Did Atlanta’s Desi Williams make the ‘Survivor’ top 10?

“Playing with the Devil” – Desiree Williams and Ben Driebergen on the eighth episode of SURVIVOR 35, themed Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, airing Wednesday, November 15 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen GrabCBS ©2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted Thursday, November 16, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Peachtree City resident Desiree Williams, who goes by Desi, was voted off “Survivor” Wednesday night, the eighth person eliminated out of 18.

Desi, the second-to-last minority to survive this season (Joe is Latino), was seen as a physical threat and a nice person to boot. She was also part of the Healers team, which started strong but is now being picked off one by one.

RELATED: My interview with Desi at the start of the season

She was basically a product of bad luck. Many of her allies got kicked off, leaving her exposed. She also won the first individual immunity challenge, which placed a target on her back. It didn’t help that she almost won again this past Wednesday. In fact, she really needed to win immunity given the circumstances but fell short.

Desi, a former pageant queen who has moved to Los Angeles to pursue hosting opportunities, said in an interview that she was disappointed that the producers chose not to show much of her strategizing or alliance building on air. Based on what viewers saw, she was not part of the central storytelling in any of the episodes.

She also ended up being attached, for better or worse, with fellow healer Joe, a man who irritated a lot of the tribe and in a bit of reverse psychology, became less of a target as a result. Williams noted that there is a benefit for him to stick around because there is a belief the jury will never reward him the $1 million and he would create enough ruckus for others to hide behind.

Although the race card was never pulled, she said she had heard some racist comments and she and Joe considered bringing it up at the tribal council. But in the end, they didn’t feel like it would matter.

Despite her lack of air time, Desi said she had a blast: “I wouldn’t change a thing. Reflecting back, it changed me. I’m grateful.” She said as a pageant person, she learned to create a public face. This show enabled her to be more vulnerable, as her tearful goodbye Wednesday indicated.

“I had friends who had known me for a decade say they had never seen me cry like that,” she said. “It was refreshing to be that vulnerable in a setting on national TV.”

At this point, she is rooting for Joe to survive somehow. And while she respects Chrissy and Ben for their game play, she’s not a fan of them as people.

She is the first contestant to be on the jury so she’ll still appear in each episode and will have a say on who will win the $1 million.

By the way, she voted for Lauren and not Ben because that was what she thought the Healers were going for. But she said she went off to tape some comments for the cameras and by the time she came back, they were already not allowed to talk to each other. Of course, both Dr. Mike and Cole had flipped anyway so it didn’t really matter.

ON TV
“Survivor,” 8 p.m. Wednesdays, CBS


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