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Surviving the Early Show: Yul and Ozzy Interviewsby David Bloomberg -- 12/18/2006
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The final five Survivor: Cook Islands fought it out Sunday night, so that means it’s time for them to appear Monday morning on The Early Show and, of course, for Julie Chen to present Yul with his million-dollar check. Hopefully, Julie, in L.A. since that’s where the live finale was held, will ask better questions than the New York idiot interviewers have been doing.
She introduces the segment by saying what started out as a battle between racially-based tribes turned into a fight of brains vs. brawn (hey, that’s what my finale recap was titled!). Yul was the master strategist, Ozzy dominated the physical challenges, and Becky had to fight just to make it into the final three. In the end, it came down to Yul and Ozzy – with Yul, of course, winning.
Yul joins Chen and says it hasn’t sunk in yet, it still feels like a dream. That may be because he has slept maybe an hour since then, from what he told me! And Chen asks that very question and he says the same thing.
What was Yul feeling as Jeff Probst was about to read the final vote? Yul says he knew the vote would be close – “Ozzy is a phenomenal competitor” and probably the strongest individual challenge competitor ever on the show. He says they both deserved to win and if Ozzy had won, Yul would be happy for him. When it was four to four, Yul says he had no idea what the last vote would be.
Chen says we know that Jonathan voted for him to win, does he know who the others were? Yul says he’s not positive, but he talked to Ozzy and they have an idea. (If you want to see who they think voted which way, check out my interview with Ozzy, where he lists their thoughts.) Did Yul ask everybody at the after-party? He says no, that’s really not the point now. He’s sure they’ll figure it out at some point. After he won, everybody was so gracious, so there’s no point to trying to figure it out. He was just happy and Ozzy is a great competitor.
Chen says after 13 seasons on the air, the final Tribal Council didn’t seem to have the bitterness we often associate with them – to what does he attribute that? He says they had a very likable cast and the casting department did a good job of getting good-hearted people who were there to have a good experience. Obviously, tensions run high during the show, but everybody was willing to put it behind them.
If he had to choose between Becky and Ozzy in a hypothetical final two, who would he have picked? Yul says that would have been a tough call. Ozzy was a phenomenal competitor, and Becky was an equal partner with him as far as strategizing and he doesn’t think he’d have gotten as far in the game without her – he doesn’t think she’s gotten as much credit as she deserves. If he had to vote, it would have been a tough choice – but probably Becky because they were tight from the beginning and they did the show for similar reasons.
Picking up on that, Chen notes that Yul said he wanted to do the show to change the image of Asian-Americans – does he feel like he did that? He says he hopes he did, though he doesn’t necessarily think he was the best person to represent his community. But he had a golden opportunity and he wanted to break stereotypes; when he was growing up, he didn’t see many people who looked like him who he could look up to. Chen chimes in, “You and me both!” She says she knows it started out about race and even though it didn’t end up that way, “as a member of the Asian-American tribe,” she wants to congratulate him.
After a break for non-Survivor stuff, we’re back in the studio with Yul, and Ozzy has joined him. (Hmm, none of the other final five? I expected them all.) Chen introduces him noting he won competition after competition and brought home more than his fair share of the food.
She mentions that Ozzy gets $100,000, not a bad deal. He says he can’t complain. What’s he going to do with it? He deadpans that he is thinking about buying a new flying car or a few Ferraris. Chen says he got a car Sunday night from the popular vote!
Chen asks Ozzy the same question she asked Yul earlier – when the vote was four to four and the last vote was about to be revealed, what was he feeling? “Not a whole lot.” It was all conflicting emotions, but he had a feeling Yul had won, which was the same feeling he had since they finished filming in early August. He says Yul deserves it.
If Ozzy had to choose between Yul and Becky, he says he would have picked Yul, “of course.” Yul gives him a little hug. Awww. Chen goes back to what she had talked to Yul about, saying she doesn’t see any bitterness, which is nice and refreshing. Ozzy agrees, saying when the mutiny happened, they were solidified as four people with a common goal – to get to the final four. Being able to do that and overcome all the obstacles really made him love them all. If he couldn’t win, he wanted to see one of the other three do it.
Chen presents Yul with the oversized million-dollar check and asks what he’s going to do with it. He first says he’s impressed that they spelled his name right on the check! Heh. He says he wants to be thoughtful about it and hasn’t decided yet. Meanwhile, as Yul is talking and holding the check in front of him – half in front of Ozzy, Ozzy is stroking the check lovingly and making sad faces. It’s hysterical! Yul continues that his parents made a lot of sacrifices for him and he’d like to use the money in a way that will help a lot of people. Hey, I’m a person! It would help me!
Yul jokes that he’s not going to buy any Ferraris and Ozzy fake-coughs “presidential campaign.” Heh.
Chen says success is familiar territory to Yul. He graduated valedictorian in high school, he went to Yale law school and Stanford undergrad. He’s worked for people like Senator Lieberman. Where does Survivor rank? He says it’s the top of the list. He can’t think of anything to compare to it.
With that, she congratulates them both. Wow, not a bad segment. I know Julie Chen is sometimes criticized for her Big Brother hosting, but she sure outshines the Early Show folks who did most of the interviews this season!
That said, I still think I got more interesting info out of the final two. And you can read those interviews right now, with Yul and with Ozzy. And there will be interviews of Adam, Sundra, and Becky as soon as we can.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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