Survivor: Superwoman Defeated
(CBS) Just when you thought she was strong, full of moxie and bright, Stephenie LaGrossa brought out the big guns.
Waging full-out psychological warfare on the remaining Koror tribesmembers, the 25-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep from Philadelphia, Pa., turned every alliance on its head, blew relationships out the window and even planted seeds of insecurity in the alpha males' brains.
But no amount of mass confusion could negate the inevitable: that Steph was toast. The audience favorite was voted out in the eleventh episode of "Survivor:Palau."
"I'm like really proud of myself," Steph, the only remaining member of the Ulong tribe said. "My whole team got blown away, and I was left standing."
She should have noted that she blew her tribe away single-handedly. That's before surviving two voting rounds in a new team.
Steph's emotional appeal for survival that continued through episode 11 began at the previous tribal council, where she broke into tears and put on the puppy-dog eyes.
Tom called Stephenie's diatribe a "self-preservation speech," saying she earned her own immunity.
But getting back to camp: "It was just uncomfortable…I don't know who to trust, I don't know who to talk to," Steph said.
"That was ridiculous," Gregg Carey said, adding a little foreshadowing, "I just hope it doesn't come back to haunt us."
Strength is clearly a weakness when it comes to voting off tribesmembers. Tom knows Steph's been targeted for that reason, and confronts his strength to the television cameras. "I said, 'Don't hold it against me now.'" And he confided in Stephenie that he thinks he's just a few votes behind her.
The ladies laughed at that. They already outnumbered the men. But each lady castaway would be defying an alliance in order to form an all-estrogen foursome.
But Jenn Lyon, the 33-year old California blonde who's been hooking up with Gregg, organized a pow-wow with Steph and Katie Gallagher to test those waters.
Host Jeff Probst brought out his own mind game by giving each player a wallet full of $20s (for keeps) with which they could join in on an auction. Let's call it the Survivor Auction: the blind item bidding game.
Each item was conveniently covered in what looked like an opaque mini-mosquito net that bidders couldn't quite see through. The highlights:
Jenn bought an ice cream sundae for $120.
Ian got spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese for hundreds. He washed it down with a $40 chilled beer.
Tom won as the highest bidder on a letter from home. It cost him more than $200, but when he opened it, he found a drawing from his child.
Several other castaways took up the same offer to buy their loved ones' letters.
Ian Rosenberger, the dolphin trainer who's staying low-key, won immunity shortly after, but the tension was so high on the island that even he was feeling paranoid going into tribal council.
"You go to the bathroom and you think: is anyone talking about me?" he said.
Caryn Groedel said she's starting feeling like "at any given time I might not know what's going on."
But she needn't worry — yet. Steph took four of the first five votes and resigned her torch to being snuffed.
Hear the Philly Superwoman's story Friday on ,The Early Show beginning at 7 a.m.