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Name: Spencer Bledsoe
Previous Season: “Survivor: Cagayan”
Finish: Fourth Place
Why You Should Remember Him: This “Young Lad” almost went the distance after “Survivor” host Jeff Probst (and…uh…someone else) went on record saying he had no chance to win.
Gordon Holmes: What’ve you been up to since Cagayan?
Spencer Bledsoe: I’m in a lull between school and work, so I’m a glorified bum. But soon I will be a trader in Chicago.
Holmes: Oh man, I aspire to be a glorified bum.
Holmes: You have the most powerful thing a Survivor can have, and that’s XFINITY Power Rankings experience.
Bledsoe: That’s true.
Holmes: Is that unfair to everybody else?
Bledsoe: I think it’s a little unfair. There’s no way you can brush shoulders with a great Power Ranker like yourself and not come out a genius for it.
Holmes: (Laughs) And you were a chess champion to begin with.
Bledsoe: Chess playing was great, but the Power Rankings took me to the next level. I’m just worried about the fierce competition of another Power Ranker in my midst.
Holmes: You’re referring to…?
Bledsoe: Ciera Eastin.
Holmes: Is this something you can bond over?
Bledsoe: Yeah, potentially. There are few things you can bond over more than being Power Rankers. I’m looking forward to playing with Ciera. Has anyone ever beat you?
Holmes: Tons of times; Charlie Herschel, Taj George, Dawn Meehan…
Bledsoe: So, it’s a recent streak.
Holmes: Yes, between that and the press challenge streak, it’s truly an embarrassment of riches.
Bledsoe: Have you done the press challenge yet?
Holmes: Not yet.
Bledsoe: Are you nervous?
Holmes: Horrified. But, I am every time. And it’s awful, because I won the first one and was like, “This is awesome! My life in complete!” And then it started building. And now it’s this six-challenge juggernaut.
Bledsoe: I had the opposite. Everything went wrong.
Holmes: You’re so lucky.
Bledsoe: (Laughs) So, really it can’t get worse. I’m playing Roger Federer and he only has one more set to win, so nothing’s stopping me.
Holmes: You are wildly popular, which based on your pre-game interviews was a shock.
Holmes: Does being a fan favorite put a target on your back?
Bledsoe: Yeah, just being recent and being from a very good season like “Cagayan” does put a bit of a target. I think it might be tempered by that pre-game perception that I was a kid who had no idea how to play. So, maybe there’s still some of that lingering. So, maybe if people don’t think I have social skill or self awareness that could help. And I think there might be bigger fish to fry here. For example, Joe could easily steal my thunder. Because he’s from a more recent season, a better looking guy, more athletic, potentially a more popular guy who could take some heat off of me.
Holmes: Well, in your defense, nobody is better looking than Joe.
Bledsoe: (Laughs) I’ve been told he looks like a Greek god. That he should be on the cover of a romance novel.
Holmes: There are so few of us.
Holmes: How do you think people in this cast will perceive you?
Bledsoe: I think more people perceive me as a huge fan, happy to be here. I think there will be the perception that I idolize some of these people. I can make that a positive. If I can be the understudy of someone with a big ego, if I can get under Terry Dietz’s wing and make him think that he’s taking this adoring fan along until it’s time to cut his throat? Then that’s perfect.
Holmes: Do you think you’ll be an early target?
Bledsoe: I think I could be if the tribe make-up is such that people want to get rid of me. I feel like I can work a lot easier here with a lot of the women than a lot of the men. I think a lot of the men probably would want to target me. The strategic people might see me in a threatening way. Or, someone might just want to take down a recent, popular player. And the average age of the guys is sky high.
Holmes: You got a problem with old guys?
Bledsoe: (Laughs) I hate old guys.
Holmes: Cause an old guy can kick your ass in the Power Rankings.
Bledsoe: That’s true. If I can make it work, if I can fit that son/understudy niche it could work out fine. But, if I am threatening to an older guy because we relate to different things, or he feels excluded, or I feel excluded, then it becomes a problem.
Holmes: Who is an early target?
Bledsoe: Anyone who has proved themselves to be a bad ally could be in trouble. I think Kass might be sweating it because she has shown to be disloyal, not a good challenge competitor, not very helpful to her tribe. And then I think that the more threatening players are. There’s a huge gap. There are players who are good and players who aren’t. And those who are good are really threatening players; Jeremy, Vytas, Ciera, some of these players are strong and have great reputations. It’s the people in the middle who probably feel safe.
Holmes: Eleven people didn't come on this journey, and they've already been talking. Since you hopped on that bus there has been a lot of talk about pre-game alliances.
Bledsoe: I’ve tried to err on the side of underplaying that side of the game because I think it’s easier to recover from. When you’re Brad Culpepper and you’re going nuts, having Monica call everyone and hiring software engineers to write code to get you votes? If you’re going that hard pre-game? If you’re calling everyone incessantly, that’s hard to recover from. If you’re keeping it low-key, that’s easy to recover from. I’ve had six or seven people here that I’ve talked with frequently. With who I’ve said, “I trust you on some level.” I feel really good about Shirin, about Kelley Wentworth, Andrew Savage by proxy of some of those people. Stephen Fishbach, that’s a natural pairing. Tasha from my season. I really like Peih-Gee. And then I have people I have surface-level relationships with, just being friendly.
Holmes: There are four Cagayaners…is that correct? Cagayanees?
Bledsoe: That’s probably the lesser of the many evils you could come up with.
Holmes: And the worst is…?
Bledsoe: I think Rob Cesternino has done pretty much every imaginable pronunciation.
Holmes: Having three people from your season along, is that good? Bad?
Bledsoe: I like Tasha, we could be partners. But, it comes out in the wash because it could create a target because people expect to have us together. I think with someone like Kass it’s a negative because we’re not tight and people could suspect that we are. I think there’s definitely a strong, noticeable minority of people who think Kass and I are secret friends.
Holmes: Because that’s true.
Bledsoe: Yup! We’re thick as thieves. I don’t know what she’s thinking. I don’t know if she wants to immediately target me. But we’re not super tight. And given that some people think we’re tight, that hurts me more than it helps me.
Holmes: If there are any twists, what do you think they are?
Bledsoe: Hmm…do you think Jeff Probst has the gall to bring back Redemption Island?
Holmes: I can’t say.
Bledsoe: But you do know!
Holmes: I do. That’s what makes this job fun.
Bledsoe: (Laughs) I do know there is a school-yard pick for the tribes.
Holmes: How do you know that?
Bledsoe: I overheard Dalton (Ross) talking.
Holmes: OK. I’m neither confirming nor denying.
Bledsoe: (Stares at Gordon)
Holmes: I think I know Dalton a little better than that. Basically he’s the Terry Dietz to my Spencer Bledsoe.
Holmes: You’re trying to trick me after all we’ve been through?
Holmes: I’m not even mad, I’m proud.
Bledsoe: Don’t tell him, I’m going to try the same thing on him. But I do think the tribe division is the heaviest thing on everybody’s minds. We all thought we’d get some clue when wardrobe was decided by color schemes, but then we were told to wear something similar to last time. They could do something like men vs. women. I pray it’s not that. Maybe it’s an age thing? But, the numbers don’t seem to be there. Maybe it’ll just be you ten over here and you ten over there.
Holmes: Alright, we’re going to play “Align or Malign.” In my hand I have nineteen cards featuring your competitors. You’ll go through them and tell me who you’ll align with and who you’ll malign. Trick is, you only get eight aligns.
Bledsoe: Kelly Wiglesworth, she’s tough for me. I don’t know if I can align with someone frozen in a time capsule and doesn’t want to make an alliance. I think I’d have a hard time playing with Kelly because I wouldn’t trust her to not vote off some random person because they’re not helping with camp life even if it contradicts our strategic goals. So, malign.
Bledsoe: Jeremy…I like. We were competitors on Mr. Survivor.
Holmes: And who won that?
Bledsoe: I believe I did. So I imagine Jeremy is out to get me. I couldn’t blame him. I couldn’t deal with someone taking the greatest prize out from under me. So, I have to malign Jeremy before he maligns me.
Bledsoe: Monica is a pretty friendly person from the pre-game interactions. I’ve never talked to her. But at the same time, she seems to be smiling and nodding at everyone. I think she has a lot of strategic chops that we didn’t see in Samoa, so I’m going to malign her as well.
Bledsoe: Jeff Varner…I like. I think it’d be easy to relate to him over the fact that Kimmi is annoying as hell. So, I’ll align with Jeff.
Bledsoe: Vytas…Vytas and I have talked pre-game. But, I trust him, as Jeff Probst would say 0.0%.
Holmes: We’re going to hear about that forever, aren’t we?
Bledsoe: (Laughs) Yeah.
Holmes: You should just get the tattoo.
Bledsoe: Well when I win I’ll have to get a 100.0% tattoo.
Bledsoe: The thing with Vytas is I think he thinks people buy his (expletive deleted) a lot more than they do. Vytas will go up to and in a seemingly sincere tone say, “Hey man, I just want to go out there and have fun. I just want to make great friends. This is going to be awesome.” I think he thinks people are eating it up when they’re not. I think he could be someone I work with at some point, but I always trust Vytas to what’s best for Vytas. So, malign.
Bledsoe: I really like Peih-Gee. We had brief interaction, but I have a good vibe from her. I’m going to align Peih-Gee.
Bledsoe: Stephen I have a lot in common with. We’re both deep in the RHAP community. He’s someone kind of like Vytas where I trust him to do what’s best for him. But he’s smoother and would be a better ally, so I’ll align with Stephen.
Bledsoe: Tasha, I love Tasha. I’ll align with Tasha.
Bledsoe: Kass? Is there another category other than “Align” and “Malign”? Can we get an “Exterminate” pile? I guess I’ll just malign her.
Bledsoe: Shirin is my favorite person in this group. If I can get a positive Harry Potter word association from her I'll consider it a successful season.
Holmes: The damn Dirty 30 and their pre-determined word associations.
Bledsoe: You didn’t like that?
Holmes: It did make me feel loved that they took the time to put something together. But, it defeated the purpose.
Bledsoe: I helped her with that.
Holmes: So, you’re to blame.
Bledsoe: Hardcore aligning with Shirin.
Bledsoe: Kelley I really like. We’ve talked a decent bit. I think she’s a better player than she got to show. I’ll align with her.
Bledsoe: Terry…I could go either way. A fun story is that Trish tried to force me and Terry into an alliance. She Facebook messaged me, “I don’t know much, but I know people. You can trust Terry (expletive deleted) Dietz. We’re (expletive deleted) Boston!” Even though he’s not (expletive deleted) Boston. I messaged him, we had a decent chat. He could be a guy who’s plopped out of “Mad Men” and if that happens, then me and the people I want to align with will not be a fan. So I’ll err on the side of maligning.
Bledsoe: Abi-Maria…again I could go either way. I could see her being tolerable. She is the most ridiculously chatty person ever and it will be annoying. It could work out to use her. But, again I’ll err on the side of maligning.
Bledsoe: Ciera, can't go against a fellow Power Ranker. Align.
Holmes: The tightest bond you can possibly have.
Bledsoe: Woo…I like Woo. I think if I could align with nine people I would align with Woo. But, I don’t know where his head is at. And I’d like to reduce that Cagayan target. So, malign.
Bledsoe: Keith…I don’t have anything against Keith, but I don’t see a particular reason to align with Keith. He could be someone good to take to the end, because even if he played a good game I don’t know if people would respect him or credit him with it. But, I think early on I’m not going to be thinking that far ahead. So, malign.
Bledsoe: Kimmi, she hasn’t even spoken to me yet, but she seems extraordinarily annoying. She doesn’t seem very self aware to me. She doesn’t seem like someone who could bring in new people or bridge gaps, mend fences. So, I’m going to malign Kimmi.
Bledsoe: Andrew, I think he’s really solid. He has definitely a degree of wanting to play loyally which is extremely rare in the 31st season of “Survivor.” So, if I could play with him, I would align with him.
Bledsoe: Last one.
Holmes: And you’re out of aligns.
Bledsoe: You’ve got to take out the golden boy. So, I’m maligning Joe.
Holmes: Sorry, Joey Amazing.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
“Survivor: Second Chance” will kick off with a special 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. ET.