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Season 15: Episode 11 - Musician Takes His Final Bow: Erik Voted Out
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

On night 33, the votes are read and Erik Huffman, the 26-year-old musician from Nashville, Tennessee, is voted out of the game four votes to two. After Peih-Gee and Erik attempt to sway Denise to vote against Todd, Erik's life in the game rests solely on her decision. When Denise stays true to her original alliance and casts her deciding vote, Erik's torch is extinguished.

Upon leaving Tribal Council, Erik gives his final words: "I wanted to go all the way to the top in this game but unfortunately today was my day. I am really proud of myself. The five remaining contestants are going to battle it out and I am really curious to see who comes out on top."

Final Six
Returning from Tribal Council where James was blindsided, the tribe congratulates each other on their successful plot to eliminate the game's biggest threat. "I think that was the most shocking Tribal Council yet," reveals Amanda. The group ponders what James might have done if he had, in fact, played one of his Idols and returned to camp. "Could you imagine if this didn't work and he came back here? We would all be dead!" Denise says.

Peih-Gee surveys the tribe's dynamic and explains what she sees: "Seeing the original Fei Long members turn on each other absolutely gives me hope. There must be a crack in old tribal lines somewhere because Erik and I are still around. If I can get one or even two more people, we could possibly cause a tie at Tribal Council, which would be interesting. I'm not giving up until I am voted out and I love that I am still here!"

Misery Loves Company
As the tribe huddles in a cave protecting them from a torrential morning rain, Erik sings a song aptly named "Cave Dweller" in hopes of lifting spirits. Todd describes his discomfort: "I can't even describe to you how miserable I feel. I have thought of home for the past week and a half and how much I miss it. You know I am not an emotional person at all, but it kills you." Turning his thoughts back to the game, he then explains his powerful yet contentious position: "Right now, we want to get rid of Erik and Peih- Gee. That is the goal. But at the same time you can't trust anybody one hundred percent because in all reality, we all want one million dollars. It would be a very smart move on their part to get rid of me now, but I'm not going to tell that!"

Reward Challenge: Marco Polo
The tribe greets Jeff Probst at the Reward Challenge, where he explains the rules. For this challenge, they will be paired up in teams of two. Each team will be separated on opposite ends of a giant maze. They must navigate their way through the maze to find their partner and make it to the center platform. First team to make it to the center wins Reward. To make it even more interesting, they will compete blindfolded.

Jeff Probst shocks the castaways as he reveals they will be paired with their loved ones. As jaws drop and tears of joy race across the Survivors' faces, one by one they are greeted by their loved ones from home: Erik's mother, Peih-Gee's father, Courtney's father, Denise's husband, and Amanda's sister. When Todd's sister, Brandi, hugs him, she reveals tragic news from home. "My other little sister at home was pregnant and lost her baby, but it happened for a reason and she is doing okay and that is what is important," explains a weeping Todd.

They learn that they will be competing together to win a phone call from home, a boat trip out on the lake and a huge meal.

Blind Leading the Blind
The challenge begins as both the Survivors and loved ones attempt to blindly navigate their way to the center of the maze. As Amanda and her sister, Katrina, use birdcalls to help find one another, Denise calls out for her husband, Robert, who rumbles along the course. Peih-Gee and her father connect but reach a dead end, as does Todd and his sister and Erik and his Mom. Denise continues to guide her husband as he finally reaches the inner circle. As the other Survivors frantically call out for their loved ones, Denise and her husband connect and navigate the final portion of the maze to the top of the platform to win Reward.

After winning the Reward, Denise faces a difficult decision--she must select two Survivors and their loved ones to join her and her husband on the Reward. With looks of desperation from the group, Denise is pained over making her choice and ultimately selects Todd and his sister along with Amanda and her sister.

After a tearful goodbye, Courtney, Peih-Gee and Erik are sent back to camp empty-handed, while Denise, Todd and Amanda learn that after the Reward, their loved ones will spend the night at camp with the tribe.

Food, Family, and a Phone Call
Boarding a boat, Denise, Todd, and Amanda, along with their loved ones, find a banquet of food awaiting them. Pizza, chicken, and ribs are just a few of the delicacies they inhale. The excitement builds when Todd and Amanda shriek with pure joy as they spot a decadent chocolate cake.

"For [my husband] to come here, he is afraid to fly, that means a lot to me. But to come here and compete and to win a challenge together is so uplifting, I have been taken over the top," explains a sentimental Denise. Later, Denise's Sprint mobile phone rings, and she speaks to her children at home. As her daughter's tears are heard over the phone, Denise attempts to comfort her and assures her that she will be home soon. Having been able to speak with her kids, Denise feeds on the emotion of the Reward and explains, "Being able to hear their voices and having my husband with me today definitely gives me the strength to keep on going. I am going to be here to the end and grab strength from them and embrace it."

Crocodile Tears?
Meanwhile, back at camp, Erik, Courtney and Peih-Gee commiserate and discuss the events of the day. "I wonder why Denise picked Amanda? I'll be honest I am kind of pissed because I took her ass on a phat Reward," laments Peih-Gee. When Erik doubts Todd's story of his sister having a miscarriage, Courtney doesn't hesitate to give her opinion of Todd's alleged tale as she says, "Todd was going for the Oscar with his story of his sister having a convenient miscarriage. That is not like the fake Johnny Fairplay, "˜My Grandma died story'. You can almost forgive that. That is funny!"

Winners Return with Loved Ones
Amanda, Todd, and Denise arrive back at camp with their loved ones in tow, as Courtney, Peih-Gee and Erik seek solace by licking chocolate from Todd's and Amanda's fingers. Unhappy from not spending time with her father, Peih-Gee reveals, "When the loved ones showed up, we were sour pusses. We were pissed that we lost the challenge and I really didn't feel like interacting with anybody. It was really tough, especially for me, because I picked Denise to go on a once in a lifetime reward trip and she didn't pick me, and it sucks."

Like Brother, Like Sister
While swimming in the lake, Todd and Amanda celebrate having their siblings in camp. "We are just so lucky that Denise got to pick two people and she chose us," Todd exclaims. Todd, feeling insecure about his sister's miscarriage, reassures Amanda that it was not a ploy for sympathy but, in fact, a truth. "They are going to think I am lying, like I am pulling a big lie to see my sister. Hopefully everyone believes it because it wasn't a lie," explains Todd.

Trust Issues? 
Denise and her husband sit away from the tribe and enjoy time alone to discuss the game. Denise informs her husband about her position in the game and explains that she has been with Todd and Amanda from the start. "I can only hope that Amanda and Todd stay with me and we go to the final three. If they backstab me and take Courtney"¦that is one of the chances I am going to have to take," explains Denise.

Meanwhile, back in the water, Todd and Amanda conspire against Denise, as they want to take her out in the fourth spot. When asked by their siblings who they would vote out fourth, Denise or Courtney, Amanda explains, "Denise makes a hundred dollars a week. In the final three, she will play her sob story."

Tearful Goodbyes
The morning sun brings a teary-eyed goodbye. As the loved ones board the boat, Amanda, Todd and Denise wave goodbye. Denise, realizing the resentment Peih-Gee holds for her, approaches Peih-Gee in hope of reconciling. When Peih-Gee asks her why she chose Amanda instead of her for the Reward, Denise replies, "I don't know. She was feeling faint at Tribal Council. She wasn't able to talk. She has been through it really badly." Peih-Gee keeps her emotions in check and realizes that she can use Denise to her advantage: "I do feel a little better that at least she took the time to come talk to me. I might need her vote to try to convince her to vote somebody else off. Right now, I am going to concentrate on gathering up all my energy and focus on winning the challenge because I still need it. Every time since the merge, I feel like I need to win."

Immunity Challenge: Swamp Donkeys 
The tribe arrives at the Immunity Challenge, where Jeff Probst explains the rules. This challenge will test the Survivors both physically and mentally, as they race while attached to a rope that snakes through a series of obstacles. At each obstacle, they must maneuver over, under or around it to untangle the rope and continue on the course. At the end of the course are boxes. Each box contains one true statement and one false statement about Chinese history. They must choose the correct statement, grab the corresponding key, and race back to the start, where they will find a box with three locks. If they answer the question correctly, the key will unlock the box and a flag will be raised. If they are wrong, they must head back to retrieve the correct key. First Survivor to answer three questions correctly and open their locks to raise the flag wins Immunity.

The challenge begins as the Survivors trudge through the swamp, untwisting their ropes by hurtling themselves over posts. Todd and Amanda take an early lead as they arrive. Both grab their first keys and make their way back to the start. While Denise, Courtney and Erik struggle along the course, Todd and Amanda open their first lock and race back to gather the second key. When Erik finally reaches the platform with his first key, he falls even further behind as he realizes he has the wrong key. After Peih-Gee opens her first lock she, too, heads back onto the course. Todd and Amanda both head back with their second key as Todd successfully opens his lock. Amanda falls behind when her key does not work. Amanda's error gives Todd an even bigger lead. However, Peih-Gee opens her second lock and treks back into the swamp, hoping to catch Todd. After reading his final true-false statements, Todd selects his third and final key and races to the finish. Peih-Gee grabs her final key while Todd inserts his into the lock. It does not open and a dejected Todd can only hope that Peih-Gee, with her third key, has made the same error. Exhausted, Peih-Gee makes her way to the platform, opens the lock with the correct key, and raises her flag to win the much-needed Immunity necklace, keeping her safe from the vote and guaranteeing her a spot in the final five.

A Proud Victory!
The Tribe returns to camp after the Immunity Challenge, where the stress of the game moves Peih-Gee to tears: "I can't believe I won and I am still crying about it. Wow! I have been the underdog the whole time I have been here, and every Council that I am not wearing the necklace I expect to be voted out. This is one of my proudest moments I have ever had in my entire life." As she wipes the tears from her eyes, she continues, "I am safe tonight, but it has been mentally and physically exhausting."

What Will Denise Do?
Todd paces the camp, watching Amanda and Erik on the boat in the distance. He informs Denise and Courtney that he is voting for Erik. Todd explains his strategy, "It seems so obvious to me, at least, when Peih-Gee won Immunity, who else is going to go tonight? Erik. It's probably the easiest vote for me so far."

Meanwhile Erik, knowing he is on the chopping block, attempts to sway Amanda's vote against Todd as he questions the truth of his sister's miscarriage story. Amanda agrees with Erik that Todd may have used that story for sympathy. Still, a frustrated Erik states, "The hard part for me is that nobody here trusts Todd. It irks me because I have thrown his name out there and, okay, if you don't trust him then what's the deal? I feel like I have to fight, but I feel like I don't know what to do."

After Erik confirms with Peih-Gee that they are both voting against Todd, Erik and Peih-Gee approach Denise with one last plan in hopes of swaying her vote against Todd. "Honestly I think Todd wants to go to the final three with Amanda and Courtney," Peih-Gee tells Denise. As Denise listens intently, Peih-Gee summarizes: "If she votes Erik out now, it's highly likely that she will end up in fourth place. If she tries to force a tie and Todd gets voted out tonight, suddenly her chances of getting to the top three are much better."

As Erik and Peih-Gee pressure Denise, Todd sits nervously, hoping Denise won't flip on him. With the vote looming and a storm fast approaching, Denise faces her biggest decision of the game. "This Tribal Council is definitely a turning point in the game. If I do switch and go with [Erik and Peih-Gee], are my chances better? Probably, but am I going to win against either one of those two? I don't know. Right now, it's a fifty-fifty split."

After Todd attempts to convince Denise to stay on his side, she contemplates her final decision; "I am definitely the swing vote tonight. For me, personally, this is do or die. When I get up there I don't know who I am going to pick."

Tribal Council
At Tribal Council, Peih-Gee and Erik continue their attempt to sway Denise's vote. "If you want to look at it as us being two against four, one person is at the very bottom and I don't see why they wouldn't make that leap and be like, "˜I don't want to be fourth, I want to be first,'" explains Peih-Gee.

Despite Erik and Peih-Gee's plea, Denise stays true to her alliance and is the deciding vote that sends Erik packing. Erik becomes the eleventh person voted out of SURVIVOR: CHINA and the fifth member of the Jury.4