After being on the island for 39 grueling days, the last remaining Survivor contestants are probably equal parts exhausted and excited about finally learning who has won. What a mix of emotions — joy at finally showering and going home, while dealing with either the agony of defeat or the thrill of a win. Contributing to the vibe is whether there will be a live reading of the winner, or one that's been pre-taped. Is the Survivor 41 finale live? Grab your tiki torches, 'cause we're getting into it.
Is the 'Survivor' finale live?
It looks like this year's finale will not be live, but there is a delightful twist. The reading of the winner will be announced on the island, which is something we haven't seen since Season 1. This kind of makes sense, as a big COVID-19 trend has been dipping into nostalgia and thinking a lot about the past. Revisiting the very first days of Survivor is both a callback to the beginning and a representation of starting over after a couple upsetting years.
Host Jeff Probst told TV Line that there are pros and cons to both experiences. He said he definitely missed the energy of the live audience and seeing contestants finally be able to hug their families. But the interesting part about revealing the winner on the island was the intimacy. "There was no music, no fans screaming. The final three were still in their game clothes, in game mode, still starving, still exhausted," but it was just them and they had essentially become a family.
Another change in the Season 41 finale is the addition of the Survivor After Show, which has already been filmed and sounds like a cathartic way to end the season, with conversations that are promised to be truthful and vulnerable. "[The contestants] weren’t defending their actions, they were owning them," said Jeff. Unfortunately, the non-jury members couldn't be part of the after show, so who knows, maybe a different kind of closure can happen for them.
What was it like revisiting the Season 1 finale style?
Jeff explained to Entertainment Weekly that it was actually quite fun for him to announce the winner right away. "After the last jury member voted, I looked over at the final three and then over to the jury and said, 'I'll go get the votes.' I knew that as I walked away, they were all naturally assuming we were going to do the finale back in Los Angeles months from now. Just like always." The switch-up must have been such an incredible surprise for everyone.
After the reading of the votes, it was time to celebrate. Smiling, Jeff said, "For the next hour, we ate pizza, drank Champagne, and had a fun, candid conversation with the final three and the jury about the entire season." For Jeff, the best part of the season was the players. "I was genuinely enthused to see them and watch them play. We spent a lot of time putting this group together and they really delivered."
Speaking of deliveries, we better get our own pizza and prepare for the finale!
The Survivor Season 41 finale airs Wednesday Dec. 15 at 8:00 p.m. EST on CBS.