Posts Tagged ‘tony vlachos’

‘Survivor’ Castaway Tony: “The Writing Was on the Wall and It Was in Plain English”

March 9, 2017

Tony Vlachos (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: I feel terrible.
Tony Vlachos: Oh…man!
Holmes: You broke my heart.
Vlachos: Oh, I’m sorry. I really am.
Holmes: This is going to hurt, but we’ve got to do this.
Vlachos: (Laughs) I know. I know.
Holmes: Did you know you were done for when you were heading into that Tribal?
Vlachos: I knew I was done. Right before Tribal I was trying to talk to Caleb. “Let’s do this. Let’s play this game.” But there was just a blank face. Malcolm, same thing. We were supposed to vote for Aubry, but Malcolm lied to me. He just walked away. Jeff Varner, he gave me the thumbs up from a mile away when I tried to talk to him. Troyzan said, “I’m just trying to have a zen moment on the beach, I don’t want to talk right now.” Aubry told me, “I’m going to let fate take its course.” Michaela says, “Tony, I’m on the bottom here. I’m going to do what they told me and that’s vote for Aubry.” The writing was on the wall and it was in plain English. I tried my best, Gordon. But, I really didn’t think Sandra would want to go against me. Why would she want to stay with non-threats like Hali, Varner and Troyzan? I was pitching that to her. “They’re not threatening enough to protect you. You need me, Caleb, Malcolm…”

Holmes: It seemed like you two were going to work together until that moment where Sandra and Troyan walked up while you were working on the Spy Bunker™.
Vlachos: What happened was, we moved our camp closer to the water well. Which made it harder for me to work on my Spy Bunker™. It was 50-75 feet away. So I didn’t have much of a chance to build my bunker that I desperately needed. Every chance I got I’d start digging on it. At night was my best chance. I’d wait for everyone to go to sleep. I’d watch them until they’d close their eyes. So, I see Sandra and Troyzan walking by and I said, “Oh snap.” I crawled away and was hiding when I heard my name. That’s not a good sign. It doesn’t matter what they said, but I heard my name at four in the morning. I bum rushed them, cause if they’re lying to me I’ll catch them off guard. That’s what I did. Troyzan tells me he’s looking at the tide. Sandra tells me she’s talking to Troyzan about a crate being too close to a fire. I thought, “I’m done. It’s over for me.”
Holmes: You couldn’t repair that rift after that moment?
Vlachos: No, that was it. Once they saw that, whatever they said didn’t matter. I thought they were gunning for me, maybe they weren’t at that point. But, Sandra got a little spooked by me. He can’t be looking me in the eyes and interrogating me. She started scrambling on her side, and I needed to get my troops together. And, she got the best of me.

Holmes: A lot of people don’t understand why Sandra has been so successful, but last night there was a moment where you pressed Sandra to join in a strategy conversation and she responded with something along the lines of, “You tell me who you’re thinking of targeting and I’ll give you my thoughts.” That’s next-level gameplay.
Vlachos: I always had respect for Sandra’s game. You can’t win a game like that two times unless you play a good game. I knew she was a good player. I asked her to tell me what she’s thinking and she avoided it. And we were clashing then already. But again, kudos to her. To pull Malcolm and Caleb away from me. We had three strong guys and we wanted to keep the tribe strong. She was still able to do it.

Holmes: There was a lot of animosity as you left. Was there any of that before the vote or did it start when you told people to be wary of her?
Vlachos: She looks like she takes things a lot more personal than I do. It’s a game. I don’t take things personal. I burned so many people in Cagayan and they didn’t take it personal with me. I knew my time was up. And I said, “Sheep being lead to the slaughter.” I was thinking, “C’mon, Malcolm. You’re going to let her lead you around? Caleb…Aubry? You’re going to let this lady manipulate you and vote off this big shield? Come merge time you’re going to need me.” They did it like it was nothing. I was very surprised. And Sandra started running her mouth, “That’s what you get. That’s what you get.” I give her the props. She’s the queen bee. I got stung by the queen bee.

Holmes: Were there any other cracks that you tried to exploit? Were there people who weren’t getting along?
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon? There was no malice. Nobody was gunning for anybody. Michaela and Aubry were on the bottom, but I couldn’t make it happen. I tried to get them to give me a chance.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Sandra.
Vlachos: Queen bee.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Vlachos: Thoroughbred.
Holmes: Ciera?
Vlachos: Sneaky.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Vlachos: Awesome dude.
Holmes: Caleb?
Vlachos: All American boy.
Holmes: Hali?
Vlachos: Invisible.
Holmes: Varner?
Vlachos: Smiley.
Holmes: Aubry?
Vlachos: I guess…laid back.
Holmes: Michaela?
Vlachos: Unknown.

Holmes: I wish I had told you this before the show started, but when you arrive on tribe beach, don’t go running into the woods screaming that you’re going to find an idol.
Vlachos: What was I supposed to do, man?! All eyes were on me, I couldn’t even go pee. I was like, “You know what? I’ll get in their face and make a joke of it.” And you know behind every joke lies the truth. Let me rewind; we took a field trip around the whole campsite. We saw where treemail was, we saw where the water was. And when we were walking together like a big happy family, I saw the mail had a lot of props there. I thought, “Wow, there’s got to be an idol there.” When we got back to camp I was itching. I wanted to look at the mail. And nobody was letting me walk nowhere. I said, “You guys play nice, I’m going looking for the idol.” And that’s exactly what I did. Nobody came behind me, so I took my time and looked everywhere. And I didn’t find anything. And because a typhoon had hit before we got there, every tree was knocked down, there were palm fronds everywhere. There were so many places to look. I was looking non-stop for six days.

Holmes: When we spoke before the game and you said if you lost you would never play again. That is absolutely unacceptable.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: Just because you said something in a pre-game interview does not make it legally binding.
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon man? I got voted off and I said, “I’ll never play this game again.” Two months later I said, “I want to go back for a third time.” Last night after I watched it I said, “I never want to play again.”
Holmes: Damnit, Vlachos!
Vlachos: I’m a roller coaster. You know that.
Holmes: I came into this interview fully prepared to spend all fifteen minutes of it begging you to come back.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: Word association be damned.
Vlachos: In another three months I’ll be calling Jeff begging him to come back.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Tony: ‘I’m Going to Play It Maybe Faster This Time. I’m Going to Turn It Up Two Notches’

February 8, 2017

Tony Vlachos (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Game Changers.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire 20-person cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Tony Vlachos
Age: 42
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Previously Played On:
“Survivor: Cagayan” – Winner
Best Known For: Spy shacks, llama calls, and finding approximately 40 immunity idols.

Gordon Holmes: The llama whisperer!
Tony Vlachos: (Laughs) I’m the llama whisper.
Holmes: Are you going to branch out with any new animal noises, or are you sticking with llamas?
Vlachos: It’s got to be situational. If I see any animals out there that need to be spoken to, I think I can adapt.

Holmes: So, last time you had forty idols. How many are you hoping to find this time?
Vlachos: (Laughs) Oh man, I hope I can continue my idol hunting skills. That’s going to be one of my priorities. Obviously I’m a big threat, so I’m going to try to find as many as I can.

Holmes: What’ve you been up to since your big win?
Vlachos: You know, family things. I got home, I got my wife pregnant, so now I have two babies. And I’ve just been being a dad, man. It’s so stressful.
Holmes: That’s why you need that second million, to pay for that second kid.
Vlachos: Second $500,000.
Holmes: Oh, after taxes. So it’ll complete that first million.
Vlachos: That’s right. I’m here for the other half.
Holmes: Some “Survivor” winners just keep the whole million and pass on paying the taxes.
Vlachos: No, no. I’d go to jail.
Holmes: And they love cops in jail, right?
Vlachos: (Laughs) Yeah, I can’t do that. But I’ve been out of the “Survivor” loop for a while. But, when I got this call, you can’t say no.

Holmes: So, Probst has already told you that the theme of the season is “Game Changers.” How would you say you changed the game?
Vlachos: I don’t know. I’d say that the jurors I had changed the game. People that played aggressive in the past, the jurors didn’t vote for them. So, the players had to simmer it down for the jurors so they don’t get too bitter. I did do fun stuff like the spy shack. I did find an idol without a clue, but that’s been done before. I did bluff on the special idol. I made that story up completely. I swore on my family, I broke promises. I knew when I could distinguish real life and game life. If I stuck with my word like I would do in real life, I would have sunk with the ship. I knew enough to separate life from the game.
Holmes: I was thinking it was because you played such a…(expletive deleted) insane game…
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: …that how-can-you-stay-mad-at-this game. Like a scoundrel who admits he’s a scoundrel can become charming.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: How can you stay mad at someone when you say, “Hey! You stabbed me in the back!” And he responds, “Yeah, I stabbed everyone in the back.”
Vlachos: I know! But that’s what I’m saying, I ruined people’s chances of winning. They have to be mad, right? I did play the game fast, I’m going to play it maybe faster this time. I’m going to turn it up two notches.
Holmes: How is that even possible?
Vlachos: We’ll see, I played at a six then, I’m going to play at an eight now.
Holmes: I was thinking maybe if you lit your hair on fire, but…
Vlachos: The sides grow like Bozo. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Vlachos: I’m coming reloaded, I’ve got some new tricks in my bag. Ask me about them later.

Holmes: What do you think of this cast?
Vlachos: There are a lot of heavy hitters. I’m not underestimating anybody. I see a lot of challenge beasts. I see a lot of man buns running around. I see a good cast, man. I see some strategic threats. I see Sarah, the girl I played against in Cagayan. The cast is gonna play hard.
Holmes: What’s your relationship like with Sarah?
Vlachos: I think she’s the only one I’m going to gravitate to. That’s the only one I know. And it’s all situational. As soon as someone opens their mouth I’m going to know if I want to work with them or not.
Holmes: Is there any concern working with Sarah after the whole swearing on the badge incident?
Vlachos: You know, when I first saw Sarah I thought, “Oh man, she’s going to gun for me right away.” But if you think about it, she gave me a vote to win a million dollars. It wasn’t like bitter Tasha. I know bitter Tasha would be out to get me. So, I know there’s no bad blood there. So, we’ll try to reunite that Cops R Us alliance.

Holmes: Is there anyone you’re going to target early?
Vlachos: It’s all situational, but Sandra…she’s here for a triple crown. You can’t say it’s a fluke with her winning twice. Maybe the first time it was a fluke, but the second time? You’ve got skills. Those skills were good pre season 25. Now it’s a whole new era. I mean, look at us; game changers, right? It’s a faster game now. You’re not flying under the radar and winning. And besides, how long has it been?
Holmes: Seven years?
Vlachos: Yeah, she’s been the queen of “Survivor.” And there hasn’t been a king of “Survivor.” I’m out here, I have one win and no blemishes. If I win I get the throne. The King of “Survivor!” King TV!

Holmes: Alright, I’m here to get you prepped for this show. So, I’ve got a game called “The Best Defense.” I came up with a few reasons to vote you out, and I want you to defend yourself against them.
Vlachos: You got it.
Holmes: Tony is a wild man. You saw him in Cagayan. He turned the game upside down and still won. We can’t risk it, we’ve got to get rid of him.
Vlachos: We all know that I’m not going to do nothing come merge time because I can’t win any challenges. We all know that there are four people from Kaoh Rong. We’ve got Debbie, we’ve got Caleb, we’ve got Tai, we’ve got Aubry. Those are four strong. You get rid of me and you’re going to leave these four strong. There’s three winners, you’ve got JT, Sandra, and me. You don’t want Sandra to win twice. If anything, she should be the first target, not me. You have two people you don’t know anything about from season 33. You know that they did something enough to change the game and bring them back. I shouldn’t be a target first.

Holmes: Tony won $500,000 after taxes. He’s had his shot. He’s gotta go.
Vlachos: Oh man, that’s what they should be saying! (Laughs) All of those losers need to stick together. That’s what they’re supposed to say. Tony will get his chance, but right now we have to take care of bigger threats which is the challenge guys. They’re going to run away with the game. They’re going to stick together and start voting everybody out. You can get rid of me anytime after the merge. I can’t win challenges, that’s proven.

Holmes: I watched that dude vote out his allies left and right.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: I don’t want to be one of his allies who ends up on the jury.
Vlachos: Let me be your number. I won’t be calling the shots like last time. You tell me who to vote for and I will. It’s going to be tough.
Holmes: I believe in you.
Vlachos: (Laughs) Thank you. You know, if I can’t lie to you, then I gotta lie about you.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Vlachos: That’s the truth!
Holmes: That’s a t-shirt slogan.

Holmes: You mentioned the two people from season 33, they’re unknown quantities. How do you handle that?
Vlachos: Personally? They should be target number one. We all know everybody’s game. We know who we’re dealing with. These people we know nothing about. We don’t know if they’re loyal, we don’t know if they’re Tony on steroids. They should go first. See ya. We lose a challenge, they’re the sacrificial lamb.

Holmes: With these returnee seasons, there’s always talk of preseason alliances. Have you been talking to anyone?
Vlachos: Absolutely not. Once I heard I was a contestant, I deleted my Twitter, I stopped talking to everybody, I stopped doing podcasts. I do not want anybody to reach out to me and nobody has. That’s not how you play the game.
Holmes: Have you heard any rumors of people working together?
Vlachos: I haven’t heard any rumors, but you go on social media and you see Tai going to Caleb’s wedding. You see Aubry going to “Survivor” functions. Most of the people have some history. But again, I think it would behoove them to stay away from that pregame stuff.

Holmes: You’re on lockdown now, you’re not allowed to talk. But people smile, people wink, people sit next to other people. Have you caught anybody doing any of that?
Vlachos: It’s not our first rodeo, they know they don’t want to get caught sitting next to each other. Everybody knows the deal.

Holmes: You mentioned that there are four Koah Rongers here. What do you do with that?
Vlachos: It’s all situational, I don’t know who will be on my team. Everybody watched the same show I watched. They watched Aubry, they watched Debbie, they watched Caleb and Tai being real close. I know they’re going to gravitate real close. Just like Sarah and I care going to gravitate real close. As fans of the show, we know who’s going to work together. And when you see who’s talking to who, you’re going to work together. I won’t worry about it till we get on the beach and I can see how people are interacting with each other. I’m going to go in there with a clean canvas and on day 39 when I’m sitting in front of the jury, I’m going to unveil my masterpiece.
Holmes: You are a human t-shirt slogan machine.
Vlachos: I like that one.
Holmes: Mr. Soundbite.

Holmes: Any guesses as to what twists we might see?
Vlachos: I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns, because if there are pre-game alliances, they’re going to run away with the show. One of my fortes is to expect the unexpected, other people are going to panic. But, that’s where I come in and that’s where I shine.

Holmes: Alright, let’s play Awesome or Awful. I’ll give you a twist you tell me if it’s awesome or awful. Hidden immunity idols?
Vlachos: Awesome.
Holmes: Tyler Perry idols?
Vlachos: Awesomer! (Laughs)
Holmes: Redemption Island?
Vlachos: Awful.
Holmes: Exile Island?
Vlachos: Awful.
Holmes: The Medallion of Power?
Vlachos: Awful.
Holmes: Extra vote?
Vlachos: Awesome.
Holmes: Steal a vote?
Vlachos: Awesome.
Holmes: Eliminate a juror?
Vlachos: Awful. That’s (expletive deleted) awful. I hated that.

Holmes: As a former winner, is there any concern about tarnishing your legacy?
Vlachos: A lot of people ask why I’m coming back when I’ve got this legacy, the only reason I came back is because I won. Had I lost, I’d never play this game again. It’s not worth it to go out there for 30 (expletive deleted) days and come back with $50,000/$40,000. To put yourself through that, I wouldn’t do it.
Holmes: Are you talking about the stress of the game? The physical toll of the elements?
Vlachos: Everything! Leaving your family behind for 50 days. Destroying your body, mentally, physically, emotionally.
Holmes: I think the most misunderstood part of this game is how rough constant paranoia is on you.
Vlachos: Yeah! I don’t sleep. I stay up all night. I watch everything. I go over every scenario. And the second you’re not paranoid, you lose.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to hand you three cards at random. You tell me who you’re going to vote out first, who you’re going to work with but eventually eliminate, and who you’re going to take to the end. (Note: Michaela and Zeke were not a part of this exercise because nobody knew who they were at this point.)

Round One: Sandra, Aubry, and Jeff
Vlachos: This is funny because Sandra, I want to get rid of her. But, when I have these three, I’ve got to work with her because she’s another winner. But, it’s conflicting to what I want! Aubry, she’s going to have a good case, so I don’t want her in the end, so she goes first. Jeff, I would work with, but I’m going to take Sandra to the end because I don’t think anyone is going to give her a triple crown. And if I’m taking her to the end, I’m sure she’s using that fly-under-the-radar strategy that she used ten seasons ago and that’s not going to cut it nowadays. What’s crazy is I wanted her out first.
Holmes: That’s the point of this exercise, you don’t always get what you want. Sometimes the situation is going to force you to change your plans.
Vlachos: I like it!

Round Two: Hali, JT, and Brad
Vlachos: (Laughs) Oh man…I’ll take Hali to the end. I remember her game and she’s under the radar. She won’t have a strong argument with a good resume at the end. JT…I won’t take to the end because he’s a likable person and he’s a challenge beast. I’ll work with him. And voting Brad out because I don’t know a lot about him.

Round Three: Tai, Malcolm, and Caleb
Vlachos: I’m going to take Tai to the end. I want a proven loser in the end. I’ll take him. And these two beasts…I’ll work with Caleb because I think he’s more soft in nature and a little more passive. And Malcolm, I’ll vote out first because he’s too strong-minded. He wants to call the shots.

Round Four: Sierra, Ciera, and Ozzy
Vlachos: I’ll take Sierra to the end because she’s very passive and won’t have a strong resume. I’ll work with Ciera because she does what’s best for her. And I’ll vote out Ozzy. I can’t let him get too deep because he’s a challenge beast and he’ll run away with it.

Round Five: Cirie, Debbie, and Troyzan.
Vlachos: I’ll get rid of Cirie first because she’s sneaky. I can’t trust her and I’m sure she can’t trust me. I’ll work with Debbie. She’s so eccentric and I think if I feed into whatever she thinks is right, we’ll get along fine. I can adapt to that. And Troyzan, I’ll take him to the end. He’s a sweetheart, but he won’t have a good resume.

Round Six: Andrea and Sarah
Holmes: Alright, only two cards left. Work with one and boot the other.
Vlachos: I’ll work with Sarah. I’ll try to start up Cops R Us again. And I’ll boot Andrea. And I don’t know why. I don’t know her.

Holmes: Alright, you said you had a few tricks in your bag and you wanted to save them for last. Let’s hear it.
Vlachos: I’ll give you some teasers. There’s going to be spying, but it’s going to be underground.
Holmes: Underground? (Laughs)
Vlachos: I’m taking it underground. Somebody is going to be idoled out without there being an idol played, and there’s going to be “Survivor” clones.
Holmes: (Laughs) I’m sorry. Teasers alone won’t do. You have to explain this.
Vlachos: There’s going to be a spy bunker. When everyone is sleeping I’m going to prepare… wherever the trail is, wherever they congregate, which is probably the water well, I’m going to start digging. Then I’ll put all of this debris on me. It’ll be my bunker for when it’s time to spy.
Holmes: And how do you idol someone out with an idol?
Vlachos: OK, I’m going to need an idol first for this one. Let’s say I’m going after target A, I’ll say, “Target A, I’ve got something important to tell you. Meet me by the water well.” When Target A goes to the well I’ll say to everyone, “Target A wants to tell me something. I’ll be right back and tell you what they said.” Now everybody knows that Target A is inviting me to the rendezvous. I’ll talk to them for five minutes or so about whatever, then I’ll start hauling ass back to camp. When I get back, I’ll say, “Target A has the idol, he just told me! Look in his bag!” By this point I will have already planted my idol in their bag.
Holmes: And since that’s technically your idol, they can’t keep it or dispose of it.
Vlachos: Yeah, that’s my idol. They can’t touch it. But I got to make it look real. It’s Hollywood acting. So, I’m idoling him out without playing the idol.

Holmes: You’re insane. I love it. Tell me about the “Survivor” clones.
Vlachos: On Cagayan, I got two rocks from the beach. One represented my wife, one represented my daughter. They knew I kissed them and those rocks were very sacred to me. This time I’m going to have three rocks because I have a son. So, I’m going to introduce the rocks to everyone and everyone will see me cherishing these rocks. What I’m going to do is, to get somebody comfortable, I’m going to find clones of these rocks. And to make somebody comfortable I’m going to say, “You’re not going home. And to make sure, you can hold onto my family. These are sacred to me. I want them back tomorrow.” And they’ll go out with the clones in their pocket.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Vlachos: And that’s not a one-trick pony. I can do that over and over. The problem is if I get to day 39 they can (expletive deleted) stone me.

Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee – Tony Vlachos

December 12, 2016
'Survivor' Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee Tony Vlachos (CBS)

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee Tony Vlachos (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” finale coverage. We’ll have Power Rankings with “Kaoh Rong” champion Michele Fitzgerald and “Second Chance” favorite Shirin Oskooi, Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a full recap of the finale, and Thursday you’ll be able to watch the finale and read interviews with all six of the remaining players. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consists of “Survivor” luminaries such as “Survivor” crew members, the current members of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame, the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes. The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.

Follow the “Survivor” Hall of Fame on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

The “Survivor” Hall of Fame is proud to induct Tony Vlachos as the first member of the Class of 2016. Tony was tied for the most Executive Committee votes and had the highest percentage of total votes.

We had a chance to speak with the newly crowned Hall of Famer to get his thoughts on this honor…

Gordon Holmes: Congratulations on being inducted into the Class of 2016. How does it feel to be honored by the “Survivor” crew, press and fans?

Tony Vlachos: This is huge!  I needed this! (laughs)

Vlachos: I’m genuinely honored and sincerely thank all of those who made this happen for me.  There are plenty of “Survivor” greats who have been patiently waiting for years to be inducted in this wonderful Hall of Fame.  For me to have been inducted in such a short period of time after my season, speaks volumes to how great of an honor this is for me, and not only do I recognize that, I whole heartedly appreciate it.

Vlachos: Playing as hard as I did and leaving it all out there on Cagayan Island, has proven itself, to have been worth it many times over.  Thank you all for the recognition.

Holmes: What’ve you been up to since Cagayan?

Vlachos: I been chasing those millions! (Laughs)

Vlachos: It’s been said a number of times by some of the wealthiest people, that your first million dollars is the hardest to earn, the rest of the millions, come easy.  I need to stop believing what I read on the internet, because as of yet, I’m not a believer of that theory. (Laughs)

Vlachos: I’ve been involved in real estate since I was 24 years old, so with the money I won on “Survivor,” it’s been much easier for me to make “BIG MOVES.”  It’s definitely a fresh breath of air to be at a point in life, where I can make my money work for me, rather than me, having to work for it!

Vlachos: Since Cagayan, I purchased and flipped a few investment properties.  Besides putting my “Survivor” winnings to work for me, it’s all about family time.  Life is really good.  I’m truly blessed. Thank you, “Survivor!”

Holmes: What are your thoughts on “Millennials vs. Gen-X” as we head into Wednesday’s finale?

Vlachos: As in most of the “Survivor” seasons, this season started off as stereotypically expected, which quickly resorted to the one common ground shared on “Survivor,” “Survival”.

Vlachos: In this season, I definitely see more than the usual amount of players, risking their torch being snuffed, in exchange for one million dollars!  It’s evident that these players know they will be an instant target after they make a big move by the next person wanting to make a big move to build his/her resume, but yet, they fearlessly follow through, and that’s “Survivor” at its best!  These players are consciously risking it all, in hopes of winning it all.  It’s a great season with a great cast, and I’m sure they’ll be plenty of room in this Hall of Fame for such big-move-making  players!

What the fans said about Tony…

“The guy was just insane. In an all around crazy season, he took the cake. He had a fantastic social game, and deserved to win his season.” – Logan

“Let’s get our skates on and get Team TV the respect he deserves.” – Dave

“Big game, big personality, big addition to the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame! (Llama call)” – Amanda

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Tony…

“Tony is a tough dominant player. He’s very aggressive and good at controlling other players. But, Tony has a soft side and he’s fun. I truly believe he is one of the best players to ever win.” – Sandra Diaz-Twine

“Tony was an absolute force of nature who attacked “Survivor” like nobody before him.  He played the entire game like a giant gorilla precariously balanced on a tight rope hovering above a pit of vipers…and actually won.” – Matt Van Wagenen – Co-Executive Producer of ‘Survivor’

“If you don’t think Tony deserves this honor, go back and watch Spencer’s final Tribal Council speech. If a self-proclaimed gamebot like Spencer can have that much esteem for Tony’s game, than so should we.” – Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

Be sure to check back Tuesday to meet the second member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ Winner Tony – ‘Hey Russell, This Is How You Win the Game’

May 22, 2014

'Survivor: Cagayan' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to be for all sorts of “Survivor: Cagayan” back-stabbin’, torch-snuffin’ fun. Keep checking back for the rest of my exit interviews with the final four. And, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

Gordon Holmes: Here is your winner…and NEW ‘Survivor’ champion…
Tony Vlachos: (Laughs) (Makes excited llama noises)
Holmes: (Laughs) Congratulations, buddy.
Vlachos: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Holmes: What’d I say? I said I didn’t want to talk to you until after the finale.
Vlachos: And here I am!
Holmes: Here you are a million dollars…heavier? That doesn’t sound right…
Vlachos: Ah…it sounds good. (Laughs)

Holmes: Last night when Woo made the…big decision…do you think he knew he giving you the win or did he think the loyalty play would be able to sway the jury?
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon…I was out there with the guy for 39 days, and there were times where his real life came out and dropped in there. And lucky for me that was one of those moments. He couldn’t distinguish his real life from the game. And, honesty and integrity is what Woo is all about. He didn’t realize that it was just a game and he shouldn’t have stuck to that. It was just luck. I just got really lucky.

Holmes: Kass had done such a job of poisoning the jury. He had to have known that taking her would have been a slam dunk for him. Was he saying that it was worth it to keep the million to keep his honor?
Vlachos: I don’t think he looked at it that way. I’m sure any reasonable person wouldn’t have made the move if they’d looked at it that way. We heard that people like Spencer thought Woo was following Tony. So, I rode that a little bit. I told him the jurors don’t respect him because he hadn’t made any power moves. This is your last chance. I explained something to him that could have been feasible to someone like Woo. I think I pushed the right buttons at the right time.

Holmes: I thought you had it in the bag as soon as he chose you, but the jury was giving me some serious second thoughts. What’s going through your mind when it seems like you’re staring down the barrel of a bitter jury.
Vlachos: I said, “Ohhhh snap.” (Laughs) I can’t argue with these people. I’ve gotta sit here and put my sourpuss face on. I’ve got to look sad. I’ve got to be apologetic. I just sat there and took it. But that’s what I pitched to Woo, I told him there were a lot of bitter jurors out there. So he thought, “Maybe this is the right move to take Tony.”
Holmes: I’m not sure what the rules are with the winnings and all, but are you allowed to buy Spencer a drink? Because I think you owe him one.
Vlachos: I think I owe him a lot more than that.

Watch Every Episode of ‘Survivor: Cagayan’ Online

Holmes: Trish had a very emotional moment when she asked if it was worth it to swear on your father’s grave. You said it was.
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon? Going into the game that wasn’t my strategy. When I swore to Trish about my family, and my kids, and especially my deceased dad, my heart was in the right place. It really was. That’s what I was telling Jeff. My emotions were running high out there. That’s why it’s so believable. Not because they’re gullible, but because I was genuine when I made those promises. Now what happened at the end of the night was, I can not keep that promise. And you saw with LJ where I had to come up with some scheme where he had to break the promises first. That’s why I lied about Woo having the idol. Once LJ told me he was a threat, I made it sound like he wanted to turn on the alliance first.

Holmes: I can’t imagine what it must be like going from the filming of “Survivor” to nine months after and not knowing if you’re going to win the million. Was that driving you insane?
Vlachos:  You know me, I’m a patient kind of guy. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Vlachos: You can only imagine. Every time I watched the show, especially toward the end. Every time I mentioned the construction worker thing they’d show the jury. And I’m thinking, “Oh my goodness. I think I’m done.” It was nerve wracking. It was tough, but it was all worth it.

Holmes: I’m going to give Rob Cesternino credit for this, because I think that’s where I heard it first; odd numbers are where you should make big moves because you need less votes. Were you thinking that way? Because the odd votes were LJ, then Jefra, then Trish…
Vlachos: It just happened to be like that. There’s nothing textbook about “Survivor.”  You go in there with a paper strategy, you’re going to lose the game. Everything has to be situational. I was making the moves I had to make at the time I had to make them.

Holmes: The social media aspect is very new to “Survivor” and nobody has really owned it the way you have. You have the #teamtv and the comic illustrations. What’s it been like being such a big presence online?
Vlachos: Everything I do, I try to go big with it. I was trying to have fun. I get a lot of backlash. Listen, don’t sit there and knock my game. You don’t know what it’s like to play a game with such high stakes. Anything goes. You’re not trying to play the most honest game, because that doesn’t work on “Survivor.” So, a lot of people tell me I’m a bad cop because of the Sarah thing, and people can have their opinions. It’s a natural instinct for people to not root for the aggressors. You’re not going to root for a lion hunting down a gazelle.
Holmes: Well put.

Holmes: You were compared to Russell Hantz on a few occasions. I’ve disagreed with this because while you’re both very aggressive, Russell didn’t have a problem kicking people when they’re down, while you seem more personable. What’s your take on that comparison?
Vlachos: I love the way Russell played the game. He played an aggressive game. His mind was always in the game. That’s the game I wanted to play. The difference is how we are as people. Russell had a social game, but he’s not a personable person. He’d say, “I’m gonna crack you and I’m going to send you home.” I’m not like that. Look at the end result. I won over a likable person like Woo. There’s no way you’re going to give me a million dollars after I’ve backstabbed you if you didn’t like me and respect me as a person. That’s the difference between Russell and I.
Holmes: Also, one of you is running around with a million-dollar check.
Vlachos: Oh man. (Laughs) That’s the truth.  Russell takes his cheap shots at me. I say “Hey Russell, you know so much about playing the game, so how come you never won it?” I guess now I can say, “Hey Russell, this is how you win the game. You’ve got to be a good person. And you’re not a good person so you’re never going to win.”

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Woo.
Vlachos: Honorable.
Holmes: Trish?
Vlachos: Sweetheart.
Holmes: LJ?
Vlachos: Threat.
Holmes: Jefra?
Vlachos: Sweetie.
Holmes: Latasha?
Vlachos: Beast.
Holmes: Cliff?
Vlachos: A man of stature.
Holmes: That is accurate. Spencer?
Vlachos: Brilliant.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Kass.
Vlachos: Llama.
Holmes: I’m going to be speaking to Kass in a little bit. Do you have any tips for me?
Vlachos: (Laughs) She’s delusional. Whatever she tells you, just humor her.

Holmes: You’ve been through a lot, you’re richer, you’re famous, you saved a life. Most important question though; where’s the Tyler Perry idol?
Vlachos: It’s right next to my baby’s crib. I’m waiting for Tyler Perry to call me so he can sign it.


Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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