For the 22nd season of Survivor, CBS added a new twist to the granddaddy of reality TV shows: Redemption Island. This season, when contestants are voted off the island by their competitors, they don't go straight home. They're sent to the nearby Redemption Island to live in solitude and get a second chance to win their way back to the game on the main island.
When Matt Elrod, a 22-year-old pre-med student from Nashville, auditioned for the show, none of the contestants knew anything about the "Redemption Island" concept. But Elrod, a Christian, thought it a fitting twist for a believer who wanted his faith to come through loud and clear.
As it turns out, Elrod is king of Redemption Island. He was voted off the main island in Week 2, then spent three weeks in isolation (the equivalent of six weeks on air) on the lone island. He won six head-to-head competitions against other contestants as they were voted off; the loser of each of those duels was then sent home. When Elrod finally earned his way back to the main island in Episode 8, his honesty resulted in a tactical blunder, and he was again voted off and sent back to Redemption Island.
Episode 11 airs this week (CBS, Wednesday 8/7c), with Elrod still on Redemption Island, still trying to work his way back into the game on the main island.
CBS usually disallows contestants to give interviews until after the series ends, but the network gave CT an exclusive interview with Elrod via e-mail. Since the show is still running (it was filmed in late 2010), he wasn't allowed to answer any questions about what happens beyond last week's episode.
For all we know, Elrod could've hung around and won the whole thing—and the $1 million first-place prize. Survivor fans will learn how ...