After last night's tribal council on Day 53, three people are left to fight it out for the honour of seeing their name on the final parchment, winning Australian Survivor and earning half a million dollars.
Among the remaining contestants are physically strong Lee, the aerial photographer from Brisbane; strategic El, the Army corporal from Brisbane; and independent superfan Kristie, a senior account executive from Sydney.
"That's what I love about this game," host Jonathan LaPaglia tells WHO. "There's not one type of game that will assure you of getting to the end. That's what makes the game so fun to watch. You never know who's going to win."
LaPaglia adds that the fact that the contestants on the show value mateship over gamesmanship makes this series distinctly Australian. "There are some die-hard fans out there who are upset about that," he says. "They just want to see hardcore game play, and I get that on one level because that's really fun to watch. But I kind of like that our version is different from that. It's because of that strong desire to be loyal and honourable, and I like seeing the struggle that the contestants are going through because the conceit of the show is something else. Every other day, you have to vote somebody out."
Here LaPaglia breaks down the chances of the final three to claim the ultimate prize in tonight's finale.
El Rowland, 33: "She's an interesting character," says LaPaglia. "I was of the opinion that she was the one who was in control of this game, but she's a very clever player in that she makes other people think that they are in control. Although they don't really show this in the edits so much, I think she is planting seeds with people but she lets other people take the credit for it. I think she plays a clever game but I don't know if the jury sees that. The fact that she's so under the radar that other people can't recognise what she does makes it all tricky. You can tell people at the final tribal council that these are the things I did, but if they didn't witness it, did they really happen? That may be her con — she doesn't do any big, overt moves."
Lee Carseldine, 41: "His physical prowess is undeniable," says LaPaglia. "He's a real challenge beast in the game, and that is a big part of the show and an important part of the show, so that factors in his favour. A con would be that he has a hard time coming to terms with the strategy required to play this game, the fact that every second day, you had to vote someone off and at some point that requires a level of deception and manipulation. He's kind of vocal about that element of the game because it doesn't sit well with him and he doesn't like other people doing it, so that may play against him."
Kristie Bennett, 24: "The pro for her is that she has survived against all odds," says LaPaglia. "So many times her name would come up and it would look like she was on the chopping block and somehow she manages to navigate and get her way through. There were quite a few flip-flops, and socially I think she was always on the outside, but she flip-flops when she needs to in a timely fashion to keep her in the game one day longer. I think that's a skill unto itself. That, too, is probably her con. People are going to say, 'You flip-flopped and we couldn't rely on you.' But in a way, she was playing her own individual game, staying under the radar and trying to stay alive."
Check in with who.com tomorrow to hear from the winner of Australian Survivor.
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