Charlie Davis reveals conversations with Maria after controversial “Survivor” vote

Charlie Davis reveals conversations with Maria after controversial “Survivor” vote

"I'm really just done with the whole flip-flopping of your reasons why."

Well, that was surprising. Not that it was anything close to resembling a lock that Charlie Davis would win Survivor 46 after he made it into the final three against Kenzie Petty and Ben Katzman on Wednesday night’s finale on CBS. Kenzie especially had played a strong social game and made personal bonds with several of the jurors. But the one vote everybody thought for sure that Charlie could count on was his biggest ally in Maria Shrime Gonzalez.

However, when Maria shockingly voted for Kenzie, that gave the salon owner five votes to Charlie’s three — handing her the win in the most surprising manner possible, and avoiding a likely pro-Charlie tiebreaker vote from third place finisher Ben. How shocked was Charlie by Maria’s vote? What else did we not see at the final Tribal Council? And how difficult was it to sit through the after-show just moments after he had lost out on a million dollars in one of the most painful manners possible? We spoke to Taylor Swift’s biggest fan to get the full scoop.

<p>Robert Voets/CBS</p> Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'

Robert Voets/CBS

Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How were you feeling about your chances walking into that final Tribal Council?

CHARLIE DAVIS: Walking into Tribal, I think I was feeling good, confident, but not overconfident. I tried the whole game not to underestimate anyone. I think that's really a way to get yourself voted out of Survivor or lose Survivor. Obviously, I lost anyways, but I honestly felt good about my chances of pitching my case to the jury. The way that I was thinking about it going in is I really thought it was: Tiffany was probably going to be a Kenzie vote, but then I thought Maria is probably going to be a Charlie vote. So I thought that's somewhat of a wash and it's really just a matter of trying to pick up as many jurors as you can.

And I did feel like I could definitely give a really solid pitch to a lot of people. Obviously, it didn't quite count to five, or four, but I did feel good going into Tribal. I was very confident in my game. I'm still very proud of my game and I thought I could defend it really well.

How surprised were you to not get Maria’s vote to win Survivor?

I was really shocked. I mean, I said it I think in the after-show. I haven't watched the after-show in full yet, and I think they showed it very barely on the show, but it was very stark. One of the very last things she said to me before getting voted out was, “Get to the final three. You've got my vote.” So I don't know what more I can do. It feels to me almost like it's like a perfect control experiment. Obviously, I have to perform at final Tribal, that's always on me. But in terms of thinking I had someone's vote going in, yeah, I really did think I had Maria's vote 1000%.

<p>CBS</p> Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'


Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'

Related: Survivor 46 finale recap: A stunning vote from a juror tips the scales

She said it was the fire in Kenzie’s eyes during the fire-making competition. Do you buy that or do you think it was something else?

I honestly don't know. I've heard a lot of different things from Pondy, which I don't think is necessarily inconsistent with that, but honestly, it's really hard to pin down with Maria because for literally the whole last year, she's pretty much been on message with that. Obviously, we've tried to talk about this and I've tried to nurture a friendship as best I could. But yeah, I mean it's so up and down with her. Weeks after the game, she called me and told me she regretted her vote for Kenzie. She wished she voted for me. And then she came to visit Boston one time and then was saying, “Oh, I can't have any regrets, so I don't regret it anymore.”

And so I'm really just done with the whole flip-flopping of your reasons why. A couple days ago, she texted me and texted me completely new reasons about why she voted for Kenzie that she hadn't said for an entire year. So I'm pretty much just done with that type of guessing game with her. I never know if I'll get the right answer. I think I have a pretty good idea in my mind. I think she should stick to her reasons at the after-show. That's been the most consistent that she said, but it is what it is. At Pondy, I think there was a lot going on, but in my eyes, it's almost like a perfect control experiment. In the game, she left and said she was going to vote for me. Something happens in her mind at Pondy and all of a sudden that's switched up. Yeah, I've definitely done my detective work.

How did you send her out of the game? Did you tell her, “Okay, listen, you're going at this vote?" Did you tell her, “Hey, I actually was coming after you earlier?" That's obviously going through your mind in terms of how you wanted to handle that relationship.

Yeah, absolutely. She absolutely knew she was going home. I didn't feed her any sort of line. She was pitching different names. I was basically telling her, “Sorry, they're not landing.” They weren't landing. I wasn't really trying to help them land. I was trying to nurture that to a degree because if she finds an idol, I wanted her to work with me. I did tell her basically, “Yeah, I've been working with these people for a lot longer than you think.” And so that wasn't a total blindside.

I saved a lot of stuff for Tribal Council that I wanted to talk about. Maybe I could have outlined everything, but I was afraid if I outlined everything to her there, she flips on me and maybe votes come my way. I'm still not immune. So that was the balancing act I was taking. But I tried to just go out and sort of honor our friendship as we went out and still hope for the vote, but tough. Tough.

<p>CBS</p> Maria Shrime Gonzalez and Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'


Maria Shrime Gonzalez and Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'

Related: Kenzie Petty was shocked to get Maria's vote to win Survivor 46

If you get Maria’s vote, it is 4-4 and Ben is the tiebreaker. I’m sure you all have talked about this. Whom does Ben vote for to win if it comes down to him?

Yeah, Ben votes for me. And I think that might surprise people just because they've shown so much Ben and Kenzie content, and obviously that occurred. That's not AI generated. But Ben and I were super tight out there. One of my favorite moments of the entire experience was literally on the last night right after Liz had gone home, Ben had a panic attack at night, and I woke up with him and was just being there for him. And we had a really funny moment on the beach where I just fireman carried him, put him on my shoulder, and I was yelling Lord of the Rings quotes and running him up and down the beach.

That's just an example of how close we were. I was just as much there for him as Kenzie in terms of panic attacks. He was there for me, and we had a really close strategic relationship too. People didn't really see that on the show, but if Maria was my number one, Ben was my anti-Maria faction number one, when I was putting those pieces into place. They had a real butting of heads after the Tim vote and their relationship was barely there. There was a very faint line connecting them, and I was basically trying to wrangle them together for a couple votes, but ultimately that wasn't shown too much. But Ben and I were strategizing super close and had a really close personal bond.

I think the hardest thing in all of Survivor, and actually I don't even think it's close, is losing at a final Tribal Council and then having to immediately shift into the after-show. How difficult was it to sit there while you're processing your loss just a few minutes prior as the champagne and pizza comes out?

Yeah, it is super tough, and I do think the final Tribal was close. There were a couple of somewhat big moments that I thought were big moments for my final Tribal that weren't shown where I really felt like, “Oh, man, I could be winning this.”

<p>CBS</p> Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'


Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'

Related: Survivor 46 finale exclusive deleted scene shows 'final several minus 2'

Like what?

I really just explained my game in a lot more detail than they showed on the show, and about the pieces I was moving. For example, Soda's last question, which was one of the last questions of final Tribal, She said, “Charlie, my perception of you was that you were sort of Maria's henchman" — something like that. And she actually said in her question before I even answered. she was like, “But you've already proven me wrong.” I was very much separating myself from Maria's game, and at final Tribal there was a lot that I very intentionally did that didn't necessarily make the show, but I was able to talk about it final Tribal. I felt really good about having shown my strategy really well. And I thought if they were voting off of strategy — and you can vote off whatever reason you want — if they were voting off strategy, they would probably be voting for me.

And I think, ultimately, that's mainly how it went down. It's just only three people voted mainly off of that. And I don't want to speak for all the jurors, so I don't want to be too presumptuous. I thought I had a good chance of winning, so it was really hard to then see Jeff read the votes. Obviously, he's going to do it in as dramatic a way as possible, and I think I'm going to win when up three to two, and then it's bam, bam, bam, and then it's done.

So it was really hard to compose myself. I am grateful to the couple of producers that were there. They came to me and were like, “Man, you played an awesome game,” just trying to get me in the zone. But honestly, it did feel like the best analogy is a sports team that loses game seven on a buzzer beater, and then it's like, “All right, time to do press,” and everyone's going to ask them about the shots they missed, or maybe their teammate dunked the ball on their own basket would be the better analogy here. So it was really hard, but I am proud of what I said at the after-show and how I handled myself.

<p>CBS</p> Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'


Charlie Davis on 'Survivor 46'

Related: Survivor 47 host Jeff Probst shares intel on next season of the show

Yeah, you handled it very well in a very tough situation. What’s something that happened out there during your 26 days that did not make it to TV that you wish we had seen?

I'm going to give a couple relationships. One, me and Ben — we were obviously so close pre-merge that continued, if not grew way stronger, in the post-merge, and we played closely together. He's a lot more strategic than people give him credit for and super loyal. You see him take me into the final three and doesn't put me into fire — that was ultimately out of loyalty and everything that we went through.

Number two would be my relationship with Tiffany. She's awesome. We had a Harry Potter themed alliance and we had a lot of fun out there. So that would be there. And then number three would be Venus. We actually had a really funny relationship too, which wasn't really shown, but we had a really funny conversation after I voted for her and actually worked together for a couple votes. So that was a lot of fun. She's also a better player than people give her credit for.

You don't want to say hitting yourself in the family jewels with the Hawaiian sling?

That was honestly hilarious. Basically, I was practicing with the Hawaiian sling on land, and that thing rebounded exactly where you don't want it to rebound. Not the pointy end, obviously, or I would've been swiftly off the beach. But yeah, crazy times out there and an unforgettable experience.

Check out the rest our other Survivor 46 finale coverage including 1-on-1 chats with Kenzie, Ben, Liz, and Maria, an exclusive deleted scene, group interviews with the final five and the jury as well as our full episode recap and look ahead to next season.

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