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The tribe has spoken, but for Kellie Nalbandian it was entirely too soon.
The castaway competed on the landmark 45th season of “Survivor” but got her torch snuffed on tonight’s episode titled, “Following a Dead Horse to Water.”
The 30-year-old critical care nurse from New York City was a frontrunner with fans and even outlasted her fellow contestants last week to win individual immunity but the tide and the tribe turned on Nalbadian tonight after her closest ally Bruce Perreault won immunity.
Viewers may recall that Perreault, 47, was medically evacuated on the very first episode last season after he received a devastating blow to his head during the very first challenge just minutes into the game.
He returned for “Survivor 45” and was immediately perceived to be a big threat, so much so, that he was called out by fellow contestant Emily Flippen on day one.
Perreault also earned the wrath of Katurah Topps, 35, who has spent all season long listing all the many ways that the Insurance agent got on her nerves. Tonight, she finally convinced her tribe mates that his time was up but when he won immunity the spotlight shifted to his greatest ally Nalbandian.
At a special private advance screening of the episode in New York City held on November 14 for fans and press, Nalbandian explained that she tried to distance herself from Perreault, whom she affectionately referred to as her “ball and chain” and failed.
”Basically in my head I had been sort of dragging Bruce along the whole way because he was inexplicably obsessed with me and I love Bruce, like I love him so much,” she explained to the crowd and host, two-time survivor Rob Cesternino.
“But I thought that he would always vote with me so it was really hard to like let him go but at a certain point he was just such a liability that I was like, ‘I don’t know how much longer I can keep him.’”
Behind the scenes Nalbandian says she was strategizing and attempting to make other connections so she could vote Perreault out and still have the numbers.
‘I had really been working a long time and sort of building bridges with everybody. I am sure this is not shown but Dee [Dianelys “Dee” Valladares] and I had a pretty close relationship. I do think that is the reason I was targeted. So I was like, you know, if I could kind of take Bruce out here, not have him sort of drag me down, and then also that would really make a couple people in my tribe very happy.”
Nalbandian also shocked the crowd when she revealed her intention to steal Perreault’s Immunity Idol before snuffing out his torch.
“My plan actually was to affectionately steal Bruce’s idol,” she said with a grin. “Like try to get him voted out and then tell him somone had the ‘Knowledge is Power’ [advantage], have him give me the idol, let him leave and have me have the idol. That was my original plan.”
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays on CBS.