Monty Brinton/CBS
Steve Helling
April 14, 2013 04:30 PM

When he first started competing on Survivor: Caramoan, Michael Snow settled into the majority alliance and made few waves.

But after a tribal swap, a merge, and decimation of his tribe, Snow found himself outnumbered and voted out on day 25.

As the first member of the jury, the 44-year-old event planner from New York shares his thoughts on the remaining contestants, and claims that the game’s oldest woman is also playing the most cutthroat game.

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The vote against you seemed to come out of nowhere. Were you surprised that it was your time to go?
Yes and no. I was surprised in the moment, but afterwards I was like, ‘Yeah, I didn’t have the idol so of course they’d vote for me.’ There was a lot of scrambling happening at the last minute, so it could have been any number of people. But they were afraid of the idol, and since they knew that I didn’t have one, I was the likely target.

It’s sort of inevitable for the fans, right? The favorites are steamrolling over you guys.
They are. They’ve played before, and they’re outplaying us. We fans really didn’t stand a chance!

At tribal council, we watched Malcolm take an idol from Reynold even though he had one of his own. Did you think he was playing dirty?
I was so swept up in the moment. As soon as the torch was snuffed, I was like, ‘That son of a bitch.’ Those favorites are playing really hard and really fast, and I wasn’t sure if he had played us, or if he had been played himself. But now I see how smart he’s playing.

You flipped everyone off. Were you angry?
No! That’s just me. I’m not a bitter person, and I wasn’t mad at any particular person. That was me joking around. I knew Andrea was pulling a lot of strings, but it was basically Dawn who was responsible. As I was walking away, I was thinking, ‘Thanks a lot, Dawn.’

Wait. Andrea was pulling a lot of strings?
She was. She’s playing so hard out there. She’s a smart player, but it’s a little too obvious. You can see her playing hard. She would say to me, ‘I’m playing such a hard game!’ So she’s not under the radar, and everyone knows how hard she’s playing. She is doing well, and it is a smart game … but everyone doesn’t have to know about it!

And Dawn is playing an aggressive game. Did you see it out there on the island?
I see it more now. She’s absolutely ruthless. On the island, I knew she was going through a lot, emotionally. We all saw that, so we all basically focused on that, rather than how ruthless she’s playing the game. She’s playing a very, very smart game.

I have a theory: someone like Dawn has a harder time winning than someone like John Cochran.
How so?

People are much more forgiving of a 25-year-old guy who backstabs them. When it’s a 42-year-old woman, they take it more personally.
Absolutely. Dawn is very maternal, and then she’s turning around and backstabbing you. When you put yourself in that motherly role, people take it a lot more personally when you turn on them.

Cochran is making everyone smile. He’s laid back, sitting in the chair with his legs crossed. Cochran is charming everyone along the way, while Dawn is coming across as the hard-ass. When Cochran votes you off, it’s like being voted off by a brother who’s playing the game really hard. When Dawn votes you off, it’s like being betrayed by your mom.

We’re not seeing much of Brenda this season, although she’s a really good player. What are we missing?
After the merge, she settled into the major alliance, and she wasn’t very high up in it. But as each day goes on, she’s making inroads and becoming more valuable. She’s playing a good social game, and she’s no one’s target. She’s playing a pretty smart game.

So far, you’ve said that Malcolm, Andrea, Dawn and Brenda are playing smart games. How about the others?
Eddie is a great guy. Everybody loves him, but he just isn’t aware of how hard people are playing the game. Everyone else is playing it at every single moment, but he doesn’t. He only plays when he has to. So I like Eddie a lot, but his game isn’t as smart as some of the others.

And Renold is playing an average game. As for Erik, I wouldn’t say he’s playing a smart game, but he’s playing the right game for himself. He’s doing what he should be doing. And Sherri is playing a pretty smart game; not an amazing game, but she’s making the right moves.

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And what about Phillip?
You know, I gotta give it to Phillip. He’s playing a smart game. Bananas, but smart!

Is he really as crazy as he seems?
Sometimes, you just have to laugh. But whatever he’s doing, he’s making it far into the game!

So now it’s over, and you’re part of the jury. Did you at least have fun?
Are you kidding? It was such a wonderful experience. I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute, even the times that I was uncomfortable. I was playing Survivor, which was one of the greatest adventures of my life! It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I’m so glad I got to do it.

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