Still not over Peacock’s The Traitors? Us either — and Arie Luyendyk Jr. is breaking down his relationships with his costars and the game’s twists and turns exclusively with Us Weekly.
“It’s so authentic — how the game is played and that is what I think makes it so amazing because even when you’re doing the interviews and you’re talking about, let’s say other castmates or the missions, you’re never led by the producers doing the interviews,” the former Bachelor, 41, explained on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast on Thursday, February 2. “It’s completely organic and I feel like that makes it so cool because it really is all about the gameplay.”
Arie, for his part, was a faithful — part of the group trying to figure out who the traitors were — for the majority of the game. After traitor Cody Calafiore was banished, the former ABC star was recruited to join the traitors.
“I was so far through the game [at that point],” he told Us, adding that he had already “done all the legwork” getting the cast to trust him so he wasn’t sure what to do. “I did waiver a little bit because I was like, ‘If I say no, then I’m more than likely [to be murdered next], but I had the shield, so I was like I’ll probably will make it through one more murder/banishment, but I’m not going to make it to the end.’ So then I was like, ‘OK I just have to join.’”
Arie thought he was going to see Quentin Jiles and Kate Chastain when he accepted the invitation and was “shocked” when he learned Cirie Fields and Christian De La Torre were the traitors all along.
“I was like, ‘OK, this is crazy.’ I had never even suspected Christian or Cirie so I was like, ‘We’re definitely making it to the end.’ Because if I didn’t suspect them, then the people closest to me haven’t either,” he continued. “So I’m like, ‘Dang, this is gonna be great.’ And then, you know, Christian I feel like made a huge error the next day and then it was just kind of like, ‘Shoot, should we banish Christian?’ … If he would’ve just kept it cool, I feel like Christian and I probably could have made it to the end and figured out how to either win with Cirie or at least get Cirie out or something. I think that would’ve been the way to go. But that’s how the cards fell.”
After Christian was banished, Arie believes Cirie wanted to secure alone time with Quentin and Andie Vanacore during the final mission.
“For me when it all kind of went sideways was the last mission. We flew in the helicopter and just speaking with Cirie, we had to do a swim test to see if we were capable of completing the last mission. On our down day, we all did a swim test and Cirie was like, ‘Yeah, I can’t really swim. You know, I can swim, but I’m not gonna be the best at swimming.’ And she knew that Quentin couldn’t swim, so I feel like her gameplay was to make sure that she was with Quentin and Andie in the end,” he explained. “So when we split up on that last mission, that was kind of a pivotal moment. I was with Kate all day and then we went to banishment and Kate got banished. So I lost whatever leverage I had because she was gone. And then I also hadn’t spent the whole day with the other two contestants. Essentially [Cirie] had been in their ear all day. So I was like, ‘Oh, this is bad.’”
When it was down to the final four, Cirie exposed Arie as a traitor.
“She made it not about who was a faithful or who was a traitor, she made it about who needed the money more and that changed the game,” Arie told Us. “It changed it from a game to like, ‘OK, we’re talking about money.’ That’s what it became about. Which, honestly, I didn’t like. It was very risky of her to do what she did because I could have blew up the entire game at the end and just threw her under the bus. But I just felt like, ‘OK, I want to respect the game.’”
Before he walked away, Arie told Us that he dropped three clues for Quentin and Andie to question Cirie — but they didn’t take the bait.
“At heart, [I felt like] I was still a faithful because I’d been a faithful for so long that I was like, ‘Dang, I’ve trusted you. I’ve never double-crossed you. I’ve never double-crossed anyone in the entire game.’ And then she did that to me and I was like, ‘Yes, you do need the money more than me, but you know what, I bet you Andie could use the money and Quentin could use the money too,’” he said. “[My first clue was] I didn’t say congratulations, I said ‘good luck’ on my goodbye. [My second clue was] I only hugged Quentin and Andie and I did not hug Cirie. And then I also said that I was recruited very late, which kind of tipped [them off], like, ‘Hey, there could be somebody left.’”
In the end, Cirie took home the $250,000 prize all to herself.
For more from Arie, listen to Us’ “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast and/or keep scrolling: