Hey guys. First off I want to thank the hosts for casting me, and to all of you for making this an interesting and unpredictable season.
I am doing things differently from the other times I've been in a FTC. So I'd like to start by summarizing my game, then I will address each of you individually, and then I'll have one final plea for the jury as a whole.
My game summary:
So it's Day 1, and I am trying to see who I can align with. I immediately aligned with Jake, Marco and Nick, and had nice talks with Malik, Jared and Tara; but despite my best efforts I couldn't get a good conversation going with Alex or Sim. Nick made an alliance chat with Jake, himself and I per everyone’s agreement and that was our core 3.
After a lot of sitting around during the introvert immunity spree, we finally had to go to tribal. I devised a plan to get rid of Malik in order to spare Alex, which involved me, Tara, Marco, Nick and Alex to vote for Malik (as he was too close to Jake). Unknown to myself, Jared, Jake and Nick, the others had a 5 person alliance. The members of that 5 person alliance who were in on the Malik plan shut it down last minute and we went with the easy vote, Jared. This put the trio of Jake, Nick and I on the bottom, and at this point it was obvious to us that the 5 person alliance was a real thing.
So our next tribal council we attended was the double tribal, and I knew I needed the immunity necklace. I won the necklace, but now it was time to try to flip the game. The 5 person alliance was standing strong so an idol was the only thing that could shake things up. So I gave Jake my idol guess list since I still had to wait 3 hours to guess again, and the voting deadline was coming up. Not too long after I got a message from Jake saying that he found it. Nick, Jake and myself made a plan to play the idol on Nick and vote for Alex, since he was the clear leader of the strong 5. It was my job to make sure that the votes were going on Nick rather than Jake, and the 5 agreed. However after I told Jake we were good to go, he was hit by a train of paranoia. He insisted they were putting the votes on him and I had to convince him he was okay and to keep the idol on Nick. So the plan fell perfectly in place.
Once again we immunity spreed until the final 10. Jake's aggressive gameplay was getting him in deep trouble, and in fact it was pushing everyone away from him. The deadline was coming up and there was no clear plan, so 3 people who Jake was rubbing the wrong way that round (myself, Tara and Malik) were added to a chat by Nick. We discussed that we would exclude Jake from the vote and let him write Marco's name down, but we all said we'd vote Sim. Because Nick, Jake and I couldn't find the idol again, we had to rely on this 4 person chat; there was no other option. However the strong 4 person alliance stuck together and voted for Nick again leaving Jake and I on the bottom.
But before we could be picked off, we merged. Thus, it was Jake and I vs Marco, Sim, Malik and Tara with the 3 extroverts in between. They determined who went home. I knew that Tara was lying to me about who she was voting, whereas the other introverts made it clear it was us vs them. So I pushed for the vote to be Tara, as I could trust her the least. The extroverts came with us and Tara was voted out.
Next round it was obvious that everyone was sick of Jake's aggressive gameplay and there was no way to prevent him from going. Despite all efforts everyone still wanted him out, so he went in an unnecessarily messy vote. With this, I had lost my shield in the game and I was next in line to go home.
It was final 7 and I knew it was either win immunity or go home. What confirmed that I was next was when Thomas came to me and said to throw the immunity challenge without any real reason. This is when I knew I couldn't trust him and that he had to go next. First we had a reward challenge which I won in order to get an idol clue, then it was the immunity challenge. I was able to win the challenge which put me in the swing vote position. I was getting sugar coated messages and blatant fakeness from both sides and I was so sick of it, so I told the tribe chat basically to fuck off or I'll vote you out. Everyone magically went silent in the DM's and I could finally think to myself. Ultimately I spared Marco and voted Thomas out because had I not done so the extroverts would've had a clear final 3 path.
This left me in an awkward voting bloc of 4 introverts, but I needed Marco out next since he was the new biggest threat in town. Once again I needed immunity, and I won it. Now a big part of Sim's speech that I disagreed with was this tribal council. He said he takes credit for this vote, and that he put it together. However Blake or Aren could tell you that I already was planning on getting rid of Marco long before Sim or Malik flipped on him. I do give Sim credit for not hesitating a whole lot to get rid of Marco, however I was the one who secured half of the field's votes and had this in my agenda well before the vote. I did feel bad about this vote because I felt like I was getting close to Marco after such a rocky road of playing together, but what it came down to was "Who is the biggest threat to Kaeden's game?" and the answer was Marco.
Then it was the final 5. I failed to win the reward challenge in which the winner got every idol clue, but I did pull off another immunity win. This put me smack dab in the middle, just like the final 7. My choice came down to which duo I had a better shot at beating: Aren, a great guy loved by all, and Blake, someone who was close to Thomas and could pull in more votes; or Sim, who I felt lacked in the 3 aspects of the game (physical, social and strategic), and Malik who really just played Follow the Leader the whole time. The only thing that made me hesitant to vote against the extroverts was my friendship with Aren. We used to be very close in the community, then we stopped talking for whatever reason, however this ORG rekindled our friendship to the point where I wanted to keep him. But I was playing to win, so I voted for him.
Now it was final 4 and I was one immunity away from Final Tribal Council. But the last vote left Blake feeling extremely betrayed and he made it clear he hated me. And then it was the challenge. I managed to pull off the final win of the season and guaranteed myself a spot at this final tribal council. I tried talking to Blake about how I had nothing against him, and that I hoped he could understand why I voted against his alliance, etc. But he didn't accept my apology and that's about all that went on that vote. Blake went home 3-1, and then there were 3.
And that was my game. I played a hell of a physical game, what I thought was a great strategic game, and I even felt like my social game wasn't as horrendous as I told myself it was (rebuilding my friendship with Aren, getting closer with Marco, retaining my relationships with Jake and Nick).
Now for the individual addresses:
Nick: We stuck together through thick and thin (mostly thin though) in this game. I was 100% loyal to you and our tri-alliance, and with that loyalty we managed to persevere through the toughest of times, and almost made it to the merge together. I think that loyalty, that perseverance, and that determination to get through this together makes me worthy of your vote.
Tara: I know that you have two people here who you are closer with than myself, and if you vote based on that I can respect that. I also realize that you are upset with me for voting for you. However my pitch to you is that we had a mutual distrust for each other when it came to the merge, and we were trying to vote each other out. With that being said I do apologize if your vote came off as personal, but it wasn't at all. What I said just now was the reasoning I did vote for you and hopefully you knowing that it wasn't a personal thing helps my chances of getting your vote.
Jake: I think I deserve your vote for really the same reason as Nick. I stuck to you through the darkest and lightest of times in this game and I believe that my loyalty to you along with my overall gameplay makes me worthy of your jury vote. (also it's what Carlito would want)
Thomas: My pitch to you is unique due to the circumstances of what happened after the game. It is to my understanding that the hosts did add you to the Viewing Lounge. I have no idea how or why they did this and it was a huge blunder on their part. Now I am 100% sure you would've seen my VL about how it was a horrible game move to tell me to throw the immunity challenge, and you're probably upset with me about that. My pitch to you is coming from someone who played their heart out to another, please don't vote based off of that. I played my ass off every day in this game to earn my spot here, and if it comes down to a hosts fuckup costing me the game then I don't know how I will deal with it. I will truly be heartbroken. So I ask you- no, in fact I beg you to vote based off of gameplay and not what you saw in the viewing lounge. Please Thomas, you know how much this means.
Marco: I do believe I compared our relationship in this game to a frenemy relationship. And honestly I'd say it was similar to Adam and Jay from Millennials vs Gen X in that way. We faced off as competitors and clashed on a gameplay level throughout the game, however I still felt like we had a bond through it all. Any time you voted correctly and I didn't, we'd talk to each other like buddies and I would say "good move man". When I voted correctly and you didn't, it was the same story. Even though we were always on different sides battling it out, I still felt a friendship brewing. And I felt that it grew even stronger after I voted with you against the extroverts. So my pitch to you is that of all people here, you can best understand how bad I want this win. You can understand that I played balls to the wall every day in order to get myself where I am now. And you can understand that I fought my ass off no matter what my position was in the game. I ask that you reward my willingness to bond with the enemy, a friend or anyone in between, as well as my passion and determination to win this game, with your vote tonight.
Aren: My Papa Ethan loving friend <3 I am so glad that we finally got to play an ORG together, and especially now because it brought us back together as good friends. My pitch to you is that no matter what side I voted with, whether that be extroverts or introverts, I stayed loyal to you through it. In an extremely messy merge where people voted all over the place, I wasn't willing to backstab you or throw you under the bus to make it one step further. But when I did ultimately vote for you, it wasn't just to survive another day, it was because if I did vote for you, I had a clear path to win this game, and I hope you can see that. Love ya man and I hope I earned your vote.
Blake: I know you're mad at me, and I did make an effort to apologize to you, but you didn't accept it. I am not going to make a pitch to you, but instead I am going to apologize again for betraying you twice. I wasn't motivated to vote against you because of personal issues, I only voted for your alliance because if any of you made it to the end you would hands down win. I don't think you're a bad person, I don't dislike you as a person either, I just did what needed to be done to advance myself in this game; and I am truly sorry for not making an effort to apologize when these moves were made, and for waiting until the final 4 to do so instead. And overall I apologize for making you feel like it was personal, because I know that feeling, and it sucks, but all I can do is assure you that it was all in the game and I hold nothing against you personally. Hopefully you're still open to voting for me but I can understand if that isn't the case.
Pitch to the entire jury:
As it was mentioned in Kaoh Rong's final tribal council, the winner of a season should be determined based off of who got better and better while the game progressed, and consistently improved as a player. The 2 sitting next to me were in fantastic positions in the beginning, and held that for a while, however as the game went on they relied more and more on an outsider to vote with them to advance, relied on an outsider to control their fates in this game, and would not be here if it weren't for that outsider. And who was the outsider I am referring to? I am referring to myself. In the beginning of the game I was on the bottom, and was given no wiggle room to change that. However as the game progressed, I put myself in a better position. I consistently put myself in the swing vote position and controlled my own fate, I won 5 individual immunities when I needed them, I won 2 individual reward challenges when I needed them, I made bonds with key players when I absolutely needed to, I was at the head of some of the most pivotal votes in this season, and overall my game hit its climax at the end; whereas I feel that my opponents reached their peaks at the final 11/12, and only went downhill from there.
Putting all of this together I feel like I do deserve the title of Sole Survivor and the virtual million dollars more than either of the other finalists. I am open to any questions from you guys, and hopefully I can earn most of your votes by the time final tribal council is over. Good luck to Sim and Malik and may the best man win.