One Innocent Comment Could Have Blown Up Andy’s Second Chance At Survivor

Kicking off Australian Survivor: Blood V Water with a beautiful blindside, ultra fan Andy Meldrum’s torch was snuffed before he even had a chance to play the game.

First appearing during 2019’s Champions V Contenders, Andy definitely made a name for himself as a superfan, which a lot of his fellow competitors saw as a threat. Heading back into the game for a second chance, he knew he needed to switch things up.

“I had a really good couple of chats with Nick Iadanza prior to going out,” Andy told 10 play, “one of the things he said to me was look, Australian Survivor players are terrified of superfans, they look at superfans and think oh my god they know what’s going to happen and I don’t.

“He said that was something he struggled with in the game, he said if you can kind of keep it a little bit under wraps that’ll probably help your game so I thought okay, maybe there are people who didn’t see Season 4.”

Andy’s efforts to keep his superfan status under wraps was almost immediately blown up when the cast gathered on the mats for the very first time.

“Literally the first thing JLP says is, ‘Andy you’re maybe the biggest fan to ever play this game!’ And my sister nudged me in the ribs and said ‘see ya’," Andy said, laughing.

For Andy, coming back into the game of Survivor wasn’t an easy decision but he had made a promise several years earlier to his sister, Kate, who was the person who originally encouraged him to apply for Season 4.

“She said if they ever do a Blood V Water season and I got the opportunity I’d have to say yes and take her,” Andy said, laughing. “It had been a running joke between the two of us for a while. Remarkably enough the call came along and I groaned and thought, do I really want to put myself through this again? Then I thought well, a promise is a promise.

Though castaways applied in pairs of loved ones, they were almost immediately separated into two tribes which sent shockwaves down the mats. Kate, especially, was worried about not being able to play alongside Andy as she hoped to be his secret weapon in the social side of the game.

“We’re big fans of the US seasons and we knew that couples had been separated in those seasons… we suspected that would be the case here in Australia and obviously that’s the way it played out,” Andy admitted.

“I think had we been together it may have helped my game, but maybe hurt her game.

“I haven’t really talked about this publicly much, I have mild Asperger's syndrome which, nowadays is called autism spectrum disorder,” Andy continued, “it’s high-functioning in that it doesn’t really affect me in day-to-day life but in certain situations, like being with a group of strangers and having to be very social… that’s kind of a challenging situation for me.

“Having someone who knew me well probably would have helped me feel more comfortable but, also I think it might have been something that she could have talked to other tribe mates about and said, oh if Andy’s doing this don’t worry it’s just that he can come across a bit funny, if he’s not making eye contact or seeming a bit aloof or whatever… it’s just him.”

Ahead of the first Immunity Challenge, one of Andy’s tribe mates, Alex, injured his back significantly enough that he had to sit-out, and upon returning to camp he was forced to lay down and rest, unable to move around.

For Andy this seemed like a straightforward vote to cast, if not to mitigate the risk of losing more than one player soon after the first vote.

“The last thing you want to do early on, when you need to win these challenges that are very strength-based, is potentially vote someone out and then lose another player the next day through a medical situation,” he explained.

“Alex is a great guy and I don’t think he would have been anyone’s first choice to vote out had the injury not happened,” he continued saying that though we saw Alex limping to the challenge he had to be carried on the backs of other players.

“We were really worried that he would potentially have to be removed from the game, either medical would say you can’t stay out here or he might quit because he was in so much pain.”

But Alex stuck it out, and his injury was the perfect cover for a blindside. As soon as Jonathan pulled out a second vote with Andy’s name written on it, he knew what was about to happen.

“I was thinking, would it be silly if I just stood up now and grabbed my bag? I’ve seen a lot of vote orders over the years and I definitely knew my time was up,” he said, laughing. Despite being the first boot, Andy had zero regrets with how he played for a second time.

“I try not to have regrets in life, and in Survivor in general. I had a very relaxed approach going into this game because it was so much about giving my sis the opportunity.

“I knew I’d have a bit of a reputation because of the way my character came across in Season 4, and I knew that could make me an early target, so I was pretty well-prepared for that as a possibility,” Andy said.

And while his torch may have been snuffed early in the game, knowing that Kate was still in the thick of it made him feel somewhat like his time hadn’t been finished just yet.

“On some level you feel like you’re still out there playing the game. It might not be the same for all of the couples out there but Kate and I are super close… we were really playing as one team.”