The most common reaction to Erika Casupanan coming out on top as the winner of Survivor 41 was surprise. Simply put, a lot of fans believed that Xander Hastings was going to best Casupanan and Deshawn Radden. (They have made that fact plain in the weeks following the upset, making their own GoFundMe campaign as well.) However, Hastings is now weighing in on who he himself would have voted for in the end, and I'm here for all the points he’s making.
The Survivor 41 frontrunner, who also gained a bit of a heartthrob reputation amongst fans, shared his insight on the Survivor News podcast recently. He was asked, if the final three turned out to be Erika Casupanan, Deshawn Radden, and Heather Aldret instead, who would he have voted for? Xander Hastings stated that the choice would be “a tough one” for a lot of reasons. But, to start, Aldret’s name was left out of the discussion entirely. About Radden, Hastings said,
Though he’s been left slightly out of the finale debate, Deshawn Radden did indeed have some merit in the game. Most importantly, he co-orchestrated the major turning point in Shan Smith’s ouster. When he was met with pushback for it, he successfully championed himself, citing the struggle between playing for oneself and playing for the Black community as a whole. His speeches weren't always successful, though, as with that Erika Casupanan “truth bomb” that completely turned off at least one Survivor 41 jury member.
Yet when considering just Erika Casupanan against Deshawn Radden, Xander Hastings illustrated the overarching picture. Without him in the Survivor 41 running, he stated,
In short, Xander Hastings respects the contrast between Erika Casupanan’s subtle strategy and Deshawn Radden’s go-for-broke game. It's interesting, too, because we can think of it as Hastings having played right in between those two diametric opposites – and still losing. Overall, though, the 21-year-old finalist has an inkling who he might have voted for, with some caveats. Hastings continued,
Another excellent point is bringing up the sway of the jury majority over the others, which could possibly explain Erika Casupanan’s upset in Survivor 41. Contestants did actually have a negative impression about Xander Hastings before going into jury. It didn't help, either, that Casupanan was way more eloquent than Hastings in her answers at the final tribal.
At the end of the day, Xander Hastings gave the ultimate Season 41 winner some credit, but likely the debate will keep on keeping on no matter what. Some fans will undoubtedly agree with him, while others will be ready to keep the argument going.
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