‘Survivor’ crowns Kenzie Petty winner of Season 46 over Charlie Davis in tight jury vote

Reality

Survivor crowned Kenzie Petty the “Sole Survivor” and winner of $1 million in a close vote over Charlie Davis during the Season 46 three-hour finale that aired Wednesday night on CBS.

Kenzie, a 29-year-old salon owner from Gibraltar, MI who currently resides in Charlotte, NC, won Survivor’s 46th season in a tight 5-3 jury vote on Night 26 of the game at the Final Tribal Council in Fiji instead of Charlie, a 26-year-old law student from Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA who currently resides in Boston, MA.

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Kenzie received votes to win from the following jury members: Maria Shrime Gonzalez, Q Burdette, Tevin Davis, Tiffany Nicole Ervin, and Venus Vafa.

Charlie received votes to win from Hunter McKnight, Liz Wilcox and Soda Thompson.

Survivor’s other Final 3 member, Ben Katzman, a 31-year-old musician from Miami, FL, received zero jury votes.

“Where I find strength is in uplifting other people. I’ve always been like that. I had to talk Q through missing his wife, and Tiff and I cried a lot. The moments I thought I was going to give up, I held it together to get all of us through. I was like, ‘We can do this!'” Kenzie shared with Survivor host Jeff Probst during the reunion show.

“[The money] is literally life-changing. I couldn’t be more proud of myself, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone around me. I couldn’t be more proud of myself, not only for how I played this game, but for who I’ve lived my life and how I’ve always continued to give back to everyone else.”

Kenzie said she “finally took a chance” on herself and competing on Survivor was “the most selfish thing” she’s ever done.

“[That] is hard for me to admit… I came out here for me,” Kenzie continued. “It’s really one of the first times in my life I have done something for me, and it’s indescribable. I’m very, very proud of myself for owning that, and I’m going to change my life!”

Liz, a 35-year-old marketing strategist from Luther, MI who currently resides in Orlando, FL, finished in fourth place after losing the firestarting challenge to Kenzie.

Maria, a 48-year-old parent coach from Dallas, TX, place fifth.

The Survivor finale began with the show’s longtime host, Jeff, gushing about an unprecedented season in which there were six straight blindsides and five players voted out with idols in their pocket, including the last four in a row. The castaways had also gone 23 days without rice.

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On Night 23, Maria told the Survivor cameras that she had made a mistake by trying to vote out Charlie, her closest ally. Her big move didn’t pan out, and so she had to do some major damage control.

Maria explained to Charlie how the other players had warned her that Charlie would win the game if they faced off against each other in the end and so they pitted her against him. Maria said she felt sick to her stomach having betrayed him like that, and she just hoped that Charlie would forgive her and want to remain her friend.

Charlie assured Maria that he still wanted to play with her, mainly because he had been secretly gunning to take her out as well. Charlie also thought Maria’s apology was totally fake because it wasn’t a surprise they had been trying to vote each other out.

Charlie realized in that moment that the other players viewed him as a big threat, and so he knew he needed to play hard and watch his back.

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On Day 24, the Final 5 castaways met Jeff for an Individual Immunity Challenge.

Each player was required to race through a series of obstacles, retrieve a rope, use that rope to drop a bridge, cross the bridge to retrieve a key, climb to the finish, unlock puzzle pieces, and then solve a puzzle that would reveal the solution to a combination lock.

The first person to find the combination would win immunity and an automatic spot in the Final 4. That person would at least be guaranteed to make fire in the final firemaking challenge.

The winner would also receive Reward in the form of a pasta dinner with dessert and wine at the Survivor sanctuary. Out of the losers, someone would be voted out at Tribal Council that night, becoming the 14th person voted out of the game and the seventh member of the jury.

Kenzie finished the puzzle first, but then she had to read it and figure out the combination lock.

Kenzie asked Liz for help, and Liz ran back to the start to retrieve a plank with holes in it. While Liz had to go through the obstacles again, Maria solved her puzzle and ran back for the plank with holes in it as well.

Kenzie and Liz’s first guess was wrong, but they got it right the second time. Kenzie therefore won immunity, and Maria appeared pretty upset and disappointed.

“It takes two to beat you. You are a badass, Maria,” Liz told Maria.

Kenzie agreed, “We had to team up to beat you. It shows how incredible of a competitor you are.”

Maria said she had exceeded her expectations on Survivor and she viewed her opponents’ teamwork against her as a compliment. Kenzie selected Ben to join her at the sanctuary since he had never seen it before and Liz is allergic to pasta.

Liz said it seemed like a “no brainer” Maria was going to the jury that night, but she acknowledged how anything can happen in this game. And while at the sanctuary, Ben and Kenzie agreed Maria was their next target.

Back at the Nuinui camp, Charlie told the Survivor cameras how Liz was clearly there to play, and then Charlie and Maria went off looking for a hidden Immunity Idol together. Maria Hoped Charlie would work with her, but they needed one more person on their side.

As a result, Maria advised Kenzie to turn on Ben because he had written her name down several days prior — intentionally and not by accident, she alleged — and that he couldn’t be trusted. Kenzie, however, flat out told Maria that she didn’t think she could beat her in the Final 3.

“Her pitching Ben is foolish. There is no way any of us are going to fall for that!” Kenzie insisted in a Survivor confessional.

Maria also preached to Charlie and Liz how taking Ben to the Final 3 was “dangerous” because he probably had tricks up his sleeve.

“Maria really got to me about Ben and the unknown. If he drops a bomb or two, it might be just enough for him to win the game. That’s terrifying!” Liz admitted. “I’ve been so focused on getting Maria out, but is that really what’s best for Liz?”

Charlie also began to question his next move because Maria had made enemies in the game while Ben had a lot of friends on the jury. Charlie also called Ben a charismatic storyteller.

“If I can pull off this move, I’m going to win this game. So tonight is a massive night. It’s do or die for me,” Maria boasted to the Survivor cameras.

At Tribal Council that night, the tribe agreed that they loved and respected Maria but she could kick their ass in the game. Kenzie and Ben announced how they had to write Maria’s name down as a result.

Charlie admitted he had somewhat of a sibling rivalry with Maria, and Liz declared how she wished Maria had played the game together sooner.

Maria, seemingly knowing her time in the game was up, told Jeff that she was going to hold her head high for her children.

Once it became time to vote, Kenzie was shown writing Maria’s name down, and so did Liz and Charlie.

Maria was then voted out of Survivor with four votes. Maria had cast her vote for Ben.

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On Maria’s way out, the tribe gave her a standing ovation, and it appeared to be hard for Charlie to watch her walk away.

“You know what? I feel amazing. I played such a good game. I’m 47 and I smoked some of these guys! It felt really good to know that, at my age and at my stage in life, I still got it!” Maria said in her final words.

That night, Liz, Kenzie, Charlie and Ben celebrated being the Final 4. Ben woke up in the middle of the night with a panic attack, but Charlie and Kenzie were there to comfort him.

On Day 25, Tree Mail arrived and informed the Final 4, “Cognitive acuity is a priority. Time management is ever higher. A perfect balance of both today may prevent you from making fire.”

The group was bracing themselves for the Final Immunity Challenge, and Charlie realized he was going to have to go to war against his best buddy Ben, with whom he had a “Dumb and Dumber” alliance.

Liz, meanwhile, was desperately hoping she wouldn’t have to make fire because she said the ligaments in her wrists are too big for her body, causing her joints to pop in and out of place.

Liz felt like she was the No. 1 threat at camp because her name had never been written down and she had four former Nami in the jury.

The castaways then met Jeff at the challenge, and he instructed each player to solve a simple Survivor logo puzzle. But there was a catch. There was going to be a timer in the former of a giant Survivor pinball table. They had to roll a ball up an inclined ramp, and while the ball was rolling back down, they could work on their puzzle.

Once the ball reached the bottom, they had to stop, grab the ball and roll it again. If they failed to grab their ball before it hit a metal track, they had to wait until the ball rolled very slowly down four horizontal rows to the very bottom before they could resume working on their puzzle.

The winner would guarantee him or herself a spot in the Final 3, and that person would be able to plead his or her case to the jury about why he or she deserved to win the $1 million grand prize and the title of “Sole Survivor.”

The winner would also have the opportunity to choose one person to join them in the Final 3, forcing the remaining two people to compete in the fire starting challenge.

Charlie let his ball hit the metal track once, and so did Liz. Kenzie and Ben, meanwhile, we’re making good progress.

Kenzie, suffering from bad ball tosses up the ramp, allowed Charlie to catch up.

Charlie then risked too much, and so he had to wait for the ball to roll down the metal track again. It was his second setback of the Survivor challenge. Liz also let her ball drop a second time.

The challenge came down to a showdown between Ben and Kenzie, and in the end, Ben — who had slept about two hours per night in 14 days and initially claimed he lacked focus — won Individual Immunity.

Jeff asked Ben how he pulled that off, and Ben explained how he channeled his inner child, thinking of a pinball machine, and so the challenge served as a form of mediation for him rather than chaos. It was a clutch win when he needed it most, and Ben preached, “if you rock out, it’s all going to work out!”

After the challenge, Ben had big decisions to make. Ben told Liz that he was very close to both Kenzie and Charlie, and that Liz had unintentionally played the hardest Survivor game out there.

Ben therefore admitted he was going to ask her to do fire that night, mainly because she had outlasted the whole Nami tribe and went without eating. But Liz reminded Ben that Nami probably didn’t like her and she was already a millionaire so she didn’t need the money.

“I’m broke. I share a space with my parents. And so to me, it just confirmed that I don’t want her in the Final 3,” Ben said.

Liz told Ben that if she made fire, she’d be the automatic last jury member because she couldn’t even hold a knife.

Ben then had to decide whom to pit against Liz in fire, and Liz cried once he walked away from her. Liz decided she wasn’t going to give up, and so she went off and practiced fire.

Ben then broke down into tears because he had to choose between his closest allies in the Survivor game.

Kenzie asked Ben to choose the person who could beat Liz and whom he wouldn’t mind a fire win being on their resume. Kenzie actually hoped to make fire because she was pretty sure that she could beat Liz, but she was also afraid of potentially cracking under pressure.

Liz also practiced just in case, and so was Charlie. Ben thought Charlie was the best at fire, but Charlie apparently didn’t want or need fire on his resume. Charlie contemplated flat out asking Ben to take him to the end, but instead, he planted a seed that Kenzie’s chances of defeating Liz in fire were really good.

Going into Tribal Council, Ben said Charlie was better at fire but Charlie had been his No. 1 since Day 1. Kenzie, for her part, had supported him emotionally through the ham and helped him to manage his anxiety and panic attacks.

On Night 25 at Tribal Council, Liz admitted to Jeff that fThe re was “the one hole” in her game and she was going to have to do it.

Ben then announced how Liz and Kenzie were going to duke it out in the Survivor fire challenge.

For the fire starting challenge, Kenzie and Liz were each given a flint and some materials, and the first person to burn through a rope hanging horizontally would win.

Liz got two sparks but they both went out, and Jeff noted how Kenzie’s approach was unique because she was focusing on the build rather than the spark. Kenzie then finally sparked a flame and she attempted to nurture it. Liz got a flame shortly after but it went out.

Liz sparked another flame but it burned out, and Kenzie ultimately burned through her rope and won the challenge.

Kenzie cried and said she felt like an underdog the entire time. She thought her game was going to end in fire since she couldn’t get fire at the start of the game, but she was so relieved and proud that wasn’t the case. Kenzie essentially labeled herself a fighter, and she told Jeff that she deserved this victory.

“This game is so much bigger than you think it is, but I am very proud of my game. It was really over for you guys. It really was,” Liz boasted in her final words, before becoming the eighth member of the jury.

“I would’ve beat all of you,” Liz added through tears, before telling the Survivor cameras in her final words, “I really think I would’ve won, but so did they, and now I’m here.”

On Day 26, the Final 3 enjoyed a morning feast. Ben explained in a Survivor confessional how his game was one of honesty built around himself and relying on his social cards.

Kenzie said her game was about adapting and she had a fake idol play and well as a hand in taking out many of the big threats this season. She also beat Liz in firemaking.

Charlie, for his part, said he played a very strategic game in which he built alliances constantly and never closed the door to anyone. Charlie said he tried to position himself where he’d be safe but also have power; however, he noted that most of his gameplay was in the shadows.

At the Final Tribal Council on Night 26, Charlie, Kenzie and Ben had to convince the eight-person jury why they had played the best Survivor game and deserved to win.

Tiffany kicked off the jury questioning by asking the players to reveal one move they had made on their own that changed the course of the game.

Ben said he had to rely on his social game after the merge and he worked with Kenzie, Charlie and Liz to take Q out. Charlie said he made sure there was a four going into six and he had used Q and Maria as shields.

Charlie shared how he had convinced people to vote out Hunter instead of Tiffany, after he had beaten Hunter for individual immunity. Hunter admitted Kenzie was the one who had actually sold him on not playing his idol that night.


Kenzie explained how post-merge, she wanted Tim Spicer to go. Kenzie said she had won immunity and then allowed Q to think that voting out Tim was his idea when she had actually orchestrated it.

Venus asked the Final 3 to share a mistake they had made that they ultimately capitalized on for their advantage in the Survivor game.

Charlie recalled being the only person to write Venus’ name down at Tribal Council and then Q patting him on the back and inviting him into the six alliance. Maria then announced she had actually been the one to invite Charlie in.

Kenzie recalled not telling Tiffany to play her idol at the Tribal when she went home. The girls acknowledged they were a bit cocky at that time but then Kenzie rebuilt relationships and joined forces with Maria, Q and Liz to take out the two biggest threats in the game at that point.

Ben then shared how he was having night terrors every night while filming Survivor.

When asked how they used a player to advance themselves in the game, Ben said he took a “chillin’ hard” approach to retrieve information, slip through the cracks, and then share knowledge with people he was working with.

Kenzie said she was working with Q when she really wanted him gone, and Charlie said he had used Tevin after the merge by pulling details out from him.

Kenzie then shared how her social game was her strategic game, and Ben admitted he was a goat at times.

Charlie, Kenzie and Ben then revealed what they planned to do with the prize money. Ben said he’d liked to support his immigrant parents and fund a music education nonprofit.

Charlie said he wanted to donate to multiple organizations and pay for law school after his Survivor stint.

And Kenzie shared how she’d invest the money into herself so she could start a family and not be doing haircuts on kids when she’s 70-years-old.

In the voting booth, Soda was shown voting for Charlie, Q was shown voting for Kenzie, and Hunter was shown voting for Charlie.


Jeff then read the final votes in the following order: Charlie, Kenzie, Charlie, Kenzie, Charlie, Kenzie, Kenzie, and Kenzie.

It was a close 5-3 vote, and Maria, who had been Charlie’s strongest bond in the game, voted for Kenzie to win along with Q, Tiffany, Tevin, and Venus.

Maria explained it was the fire in Kenzie’s eyes when making fire against Liz that swayed her vote and that Kenzie truly deserved to have this money to start her life and her family.

As a result of the Final Tribal Council and the pleas, a whopping five people had changed their vote.

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Jeff pointed out Charlie’s “despair” when the votes were read, and Charlie explained of Maria’s vote, “I’ll be honest, it was a surprise… She literally told me, ‘You better get to the end. My jury vote is going to you.’ Of course I was like, ‘Please let there be a tie.’ I thought, ‘Oh my god, my life is about to change. I could win.'”

“And then the fifth Kenzie comes through and it’s gone, but that’s Survivor,” Charlie continued.

“And listen, I’m a firm believer in this game and the jury picks the right winner. Kenzie deserves this prize and she deserves this title because the jury gave her the votes… You played an incredible game and I’m incredibly proud of you… [I’m] grateful for every single moment of it,” he concluded.

About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.

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