Colby Donaldson came in second on Survivor: The Australian Outback, but he's No. 1 in Barbara Novoa's heart.
The bespectacled 26-year-old from Millburn, N.J., cheered Colby! Colby! from her table at Planet Hollywood in Times Square, where about 100 people gathered Thursday night to watch the finale.
Tina Wesson, the perky Tennessee nurse, ended up winning the $1 million grand prize, but Novoa insisted the Texas hunk would have put the money to good use.
Colby's got a heart. He's going to share the money with everyone.
And besides, Novoa said, He is a hottie.
Others dressed up as their favorite Survivor competitors, including Peggy Turner and Mary Sanborn of Old Bridge, N.J., who wore multicolored handkerchief headdresses similar to the one Elisabeth Filarski wore to tribal council on the show. Fans of the reality TV show nibbled from a buffet of roast pig, fish and fruit and answered b>Survivor trivia questions.
The crowd was sedate for the most part, sipping beers and margaritas and sitting enraptured before a dozen TV monitors.
But it was a different scene in Knoxville, Tenn., where Wesson's relatives popped open champagne to toast her victory.
Relatives and friends watched the final episode on a big-screen TV at a Mexican restaurant and erupted with cheers when Wesson won the final vote.
She's a winner, said her grandfather, William Thrasher, who appeared stunned moments after host Jeff Probst announced that Wesson was the winner.
In San Angelo, Texas, near Donaldson's hometown of Christoval, several restaurants and bars held Survivor parties.
It's borderline crazy around here now, said Janette Sloper, who baby-sat Donaldson about once a week until he was 10.
We're proud of ya Colby! read a sign outside Texas Trade'N Post in Christoval, a store that started selling Survivor shirts, keychains, mouse pads and other items a few weeks into the show. The store sold 600 T-shirts, 400 bandanas and 200 caps in the last month.
There seemed to be more pomp and splendor surrounding last year's finale, though, when people threw parties in their homes and at bars with tropical drinks and costumes.
In New York's Rockefeller Center, a microbrew pub that showed last year's Survivor finale broadcast Game 4 of the Dallas-St. Louis National Hockey League playoff series instead on Thursday night.
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