April 25, 2005 -- THE surprise ending to last week's "Survivor: Palau" — when Janu Tornell suddenly quit the competition — caught the show's producers by surprise too.
She brought the show taping to a halt when she asked to leave and started a wrangle that viewers never saw.
Janu, 39, became the fourth person in "Survivor" history to quit the competition, but she'll still help decide the winner of the $1 million prize as a member of the nine-person jury — a heated issue the tribal council cameras didn't capture.
"It wasn't to save Stephenie [LaGrossa] in the game," Tornell told the AP. "It ended up like that. At the same time, it was almost like a power play because I threw a wrench into their game."
The former Las Vegas showgirl said host Jeff Probst didn't coerce her into departing "Survivor," although it may have seemed otherwise.
Viewers didn't see Tornell's concern about whether she would be on the jury if she quit the show.
After going back and forth for several hours, Tornell said Probst asked for a break in the filming.
"The cameras stopped," said Tornell. "Tribal council got really heated. You guys didn't even get any part of that. [Probst] goes, 'This is off the record. What's going on, Janu? What are you worried about?'
"And I said, 'Basically, I don't want to lose my place in the jury. I don't know where this takes me.' "
Tornell said Probst left the tribal council area and consulted with producers. (The three players who quit "Survivor" in previous seasons departed before juries were formed.)
Probst returned and assured Tornell that she wouldn't forfeit her place on the jury by quitting.
The cameras started back up, and Tornell did just that.
"I laid down my torch. No regrets whatsoever," she said.
— Post wire services