WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- The winner of the 32nd season of CBS' Survivor, Michele Fitzgerald, was, to some, an unexpected contender who claimed her ability to avoid making enemies helped bring her to the top.
The finale episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong Wednesday night saw the competition's final four players Fitzgerald, Cydney Gillon, Aubry Bracco, and Tai Trang, as they attempted to outplay one another for the million-dollar prize.
Ultimately, the jury agreed to grant 24-year-old Fitzgerald the winning title. A bartender from New Jersey who was part of the "beauty" tribe alongside Trang, the winner said "it was really about getting to know people as a friendship first."
"I think I did play in the middle a lot, which is kind of a dangerous place to play, but at the same time, I wasn't really being blamed for anything," she told host Jeff Probst of her strategic social game after her win. "My name wasn't really on the chopping block that often."
During the latest season of the gritty game of wit, ability and strength, several surprises were thrown both at the competitors and the audience. The show saw three medical evacuations throughout, including finalist Cyndey Gillon suffering from heat stroke.
Early in the show, the audience watched the aftermath of a bug crawling into contestant Jennifer Lanzetti's ear, and among the more strategic angles of the game -- three idols were essentially wasted. Toward the end, producers threw in a twist by giving the winner of a special challenge the power to eliminate one of the jury members -- a first for the show.
Fitzgerald ultimately won the right to remove Neal Gottlieb, who said "I don't think you stand a chance," upon walking away.