Newsflash to all you haters: Survivor: Nicaragua was crazy interesting!
Oh, not on TV of course, silly. (Though the lackluster season did slightly redeem itself with last night's lively final Tribal Council.)
We're talking behind the scenes. We spent some time with the cast—and a few ghosts of seasons past—at their finale parties Saturday and Sunday night, and learned some juicy tidbits, such as: Sash is a lover and a fighter, Holly was living a lie and Fabio isn't always Mr. Nice Guy. Find out what you didn't see on the show...
Bayou Boyz: The small town of Lafayette, La., has contributed three of its own to Survivor—all of them notorious. Russell Hantz divided his time between bigmouth Shannon Elkins Saturday at Voyeur and a surprisingly distinguished-looking "Boo" Bernis last night at Benry's Parlor Hollywood. Although a bar scuffle did occur (see below), none of the Louisiana trio was involved and no arrests were made.
"Narnia Boy": Even though Shannon again had his phasers set to "slur" at last night's reunion, Sash insisted afterward, "Shannon and I are cool—his wife and my girlfriend actually partied last night together." True story: Shannon's surprisingly lovely wife did chat pleasantly with Sash's girlfriend, who flew out to L.A. to support him even though they've only been dating six weeks. But more astonishing was finding out that the scuffle that broke out in Voyeur (it was minor, but we were jostled) involved mild-mannered Sash! He turned up the testosterone to defend his GF against a guy he claims was "molesting" her.
Pants on Fire: We thought Dan was just being an idiot (this is the guy who asked how many votes were required to oust one of the five remaining tribe members) when he called Holly a "struggling" farmer. Turns out the congressman's wife was lying about her lifestyle from day one! "Before I went on the show," she revealed to us after the reunion, "[I told] my husband, 'We need to tell these people that we're struggling farmers and need to win.' We have 6,000 acres of land and live a good life. We just didn't want them to know that." It's that kind of craftiness that took the woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown all the way to the final four.
Step Up and Dance: One of the highlights of the live reunion show was Benry's adorable grandma dancing to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" during a commercial break. We spotted her getting her boogie on later at her grandson's own club, where Jane and Jimmy T were also cutting a rug alongside Samoa's Dave Ball and John Fincher.
Jud the Coldhearted? None of the finalists were too critical of the quitters—after all, NaOnka and Purple Kelly's abrupt exit helped them advance in the game—but only nice-guy Fabio admitted to actually pushing them out the door. "I don't blame 'em, I was stoked," the Sole Survivor told us. "It did rain six hours the morning [they quit], and Dan said, 'Go get your jacket back, Fabio.' [Kelly sported his windbreaker for much of the game.] "I was like, I am cold...I haven't had it in two weeks, and I am probably going to want that back." Fabio concluded with a gleeful cackle, "And they quit later that afternoon!"
Connecting the Dots: We had to ask Fabio to clarify his baffling comments about his future plans—we've heard many winners say they're buying their parents a house, but "connecting the dots around the world" and "undermining the government" is a first. "I was enjoying myself [during the game]," he told us, adding, "I hope everybody else starts enjoying each other instead of fighting, I'm so sick of that, I'm done with that, dude." Instead, he hopes to use "communication to undermine people passing on bad messages." For example? "Fundamentalism," Fabio said Survivor's next Hero, "trying to get stuff how it used to be, when it was different. I want to celebrate all our cultures instead of belittle them."