By: John Powell – GlobalTV.com
It was one of the most shocking and well-orchestrated blindsides in Survivor history. While on a reward, Lauren Rimmer brought Ben Driebergen, Devon Pinto and Ashley Nolan together to flip the game and shatter the Round Table Alliance. Challenge threat John “JP” Hilsabeck was the first casualty of that Survivor coup.
“I was really taken back at being blindsided. #epicblindside. I didn’t see it coming and when I processed it afterwards everything kind of clicked and made sense. The four went on the Reward Challenge together and as soon as my name came up that one time at Tribal Council…Bam! I knew it. I know who it was. They got me before I could get to them,” recalled JP giving credit where credit is due.
Throughout the season JP played a quiet, unobtrusive game. It was according to the strategy he had developed based on how athletic players in the past tend to be massive targets in the second phase of the game when the tribes are merged.
“My strategy was to be the more laid back type of guy. I tried not to stand out too much at the challenges or take charge. I wanted to blend in and be that easy-going guy. Typically in Survivor a lot of the bigger physical threats tend to get voted out at the merge so I was just hoping to get past that phase. It for a little bit but eventually it all caught up with me,” JP admitted.
Because of that subtle approach many castaways have stated they rarely spoke strategy with JP. According to JP he did scheme with people but just not in large groups in order to keep himself out of the line of fire.
John “JP” Hilsabeck: “I talked a lot of strategy but with individual people not so much as a group. Maybe in hindsight that was a flaw in my game but that is what I thought was the best way to go. It got me to where it got me. I didn’t make it to the end though so maybe it wasn’t the right way to go.”
John Powell: What were some of your favourite moments on the show and what did you learn by playing Survivor?
John “JP” Hilsabeck: “It was great being out in the ocean every single day. Being able to fish, being in the water and looking up at the stars at night. What it taught me is that you don’t need a whole lot in life. Life is short and there is a lot of experiences and a lot of places that people should go and visit. I just want to go out there now and do as many of them as I possibly can.”
John Powell: As a jury member how did you decide who was most worthy of winning the title of Sole Survivor?
John “JP” Hilsabeck: “For me it is all about who is willing to make the biggest moves, who is being the most deceitful and who is willing to stab each other in the back as that is what ultimately builds a resume in the game. We will see who can make the big moves and make the game that much more interesting.”
John Powell: If you had made it to the final Tribal Council what would have been your argument to the jury?
John “JP” Hilsabeck: “The argument would have been I made it this far and I made it to the end. Yes, it was a quiet game but it worked you cannot really argue against that, can you?”
John Powell: What do you think were the flaws in your game?
John “JP” Hilsabeck: “My flaw was the one-on-one social aspect. I should have made bigger moves from the beginning. I should have broken up that seven a lot sooner as everyone knew the seven was never going to make it. I should have grabbed Joe [Mena] and Doctor Mike and made a move with them.”
CATCH UP NOW: Survivor Season 35, Episode 10: “Buy One Get One Free”