The shame games of Fox's Temptation Island
reach their steamy climax in tonight's season finale (airing 8 pm/ET), when viewers will finally learn who's making up and breaking up in balmy Belize. Unable to keep our curiosity pent-up until then, TV Guide Online gathered Mandy Lauderdale
, Ytossie Patterson
, Shannon Roghair
and Valerie Penso
at the Feb. 24 taping of the TV Guide Awards for a friendly grilling, er, chat.
Of course, by now these shady ladies (who wrapped Temptation last fall) are too well-schooled in public relations tactics to spill the outcome of their relationship dilemmas in advance. "You kind of train yourself to not talk about it," says Shannon, aka Andy Luker's wayward woman. "It's been nice having [network publicists] stand right next to you and give you the darting look if you're not supposed to go there. They're like, 'No, don't say that!'"
Fortunately, their muzzles aren't on too tight. Scandal-ridden Ytossie, for one, clearly resents being disqualified after producers learned she and beau Taheed Watson have a child. "That was a big disappointment," she says. "That caught me off guard. It made me look like an uncaring, unfit mother, and that's not what I am."
Ytossie argues she and Taheed saw no conflict of interest as parents because the show's temptations aren't any more perilous than those posed by everyday life though she does admit that as aspiring actors, they were thirsty for exposure. Still, she adds bluntly, "If you're going to screw around on national TV, it means you have nothing, really."
Valerie that's model Kaya Wittenberg's sourpuss girlfriend embraces the show's dubious logic, which aims to justify dividing couples for conquest by sexy singles. "I don't consider it cheating," she asserts. "We all gave each other the opportunity to go and be single to better the relationship in the outcome. It's relative. You just want to look at it in a good way."
Slipping off her rose-colored glasses for just a moment, Valerie admits: "It's definitely nerve-wracking. I didn't know the mind games they were going to play on us, like showing clips of [our boyfriends'] dates. That gives you a visual, something that you're going to build on in your mind and make it more than it is. That's really hard. But I think if a relationship is doomed, then it's doomed."
Flame-haired firebrand Mandy can hardly believe she's attained celebrity status for getting burned by main squeeze Billy Cleary whom she branded a "whore" in one infamous episode, which had her tearfully watching him dance provocatively for female onlookers. "Why we're getting all this attention, I don't know," she sums up candidly. "Because I bared my soul on TV? Is that worth recognition? If it is, then I'm glad I'm here."
Speaking of which, look for Mandy and the other randy islanders to present the TV Moment of the Year at the TV Guide Awards, airing March 7 on Fox (8 pm/ET).