Another week, another top 10 and this week we once again bring you a different perspective from one of our newest Ozlets, Cable Brandon! There have been several memorable pre-jury booted contestants, but just which of these contestants were faced with a ‘what if’ that perhaps could’ve seen them go all the way? Obviously in a game such as Survivor there are plenty of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ moments, but fresh from the mind of Cable, here are 10 pre-jury boots that could’ve walked away as millionaires. Who do you think will make the top 10?
Recently I sat down to re-watch Exile Island for the first time since it originally aired, and I was really tuned into particular players, Aras, Danielle, Terry, Cirie and Shane. But a guy I really loved the first time around became even better on second viewing. Bobby Mason was a machine at the challenges, spoke his mind, and did basically as he pleased. Remember when he destroyed Terry in the challenge with chopping the fish heads and tails? Awesome. But unfortunately Bobby was a pre-jury boot, and what a crying shame. It got me thinking of all the players I rated highly at the start of the season who got booted early, who may have been more successful in a Ben Waterworth ‘What If?’ scenario. Some of these players had some bad luck, some may have sided with the wrong players, or maybe they were just too much of a threat. This Top 10 is of players booted pre-jury that I believe had enough Survivor qualities to have gone a lot further in the game, if not win it. This Top 10 was inspired by Bobby Mason, so it’s also dedicated to Bobby AKA ‘Bob Dawg’.
10. Marisa Calihan/Rhy – Samoa (Voted out 1st)
My most ‘controversial’ pick as Marisa was the first torch snuffed and Russell Hantz’s first victim in Samoa. I honestly believe Marisa was the strongest female of the Foa Foa tribe and had enough of the ingredients it takes to go far in a game like Survivor. Her downfall was calling out the villainous Russell. It’s hard not to imagine IF she kept quiet whether Russell would have kept her around? I think Russell knew she was a threat and was too scared to keep her around. There was a least 3-4 (Mike, Betsy, Liz) Foa Foa members that should have departed before her. If Francesca gets a second chance, why not Marisa? Oh, yes she is easy on the eye too!
9. Mikayla Wingle – South Pacific (Voted out 6th)
Mikayla was always destined to be in trouble when Brandon Hantz started voicing his concern of her being in the tribe. Instead of keeping her around for her physicality in challenges, Brandon was having massive issues being torn with his religious beliefs and lusting for her. Even though Coach was loathe to cut her throat so early, to keep Edna & Brandon by his side, Mikayla was to become a sacrificial lamb. Even though Mikayla was outside the Upolu Cult of 5 she brought so much to the table compared to Edna. The big ‘What If’ scenario is if Brandon had no sexual desires for Mikayla and she was kept around going into a merge? As if she wasn’t better than Edna, Brandon or even the winner Sophie…
8. Hunter Ellis – Marquesas (Voted out 3rd)
Hunter Ellis will go down as Boston Rob’s first ever victim in my eyes, no matter how stupid the move was. Hunter came into Marquesas as a similar type as Colby Donaldson; strong, athletic, hard working and honourable. But he was on a tribe with too many that didn’t care to work and couldn’t win challenges. His fate was sealed when he told Boston Rob he want to vote out his friend Sean Rector. Even though they needed to keep Maraamu strong, in a power play Rob turned the tables on Hunter promptly voting him out. And the Survivor Legacy of Boston Rob was born.
7. Aaron Reisberger – China (Voted out 5th)
Aaron my early pick to win China so I was rooting for him, and I was happy to see Aaron become one of the leaders of the dominant Fei Long tribe. Aaron had a tight bond with Amanda, Todd & Courtney (all finished in the finals), and was going along nicely until on Day 14, when two players on each tribe were switched. Aaron was moved to the Zhan Hu tribe, stuck in a position without the numbers. Zhan Hu members Jaime & Peih-Gee promptly concocted a plan to lose immunity so that could take out one of the games biggest threats. The plan succeeded and sadly Aaron’s throat was swiftly cut and his shot at a million dollars evaporated.
6. Bobby Mason – Panama (Voted out 5th)
Affectionately referred to as Bob Dawg, Bobby Masons time in Panama was cut too short for my liking. Bobby started off in the young men’s tribe, clearly as the most physically dominant male, then in a bizarre move producers decided to merge 4 tribes into 2, after only 1 tribal council. In a schoolyard pick, surprisingly Bobby was picked half away along. Immediately Bobby was dominant in challenges, especially when he picked up Ruth Marie and dragged her to the Casaya mat and when he chopped his way to victory over Terry’s La Mina in the fish challenge. Bob Dawg was also memorable for drinking his tribes wine with Bruce in the outhouse, and then shutting down Courtney the next morning when confronted about the missing wine. Bobby never really felt comfortable in the tribe, if you watch his lengthy exit confessional he didn’t like the spineless jokers he was playing with at Casaya (see Exile Island DVDs). Shane originally wanted to vote out Bobby, but the tribe consensus was to boot Bruce. Shane swore on his sons name to Bobby he wasn’t voting for him. Then Danielle made her power play in the game she was concerned Bobby was too much of a physical threat and likely to flip over to La Mina, so the man who loves to drop a ‘Kings Ransom’ was given his marching orders. I think its no secret that IF Casaya didn’t boot Bobby when they did, he most likely would have jumped to La Mina with Nick & Austin and gone a lot further in the game. Sad night when Bobby was gone!
5. Gretchen Cordy – Borneo (Voted out 7th)
The most accomplished outdoors survivalist of the first season, Pagong’s Gretchen Cordy was loyal, a hard worker, leader and mother figure for the MTV tribe. Gretchen was well liked and if her naive attitude towards the game didn’t hold her back, she could have easily been a winner. Gretchen’s blindside was sad, BUT great television. It showed how cut throat Survivor would come to be. If only Becky & Sundra learnt how to make fire off Gretchen!
4. Brian Corridan – Guatemala (Voted out 7th)
A student of the game, Brian had what it took to align, manipulate and deceive his way through the hardest game on earth, BUT one thing you can never predict is what producers will come up with next. So when the tribe mix up came around, he was quickly outnumbered and his days were numbered. Likeable guy and game savvy Brian was a huge threat if he made the merge.
3. Michael Bortone – Micronesia (Voted out 4th)
Mikey B, I believe was the biggest fan of the fans tribe and knew the game inside and out, his constant working the numbers, strategic mindset and his physical nature was seen as a threat to the older players of the tribe and some poor logic and stubbornness by Joel saw the demise of Mikey B. I will always feel sad for the guy as he didn’t deserve to go so early in the game. His like ability and his understanding of the game would have taken him a lot farther IF he hadn’t been on a tribe of amateurs. Definitely a player that should have been brought back!
2. Andrew Savage – Pearl Islands (Voted out 8th)
Andrew Savage was the leader of the Morgan tribe and when the team wasn’t performing removed the weakest links (Nicole, Lill & Skinny Ryan) to strengthen the tribe going forward. But Andrew was dealt a cruel blow when the woman he had previously voted out, came back into the game as Survivor’s first ever returned players twist. The argument can be made that this was one of the worst or most unfair twists the game has seen, but whatever your opinion, it made fantastic viewing. When both Morgan & Drake lost to the Outcasts tribe, Lil & Burton were back in the game and Savage’s days were sadly (and unfairly) numbered. Lil had the last laugh.
1. Jeff Varner – Australian Outback (Voted out 6th )
Jeff was a very unlucky player. He looked along with Mike Skupin the most likely from Kucha to win the title of sole survivor. But his destiny was decided by two events in the Australian Outback, one of them massive and one of them something the audience didn’t see. It’s hard to say 100% whether Kucha would have definitely beat Ogakor for the next immunity challenge, but they definitely were in the box seat to go to the merge with a numbers advantage. Prior to that challenge Skupin falls into the fire and the tribes are level at the merge. Loose lips sinks ships and Kimmi letting slip about a prior vote against Jeff decided his fate in the now defunct previous votes tie breaker. The argument he should have fought harder to stay on that pole could be made. But I really believe Varner & Skupin could have been the final two, IF Skupin didn’t inhale that smoke and fall in the fire. There is no bias here as I was a huge Colby & Ogakor fan.
Honourable mentions to;
Joel Klug (Borneo)
Silas Gaither (Africa)
Rob Mariano (Marquesas)
Jacquie Berg (Gabon)
JP Calderon (Cook Islands)
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!