Every reality show has a contestant fans love to hate, and for CBS' Survivor: Panama Exile Island (tonight at 8 pm/ET), Shane Powers willingly accepts the title. As he provided a wealth of comic relief for castaways and viewers alike, the Los Angelino took Survivor fans on an emotional roller coaster as he struggled with a severe nicotine addiction and dealt with the anxiety of being away from his son. TVGuide.com sat down with Shane the day after his elimination to chat about the shocking betrayal by his "allies," the fate of his acid-wash denim shorts, and his voting strategy going into Sunday's season finale.
TVGuide.com: What's the reaction been like since your elimination episode aired?
Shane Powers: It's been positive. The [reaction] I cared most about was my son's, and we had a really nice conversation [after last week's episode]. He had a bunch of his friends over to watch, but he didn't know I was getting clipped. I think he was stunned.
TVGuide.com: Your supposed allies, Cirie and Aras, really stabbed you in the back and then twisted the knife for added effect, didn't they?
Shane: Cirie, definitely. Aras... tries not to be responsible for his behavior, which is a big reason he's probably not looked upon as an adult yet. I think that bothers him in a big way.
TVGuide.com: Cirie's game play was extremely surprising, beginning with her lobbying a few episodes back to send Courtney packing. Did you notice her drifting from the alliance at any point?
Shane: Just like you, I've been watching it, going, "My lord, this woman really worked herself into a phenomenal position." She might have been carried by Aras and me, but has definitely been working the entire time, since Day 1. She has definitely been the best social player of the game by far.
TVGuide.com: Was the relationship between you, Aras and Cirie portrayed accurately on television?
Shane: We [started out] all together, and then I put all my eggs in Cirie's basket and said, "Cirie, we're going to take out Aras at the [final] four," and she went and told Aras. Cirie gravitated toward him because he was very nurturing and understanding. I definitely will never speak to her, but I can absolutely appreciate how she [played the game].
TVGuide.com: During last week's reward challenge, you were the first to bow out of the endurance competition. How hard was it to step down, knowing that you may sacrifice precious time with your son, Boston?
Shane: When we got the tree mail that morning, it was worded in such a way that we knew family would be there. I was very not into it, because I couldn't imagine doing the challenge and not having it go my way. Knowing my son was in Panama, the possibility of my not being able to see him was a little too much to take. I was very wary about the challenge. Thank god Terry picked me [to spend time with my son].
TVGuide.com: What do you hope Boston gleans from your time on Survivor?
Shane: He can definitely look at his father on that show and go, "My dad is a crazy person. He's extremely charismatic, colorful, vivid and fun." I'm exciting to a 13-year-old kid. We're like brothers, except I get to tell him what to do. It's the most amazing scenario ever for me.
TVGuide.com: Following that reward challenge, Terry adamantly explained that he thought contestants with children or spouses present should get precedence over those with mothers there. Where did you stand during this discussion? Was there any animosity toward Terry?
Shane: I think that there was animosity on Aras' part, but Terry is a very traditional guy. I was going to get the reward in his mind because I hadn't been on any, and the story line of me and my son was so prevalent. That was what I was always talking about, and when he had the opportunity to give me that, I think he really wanted to. For whatever reason, Terry, in his throwback mind, thought wives were more important than mothers, and Aras had a hard time with it. [Aras] felt like his feelings for his mother were being marginalized, and that's when they got into it. People can think Terry is a chauvinist, but he's just a guy who is probably not well versed in dealing with anything outside of his element of suburbia.
TVGuide.com: As this season's fifth jury member, are there any specific interactions or conversations, positive or negative, that you'll take with you to Sunday's selection of the sole Survivor?
Shane: It obviously comes down to who's there. If it's Terry and Danielle, neither of them stabbed me in the back. If it's Aras and Cirie... I'd rather cut my head off than vote for one of them.
TVGuide.com: Have you thought about your final questioning?
Shane: I've definitely thought about my questioning, and you should all tune in, because what happens when I get my shot at them will be quite interesting.
TVGuide.com: Are you going to be the male Sue Hawk, by refusing to offer the contestants so much as a drink of water if they were stranded in the desert?
Shane: Sue's [commentary] was fun, but it was far too emotional to be taken seriously. Mine is pretty articulate, and it's [going to be] hard for them to get out of it, so they just have to suck it up and take it. What I do when it's time for the final two Survivors to answer to me is very barbaric, because there's nothing worse than using the truth to hurt someone. There's no way out of the truth. I can't imagine that's going to be too much fun for either of them.
TVGuide.com: Other than yourself, of course, which Survivor was voted out too soon? And who would you have liked to see go in their place?
Shane: I think Dan has an ax to grind with Terry, who conveniently figured out a way to disalign himself from Dan. Although Dan was ready to go, I feel like he got a bit of the shaft from Terry. It would have been interesting to see him come a bit further.
TVGuide.com: You provided some of the best comic relief this season, between communicating on your wooden "Blackberry" and spending time perched on your coveted "Thinking Seat." Were there any other funny moments you wish viewers would have seen?
Shane: I had a "summer house" that I bought [on the island], and no one else was allowed to go up there. The summer house consisted of a blanket, but it was up on the ridge away from everybody. During the last five to eight days of the show, I had made my bed with Cirie and Aras, and I just wanted to stay out of everyone's way. I was divorcing myself from most of the tribe, which probably was a bad thing, because I might have been able to see that Cirie and Aras were doing something with Danielle. But there was nothing I could do, because I had given them my word and I wasn't going to back out.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of humorous moments, what happened to your famous acid-wash shorts?
Shane: My shorts were very "1975 guy working on his Trans Am," and I loved 'em. I'm really bummed out that they're gone, because I didn't take anything with me to tribal council. Most people take all their stuff. They're somewhere gone [in Panama] with the "Blackberry." It's all just a myth now.
TVGuide.com: In all honesty, you are the contestant this season whom fans love to hate. Are there any misconceptions about yourself that you'd like to clear up?
Shane: I'm very comfortable with the beginning, middle and end that I had on the show. I'm sure there's a huge section of America that would never get me, and even though they may not get who I am, as a result of how I went out on the show, they can at least relate to my integrity and my keeping my word. I did everything that I could and worked hard. But if people want to hate me, they can hate me. That's their opinion and their option.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, viewers may or may not know that you've appeared in bit parts on My So-Called Life and even some creepy flick called Bloodfist VII: Manhunt. Any plans to continue your acting career now that your stock has shot up?
Shane: You are more than likely never going to see me again. I was an actor when I first got to Los Angeles, and I gave it up in 1998. I did a movie in 1993 that came out in 2002, but I haven't worked in seven years. That whole life has been over for me. If there was something that was clever and witty that I could have control over, and there was a lot of money involved, I'm definitely interested. But that's not why I went on Survivor. The casting people really spend hours figuring out why you're going on the show and [when my acting background came up], I think it intimated to people that I was some sort of a plant. I was there to win and absolutely there to play the game. There will definitely be no "Shane Powers guest-starring on The O.C." They would have to pay me a lot of money.