'Survivor 46's Q Burdette Reveals Who Caused Him to Volunteer to Leave the Game

Q Burdette

Survivor 46 is here! Every week, Parade.com's Mike Bloom will bring you interviews with the castaway most recently voted off of the island.

"Burdette Fumbles." That was the headline plastered across Q Burdette's town paper during a memorable mistake in his football career. Years later, Q threw himself into a very different competition, catching the million-dollar ball back in his own territory. For the first half of his run down the field, he sprinted with ease, in clear control and setting up his own path. But a last-minute juke on his own end reset his path, instantly losing that power. Now Q was on the run, swarmed by his opponents as he tried to continue his dash to the goal line. Luckily, due to some particular blockers, he had somehow made it into the red zone. With the end in sight, Q found a sudden burst of speed, and it seemed like a guarantee he would make it one step further. But history repeated itself. Q fumbled, tackled shy of the goal with an idol in pocket (or Q-Skirt).

Due to his physical stature and dominant nature, Q nearly immediately was in control of Yanu. Though the misadventures of the purple tribe had him red in the face, he was never in danger, and in fact had brokered relationships with the outsiders to make sure he was never in danger. Though he finally avoided Tribal Council towards the end of the premerge, Q was still gaming. He set up a cross-tribal alliance of six, hoping his dominance could extend through the merge. And, for a while, that was happening exactly. Q seemed to be the one to determine the next couple of boots, confidently calling out "big mistakes" for his opposition doing everything from naming their favorite player to being too good (or bad) at hide and seek. 

But it all came crashing down on Day 16. Unhappy Tiffany Nicole Ervin was targeting someone in the six, Q attempted to turn the game on his number one ally. When the camp launched into chaos, Q shouldered the blame, and shocked everyone at Tribal Council when he asked they vote him out. Q's reputation tanked, and his perception turned on a dime, as everyone saw him as too chaotic and controlling. Suddenly, the real estate agent found himself without a strategic shelter, and public enemy number one. Luckily, he had someone looking out for him in Maria Shrime Gonzalez, picking him up as a number. As Q continued to take heat, most notably from Liz Wilcox after he did not take her to Applebee's, Maria continued to protect him, bringing him in on some devastating blindsides. Q was nearly back to the height of his power, burgeoned by finding an idol and having convinced Maria to turn on her number one ally Charlie Davis. He felt so confident that he didn't play his idol, only to get blindsided by everyone except Maria. It was, to put it simply, a big mistake.

Now out of the game, Q talks with Parade.com about what led him to not play his idol, how he recovered from his game collapsing, and his reaction to being called a "villain" and "bully" by his cast members.

Related: Read our Survivor 46 pre-game interview with Quintavius "Q" Burdette

I can't believe I'm starting my interview for the fourth week in a row with this. But we have to talk about you not using your idol. I know you were already looking ahead to play it at five so you could get to four when, as you told me preseason, "I'm making that [expletive] fire." But was there anything specific that led to you deciding to keep that idol in your Q-Skirt?
So first of all, I went into that Tribal saying I wasn't gonna play it. I thought I'd done the math. I was like, "Okay, either I go home"--which I'd been fine with going home. Going home don't scare me. So I either go home, or I guarantee myself Final Three. Because if I make it through that vote, and I play my idol, there's no one there that can beat me in fire. They didn't stand a chance. So that was the risk that I kind of ran.

But I saw the game, I guess, a little differently. And as at that moment, Charlie had won two immunities. He hadn't pissed anybody off. And it was just one of those things like, "Okay, I would say take a shot," versus the complete opposite. [Laughs.] I hadn't won any immunities. I pissed everybody off. And I'm thinking, "Their head is in the game." But they were all so fascinated with me. I even lost touch of how fascinated that these people were of me and how they wasn't playing a game to play. I heard people out there talking about they want to vote people off because they would get more TV time than them. These are the type of people I'm playing with. Why would I think that they're going to make the right move that I would make? But at the same time, they didn't make the right move. Because let me just say, if I make it through, dude, I can talk. I can explain stories. And it's gonna be trouble for whoever is in that Final Three with me.

I want to talk about that. Because, to your point, you had angered a lot of the jury with your behavior and being a smokescreen for their blindsides. So how do you think you would have done in the Final Three?
So I felt like from the very start of the game, and I said it a whole lot out there, I can beat anybody. I don't care who I go to the end with, which two, I can beat them. Why? Because my ability to not crumble under the pressure when it comes to talking and explaining and being able to be honest in showing them why I did certain things would would prevail versus some other folks who are not used to it. And I knew that, so I thought I would win.

You gotta remember, for 17 days in a row, that was my beach. I was the king. I was calling the shots. I was running the show. One day, on Day 18, was a slip up. But then by Day 21, I had started to regain footing. I started to influence decisions and votes and put things out there and make plans and talk to people and rekindle relationships and apologize. I was four days down. So you got to think of a story of a survivor who's been on top, then he crumbles down to the ground. But then he makes his way back and survives all the way. That's a story I can explain. And all the stuff about, "Q, what can you tell us about Tribal when you volunteered to go home? You tried to quit." Let me let me explain something to everybody.

I was never ever trying to quit. I'm man enough to where, if I want to leave, if I want to say, "You know what? I'm done with this. It's too much for me." I'll get up and I will leave. I won't ask for permission. I will walk out the door. What happened is, in my life if I do something wrong if I do something that I think causes chaos and problems that is beyond the game, I'm the person that says, "You know what? I did that. I should take responsibility for it. And if you guys were to do that, I would be okay with it. It wouldn't sit well with me if I didn't."

Let me give you more context. So, on that night that I did it, what happened was I told Hunter about Liz's plan. Hunter went to Liz. And in that moment, I wasn't there for the conversation. But all I see is Liz crying. This is before the Applebee's, now. So we're not enemies yet. But Liz comes up, and she's crying. This is the same Liz that has all day been so excited that she's about to blindside Tevin. She's about do all this stuff. Now she's suddenly crying and saying, "Okay, I will vote Tiff." And I'm like, "Whoa." I'm one of 17 kids. I only have four sisters. That brought me back to, "This little girl"-- who is the same size as my sisters, actually--"she's crying. She was excited earlier, because I told Hunter." He would have never known; he would have never done [anything]. I screwed her plans up.

But then also, on top of that, I was like, "Dang, man, I didn't do right about Tevin. He's part of my six. I created this. I should have been trying to fight for him harder, or I should have at least told him." So I started to feel like I let him down, too, and I can take the bullet for him. Why? Because 17 of those people, Mike, were there for the million dollars. I was there for the title. That's all I want. The million dollars is great. It wouldn't change my life. So now I'm weighing, "Okay, Tevin, actually wants the money. It will change his life. He's about to go home. I didn't do write about him. Liz is crying. I didn't do right about her at this time. I'm gonna raise my hand and admit that I screwed up. And I'm willing to take the heat now." They didn't take me up on that offer. So now the offer's off the table. I did my part.

So, following that, you do become a pariah on the tribe. And, while you're trying to work your way back in, you are still causing mayhem, between getting into arguments with people and, of course, the entire Applebee's controversy with Liz. What was it like to try to rebuild from square one?
It was a task. I knew I had to disappear for a couple of days. And as far as the Applebee's stuff and still arguing with folks, listen, Q is going to be Q. It doesn't matter the circumstance, I'm not going to tuck my tail and stop being me just because, "Oh, they may vote for me." No, I'm gonna continue to be me. So again, if I make it to the end, I can tell my story. I can tell I played my way. I didn't allow anybody to dictate the way I played, the things I did, the things I said. It wasn't like I was being malicious. I wasn't out there just pushing people down and cursing them around. No, it was within the game. It was chaos. It was chaotic.

And just think, of everybody that you interviewed so far, they said that I'm the reason their game crumbled. If you really think about the game of Survivor, that's how it should be. I should be out there not allowing them to play the game that they want to play. I should be out there creating the chaos that makes them have to shift and now rethink or pivot or hesitate. There's nothing wrong with that. That's Survivor, but it's old school Survivor. But they weren't used to somebody just openly playing a game of Survivor the way I did. And that's the uniqueness.

Everything I've ever done was never told to anybody, not even production. So production was caught off guard most days. The Applebee's stuff, that wasn't planned. The hide and seek, the Q-Skirt. It wasn't planned. Just something I thought of on the spot. So all this stuff was just like, "Boom." It happens, and everybody's like, "What the world is going on?" That's the difference in what I brought in everyone else. And that was going to be the difference that I could explain to them at the end to make them even see. But I also understood that I had to go to the end with the right people. Because it doesn't matter what I did. If I go to the end with certain people, then here we go.

Who does that include?
Personally, if I had my choice, meaning if I'm in the game, and I run it the way I run it, it would have been Ben and Liz, simple. I would have never, ever, ever, ever targeted them. Because it was just one of those things. If I got through that boat, that means Charlie goes home. And right now, people say, "Well, Q, you and Maria, you're so tight." If I would have won at five, I probably would have pushed voted on Maria. If Maria would have won, at some point, she wasn't going to win, and we're going to be making fighting against each other. I was gonna beat the fire. I mean, it's just that simple. So I was gonna have my way he eventually with the three that I needed to be in the end with. So it didn't work out. But it's one of those things. I swung the bat every single time at the plate, every single day, trying to hit the ball. I didn't want to get walked. I wanted to hit the ball.

So, to that point, as you're swinging, let's talk about the perception from your teammates. We heard people in the game call you a villain and a bully. In particular, it was brought up briefly last episode that you and Ben didn't talk. What was your reaction to that perception?
So it was one of those things. Me and Ben I had a conversation after the Tim vote that did not go so pleasant. Because Ben did not like talking strategy that much. And it kind of ticked me off when I would ask him something and he would just kind of give me  a BS answer. So I'm the type of person that I'll call you out on that. Like, "Come on, do you want to work with me? Cool. Go your other way then." But at that point in time in the game also, again, I was running things. They were seeing it, but there was nothing they could do about it. There was nothing they could do about it at that time. So when they call me a bully, and all this stuff. I'm not a bully, like, "Oh, give me your lunch!" I'm a bully as in, "Get out of the way. I'm here and I'm playing. And I don't have to say it." And that's the kind of bully I guess they perceived me to be. But at the end of the day, again, it was never malicious. It was never a point to where I thought these people actually hated me to a point where they wouldn't vote for me at the end. That's why I thought I still had a shot. And even when I got to Pondy, they all told me I still had a shot.

Talk to me about that. What was it like to reunite with those people who, again, you had ended things with on a bit of a mixed note?
So it was it was wonderful. It was awesome. It's all about how you bring yourself to the party. If I would have went over there mopey and, "Man, y'all get out of my face," it probably would have went well. But because I'm like, "Hey, what's up, y'all? I love y'all, man! Appreciate y'all," and they're seeing it, they're embracing me with open arms. It was magical. I got so much food when I got to Pondy. Yeah I ate so much pizza it was crazy. It was 23 slices, then I lost count. I had the Applebee's reward. [But then] I got to Pondy. Oh my man! I was eating like a king, brother.

But just to hit on some things we hadn't talked about, there was no point in the game to where I was ever going to quit or felt like I wanted to quit because I couldn't do it. It came up twice. The first time ,it was literally maybe a minute and a half, after losing the challenge. Just being like, "Dang, bro! I could have sunk the bag and I didn't, bro. I should be the one on the chopping block." And that's how it was. It wasn't a, "Please vote me." No. The second one, again, was just one of those things. I felt I'd done something wrong. And I raised my hand,

Next, check out our interview with Venus Vafa, who was voted out in Survivor 46 Episode 11.