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Michelle Chokes On Challenge

Michelle Tesauro, the New Jersey college student booted out of "Survivor:Pearl Islands" Thursday, found it easier to down concoctions of raw shellfish than to swallow her pride.

The tribe strategy was to have Michelle, who seemed to have no problem downing gross food, feign squeamishness so that the other tribe would choose her for a second turn. Instead, she downed her raw fish cocktail in one or two smooth gulps, leading the other tribe to chose Sandra for seconds, a decision that cost Michelle's tribe victory.

"It's more easily said than done," Michelle told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen of eating gross food slowly. " It's nothing you want to take your time doing. If I had taken my time…

"The thing is, if I had thrown it up, I would have had to drink my throw-up, too, so my whole motto is get it over with. I knew I could get it done, but not slow like that."

Still, Michelle does not think that was the reason her tribe mates voted her out of the reality TV game.

"I think my game was spent after Burton left, " she said. "And it was a matter of convincing everybody else that I was on their side, when I had no intention of ever being on their side."

Though Michelle cast her vote against Shawn, she knew that the rest of the tribe was not going to support her and that she would be voted out.

"Everybody knew it. I knew it. Everybody knew that I knew, so it wasn't as if it was a surprise for any of us," she said. " It was just a matter of, would anybody stand up for themselves? And everybody is talking, 'Michelle, we want you to stay. Shawn is somebody we don't want to have around in the long run' and nobody acted on it."

Early in the game Michelle had formed an alliance with Shawn and Burton, who had been voted out of the game the previous week.

"From the beginning," she said, "the people I felt more comfortable with was Shawn and Burton. They were like my brothers. They treated me with just a lot of respect and fun to be around. I'm not one to sit around and braid people's hair and give massages, so that was out of the question. I'd rather play with crabs and talk to the guys than braid somebody's greasy hair.

As for her long-standing quarrel with Christa, she said, "Christa was very rude to people at certain times, uncalled for, and it caused a lot of uneasiness around the camp altogether. I just didn't want to deal with it and I tried to stay away from her."

Looking back, she said, her tribe's decision to throw an immunity challenge was a big mistake. "But, at the time, I thought it - you know, everybody was anxious to get into the game. It was almost two weeks in and all eight of us were there and sharing the same exact food."

As a result of throwing that immunity challenge, the other tribe got to pick Rupert, to join them for three days.

"I didn't mind that," Michelle said. "It gave us a chance to see that we didn't need Rupert around and that he wasn't the glue that was holding us together. So I wasn't missing him. It was one less mouth to feed and he definitely -- you know, he ate his fair share and then some."

She said she has mixed feelings about him: "It really has turned into the Rupert show. I love him to death but, at the time, I had just had enough of him. I don't know. I'm kind of reserved on what I think I should say about Rupert right now."

A caller asked whether she had seen Jon as a threat.

"Jon actually did more than you would think that he was capable of," Michelle replied. "He did a lot of hard work. You hear him complaining and making a big, you know, hoopla every place, but, really, he's a pretty down-to-earth guy and he did a lot of stuff that contributed to the camp and made it a more bearable place to be."

And while he didn't have kind words for Michelle at the end, she said he didn't have kind words for too many people. "But the thing about Jon is that he lets you know that. It wasn't as if it was a secret," she said.

The thing that did surprise her, Michelle said, was the way that the other tribe refused to loot them of all their rice.

"I couldn't believe that," she said. "It was just - I think they were - yeah, they were expecting the merge and didn't want to mess anything up and cause any harsh feelings going into something like that. But, I mean, come on!"

Andrew exercised restraint in the name of "diplomacy" when looting Drake's camp. He chose not to appropriate all of their rice, instead taking just a portion.

Be sure to check out an exclusive chat with Michelle Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m.PT)

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