'Cao Boi' hoofs it back to 'Survivor'
The Christiansburg contestant will appear on the reality show's finale. He may not have won, but he was still "the star of the show."
Anh-Tuan "Cao Boi" Bui -- the sixth (and most colorful) person voted off "Survivor: Cook Islands" -- will once again appear on national television when the live "Survivor" finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.
And Bui will be just a bit more colorful than the last time viewers saw him. At a send-off celebration Thursday in Christiansburg, Bui sported a full-back tattoo of the Immunity Idol -- the coveted "Survivor" prize that he tried and failed to win.
Although he's not on the nine-person jury that will select "Survivor's" $1 million winner, there's no doubt the show's host, Jeff Probst, will give Bui some attention.
Bui said Probst called him last Sunday.
"Jeff said, 'Cao Boi, doesn't matter how long you were on the show -- you were the star of the show,' " Bui said Thursday before the 13th episode of the popular reality program.
With Parvati Shallow, the 24-year-old boxer from California, being the last person voted off the island, five contestants remain in the running. For the first time in the show's history, there will be three finalists instead of two at the final tribal council. Virginia Tech graduate Adam Gentry -- who has sported a Hokies hat on the show -- still has a chance.
Bui, who also attended Tech, isn't sure Gentry should flaunt his alma mater.
"We want to tell him to take it off," he said of Gentry's headpiece. "He's embarrassing us."
But Bui isn't predicting who the winner will be.
"I don't care," he said with his characteristically glowing grin. "I've got the immunity idol." Bui said he got the new tattoo after returning from the Cook Islands where the show was filmed last spring. He paid $650 in Australian dollars for the tat.
Although he left the show early, Bui is still getting applause. People stop him all the time on the street, he said, to say "You're that guy on 'Survivor!' "
"I'm still doing radio interviews outside the area, and I've been invited to speak at the Moose state convention," he said.
Bui has become a sort of ambassador for the Loyal Order of the Moose, an international fraternity that he drew attention to on the show. During his time on the island, he wore a green Moose T-shirt in support of the organization.
When he left, he left the shirt behind.
"Yul has been wearing the shirt on the show," Bui said, speaking of Yul Kwon, the 31-year-old management consultant who still has a good shot at winning. It's Kwon who found the real immunity idol early on.
Although his appearance Sunday will be his last on "Survivor: Cook Islands," Bui is hoping it won't mark his retirement from "Survivor."
"I haven't had enough of adventure yet," he said. "If they have 'All-Stars II,' I'll be there."
Next time, however, he says he'll play the game a little differently.
"I would have people earn their trust with me. I'd fly under the radar."
Although he will receive some money for his time on the show, Bui doesn't know how much it will be. Contestants are paid on a sliding scale based on how they place in the competition. CBS does not allow disclosure of the amount.
Bui said he hopes whoever walks away as a millionaire from "Survivor: Cook Islands" won't follow in the footsteps of Richard Hatch, the first "Survivor" winner. Known as the show's "fat, naked guy" for refusing to wear clothes, Hatch was sent to a federal prison in West Virginia in August courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service.
"Whoever wins, I hope them the best," Bui said. "Be sure they pay their taxes."