Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

In a stunning twist at Tribal Council, Janu Tornell, the 39-year-old Vegas showgirl from Las Vegas, Nevada, laid down her torch just before the vote. Sensing that the tribe was going to vote out Stephenie LaGrossa, 25-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Janu asserted that Stephenie deserved to stay on. Claiming to have gotten what she needed out of her experience on the island, Janu announced her desire to opt out of SURVIVOR: PALAU. Shortly after her shocking decision, Janu explained, "œNo one will ever be able to take away this most unforgettable experience. No one."

As day 25 dawned on the Koror camp, the tribe was unified save for one. Feeling alienated, Janu had separated herself from her tribemates and had stopped working around camp. After overhearing Katie Gallagher, 29-year-old advertising executive from Merced, California, complain about her, Janu confronted her tribemate with harsh words. As Janu warned Gregg Carey, 28-year-old business consultant from Chicago, Illinois, "œIt's going to turn into what it's going to turn into because all you guys are going to turn on each other."

As the tribe convened for the Reward Challenge, host Jeff Probst explained that the players must form two randomly chosen teams and compete in a scaffold tower-building competition. The teams must race into the water to erect a custom tower. The first team to construct their tower, climb it, retrieve a flag and race the flag back to the beach would claim the Reward of an authentic Palauan feast.

The two groups of four were Tom's team, with Tom Westman, 41-year-old NYC firefighter from Sayville, New York, Caryn Groedel, 46-year-old civil rights attorney from Solon, Ohio, Gregg and Janu; while Ian's team consisted of Ian Rosenberger, 23-year-old dolphin trainer from Key Largo, Florida, Katie, Stephenie and Jennifer Lyon, 32-year-old nanny from Encino, California.

As the teams raced each other with the first piece of the tower, it was evident that this would be a grueling Challenge requiring great strength and endurance. Both teams had extreme difficulty setting the first piece of the tower into place. Dealegating the task worked well for Tom's team as they took the early lead. As the exhausted castaways returned to the sea with piece after piece, Tom's team held the lead and secured victory. Completely worn out, Tom, Caryn, Janu and Gregg were set to enjoy the Palauan feast.

Arriving at an important Palauan village, Tom's team enjoyed a warm welcome of flower leis, then a show of authentic tribal dance. Allowed into a sacred Palauan building, Tom, Caryn, Gregg and Janu enjoyed a feast of local food, which they ate in silence. As Caryn put it, "œThere was no talking game, strategy, planning. We left all of the game, strategy at the door."

Returning from their feast, Tom's team regaled Ian's team with tales of their feast. In a move of solidarity, Gregg unloaded some smuggled food for the losing team to enjoy. Tensions arose, however, when Janu, who had vomited after the feast, helped herself to a serving. Janu's Koror tribemates disliked her more with each passing day. What they saw as her too-dramatic disposition, laziness and weird habit of collecting things irked many of Janu's tribemates. "œShe doesn't understand the game, and she never has," complained Katie.

As Koror assembled for the Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst explained that the Survivors would be tested in the water during a rising tide. A steel cage would be set up in the water at low tide, with the castaways huddled inside under a steel tier. With the rising tide, the Survivors must fight for air, and the last player to stay under the cage would win Immunity. Raising the stakes, Jeff Probst added that the first one out would have to endure a night alone on an unknown beach.

Just as the Challenge started, Janu complained of being cold, then immediately gave up. First out, Janu would be abandoned on her own that night. The rest of the tribe stayed strong as the tide rose around them. After Caryn, Katie, Jennifer and Stephenie dropped out, the three men of Koror were left in this test of endurance.

It came down to Ian vs. Tom, as both stalwarts went head to head in this duel of mind over matter. And with his face almost submerged, Ian held out as long as could before he pushed back, then released himself from the restraints of the steel bars, allowing Tom to retain Immunity for another Tribal Council.

Being left alone on a secluded beach was not as bad as Janu thought it would be. Happy to be away from a tribe that was alienating her, Janu worked hard to build a fire. Enjoying the solitude of her landscape, Janu danced joyously under the Palauan skies. As she put it, "œEvery day brings new experiences, and right now, I am probably the happiest that I have been."

Knowing they had to vote out one member at Tribal Council, the Koror tribe was conflicted over who it would be. The tribe felt that Janu did not deserve to stay, but viewed Stephenie as a threat. With both Stephenie and Janu clearly on the chopping block, the issue simply came down to fairness vs. strategy. "œI'm just concerned about the whole eleven Tribal Councils in a row, Stephenie's still surviving. I just feel it's a story developing that we need to put an end to," Gregg worried.

In the end, Janu stunned her tribemates by laying down her torch just before the vote. Janu became the eleventh castaway to leave SURVIVOR: PALAU and will serve on the Jury that ultimately decides who will hold the title of Sole Survivor.