By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
He did it all for his family. Jeremy Collins, the 37-year-old firefighter from Massachusetts, is the Sole Survivor and winner of the million dollar grand prize.
In the final Tribal Council, Jeremy handily beat out his fellow alliance mates Tasha Fox and Spencer Bledsoe by garnering a unanimous jury vote to win.
The strangest vote had to be Kelly Wiglesworth, who finished second on the very first season of Survivor. She asked the finalists to pick a number between 1 and 10 instead of voting for who she thought the winner should be. By doing so, Kelly repeated Borneo’s final Tribal Council in which jury member Greg Buis mocked the entire game by asking Kelly and Richard Hatch to pick numbers.
The core alliance of Jeremy, Spencer, Tasha and Kimmi faced off in the final phase of the game against Keith and Kelley. Kimmi was the first to be eliminated when she broke ranks and both Kelley and Jeremy played their Immunity Idols at Tribal Council.
For the first time ever on Survivor, all of the votes at Tribal Council were null and void as only Jeremy and Kelley received votes. Kimmi had turned her back on the core alliance siding with Keith and Kelley. A revote ended in a tie between Kimmi and Tasha. With the vote deadlocked, Spencer, Jeremy, Kelley and Keith were given two minutes to come up with a unanimous vote for either Kimmi or Tasha. Kimmi was eventually booted.
Keith and Kelley failed to win Immunity and were summarily voted out one after the other.
During Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Jeremy played alongside his wife, Val. Throughout the filming of Cambodia, Val was pregnant with the couple’s third child, a fact Jeremy intentionally and cleverly kept secret from the other players.
“My last season, I am a firefighter with two kids and everybody wanted me out because of the sympathy vote. Now, you take a firefighter with two kids AND he has a baby on the way? Ugh,” Jeremy told host/producer Jeff Probst.
The health of his wife and baby were first and foremost on Jeremy’s mind the entire time he was on the island. Like castaway Terry Deitz who left the game due to a family emergency, Jeremy was prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
“Anything with the pregnancy, anything with the kids, I’ll come home. I mean, that is who I was playing for so if something is wrong at home, I am coming home,” he said.
This season, viewers voted in the 20 returning contestants from a pool of 32 past players picked by the producers. The fact that the public gave the castaways a second chance wasn’t lost on the players themselves. It inspired Tasha when she and Andrew found themselves outnumbered on Angkor due to the tribal switch.
“That was my lowest low in the game and when it looked like I was down 4 to 2, I thought about the fans and all the people who believed in me and given me a second chance and I didn’t want to let them down and I wasn’t going out without a fight,” she said.
Spencer who threatened not to vote for Jeremy and lobby the jury not to do so either if Jeremy took Kelley to the finals over him, later regretted not targeting Jeremy at all.
“I left that Tribal Council and I said…I have zero percent chance of winning this game. I am definitely kicking myself for a lot of the decisions,” he said.
At the end of the finale, Probst revealed the next season of Survivor will be Brains versus Brawn versus Beauty 2. It will feature Caleb Reynolds from season 16 of Big Brother USA and former NBA player Scot Pollard.
Survivor: Kaoh Rong, is set to premiere on Global on February 17, 2016.