'Survivor' Castaway Michael Yerger Still Wants to Be the Show's Youngest Winner (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Michael Yerger set his sights high on Survivor: Ghost Island, but luck just wasn't on his side.
The 18-year-old contestant entered the game hoping to be the show's youngest winner, and looked to have a real shot. He was charming, athletic and had a knack for finding idols. He just wasn't on Naviti.
After weeks of being at the bottom, Michael was finally voted out on Wednesday night's episode, following Jeff Probst's announcement that the group would be splitting into two temporary tribes -- and go through two tribal councils. "I've been on the bottom for so long that it was familiar to me. It felt right even though it was so wrong," he said with a laugh, while chatting with ET on Thursday. "I just had to believe that there was something that would go right."
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"I thought that Laurel and Kellyn would make a move with me against Wendell, and I thought that it was the right time and clearly it wasn't," he continued. "[The tribe announcement] that was not fun, but that's just part of the game... something as simple as drawing a rock out of a bag can make all the difference in the world."
Despite the numbers against him, Michael credited his performance in the game to his own "foolishness."
"One of the major things is performance in challenges. I think if I had strategized differently and maybe taken the lead on some things then I would have had more of a floor to get those immunity wins, where the majority alliance of Naviti wouldn't have really mattered, because we'd be safe," he said. "And then of course some of the stuff with the idols I wish had worked differently, but again, there's just so many ifs, ands and buts, and you never really know what would have worked."
And while he didn't win the million, he definitely won over a few fans, both inside and out of the game. "I'm so humbled and flattered by it all. To grow up watching a show and loving it so much and having a good reaction, it's everything to me," he expressed. "I was one of the people obsessing over the players on my TV, and just being so excited and rooting for people and to have people actually root for me and want to see me find success in the game, it's everything. I wouldn't trade this whole thing for the world."
He would, however, like another shot at becoming Sole Survivor. "I've got unfinished business and I still want to be the youngest winner ever. I love Fabio, but man, I want to beat him out. That's just been my goal, and I just want to get it done," he said. "I've got so much more left, and I think if my game looks anything different than this time around, I think that I can really pull off some big moves and hopefully secure a powerful position."