“You feel horrible because you become friends with these people,” shared The Traitors Canada season one winner Mike D’Urzo as he became the last Traitor standing in Monday night’s finale.
The award-winning mentalist/magician from Toronto, ON, claimed the entire prize of $94,500 as “Faithful” Gurleen Maan (of Abbotsford, B.C., and CTV’s Farming for Love) chose to banish her ally Leroy Fontaine of Halifax, N.S.
The TV Watercooler had a chance to chat with Mike following the finale to discuss how confident he was that Gurleen was going to banish Leroy, which fellow Traitor it was the hardest to cross, and which roundtable was the most stressful for him.
Congratulations! What a blindside for Gurleen and Leroy. It was played so perfectly for you. How confident were you that Gurleen was going to vote out Leroy?
Honestly, I wasn’t confident, but it was my only option at that point in the game! I truly left it to a 50/50 chance. I left the game-winning decision in Gurleen’s hands, and luckily, I got the better side of it.
Gurleen and Leroy were so close. What was your strategy in terms of creating doubt between them?
We all watched the finale together, so I was with Gurleen and it was just hard to relieve that moment.
I knew from day one that those two were inseparable and I knew that I would have to do everything it took to put thoughts into Gurleen’s head. Leroy seemed somewhat suspicious, and throughout that whole day, I tried every trick in the book and somehow it worked!
What was it like reliving that moment with them last night? I would have left the room!
I’m not going to lie, but standing next to Gurleen in that moment, I was still a little bit nervous!
We’re friends and at the end of the day, it’s a game. It was really nice to see her again. I think we truly shared an incredible experience together.
You remained very calm when you won. Rather than celebrating, you were making sure she was okay. How badly did you feel for her in that moment?
You feel horrible because you become friends with these people. I know it’s a short amount of time that you’re together, but you truly build these bonds with people.
Although, yes, I just won the game, but it’s at the expense of someone else, and that’s what made it very, very difficult. And seeing Gurleen standing there, it’s just like, “How could I do that?”
But, you know, at the end of the day, I was chosen to be a traitor, and that’s the name of the game! I had to do what I had to do. I had to play my cards right!
She did seem impressed that you managed to pull it off and even congratulated you. I felt that was game recognizing game in that moment. What were some of the emotions from the other players when you all watched the finale together?
I think everyone’s happy with the way everything turned out. You know, obviously, there can only be a winner or a couple of winners.
So, you know, I think I played an honest game and that’s what it comes down to. I wasn’t creating lies in the manor. I was just going based on what other people were saying throughout the entire game. I never came up with new theories – that’s how I stayed under the radar.
In order to move yourself ahead, you had to turn your back on all the other Traitors!
Don’t remind me!
Who was the hardest to turn your back on? Mel B? Kuzie? Mickey?
Kuzie for sure.
Kuzie was a mastermind. She was so strategic. She was so good at what she did. I give a lot of credit to her. I probably wouldn’t be this far in the game without her. We rode that wave so well together. We were on the same page. A lot of the decisions we made were mutual.
We never argued with each other. We weren’t close [together] throughout the day. We hardly talked to each other. She had her group. I had my group. But, I think we had a good dynamic when we were together.
So Kuzie was the toughest, honestly. That was the toughest day for me.
What was it like seeing Travon again?!
Yeah, props to Travon. He was like, bang on, about everything! He’s amazing.
He was bringing all this up about me and was really playing the game. I think it was unfortunate for him because, at that point, he was always on the wrong side at the wrong time.
I think that maybe if he had just aligned himself at the right time, I think maybe his would have had a lot more say in this game when it came to the banishments. But, luckily for me, at that point, I don’t think people were trusting him.
How familiar were you with the franchise? Did you watch any of the other versions before your season?
I wasn’t familiar with the show at all. I was given a call to come on the show and then I looked it up. I watched it and fell in love with it! I thought, “Wow, what an incredible show!”
I watched the U.K. version first and then the U.S. one, and then I said to myself, “You know what? This will be an experience. Let’s do it!
It’s totally outside of my comfort zone. This is not what I do! I’m not a reality TV person. I’m a magician! I do shows for people. I make people happy. So, this was completely out of character for me.
I think you still made people pretty happy. You made some great TV! What was your favourite, between the U.K. and U.S. versions?
I love the way the U.K. version just seems so authentic. It was everyday people playing a game together.
I think the U.S. version was also great, and you still saw a lot of strategy in that one as well.
I think by watching those two, it definitely helped me out a bit. I don’t know if I played my game similarly to anyone on either of those versions. I think I was completely against the recruitment of new Traitors from the start. I only wanted to murder!
How familiar were you with some of the other Canadian television personalities on this version?
The only one I actually recognized when we got to the manor was Rick. He was the one guy that I grew up watching [on MuchMusic], but otherwise, I never really watched reality television. I’m not a big TV person, so I didn’t know who any of the others were. I think that kind of worked to my advantage.
There was so much closeness between Karine and the rest of the cast. When people got emotional at the roundtable, she was there to help them out. What was it like having a host that cared so much about you guys?
Karine was wonderful. I think she nailed it! She was so good at everything she did and all of her different looks were great. She was the perfect fit for this show.
Were you surprised by anyone who made it far? Was there anyone who you thought could have gone further?
There were so many people. When you start [a show] with 20 people, and you’re only losing a person a day to banishment, nothing really surprised me because eventually, everyone is going to get narrowed down. So, I truly felt like it kind of worked out with the way everyone was leaving the show.
Which roundtable was the most stressful for you?
The one where Kuzie got banished. That’s the one day where I thought, “This could go either way.” [Laughs] It’s either me or her. Things escalated between the two of us, and I thought maybe that would be a dead giveaway [that I was a Traitor].
And her exclamation marks!
I didn’t even see the exclamation marks until later on! Travon brought it up to me. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, but watching it back now, I’m like “Wow. Was that not a complete giveaway?”
What lie was the hardest to sell?
I think that it was just the lie of having to play like you’re a Faithfull when you’re not. You’re a Traitor and you’re trying to manipulate and direct the way this game is going to be played. You’re basically giving people the clues with every murder, every action, and everything that you say – and little things can get twisted in there!
The smallest things can lead to some not-so-good scenarios for people. So, you have to be careful about it, especially when you’re living this live that never ends. It’s just constant! You have to keep up with your lies and remember what you’ve said to other people – and then it becomes twisted in your mind!
Do you have any advice for anyone who would want to audition for the next season?
I think you have to go into this game with an open mind. Not every game is going the same. They are all going to be different.
There’s not one way to play it. If someone were to do exactly what I did now, I think they’d probably be out in the first couple of episodes.
You really have to see who you’re playing with and get to know people, and then try to read each and every single person there…and listen more.
That would be my advice!
The Traitors Canada is streaming on CTV.ca, the CTV app, and Crave.