'It Became Quite Intimidating For Them': Nick Explained Why Mokuta Gave Him The Boot
Nick Iadanza is undoubtedly the most devoted Survivor super fan to play on the Australian series -- but his extensive knowledge of the game might have contributed to his downfall.
Nick made a name for himself as the series' original snake in 2016 and returned to the game for All Stars equipped with his two-decades worth of Survivor research but with some newfound restraint, subtlety and fatherly wisdom.
Making the tough decision to leave his wife and newborn daughter behind to join the series, Nick knew that he had to summon his strategic super powers and pray to the Survivor gods to make sure the experience was worth the sacrifice.
Forming an early alliance with his fellow Little Rascals Harry and Shonee, Nick managed to dodge elimination after tribe swap for as long as he could but on the eve of merge, he'd exhausted all of his options.
Speaking to 10 daily after his torch was snuffed, Nick explained that he knew he was in trouble for the two weeks leading up to his last trip to tribal council.
"The hard part about that tribal was that there was just nowhere to move," said Nick.
"We had the trio of Tarzan, Moana and Jacqui just locked in --Tarzan and Jacqui just wouldn't consider voting for Moana, no matter how hard I tried to get them to.
"Dave had Zach so far under his thumb, everyone was just so locked in that I couldn’t get my little three to make something happen," he said.
Nick was ultimately voted against by his supposed allies Sharn and Lee, who were most likely considering their safest vote considering the upcoming merge.
The Survivor savant described two important factors that contributed to his exit -- his unmatched knowledge of the game and the vengeance of the Golden God, David Genat.
"I do think that there were people out there who were intimidated by how much I knew about the game," Nick said. "Even when we’d wake up in the morning and people would say, ‘oh it’s day 25, Nick, what usually happens on day 26?’
"Or we’d walk into a challenge and everyone would say, ‘Nick, what would we need for this one?’"
Nick continued to say that while his role as a Survivor navigator meant he was useful to Mokuta, "it became quite intimidating" to players who lacked that same knowledge about challenges, clues, twists and tribe swaps.
"Even someone like Dave, the reason Dave had wanted me gone for two weeks is, I believe Dave has a complex and he must be the shiniest star in the galaxy," laughed Nick.
There’s a reason he blindsided Phoebe and it’s because, from the moment they got to Fiji and Phoebe, Mat, himself and Henry stood on top of that mountain, there was no way he wanted to move forward with any of those people because he wanted to be the only one standing on that mountain.
Nick added that he wasn't much further down on Dave's hit list.
"He looks around at me as the original Survivor villain, the person that kind of has this extreme knowledge of Survivor and sees that there are people on the other side who want to work with me -- there is no future between Dave and I," he told 10 daily.
The twelfth All Star to leave the series said he "couldn't believe" that anyone would enter merge with someone who had outed themselves multiple times as a considerable threat.
"He'd already lied to them with the Mat and Daisy thing, had an idol, had connections on the other side, was such a good physical player, it could never compute in my mind why anybody would want to go to the end with him."
While it was tough to watch Nick come so close to merge and a spot on the jury, the super fan has no regrets about his second turn on the show and has managed to continue incorporating his love of Survivor into his life at home and in his job as a high school teacher.
"Whenever I see their interest flagging in what I talk about, a quick Survivor metaphor will get them back on track," said of his keeping his students motivated.
"I asked a student, ‘Why haven’t you done your homework?’ and he said ‘Oh, I’ve got an immunity idol for that’ and I was like, ‘Nah mate, tribe has spoken!’"
Nick has also been able to share his fandom with his one-year-old daughter, Paloma -- even if she wasn't quite ready to wear his Survivor accessories.
"When I arrived back from the island, one of the first things I did is I put my little buff on her but I think she was repulsed by how smelly it was," he laughed.
But little Paloma has finally started recognising the guy on TV wearing a green buff and smashing through puzzles as her father.
"We’ve been watching together and I’ve been trying to get her to recognise the TV version of her dad and the other night she finally said, ‘Daddy!’ and she pointed at me on the screen and I was like, ‘Yes! Just before I get the boot’."