‘Survivor: Philippines’ interview: Lisa Whelchel on Malcolm, Abi-Maria, and regrets

Lisa WhelchelDuring the first few weeks of “Survivor: Philippines,” it did not really look as though Lisa Whelchel was someone who was destined to be a part of the show for very long. She struggled at first to fit in, and find her way in a place where she was trying to find herself. However, that all changed over time, and the former “Facts of Life” star quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the game. Even though she only received one vote at the final Tribal Council, she still did enough to win America’s hearts and took home the prize of fan favorite.

In a brief chat on Monday, we spoke with Lisa about some of the biggest moves in her game, along with whether or not she could have done anything to sway the jury in her favor.

Cartermatt.com – In going back to the final five, it seemed for a minute that the plan to keep Abi-Maria by you and Skupin was in place? What happened to cause that from not happening?

Lisa Whelchel – If you think further on down the road, if we had eliminated Denise that would have really upset Malcolm since we would have went against the four, and Abi was not reliable to stay true to me and Mike. There was a [possibility] that Abi could have aligned with Malcolm and voted out either me or Skupin off. Abi just had been proven to not be rational in all decisions, and she was too much of a wild card to really put that much of our endgame weight on.

Had Pete not blown up your spot a little bit earlier in the game about Malcolm having the immunity idol, do you think that you would have been able to get him sent home?

I do think that it could happen, and it should’ve happened! It had huge┬árepercussions┬ábecause not only did not work and people on the tribe that I was trying to go against were upset, but people on my own [former] tribe were upset because they felt like I had been loyal to Malcolm for five days in not telling anybody, and had been disloyal to them in not telling them early enough.

And then, [there was an issue of] how badly it felt to have given someone my word and then break my promise … It was just such an internal blow to the solar-plexes that it blew up in my face with shrapnel everywhere.

Finally, is there anything you could have done differently in retrospect in order to get more votes at the end?

I don’t think so. I probably could have given them a better speech highlighting the things I did well rather than highlighting the mistakes I made. Maybe that wasn’t the smarter of the choices, even though I don’t think it would have done anything different.

I think if you spend enough time at Ponderosa, you spend days talking about who you are going to vote for to win. There’s very little room for swing by the time they get to [final Tribal Council].

If you want to see how we ranked both the season of “Survivor” and its winner in Denise, you can do so over at the link here.

Photo: CBS

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