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Survivor has a new champion.
Tony Vlachos was named the winner of the $1 million prize on Wednesday night’s live finale. In a jury vote of 8-1, the police officer from New Jersey beat out martial arts instructor Woo Hwang. Attorney Kass McQuillen and student Spencer Bledsoe came in third and fourth, respectively.
Besides buying a pink chandelier for his daughter, what else does Tony plan to do with the $1 million?
“I’ve been playing the game with brains, and I’ve been listening to how they talk,” said Tony, whose wife is eight months pregnant with their second child. “They talk so nice and knowledgeable and educated. I have a high school diploma, and I sound nothing like them when I talk. So the first thing I’m going to do is set up a college fund for my kids, because education is huge.”
Does Tony believe he could have beaten Spencer or Kass?
“Everybody would have beat Kass. Woo would have beat Kass. Spencer, I don’t know — Spencer was very popular. I’d give Spencer a 75 percent chance of beating me.”
Looking back, does Tony regret swearing on his father’s grave or his wife and daughter?
The thing was with the swearing, when I swore to Trish about my mother, my daughter, everything, my heart was in the right place, but my brain wasn’t. That’s the key in this game; when you let your emotions do the talking, you can get yourself in big trouble. So at night when I couldn’t sleep, my brain took over, and I said, ‘You know what? You can’t keep that promise you made to Trish. You’re going to lose the game.”
When Kass was voted out, did she know she’d be voting for Tony?
“Tony played a great game; he was my main competition out there in terms of being not liked and playing strategically,” she said. “He had idols and allies. We played different games, and I think the public would have loved it had been Tony and I in the final two because we would have been torn apart, to the glee of fans, and it would have been a bloodbath.”
Kass took a beating in the finale. Was that hard?
“Everyone’s very emotional; it’s very difficult,” she said. “You don’t go on this show thinking you’re going to lose. So when an unassuming, librarian-looking, scrawny old lady slits your throat, it’s very hard to take. I knew I wasn’t liked out there. It was very obvious. After I made my flip, that was it. People did not like me, so I wasn’t surprised. I’m disappointed people think I was a goat when I was making moves. Challenge anyone to show between Tony and I, who made these moves that made the season twist and turn as it did. I don’t like the double standard.”
Does Woo think Spencer helped Tony beat him with his speech at the final tribal council?
“Maybe, maybe not,” he said. “I’m sure everyone had a concrete decisive decision going into tribal council who they’re going to vote for. One speech by Spencer is not going to influence their vote. They all went in with an agenda, and they all respected his game play, and the outcome was that way, so congrats.”
What did Jeff Probst’s letter to Spencer say?
“I didn’t really have time [to open it yet],” he said. “That’s priority No. 1 when I leave here.”
What was Tony really like in the game?
According to Spencer: “What doesn’t come across on TV was that Tony was liked. People liked Tony. And as braggadocious and cocky and aggressive as he was, he was personable guy.”
Does Spencer think he would have beaten Kass, Woo or Tony in the final two?
“I think I would have beaten Kass and Woo; if I had to guess, I’d say I would have beaten Tony, but I don’t know for sure. I think Tony played a better game than I did. I feel like the jury would have rewarded me just because they might have been bitter, but if I were on the jury, and it was between between me and Tony, I would have voted for Tony.”
Check THR.com on Wednesday to read former champion Parvati Shallow‘s recap of the finale.
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