Why 'Survivor' Castaway Alec Merlino Compares This Season to 'Game of Thrones' (Exclusive)


There are just three episodes left of Survivor: David vs. Goliath, but the season's really just getting started. 

After a bit of a slow start (the medical evacuations proved to be the most exciting eliminations), the past few weeks have brought fans the type of gameplay we crave: early-morning idol hunting, expert advantage uses and brutal blindsides. Wednesday's victims were two strong players -- challenge threat Alec Merlino and "the Godfather" Carl Boudreaux -- but according to Alec, the title of Sole Survivor is still anyone's to claim. 

"It's like Game of Thrones," he told ET over the phone on Thursday. "You can get attached to certain characters, and there's so many twists and turns, and I think David vs. Goliath has just been so many twists and turns and change of events. It's been so unpredictable."

"I think that's kind of the theme... you never know what's going to happen. [This season] truly has painted what a beautiful game Survivor is, and how real and how much it changes and how fast things can change and how quickly people can change their minds," he added. 

The 24-year-old was the first to be voted out on Wednesday's episode after the former David tribe was able to convince the former Goliaths to vote out one of their own. Alec knew his chances of surviving the vote were slim if he didn't win immunity -- which led to a six-hour literal challenge standoff with Christian. Alec started off strong, but he just couldn't make it. 


"I'll never be able to put into words how insane that challenge was. I'll try to paint a picture: you're standing, the part where our heels were, it's only two inches out, so it's really small, right on the edge of your heel. And then your arms are, like, up by your ears. They're back, so they're all stretched out. Your shoulders hurt, and then your butt is against this board, so your lower back is in pain," he described. "And then to go for four hours, and then listen to Christian's stories for another two, and then to make it six [hours]... I was so emotionally, physically exhausted, drained."

"To step off, it sucked. I felt like I gave up, but it transferred into my everyday life. You realize what you are capable of, and it's taught me don't give up, don't quit, just push through," Alec continued. "I got slayed by Christian... he was a beast and a stud, and just got in my head." 

The 32-year-old robotics scientist isn't the only player fans should look out for, however. With four Davids -- Christian, Gabby, Davie and Nick -- and four Goliaths -- Kara, Angelina, Alison and Mike -- left in the game, Carl told ET that at this point, it's anyone's game. 

"Nobody that's left in that game is a sleeper. For sure, everybody is a threat," he declared. "There's not one person that you can say, 'Oh, this person doesn't have a shot, or that person doesn't have a shot.' You gotta watch all of them. I thought I had a shot, and they snuck and got me. So you gotta keep watching. It doesn't stop here."


"Everyone in that cast, everyone that's left is a beast in their own way. Everyone's spearheaded some type of vote. Everyone's been winning immunity, they've been winning rewards. Everyone has their own plans," Alec added. 

Dan, who was voted out the week prior in an expertly played vote steal and idol nullifier, told ET that he's proud to have been the victim of such intense gameplay. "Looking back on it, you can’t ask for a better way to go out," he said. "At least I went home in a unique way that has never happened in Survivor history." 

"I think that's the really cool thing about it. Everyone has their own little alliances, and they have their little plans. So it's going to be fun to watch and see how it all pans out because it's going to be a whirlwind of lefts and rights and ups and downs and this way and that way," Alec concluded. "It's going to be super cool."

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. 


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