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How Survivor's Courtney Yates Actually Tried To Stop Tyson Apostol From That Massive Heroes Vs. Villains Voting Blunder

courtney yates tyson apostol survivor heroes vs. villains
(Image credit: CBS)

A lot of mistakes and regrets are bound to happen in Survivor, a game predicated on lying above all else. There's not much contestants can do about it in the moment if they aren't aware, much less in hindsight. As it turns out though, Courtney Yates had the awareness to try to stop the great Heroes Vs. Villains disaster: Tyson Apostol’s voting blunder. (Obviously her efforts didn't go so well.)

Survivor fan-favorite Tyson Apostol had the unique distinction of being the only player to have effectively voted himself out of the game on Heroes Vs. Villains. Masterminded by Boston Rob Mariano, the vote was supposed to be split 3-3 between outcasts Russell Hantz and Parvati Shallow in case an idol was played. Hantz convinced Apostol that he was turning on Shallow and helping them vote her out, prompting Apostol to change his vote last minute and break the split. Hantz played his idol for Shallow, then the two of them plus Danielle DiLorenzo ruthlessly voted out Apostol. Apparently, Courtney Yates knew this was all about to play out. She told Entertainment Weekly:

Tyson confided to me that he was going to change his assigned Russell vote to Parvati because for whatever reason it wasn't necessary to split the vote. At first I'm like, ‘Okay cool, forcing ties and revotes seems complicated.’ But then from how everyone was acting, I just knew it was a mistake to change our plan and told him to keep his Russell vote and stick with the 3-3 plan. This all happened right before they locked us down to go to Tribal. I do a quick straight-to-camera after trying to talk to him because my vibe was he wasn't listening to me.

Courtney Yates revealed that she considered auto-correcting Tyson Apostol's voting mistake for him. She thought if she would have just switched her vote to Russell Hantz, since Apostol was switching his to Parvati Shallow, then it would all just even out back to square one. But she panicked, thinking Apostol may have actually listened to her and decided to stay the course. In which case, Yates would be the one now listed as making the biggest blunder on Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains.

If you were a Survivor fan watching that moment play out in real time on Heroes Vs. Villains, then you were probably screaming at the TV that Tyson Apostol was a dummy for trusting the likes of Russell Hantz. Or you were like me: jaw dropped, watching a literal train wreck in slow motion. If we had known Courtney Yates’ bit in all this and that Apostol had warning beforehand, it would have likely made it much worse. Yates hilariously recalled playing dumb herself when it was all said and done:

So after the votes are read and Tyson is voted out, we're sitting having hot dogs and listening to the Heroes Tribal as our reward, and Rob and Sandra are like, ‘WTF happened?? Who flipped on him?’ And to myself I'm like, ‘Well, actually, no, he technically flipped on himself.’ But I just sat and ate my food and pretended to be mystified like everyone else.

Courtney Yates and Tyson Apostol are perfect examples of polar opposite Survivor game plays. Yates, who has played twice, made a name for herself as the deadpan New Yorker with no big social or physical prowess to speak of. (She mostly lived off snark and the fact that most people believe they could beat her in the end – which Todd Herzog ultimately did in China.) Apostol, on the other hand, played a huge social and physical game in all four of his seasons. He learned from his voting blunder in Heroes Vs. Villains and later won Blood Vs. Water.

Though Tyson Apostol wrote himself into the book of big Survivor legends and mishaps, with Courtney Yates as a footnote, it might comfort him to know he's not the worst of the bunch. Eric Reichenbach’s decision to voluntarily give up immunity will forever and always take the cake.

Lauren Vanderveen

I am a vegan feminist. I'm fascinated by all things space/stars. I love film history, reality television, and my cat Bubbe.