: Right. So here's my pitch for LJ: If LJ and Jefra would have come with Jeremiah, Spencer and me, that would have been us five against Tony, Trish, Woo and Kass. So it would have been 5-4. At that point, Tony didn't have any Idols. We could have taken out Tony and we could have taken out Woo. That would have left Trish and Kass. Trish and LJ had already had a relationship, so I don't see any reason why Trish, and then Kass would follow, would join LJ and Jefra. That would put then at 4, to me and Spencer and Jeremiah at 3. So then they could have taken out Spencer, me and Jeremiah. That would have left LJ with these three ladies. He could have undoubtedly ran Immunity and taken himself to the end. Of course, I would have put in counter-measures to prevent that. But from LJ's perspective, if he was able to pull that off, he would have been sitting pretty.
HitFix: Given what the composition of the Jury was going to be, how soon would you have had to put in those counter-measures?
Tasha: After we got rid of Tony and Woo, of course.
HitFix: So he was useful for a couple Tribals, but no more than that?
Tasha: Yeah. I think LJ would have ended up fourth or fifth, maybe. Instead of ninth? That sounds like better numbers to me, for him.
HitFix: Are you able to take any solace, in retrospect, seeing all of the Idols that Tony accumulated and knowing that if you'd been able to get the votes against him, you really weren't going to be able to get him out these past couple Tribals?
Tasha: Yeah, that does make me feel better. Honestly, I'm surprised that Woo and Kass didn't just go along with it to flush at least one of the Idols so that they wouldn't have to worry about the Tyler Perry Idol, but I guess they weren't strategic enough to think of that. [She laughs.]
HitFix: You were one of the most popular people out there this season, insofar as several players have lots of fans, but are also hated. I don't know of anyone who hated you. Have you started thinking as far as what would happen if "Survivor" gave you another chance to go out there again?
Tasha: I would say that if "Survivor" wanted me to go back again, it would be with a different group of people and I think people needed me, but didn't want to accept the fact that they needed me. Everybody that's gotten blindsided by Tony could have used me. Jefra. LJ. Garrett could have used me, but he wanted to do his own thing. So I think people, for whatever reason, I was well liked, but for whatever reason, nobody wanted to work with me and you see what their fate is. If you have an alliance and you are depending on that alliance, you need to make sure that your alliance members are able to stay in the game. And that was one thing that I was able to do, socially and physically. If your alliance members are getting voted out, now you're losing your power. So having someone like me who was capable of staying in the game, I can help you further your game. So I think Spencer aligned with Jeremiah and Sarah and they had a Final 3 thing going on, but unfortunately for him, they couldn't stay in the game. So whether or not they thought they needed me, I think based on what has happened, it was pretty clear that I could have helped several people in this game.