Australian Survivor producers respond to faux challenge ‘controversy’

Ten Network
Ten Network /

A thing that doesn’t matter nor would have changed the person voted out sparked tinfoil hattery among Australian Survivor fans as producers respond.

There are few, but noticeable things to complain about Australian Survivor without having to invent controversies nobody cares about. Instead of wondering why so many of the Contenders women voted out were virtually invisible on the way out the door (including the first zero-confessional castaway), we have to worry about accusations of a challenge being rigged and rules violations like it’s the early 2000s all over again.

As mentioned in our Australian Survivor 2019 episode 19 recap, the Immunity Challenge saw players hold themselves on a bar hanging at a 45° angle atop a platform above the water. About 45 minutes in, with four Champions left, host Jonathan LaPaglia forced the players to hold themselves with just one hand, dropping the other and prohibiting players from switching hands.

Shortly after the 90-minute mark, it became clear to both Simon and Luke that this challenge was built for a player like Pia, who had barely budged. Luke was already writhing in pain, and Simon was getting ready to drop. After giving a knowing look to Luke, he let go and, seconds later, Luke fell afterward to give Pia her first individual immunity of the season.

Anybody with basic reasoning skills could gather that somewhere on the editing room floor Simon and Luke had agreed to give up the challenge for whatever reason, be it not to be in immense pain anymore, the fact that Pia was so unshakable, or the fact that at that time, they were all on the same team. However, as Luke pointed to Simon dropping, Pia touched the bar with her other hand mere second(s) before Luke dropped out in second place.

A simple look at a #SurvivorAU Twitter search is all you need to invite a lack of comprehension into your life, as negative reactions to a small woman winning a gravity-based endurance challenge over two large, lanky men who agreed to give up ranged from accusations of the show being rigged to people being angry that Luke was robbed of a second immunity win.

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As seen above, production and distribution group Endemol Shine released a statement on social media, stating, “At the split second Luke was coming off and Pia was reaching up it was determined that Pia was the winner of the Challenge. All that were there saw the win play out this way.”

With any reality competition program, the rules are the boundaries for Australian Survivor, not laws etched in stone. Nobody at the challenge, including Shaun and Luke, thought that they were robbed. Even if Luke won the challenge instead of Pia, that doesn’t prevent Abbey from flipping and taking out Simon. That still happens regardless of a split-second moment that happened as Luke prepared to slide down in second place after Simon.

Let us not forget that we saw a similar situation happen in the dying hours of Survivor: Ghost Island. At the Final Seven, Wendell was the first to complete a multi-stage challenge by solving a slide puzzle. However, he didn’t notify Jeff that he was finished as he held his arms out in reclamation. Because of this, Jeff didn’t check Wendell’s puzzle, and everyone agreed that Laurel calling Jeff to check her puzzle indicated her winning the challenge.

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It’s not hard to see that Pia won her first immunity win in Australian Survivor in a manner that everybody on the show and those with common deduction skills can realize is fair. It’s a shame that if she wins the game in the long run, a swath of people will point to an inconsequential immunity “controversy” and use it to say she doesn’t deserve it.