"Survivor: Nicaragua" Winner Crowned

Boston Rob acknowledged that his alliance on the show was almost cult-like. "I kept a lot of it to myself," he said.

Rob explained he formed a bond with the strange Phillip and the young Natalie. The show identified Phillip as a "former federal agent?" with a question mark.

The twist of Redemption Island jazzed up this edition of "Survivor." Ejected players went there to fight for a chance to re-enter the game. The final duel on Redemption Island matched four people, including Matt, the sentimental favorite for his ability to endure. The competitors had to balance a vase, but Matt was out after surviving 10 duels on Redemption Island.
Andrea, described as "a tough farm girl," won that challenge. She made an uncomfortable re-entry into the game, and her goal was to outwit Rob. He strutted through the finale with his usual boastful style about playing the game so often.

Ashley won a pivotal challenge and voided Rob's plan to oust her.

Andrea, after a quick re-entry, was again out of the game. The final four were Boston Rob, Phillip, Natalie and Ashley. Boston Rob was determined to win "Survivor" finally, and he revealed that his wife, Amber, had encouraged him to try again.

Amber had won it all on "Survivor: All-Stars," and she was in the studio audience with their two young children when his victory was announced.

On "Survivor: Redemption Island," the final four had to race through a complicated maze and solve a puzzle. Ashley and Rob were the only contenders in the difficult contest. Rob won, ensuring he could plead his case before the jury. Rob decided that Ashley, the most formidable competitor, had to go, and she was gone.

Rob moved into the final three with professional dancer Natalie, who is only 19, and Phillip, who displayed odd behavior and wore plum-colored underwear. He burned them in the finale.

Before the jury, Natalie noted that she would be the youngest female winner in the show's history. Phillip said that his loyalty to Boston Rob had gotten him to the finale.

Rob said he was a hard worker who had formed many alliances and that he finally wanted to win for his family.

"I hope that I played the game the best in your eyes and I hope you vote for me," Rob told the jury.

When the jury finally had its say, Ashley told off Rob for "deceiving a lot of people." Matt also told off Rob for being a duplicitous person, but Rob responded that it was necessary to play his way to win the game.

Rob vowed this would be the final time he played "Survivor."

This season, "Survivor" lived in the shadow of "American Idol," which airs in the same Wednesday time slot and remains the country's most popular series. Even so, the production values on "Survivor" remain superlative. The challenges were elaborately staged. The photography and editing were first-rate.