After going undefeated three times in a row on "Survivor: Pearl Islands," some members of the Drake tribe decided to throw an immunity challenge in order to get rid of some "excess baggage." Unfortunately for 31-year-old marketing executive Burton Roberts, it ended up being him.
On The Early Show he tells co-anchor Julie Chen, the idea to throw in the towel was not only his. He says, "For the record, I think the entire tribe wanted to do it for different reasons, but everybody had talked about it on different occasions. It wasn't just me. It was kind of portrayed that way, but it wasn't only my idea."
He adds, "It wasn't me just going up to Rupert saying, 'Hey, let's throw this challenge.' It had all been talked about. Would I have done it again? Yes. I was swinging from the fences. I was going to strike out or hit a home run. I wasn't going to sit there and go along for the ride."
Facing their first tribal council, the members of the Drake tribe voted to send Burton packing on Thursday's episode. "I'm disappointed beyond what words could explain," he confessed after his torch was extinguished. But Burton says it didn't come to him at all as a surprise.
He says, "I knew Jon was a swing vote and I knew it was between Christa and me. I was hoping that Jon didn't vote me off."
Burton explains that Christa had a mark on her back after causing problems in the camp with Shawn, Michelle and him. As for him being targeted, he says, "Later on in the game, I would be seen as a threat and everybody was telling me that, so I did what I had to do."
Pure survival strategy. That, he assumes, is the reason his alliance crumbled and he was voted off the island instead of Christa.
Burton says, "After watching the show last night, and after seeing Jon saying that Shawn and he were in alliance, my guess is that at the end, Jon said to Shawn, 'Hey, we're voting Burton off, jump over to our alliance now to keep going into the game.' And anybody would have done that, no questions asked."
Jon, the self-proclaimed "puppet master," did not come across as the most likable guy on Thursday's night, but Burton says Jon actually kept everybody entertained.
"Jon made me laugh," Burton explains. "I thought he was a hilarious person. I thought he was entertaining. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He was drawing a lot of heat and a good person to be around because had we gone later in the game, he would have been getting heat not me. He made the days funny."
And yet he orchestrated Burton's demise. Burton says, "He did. He's a good player. He played the game well, and it is a strategic game, so I got to have respect for that."
Answering a viewer's question about Jon's confidence, Burton says, "I think Jon was walking on eggshells a lot of the game, but he did know the game well and a good strategic player and, obviously, he could lie well. So, I mean, maybe he was really confident but in everyone's opinion, I'm sure it was on the game. He was pretty much always on eggshells and that's why he was kind of scrambling and lying. But he was a great strategic player, so, you know, I give him credit for that."
As for Rupert, Chen showed Burton the clip of Rupert being the subject of hurtful teasing at the Drake camp. Burton and Shawn both gave him grief about his island attire – a loose-fitting, floral print skirt. Hurt by the remarks, Rupert said about Burton, "He was laughing at me and just being an idiot. You know? It's like high school."
Burton's reaction? "It sounds like he's back in high school," he says, "It sounds to me, insecurities coming out? We're out there playing a game. You got to try to have fun and we're all joking around as friends. I was not trying to pick on him, hurt his feelings. I don't know. He took it the wrong way."
In answer to a viewer's question, Burton says, compared to what is seen on TV, Rupert did not interact as much with the tribe: "No one really knew what he was doing. He would fish for four to five hours a day and it was great because he would bring in food. I would go out but only go out for an hour or two. He really was pretty much to himself, so no one really knew what was going on, and that's one reason I approached him. I didn't know if he talked to anyone in the alliance. Rupert was to himself pretty much in the end."
Asked if would do "Survivor" all over again, Burton answers a viewer, "Without a question. It was an amazing experience, a great game. One of the most difficult games you can ever imagine. If you were to play it again with the same group of people, everything would be different so I would do it in a heartbeat."