The 24-year-old North Carolina native Chase Rice was one vote away from winning the million dollar prize Sunday night (Dec. 19) on the “Survivor: Nicaragua” finale. He tells Zap2it how he felt about Dan’s harsh words, which contestants he wants to stay in touch with and what he thinks of the “Redemption Island” twist.
When it was the final four, why did you take Sash over Holly?
“Because Fabio was king of the jungle at that point and we were going to do whatever he said just to get ourselves to the finals. He wanted to take all guys and that was OK with me.”
Did you think Holly was a threat to get jury votes?
“Not necessarily. She might have been able to steal a couple, but I thought I could win if I brought it and did a good job at the final tribal. Obviously, Fabio was the biggest threat, but at that point I was just trying to get myself to the finals.”
We spoke with Fabio and he thought he had the money in the bag the whole time. Were you surprised at how close the final vote was?
“Not at all. I knew pretty much from how people reacted that I had four votes. I didn’t think I had a fifth vote, so I knew it was going to be like that. I was just glad it was that close because going into the final tribal I thought I really changed some minds.”
If you hadn’t made the final three (if it had been Sash, Holly and Fabio), who would have gotten your vote?
“Probably Fabio because Sash and Holly would have stabbed me in the back for that to happen. I probably would’ve given it to Fabio like everyone else.”
Were you surprised to hear Dan’s harsh words towards you and Sash, who thought it was because Dan was jealous?
“I was surprised that he was mad at me. I didn’t think he had been. But whatever, that’s his opinion. We’re cool now. But yeah, I was surprised.”
Who of your fellow contestants are you going to stay in touch with?
“I’m cool with everybody. Definitely the two guys I went to the finals with, after all we went through together. Other than them, I’m really close with Benry, Brenda, Holly and Jane. Everyone I’m cool with, but those are the ones I’ll always stay in touch with.”
As someone who just played the game, what do you think of the “Redemption Island” twist for next season?
“I’m really looking forward to seeing it. It puts a whole new spin on the game and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Any final thoughts/messages for your fans?
“I respect the game a hell of a lot after going through it and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it. I’m looking forward to keeping these friendships alive. That was really cool for Jeff to let me sing, I really appreciate that. My iTunes is doing well right now and I”m looking forward to pursuing my music in Nashville.”