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Chase Rice Dishes on ‘Survivor’ Celebrity, Strategy and Shaving

Chase Rice and Jeff Probst
Courtesy of Chase Rice

Aspiring country singer Chase Rice made national headlines this month by coming within one vote of winning the million dollar grand prize on ‘Survivor: Nicaragua.’ In addition to a fantastic runner-up cash prize, Rice got the chance to debut his new single, ‘Buzz Back’ (which you can read about and listen to right here) on the nationally televised reunion show.

Chase tells us about his new single, his upcoming EP — tentatively titled ‘Country as Me’ — and many other music-related topics in an exclusive interview, which will be available on Taste of Country on Monday, Dec. 27. In the meantime, we’ve got the lowdown on his time on ‘Survivor.’

Rice says he’s not disappointed at all with his second place finish: “I was one vote shy, but I made it interesting. There’s no reason to look back on it like that. I’m definitely appreciative of what I got out of it.”

We’ve also been wondering, particularly since Rice was once a linebacker at the University of North Carolina, if he and his fellow castmates were starstruck by the fact that former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson competed on ‘Survivor’ this year.

“I wasn’t,” Rice responds. “I think if I saw him at an airport, I’d say, ‘Wow, that’s Jimmy Johnson!’ But out there in the game, it was just, ‘Oh, I’m gonna play with Jimmy Johnson.’ I don’t know why that is.”

He does think that Johnson’s fame contributed to his early demise on the show. “The older people wanted him out quick,” he says, “because if the younger people got into a merge and could play with him, they were thinking we might be starstruck with him.”

Rice also explains why, after over 20 seasons, contestants still show up for the game, set in remote jungle locations, wearing penny loafers and clothing that generally does not protect one from the elements: “They want you to dress like you would normally. If it was up to me, I’d be wearing all North Face gear out there, but we weren’t allowed to do that.”

Then it was on to one of the biggest television mysteries of our time: How come the men all grow beards as the show goes on, but the women never get hairy legs?

“That’s a good question. Maybe they wax their legs beforehand. Maybe face hair grows faster than leg hair. I don’t know, I thought about that too,” Rice says.

So there’s no secret grooming area? “Absolutely not. It’s the most real show that’s on TV. They don’t feed us off the air. It’s 100% real.”

When we wrap up by asking Chase if he would have done anything differently, he has a very straight-ahead answer: “I would have gone and just been more myself. I was me, but I hated the lying and all that stuff. I didn’t like that. Maybe I would have just relaxed a bit. I was trying so hard to win that I got in all these different alliances — I should have just relaxed and laid low a little bit.”

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