Mobilan voted off 'Survivor: Palau'
Nobody exits 'American Idol'
Thursday, March 24, 2005
By MIKE BRANTLEY
TV & Media Editor
And then there were two -- Alabamians on "Survivor," that is.
James Miller, the 33-year-old steelworker who lives in Mobile, became the latest castaway ejected from the island during Wednesday night's episode of the CBS reality show "Survivor: Palau."
His departure from the game came during a Tribal Council meeting at which his fellow Ulong tribe members -- including Ibrehem Rahman, 27, of Birmingham, and Bobby Jon Drinkard, 27, of Troy -- cast votes against him. Also voting against Miller was Ulong's only other surviving member, Stephenie LaGrossa, 25, of Philadelphia.
"It wasn't my time to go," Miller said. "I didn't feel like it, you know? My gut told me nobody was going to vote me off. My gut failed me."
The game, which will award $1 million to the player who outlasts all his or her opponents, divides its competitors into two camps -- the Koror and Ulong tribes, with the Alabama players by chance all winding up as Ulong members.
The Ulongs have lost every single immunity challenge to date, meaning the tribe has not once been spared from having to vote a member off the remote Pacific island. With Miller gone, the Ulong tribe is down to three members to compete against the eight Korors left.
"I am sad and depressed, you know?" Miller said at the end of Wednesday's episode, which aired a day early because of CBS' coverage of NCAA basketball tonight. "But I've accomplished things that not many people can say they have, and that makes me proud. I am glad that I got a chance to go on 'Survivor' and see if I had what it takes."
No one from Alabama, nor anywhere else, got booted off the show Wednesday night on "American Idol," which includes 29-year-old singer Bo Bice of Helena among the Fox singing competition's 11 remaining finalists. Someone was supposed to be sent packing Wednesday, after Tuesday evening's call-in votes were tallied, but Fox on Wednesday morning cried, "Sorry, wrong number!"
The problem happened during the previous night's episode, when incorrect phone numbers directing viewers to call to vote for their favorite singer were displayed on screen.
"We can't afford to take the chance of incorrect information affecting the results," explained "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest to the show's studio audience and viewers across the country Wednesday.
Fox altered the format of Wednesday's show, which was supposed to announce the latest contestant who would be forced off the program by having received the fewest votes. Instead, the network aired an expanded "do-over" installment, featuring new elements with encores of Tuesday's performances by Bice and the 10 other contestants. Viewers were encouraged to vote again.
Results will be announced on a special half-hour "Idol" to air at 8 tonight on WALA-TV10 and other Fox affiliates.
The other "Idol" finalists are Anthony Fedorov, Constantine Maroulis, Anwar Robinson, Scott Savol, Nikko Smith, Mikalah Gordon, Jessica Sierra, Vonzell Solomon, Nadia Turner and Carrie Underwood.
On "Survivor," it became apparent in the closing minutes Wednesday that either Miller or fellow Alabamian Rahman would be oust ed from the competition. Rahman seemed about to be voted off the island in the previous week's episode, but one of the opposing Koror tribe's rewards in that installment was the power to give immunity to a Ulong member. Koror chose Rahman, and Angie Jakusz, 24, of New Orleans was voted off instead.
This time, the vote came down to a 2-2 tie between Miller and Rahman. In the tie breaker, with only Drinkard and LaGrossa voting, Miller was given his marching orders.
Ulong lost immunity again this time in a challenge that involved tying up the opposing tribe's flag in a footlocker. Miller, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, took charge and instructed his fellow tribe members how to tie a knot that the Korors supposedly would have great difficulty untying.
"He took the lead, and he acted like he knew what he was doing, so I followed," Drinkard said.
But Koror easily untied the knot and hoisted its flag to win immunity again.
But it wasn't all happy times for Koror. Earlier, Ulong won this week's reward challenge by outscoring Koror's members at a target shooting contest. The reward: A pleasant boat ride -- during which Pringles potato chips and Mai Tais were served -- to an idyllic locale called Jellyfish Lake, where the Ulongs snorkeled with benign jellyfish that don't sting.
Koror, meanwhile, was in a bad way prior to attaining a big boost in the immunity challenge. Caught in a miserable, typhoon-force storm, one of its members had an emotional meltdown. Janu Tornell, 39, of Las Vegas, indicated she didn't see how she could go on in the physically and emotionally challenging game.
"I don't have the strength, I'm telling you," Tornell said while lying in a hammock and crying.
Fellow Koror member Katie Gallagher, 29, of Merced, Calif., wasn't impressed by Tornell's performance. "I thought I was the drama queen," Gallagher said away from her tribe mates. "Apparently not."
Perhaps setting up some dramatic intrigue that will play out in future episodes, there was much attention pointed to LaGrossa's dishonesty with Drinkard. The castaway from Troy voted to kick Miller off the island because he thought Miller had voted against him in the previous episode, thought it was really LaGrossa who had gone against him.
Questioned by Drinkard, she denied having done so.
In an interview away from the other castaways, she told viewers, "I feel really bad lying to him, but if I had told him the truth they would have voted me off tonight." http://www.al.com/tv/mobileregister/mbrantley.ssf?/base/entertainment/111165937351750.xml