We knew the final vote would be close, but who could have predicted it would be THIS close? After 36 seasons, “Survivor” history was made during Wednesday’s “Ghost Island” finale when Wendell Holland and Domenick Abbate tied for the win. They both received five votes from the 10-person jury, while the third finalist Laurel Johnson received no votes. Did this mean that Wendell and Domenick got to split the $1 million prize? Not so fast!
Host Jeff Probst revealed to the castaways and viewers at home that in the event of a tie, the “Survivor” rulebook states the non-tied finalist (in this case Laurel) becomes a jury member and gets to cast the winning vote. Laurel voted for Wendell, thereby making Wendell the winner of “Survivor: Ghost Island” and Domenick the runner-up of the closest finale in 36 seasons.
Laurel joined these five players in voting for Wendell as this season’s ultimate champion: Angela Perkins, Donathan Hurley, Sebastian Noel, Kellyn Bechtold and Chelsea Townsend. Meanwhile, the five castaways who tossed their votes to Domenick were: Michael Yerger, Jenna Bowman, Desiree Afuye, Libby Vincek and Chris Noble.
Probst broke from protocol when he decided to read the initial 10 votes on the island, instead of taking them back to Los Angeles and reading them live in front of America. After the 5-5 tie was revealed, he instructed Laurel to cast her vote. Probst then held onto this 11th vote and read it live during Wednesday night’s reunion show at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA.
Domenick confessed during the reunion show that the moment he realized Laurel would be casting the tie-breaking vote, he knew he’d lost the game. Laurel and Wendell had a close social bond throughout their time on the island, which solidified at the Top 5 when Wendell gave her his hidden immunity idol for protection. Was this the move that resulted in Wendell becoming a millionaire?