Maria Shrime Gonzalez shocked fans when she didn’t vote for her biggest Survivor ally, Charlie Davis, to win season 46. Her decision led to Kenzie Petty receiving five votes against Charlie’s three, making the salon owner the winner of the show.

During the post-tribal reunion show, Maria explained her decision. “I think I’ve said this before, I’m a competitor,” Maria explained. “The fire in this woman’s eyes when she made fire last night, that, to me, clinched it for me. She owned her game and her story just really moved me. This woman deserves to have this money for her to start her life to start her family and I’m so proud of [her].”

Maria finished the season in 5th place when the final four players all voted her out because she was the biggest threat left in the game. Ben Katzman went on to win the final four immunity challenge and chose to bring Charlie to the end with him. That left Kenzie and Liz Wilcox to compete in a fire making challenge for the last spot. Kenzie won, which was part of what swayed Maria’s vote.

Charlie admitted that it was a “surprise” to find out that Maria didn’t vote for him, as they had been working together from day one. “One of the last things we talked about was how she literally told me, ‘You better get to the end. My jury vote is going to you,’” the law student shared.

However, he had no hard feelings. “That’s Survivor,” Charlie pointed out. “I’m a firm believer in this game and I want to say this right now. The jury picks the right winner. And Kenzie deserves this prize. The jury gave her the votes. You deserve this win. You played an incredible game. I’m incredibly proud of you and that’s how I feel in this moment. Of course, there’s going to be moments I play back, but I have a lot to be grateful for in my life. I came out here not knowing what was going to happen and just being grateful for every single moment.”

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As the season wound down, Charlie and Maria both started realizing that they needed to target each other to build their individual résumés. At the final six, Maria won immunity, so Charlie teamed up with the rest of the remaining players to vote out one of her other allies, Quintavius “Q” Burdette. Meanwhile, Maria casted her vote for Charlie, and had to do damage control back at camp afterwards.

Unbeknownst to Maria, Charlie was also targeting her, and when she lost the next immunity challenge, he was able to make the move. The two were on good terms when Maria exited, which is what led to viewers’ shock by Maria’s final vote for Kenzie to win.

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