25 Greatest players never to have won Survivor!


Our 3rd last results reveal brings you the 25 greatest Survivor players that have never won the game, as voted by you, the Survivor’s and the Survivor Oz team! And amongst the ‘usual suspects’, there are a few surprise people on the list!

25. Crystal Cox (Gabon) – 3 Votes


Crystal may have been in the news recently for the wrong reasons, but she gets enough votes to sneak into the top 25. Proving she was a strong strategic player working alongside Kenny, she made up for her ‘failures’ in the physical challenges (despite being an ‘Olympic gold medallist’) by working hard and forming alliances. Unfortunately it wouldn’t last for her enough to get her to the final tribal council, but memorable and strong enough to crack the top 25.

24. Brett Clouser (Samoa) – 3 Votes


Talk about a strong player! Brett nearly single handed destroyed the Foa Foa 4 in Samoa, and was so close to the final tribal council he could smell it! But unfortunately for him his immunity run fell just short at the final challenge, and his efforts went to waste as he went home in 4th place. However for a season that is remembered for the ‘R word’, it’s great for Brett to make the list!

23. Ian Rosenberger (Palau) – 4 Votes


A little low for Ian? A dominant force alongside Tom in Palau, Ian almost had a ‘partnership’ with the eventual winner of the game before a string of events turned him against his alliance, and in a moment of self sacrifice he allowed Tom to win the final immunity challenge and take Katie. Still good enough to crack the top 25, but possibly deserves a higher spot according to some in the know. Still, for a season that was over 5 years ago, it’s a pretty decent effort to make the list at all.

22. Danielle DiLorenzo (Panama & Heroes vs Villains) – 4 Votes

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

People may question Danielle’s inclusion in Heroes vs Villains (especially as a villain) but people tend to forget she is a runner-up in Survivor. A strong physical player who knocked off the great Terry Deitz in the final challenge, Danielle also wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. In Heroes vs Villains she was part of the dominant alliance including Parvati and Russell, who would turn on her before she could get as far as she did the first time. Sexy and smart, a welcome inclusion on this list.

21. Chelsea Meissner (One World) – 4 Votes


One of two One World contestants on the list, Chelsea was in a dominant alliance with Kim from the start and never left her side. Surprising to some that she was unable to secure a vote at the final tribal council, Chelsea all but asked the jury to vote for Kim for the win which is what many people put her third place down to. Still, for somebody on the most recent season, a decent effort to make the top 25.

20. Kathy O’Brien (Marquesas & All-Stars) – 5 Votes


Two time Kathy came so close to winning Marquesas, but just like a few of the first 8 seasons saw it would be the third placed finisher that many people assumed would be the sole Survivor. Overcoming the odds to make it as far as she did, she did enough to be invited back to All-Stars where once again she played out of her skin and made the jury again. A somewhat underrated player, Kathy sneaks into the top 20.

19. Tom ‘Big Tom’ Buchanan (Africa & All-Stars) – 5 Votes


Oh Big Tom, words cannot describe you can they? Such a character who will always remain memorable, Tom’s strategy and game play don’t necessary scream out as obvious, but both times he has played it was secured him a top 5 position. In fact for a large portion in the show’s history, he held the record for most days played in the history of Survivor which goes to show how respected he is a person and how underrated he is as a player. We can imagine him dancing and singing at this result! Welcome Big Tom!

18. Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson (One World) – 6 Votes


Another addition from the most recent season, Troyzan stamped himself on the Survivor world enough to find him at 18th on our list of best non-winners. A strong vocal player who had the cards stacked against him after the merge, he fought right until his torch was snuffed and didn’t want to leave ‘his island’. Some Survivor’s have already compared to him some all time greats, so we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of Troyzan on Survivor!

17. Kelly Wiglesworth (Borneo) – 6 Votes


The first ever runner-up in the history of the show, Kelly was favoured by many to beat Richard in the first ever season. In fact, she very nearly did, losing by only one vote. And similar to Ian, perhaps could’ve been higher had her season been more recent. But given it’s been 12 years since her time on the show and she beat the only two contestants on this list from the most recent season, she obviously is still highly regarded in Survivor history. In our chat with her, she spoke about her desire to finally return, so we say invite her back CBS!

16. Jonathan Penner (Cook Islands & Micronesia) – 7 Votes


We’re about to see Penner return for a third time on the 25th season, but in the two appearances he has made he certainly has remained memorable. Famous for flip flopping, mutineering and speaking up against Probst, Penner is a smart player who knows how to work the strategic side of things and perhaps doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. Injury ruled him out of a possible strong run in Micronesia, and many people are hoping he will come on strong on his third attempt! And we are hoping for more sarcastic remarks when it comes to Probst!

15. Jerri Manthey (Australian Outback, All-Stars & Heroes vs Villains) – 7 Votes


The first ever ‘villainess’ in the history of the show, Jerri certainly caused a storm first time out in Australia. But looking back on what she actually did, it’s child’s play compared to what the people get up today! Returning for All-Stars and then for Heroes vs Villains, Jerri pretty much doesn’t get any credit at all for any form of game play. But look at the statistics: jury in Australia, one place away from the jury in All-Stars (thanks to Lex/Rob) and 4th place in Heroes vs Villains, being the only player to actually improve on any placing from any previous season. Far more than just a former villain, Jerri thoroughly deserves a spot on this list!

N/C. Ben Waterworth (Survivor Oz Host) – 8 Votes


Firstly let’s say that in no way did Ben vote for himself. Sworn on the Russell Hantz hat. But 8 people voting for him as ‘the greatest ever player never to have won Survivor’? Well of course he is flattered, and somewhat surprised. But like we have to with any other person on this list, let’s look at the facts. He has currently played with 139 people, sucked up enough to all of them that they don’t hate him, never been voted off and had more offers for alliances than the majority of contestants get hours of airtime. Pretty startling when you put it that way! But unfortunately, we can’t classify him due to him being Australian. Yep, that’s the only reason too. Bad luck Ben!

14. Benjamin ‘Coach’ Wade (Tocantins, Heroes vs Villains & South Pacific) – 8 Votes

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian Highlands

Coach Coach Coach. What can you say? From the guy everyone was talking about in Tocantins, to the guy that everyone felt a little bit sorry for but then not anymore in Heroes vs Villains, to the guy who blew everyone away with his game play in South Pacific, Coach is one of the very few players in the history of the show to drastically change the way he played the game in order to better his position. Some people may have debated him being on the ‘sexy male list’ (we certainly didn’t) but there should be no debate at him being on this list!

13. Lex Van Den Berghe (Africa & All-Stars) – 9 Votes


No top 10 for Lex? Similar to Kathy as the bookies choice to win his original season of Africa, Lex fell just short in third place before coming back for All-Stars, making the bad call to keep Amber over Jerri and then realise Rob was only saying what he needed to say. His performance on All-Stars aside, Lex is still a very strong player who deserves to be on this list as much as his tattoos deserve to be put in an art gallery! And we mean that as a compliment!

12. Jon ‘Jonny Fairplay’ Dalton (Pearl Islands & Micronesia) – 9 Votes


Before Russell, there was Jonny Fairplay, the biggest villain in the history of the show. Mention the words ‘grandma’ and ‘Survivor’ in the same sentence and everyone knows what you are talking about, and it’s that notoriety that will always follow Jonny. But putting that aside and ignoring his game in Micronesia (really Jonny, you wanted to go ‘home’ yet knew you would just be hanging out in ‘Losers Lodge’ for 39 days?), Jonny yet again was the ‘3rd place finisher who probably should’ve won’. Will always be remembered though as being a villain, which probably isn’t fair. He still makes the top 25 all the same.

11. Yau-Man Chan (Fiji & Micronesia) – 10 Votes


Now surely this is an outrage!? Yau-Man not even making the top 10?! Well it’s happened we’re sad to say, and we’re still in shock! Underrated from the start of Fiji, Yau punched above his weight like nobody else ever had, and in making THAT deal with Dreamz, came so so close to making the final tribal council. On his return to Micronesia, he was taken out early for being a threat, somewhat of an ‘honour’ you could say, but sad for his large fan base. One of the nicest guys you will meet from the show, and very unfortunate not to crack the top 10.

10. Terry Deitz (Panama) – 13 Votes


One of four people to hold the record for most challenge wins in a single season (with Ozzy, Colby & Tom), Terry is the only one time player on that list that could almost rank him higher than them as his record remains untarnished. With seemingly the world against him after the merge, Terry kept knocking down the wins and fell agonisingly close to a final tribal council berth. If he had of been on the season after his, he would’ve made it and probably been a millionaire, but then again if the dog didn’t stop for a poo he would’ve caught the rabbit, so there is no point looking back. Deserving of a top 10, considering he also hasn’t been seen on Survivor in over 5 years; Terry not only got a lot of love from the fans but is also highly respected amongst the Survivor’s as well.

9. Stephenie LaGrossa (Palau, Guatemala & Heroes vs Villains) – 14 Votes


She may not be the most popular contestant of all time, but clearly Stephenie is respected enough to make the top 10 greatest players of all time never to have won. So loved and revered after her underdog story in Palau, everything turned against her in Guatemala, despite finishing as runner-up. Super strong as a physical player and perhaps underrated as a strategic player, Stephenie only received one vote in the final tribal council and didn’t end her second time out like she thought. Never being able to show her worth on her third outing, Stephenie may not have a huge fan base like she did in Palau, but she is still remembered as being a very strong and deserving player of the game.

8. Stephen Fishbach (Tocantins) – 15 Votes

Survivor: Gabon - Earth's Last Eden

Similar to perhaps Ian with his relationship with Tom in Palau, Stephen was tight with J.T and went one better than Ian did, ending up in the final tribal council. That was as good as it would get though for Stephen, as he wouldn’t receive a single vote from the jury. Some have called him the ‘modern day Rob C’, and it’s easy to see why. Maybe he needs to start up his own podcast within the next year to move up higher on the list?

7. Rupert Boneham (Pearl Islands, All-Stars & Heroes vs Villains) – 17 Votes


You could consider Rupert the most popular contestant of all time, based on receiving $1 million during the All-Stars season for doing nothing more than being liked. And for this fact he is often hated amongst many fans, but rightfully so he still ends up in the top 10 of greatest players never to have won. A jury member on every season he has played on, Rupert often had to face adversity to remain in the game, and even playing against returning players would still form strong enough bonds to make it far. Now it’s up to the people of Indiana to decide if he is worthy of their vote! He’ll be hoping that the 17 who voted for him on this poll live in his state!

6. Amanda Kimmel (China, Micronesia & Heroes vs Villains) – 24 Votes


Amanda, much like Stephenie, isn’t the most popular amongst fans but again, her gamplay ability is obviously enough to get her into the top 6. Before Heroes vs Villains she held the record for most days played on Survivor and holds the record for most consecutive days played. And while she wasn’t able to make the final tribal for the third time on her third attempt, she still did enough to make the jury. We’re sure if she was to ever return for a 4th time she’ll be practicing and practicing and practicing standing in front of a jury and standing up for her gameplay!

5. Colby Donaldson (Australian Outback, All-Stars & Heroes vs Villains) – 28 Votes

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

The sexiest male player of all time is far more than eye candy! His game in Australia was nearly perfect, winning 5 immunity challenges and looking most likely to win the $1 million, before THAT decision in taking Tina over Keith saw him receive $900,000 less than he would’ve liked. He returned two more times for All-Stars and Heroes vs Villains, and while many people are quick to label both occasions as ‘failures’, some also look at them as fairly decent efforts for a man who perhaps didn’t have his head in the game. One of the most successful players outside of the game, Colby may go down as the biggest ‘what if’ in the history of the show based on his move in Australia, but he still goes down as one of the greats!

4. Oscar ‘Ozzy’ Lusth (Cook Islands, Micronesia & South Pacific) – 57 Votes


So many people list Ozzy as the number one in this category, but 57 votes wasn’t even close to cracking the top 3. Highly revered amongst his fellow Survivors and arguably the best physical player to ever play the game, Ozzy often finds his social skills lacking and that is what lets him down. Narrowly missing out on winning in the Cook Islands, he would return to the jury on Micronesia before just missing the final tribal council on South Pacific. People like to call him ‘Mr.Survivor’ (or even Mowgli), and we’re sure if that poll was ever held, he would make the top 3 hands down!

3. Russell Hantz (Samoa, Heroes vs Villains & Redemption Island) – 106 Votes


With every single player in the top 3 scoring over 100 votes, Russell was unlucky not to finish higher. Some might say though that he is lucky to make the top 3 at all, given his love/hate divide within the Survivor community and fans. Still, combined together, 106 votes is an impressive feat. As is his Survivor career. A two time final tribal council player, he was always going to be an early boot if he returned for a third time and that was the case on Redemption Island. Doing pretty much everything it took to go far, Russell re-defined the word ‘villain’ when it comes to Survivor and so many players who play the game in a post-Russell world have all his evilness to base their strategy off. Unfortunately for Mr.Hantz, he once again can’t crack the top spot, maintaining his title as the ‘Eamon Sullivan of Survivor’ (American listeners Google him).

2. Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia & Heroes vs Villains) – 114 Votes


Only 8 votes ahead of Russell, Cirie is highly revered in the Survivor world and her 2nd placing is proof of that. One of only 4 three time players never to make the final tribal council (Rupert, James & Jerri being the others), Cirie could quite possibly be the most robbed contestant of all time with a final 2 twist instead of a final 3 twist happening in Micronesia when she was all set to walk away with $1 million. Similar to Russell, her reputation would catch up with her a third time round and she would be an early boot, but this still wouldn’t take away from her reputation as one of the all time greats. And according to you and the Survivor’s, she is the second greatest player never to have won the game as well as being the greatest female contestant in this category!

1. Rob Cesternino (Amazon & All-Stars) – 138 Votes

Rob C

Labelled as ‘the smartest player never to have won Survivor’ so famously by Jeff Probst after his first season in the Amazon, Rob has moved on from his time on the show close to a decade ago by becoming a bonafied radio star with his hugely popular Rob Has A Podcast show. And with his loyal and passionate fan base behind him, rockets into first place in our poll! But it’s not all about having fans who listen to his show, his gameplay speaks volumes for his position on this list as well. Another one of the ‘third place should’ve won’ club, Rob single handed dominated Amazon and despite backlash at certain points of the game from many people, still more than likely had done enough to win the game. Unfortunately on his return for All-Stars two seasons later, his reputation would be his demise as he would be one of the first to go and never get a chance to once again show off his amazing ability (and show us some of the best facial expressions during a vote out in the history of the show!). Even after all of these years, and many a subscriber later, Rob definitely is still held extremely high in the Survivor community and a deserving winner of the greatest player never to have won Survivor!

Tomorrow the second last sets of results are revealed, as we rank all 23 winners in the history of the show from worst to last!

About Survivor Oz (2110 Articles)
Australia's Only 'Survivor' Radio Show! Tuesdays from 2PM AEST www.survivoroz.com

4 Comments on 25 Greatest players never to have won Survivor!

  1. Squire Whitney // February 11, 2013 at 11:49 am // Reply

    Yay! Rob C is recognized!

  2. weak. Rob C is no way as good as some of these.

  3. kelly winkle // May 11, 2015 at 4:33 am // Reply

    I seriously think Ozzy deserves number one I think he was by far the best survivor ever.


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