'Survivor: Heroes vs Villains': Ousted Villain discusses Russell, J.T., and immunity idol madness

What was J.T. thinking by giving away the immunity idol? What kind of stuff does Russell like to chat about around camp that we don’t see? And could Coach look any more hilarious at Tribal Council? These are the questions we posed to Courtney Yates when we chatted with the latest ousted Villain (and EW.com favorite) this morning. Read on after the jump to get the skinny (get it?) on what Courtney has to say about her time on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains.

Let me start by asking, are you allergic to challenges?
I am, in fact, allergic to challenges. It’s actually in my contract that I play the least amount of any Survivor.

I hate not seeing you flounder around with limbs flying everywhere, and then last night you finally partake in a crazy challenge, yet instead of seeing you we had to watch Colby and Russell have a chat.
I know! I did a fine job during that challenge. And Amanda was proud of me and you know, you can’t catch a break. They always want to highlight me when I’m messing up, but when you do it good it’s glossed right over!

You kind of got the Brett edit this season. Were you surprised to see yourself so little?
No, I wasn’t because it’s a storytelling process and things went a little FUBR and I wasn’t part of the major story, so I knew that that was how it was going to be.

How often do you think about how different everything could have been had Tyson just not voted himself out of the game?
You can’t spend your life looking backwards, and being in this community you end up seeing these people who three years later are like, “Well, at the final 7 if this person had done this…” and you’re like, “Wow, you need to move on.” It didn’t work out. I had an amazing time. I’m lucky to be on the jury. I’m honored to have been asked to be an all-star. I think it’s insane that someone thinks of lady all-stars and thinks of me! I was more disappointed for Rob and Tyson actually than for myself, because those boys were playing really well and…well, I guess I don’t feel sorry for Tyson.

I don’t think we saw you and Russell have a single one-on-one conversation the entire time you were out there. Did you have any conversations about anything — like did he ever take you aside to tell you how awesome he is?
He did. Russell and I had a lot of conversations. A lot of them weren’t camera worthy because they were all about how much could he get for his autograph and how much money he could get for going to different places. And I was just looking at him going, “Russell, no one cares about your autograph! I think you have a different idea of what is going to happen.” Because he only had 10 days between the two seasons, so he’s like, “I’m Russell Hantz! I’m king of the world! I’m big!” And we were all like, “No one cares! The instant this show is off the air no one is going to know who you are! They’re going to see you in line at Burger King and go ‘Didn’t I used to work with you?'”  Besides that we talked about Popeyes chicken and what we would eat in New York. Russell is fine. I think he figured out early on that he couldn’t Russell minf— me so I was just useless to him so we’re perfectly fine. I don’t have any hatred towards Russell. I think he’s a great player. He’s the evolution of what the game is. He’s redefining it around himself and everyone’s delighted with it. So how can you be mad at that?

Honestly, I didn’t hear anything you said after Popeyes chicken because I’ve been busy daydreaming of buttermilk baked biscuits.
They’re delicious! I love Popeyes chicken. I think everything about it is amazing. They should deliver it to my house.

Did you know that J.T. had given Russell the idol?
I did not know. I found out after. I mean, poor kid. He did what he thought was the right thing. He didn’t know. He was making a move and trying to keep his group together and I think he knew he had a big target on his back. He made a big move trying to save himself and stay ahead of the pack. I don’t think he has it in him to be a more subtle player.

Who’s going to bust out the sweetest fashion at the next few Tribal Councils: you or Coach?
Man, that’s some stiff competition. I think Coach wins it. I’m going to be honest with you. He’s much more of a fashionista than me. I didn’t bring nearly enough dress kimonos. I was ill prepared to sit next to that style icon.

Did he let you try on his robes at Ponderosa?
I believe he would have if I’d asked, but I didn’t want to bear that.

Another tough call here, Courtney: Who makes better facial expressions at Tribal Council, you or Eliza from Vanuatu?
I don’t know. We were watching together last night. It’s gonna be tough, I hope I can hold a candle to her. She was my jury inspiration.

Interesting that you only lost four pounds while out there.
It wasn’t very hard. There were coconuts everywhere. There were bananas for the most part. In China there was literally nothing to eat so we sat around staring at each other all day dreaming about food. Plus, once you’ve been through it you know that you can do it, so it’s not this terrifying I’m-actually-going-to-wake-up-and-be-dead-tomorrow feeling…and then they’re just going to film it.

Finally, your boyfriend, Stephen from Tocantins, writes a Survivor strategy blog. How many times a day do you make fun of him for that?
I would say it’s a full-time job. It’s getting really tiring. It’s pretty interesting, especially since he keeps giving his awards out to the same three people and one of them is his best friend, so okay!

To see an exclusive Survivor deleted scene of Russell digging up the machete he buried on night 7, as well as a special pep talk that Courtney recorded before the game to pick herself up in the event she was voted out, check out the video player below. And for all the Survivor news and views sent right to you, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

More Survivor: Heroes vs Villains:
Survivor: Heroes vs Villains
recap: Take my immunity idol, please!

Jeff Probst blogs episode 9 of Survivor: Heroes vs Villains

Comments (71 total) Add your comment
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  • carmanah

    Love her.

  • Barbara

    I’m glad Courtney will be on the jury, but how could she forget the dress Kimonos?

  • tribalism

    I’ve never heard someone speak of such reverence when talking about the Outback Steak House. Someone needs to take Sandra to a Morton’s or something.

    Too bad Courtney is gone. I was looking forward to her talk about her love of T.G.I. Friday’s.

    It seems that before the idol was handed to him, Russell’s only plan going into the merge was to make people think he would flip. Considering the fact that no matter who was voted out tonight on the Villains (Sandra or Courtney), whoever was left out of Sandra or Courtney probably would have legitimately flipped (no matter what Courtney told Parvati) and the dominant Villains alliance still would have been outmatched 6-4.

    If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts on my blog where I dissect JT’s motivations for handing the idol to Russell–it has a lot more to do with his own selfish interests than it does with his own stupidity. Link:


  • francis von bonerzhard

    she’s dating stephen? holy cow. good for him.

  • taz

    Courtney, you are a great player, and I was sorry to see you go. Now that you are out of there please, I am begging you, gain some weight! You are way tooooooooooooooooo skinny!!

    • betsy

      Great player?? Are we watching the same show?

      • Alan of Montreal

        okay, maybe not a GREAT player, but certainly GREAT-TO-WATCH (well, when they show her, that is)

      • shwylaass

        what type of name is betsy the only people named betsy that i know are obese cows

      • Tim Lade

        Besty from Top Chef Season 2…well that was Betty…but the cow thing still works.

      • Hannah

        there’s nothing wrong with the name betsy. get a life. her name is nice and she’s allowed to voice her opinion.

      • Moo

        My name is BESSY, not Betsy, you fool.

      • George Washington

        I know a Betsy. Betsy Ross was no cow, I assure you! I gotta go now. I must return some overdue library books!

  • ZRob

    Love her too – she is hilarious and refuses to take either herself or Survivor itself too seriously.

    • AK

      I know! It’s killing me right now that she and Eliza watch “Survivor” together. I want to go to there!

  • Winston

    Man, this is why Survivor Talk should never be off the air! Bring it back Dalton!!!

  • L

    I wish they would have showed what everyone’s reaction was to having the machete again. I wonder what Russell said about where he found it.

    • orville

      Didn’t he say that he was going to keep it for himself and that the girls could “take care of themselves”?

      • alex

        no he brought it back, there was a comment made about coach by an ousted survivor and that he hid stuff…so maybe russ blamed coach? thats what I would do, put it where coach did his yoga, and stumble upon it with the group

  • AJ

    Total fake and scripted show. How the hell did JT get a pen and a paper. He must have gotten the idea of a girl alliance from somewhere outside , ie production crew. Just a few gesturing by Russell is not enough to convince him. Seems a whole lot like that Tyson deal, extra help for Russell form the producers.

    • B

      The pen and paper was someone’s luxury item. Jeff Probst answers that in his blog for EW.

    • betsy

      Why did he think is was an all girl alliance? Because all the men were being voted off. Amanda brought the paper and pen as a luxury item.

      • Jobless

        To AJ,

        I’m 100% convinced that Tyson got paid off by the producers to keep Russell in game for ratings purposes. Nothing about that whole tribal council and vote made any sense at all. Not to mention, if Russell had any doubts as to his safety, which he should’ve, he woul have NEVER given his idol to Parvati. I’ve never said anything about Survivor being rigged before but the Tyson debacle has me rethinking everything.

      • Brandy

        Your thinking is faulty. Boston Rob would have also kept the ratings. He has a TON of fans. And he’s a hot guy.

      • alex

        jobless you are dead wrong, if russ goes out, its on HIS TERMS, with a BANG….russ thought he was going home…and I dont believe they paid tyson off sorry…

    • kaye

      I agree. I’ve never questioned Survivor. I always thought it went down like it went down. Many suspicious happenings have made me wonder.

  • Ariel

    The questions and answers were just too funny!

  • Ember

    She only lost 4 pounds?!! I think Coach lost 20. Does her every-day diet consist of coconuts and bananas?

    • Shotgunsamurai42

      It’s not like she had a lot to lose…

      • D

        She is so thin that the four pounds she lost seems visible. She looked better in clips of the first episode they showed here than how she looked at the end.

    • Caityxx

      she said in her interview at the start, theres soo much to eat here compared to China!!
      she basically starved in China, so here what she gets she feels is a luxury
      thats what she said anyways lol :)

  • tennisfan

    Courtney and Stephen are an item? Since when? Would love to hear more about that…

    • D


      • Anne

        Me too! When I read that, I literally gasped. Please tell us more! Does this mean that Courtney is friends with JT, too, since JT and Stephen are BFFs?

  • LG

    Hold on, Courtney is going out with Stephen? Seriously?

    • Smarties

      Aye, China and Tocantins seasons involved people hooking up. Todd and Spencer are together, as are Courtney and Stephen. It’s one of the reasons Coach and Courtney are getting along so well at Ponderosa. They already know each other.

      • Alan of Montreal

        And isn’t JT going out with Sugar, too?

      • Smarties

        No. JT and Sugar just had sex before the game because Sugar thought it would make them a tight alliance and JT…wanted to sleep with her. She kind of hates him now.

      • Anne

        @Smarties: LMAO!

      • Smarties

        I know right? That just makes it even more hilarious that Sugar is the first boot and JT does nothing to help her. It’s also kind of sad for her, but whatever.

    • Mary

      Hold on indeed, Courtney is dating Stephen? WTF!!!!

    • Paul

      This is old news

  • davey

    That was WAAAAAY too short. Give us more Courtney damnit! Can Courtney write a recap sometime too? She’d be hilarious to read each week. I still think her tribe did the wrong thing last night by voting her out and keeping Sandra in…especially after next week’s previews :( I miss Courtney already!

  • orville

    Wow–she must have found some zen in the months since she did Survivor Talk last season. She had nothing but bad things to say about Russell during that clip. I think I remember her calling him a “horrible little troll” then. Stuff like that is why you must absolutely bring Survivor Talk back!

    • Annie

      Agree completely. I still remember that discussion vividly! Miss seeing you Dalton!

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