During the 18th day of Survivor: Samoa, the 12 remaining members of the Foa Foa and Galu tribes merged into one and all hell broke loose around camp. While most of the contestants were thrilled about the change, Erik Cardona couldn't contain his disappointment. "It was terrible," he tells In Touch about life around camp after the merge. "I didn't want anything to do with them." And apparently, they didn't want anything to do with him, either. During their first visit to Tribal Council as the new Aiga tribe, almost everyone turned on Erik when it came time to cast their vote. "I was totally blindsided. It seemed like a lot more than 10 votes for me to go. I felt like everybody in Samoa, including the natives, was writing my name down."
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So you weren't excited about the merge?
Erik: Hell no! I didn't want anything to do with them. I already had to deal with eight people, then they threw four more into the camp. It was terrible. We didn't know when the merge would happen, and I think it would have been a lot more exciting to have it happen when there were only 10 players left.
But at least you got to enjoy a feast.
Erik: This is going to sound stupid, and I'm sure a lot of former Survivors are going to hate me, but my mind was so into the game that the entire time I was eating, I was also looking around and watching what people were doing. I saw Monica feeding Russell grapes, which was just bizarre. Oh, and by the way, Shambo got wasted and dropped wine glasses and was trying to carve with a machete. It was getting a little out of control.
What was the vibe like at the new Aiga camp?
Erik: It was really diverse. Foa Foa came over saying they were so united, but I think they were united in diverse plans of attack. Natalie immediately went to hang out with the girls. Russell talked to every single person, and when you're talking to everybody, you're really talking to nobody. So he was horrible. I don't know how his plan worked on his tribe, but he came over here, and I thought his game play was almost embarrassing. He was an idiot. Everyone knew that he was lying. He was desperate. And Jaison literally slept 70 to 80 percent of the day. He did nothing. He was lifeless, as if he had checked out in his head. The last one was Mick, and he was just a cool dude. He just wanted to do his thing and try his best, and I could respect that.
Were you shocked and annoyed at your former Galu tribe for turning on you?
Erik: Absolutely. I was so loyal to my tribe. I still have a purple necklace on because I bleed Galu purple. I tried to show that to them, but apparently it wasn't evident enough because they ended up stabbing me in the back. It sucked. It really sucked. They broke my heart; I'm not going to lie. It hurt. I was surprised at just how much it hurt, because it is a game. But yeah, it was tough.
It seemed like a really stupid move on the former members of Galu's part.
Erik: Oh, I appreciate that, and I agree with you. It was just so wrong. Strategically, it was just not the right move.
Did having the immunity idol in your pocket make it harder to go home?
Erik: Yeah. That sucked. All those guys had to do was look me in the eye and tell me that I was on the chopping block, and I could have played it. But they didn't. Truth be told, if I'd played the idol, I probably would have been voted out at the next Tribal Council.
Do you still have the idol?
Erik: No. As soon as I left the game, the producers told me that they needed it back. I told them they could take it out of my cold, dead hands. But what I should have done was whipped it out while I was walking away and thrown it in the fire. That would have been pretty cool. But I was so dazed and confused I didn't know where I was. It was overwhelming.
Who do you think should have gone home?
Erik: Jaison or Monica.
As the first member of the jury, what will you be paying attention to during Tribal Councils?
Erik: At this point in the game, I know that somebody screwed me over. And I feel like the rest of them just did not defend me, as they should have. Before going back to Tribal Council, I started practicing my angry face in the mirror. I planned to stare each and every one of them in the eyes and I'm going to find out who screwed me over. And if nothing else, I'm going to at least clear my name because I know that they must have felt that I did something wrong, and I didn't. if someone was saying that I was a traitor, they were lying, and the rest of the group needs to know that.
Who are you rooting for now?
Erik: Are you kidding me? You want to talk to me about this the day I get voted off?
Well, who do you hate the last?
Erik: I don't know, probably Shambo or Mick. I was rooting for Shambo, but I don't like her chances out there without me. Everybody stabbed me in the back, and you want me to pick one of them? I can't. I've got nothing for you. I'm like [host Jeff] Probst right now!
All right. I know it was a mean question, so I'll move on. You seemed to spend a lot of time in that tree cave. Do you miss it?
Erik: Yeah, I do miss the cave; it was like my little resort [laughs]. No! Of course not, it was miserable. I was in there forever when it rained, and it just wouldn't stop. It was tortuous. And the chicken that Shambo accidentally freed would come back down the hillside every once in a while and fly right past the cave. It was mocking me. So, not only was I miserable insid,e but I had this outsider mocking me, unless I was hallucinating, which is a very strong possibility.