“This is definitely the best final Tribal we’ve ever had”
Australian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia foreshadows a gnarly final challenge and an intense final Tribal Council.
“This season we’re left with 3 potentially worthy winners,” Jonathan LaPaglia insists.
“Whoever wins, it’s a tough choice: who do you take? There are pros and cons, any which way you slice it.”
On Sunday three remaining Australian Survivor castaways will face one last challenge.
Felicity ‘Flick’ Palmateer, George Mladenov, and Hayley Leake will be tested in a gruelling, marathon test to see who can outlast the best of the best.
“It’s basically a bed of nails they’re standing on, with a roof of nails that they’re holding onto. But the every so often we lower the roof.
“Obviously we’ve set it up so it won’t crush them, but it’s designed to force them into an uncomfortable squatting position. It looks amazing, it looks gnarly. It’s going to be a pretty great challenge.”
Whoever wins has the choice of who to take to the final Tribal Council and face jury for the $500,000 prize. But do you take someone you know you can beat, or bring your biggest competition in a show of strength? And how can you ever be sure how the jury will vote?
“Each of them has a very different story, but a very compelling story”
“Each of them has a very different story, but a very compelling story that they can pitch to the jury on why they deserve the title of sole Survivor and half a million dollars.
“This is definitely the best final Tribal we’ve ever had and probably the best final Tribal I’ve ever seen. I haven’t watched every single final Tribal in the US but I’ve seen most of them. I think this is probably the best one. Certainly it felt that way on the floor. We’ll see how it cuts together.”
Sunday brings to a close the Brains v Brawn season filmed in Cloncurry after the pandemic meant filming could not take place in Fiji.
“No other location on earth that has that particular look”
LaPaglia concedes he wasn’t sure how the audience would respond without its trademark ocean scenery, but says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Visually it really is spectacular. There’s no other location on earth that has that particular look to it. It’s so unique, so stark. It’s been a great contrast to what we’ve done in the past. But it’s also added a whole other level to the game.
“It was very difficult for the players and the crew… the temperatures, the distances we had to travel every day. The fact that the land doesn’t really provide the same kind of food sources that you would have in a tropical location. And then all the wildlife that potentially could kill you in an instant. All these things added a whole other level to the game in an interesting way. I think it’s the location this season, has become kind of a character unto itself.
“And the flies were out of control!”
Two snake wranglers would clear areas of snakes before cast and crew were required to attend sites, which were spread out across vast distances, all accessed via unpaved roads.
“I would travel three to four hours every day, between locations,” he continues.
“On an immunity day, we travelled out to the challenge side and back to base. Then we’d have to travel out again to Tribal and back again. So that all adds up to about three or four hours of travel day. Then we have to do challenge rehearsals. Before we actually shoot we rehearse them in the day or two before.
“By the last season in Fiji no location was more than 15-20 minutes away.
“For the crew it was a really, really tough season.”
“Some sponsorship fits better than others.”
I’m also curious as to how as host, he feels about the sponsorship embedded in challenges, but LaPaglia is pragmatic.
“I think the economics of the show is it’s kind of a necessary part of the production. We try and find the best way to integrate them as possible. Some sponsorship fits better than others. It’s just the nature of the beast. It costs a lot of money to make the show and without those sponsor we probably couldn’t make it.”
Making another season is just what’s on the agenda, with LaPaglia confirming filming for 2022 is imminent.
“We are shooting again in Australia. I can’t reveal the location yet. And I can’t reveal what the theme is yet. But it is a theme that has been done in the past in the US, I can tell you that much. But I can’t say what it is yet.”
Australian Survivor finale 7:30pm Sunday on 10.