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‘Survivor: Ghost Island’ finale: LI’s Domenick Abbate just misses victory

After the series’ first-ever tie in 36 seasons, deciding vote and $1 million prize go to Philadelphia rival Wendell Holland Jr.

Domenick Abbate of Nesconset appears in the season

Domenick Abbate of Nesconset appears in the season finale of CBS' "Survivor: Ghost Island." Photo Credit: CBS

There were Long Island bookends Wednesday night on “Survivor: Ghost Island,” with Merrick’s Jacob Derwin having been the second one off this season and Nesconset’s Domenick Abbate making it to the final two.

“His brash style rubbed some the wrong way,” the show’s narrator said of Dom at the beginning of the episode, “but his game play has been electric.”

“It’s about who played the best game . . . it’s about owning your moves and playing your heart out out here,” said Abbate, 38, who with Wendell Holland Jr. was voted to the first tie in 36 seasons of the CBS reality show, 5 to 5, leaving it to Laurel Johnson as tiebreaker. She cast her vote on Day 39 at the Tribal Council, and host Jeff Probst real aloud her vote for furniture designer Wendell during one of the live portions of the three-hour broadcast from Los Angeles.

Earlier in the program, the episode had flashed back to Day 36, in which the final sextet had to make their way through a maze to each gather three bags of wooden puzzle pieces and complete a jigsaw puzzle. Wendell finished the task first, winning Immunity that guaranteed him a place in the top five. He shared his additional reward, a steak dinner, with Angela Perkins and Sebastian Noel — who was eliminated at Tribal Council that night, with three votes to one each for Dom and Donathan Hurley. He became the 15th person eliminated and the eighth member of the Jury.

On Day 37, the remaining five had to swim from an offshore platform, climb up a wooden structure and slide down the other side, then proceed though obstacles to two bags each that contained a surprisingly difficult four-piece pyramid puzzle. Wendell, again, won immunity — but gave it to Laurel as a reward for her loyalty. She applied it for herself, and Dom applied his own long-held Immunity Idol for himself.

Neither needed to have done so: There was one vote for Laurel and three for Donathan, who became the 16th to leave and the ninth Jury member. Back at the live show, Probst informed him that pop star Sia was so impressed with Donathan’s devotion to his family that she pledged him $10,000 to help care for them.

Then on Day 38, Domenick surged into the final three, earning Individual Immunity on a challenge in which each person had to stand on a wobbly beam and balance six balls on stands atop each other, carrying and stacking them using a forked metal stick. “Thirty-eight days of nonstop emotion,” he told Probst in a moment of exhausted vulnerability.

Dom chose Laurel to join him in the final three. That left Angela and Wendell to compete in the Fire Challenge, which Wendell won handily. Angela, the 17th eliminated, become the Jury’s 10th and final member.

“I knew three seconds after you said it was a tie that it was a wrap for me,” Dom told Probst during the live show, adding, “I think my inability to realize that I was being a little too overconfident at the end . . . was where I dropped the ball.”

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