It’s Wednesday which means it’s time for our fourth SURVIVOR OZ TOP TEN, this week from Ozlet Charles Kurz! As has been the case over 25 seasons, we’ve all watched as our favourite Survivor contestant made a fatal mistake that cost them the game, and often wondered what could’ve been had they chosen a different path. Well today we present to you ten contestants whose mistake potentially cost them one million dollars and the title of Soul Survivor! As always this top ten will cause debate, it will cause tension and it might even cause controversy. But it will have you thinking about all the big mistakes over the years that could’ve changed the landscape of an entire season and potentially even the entire show. But what mistakes make our top ten?
Note: All of the players who finished in the final 3 or 4 and lost solely because they didn’t win final individual immunity are not included on this list.
10. Ian Rosenberger – Palau
Ian did a great job of positioning himself in the final 3 in Palau. He played an outstanding social game, forming true and lasting bonds with both Katie and Tom. Ian also played a great strategic game getting his entire alliance in the endgame. Then when the final 3 came everything exploded in Ian’s face. The night before the final immunity challenge Tom found out that Ian and Katie had been planning on cutting his throat if he didn’t win the final immunity challenge. This caused a massive fight between the group where Tom challenged Ian’s friendship. The following day, Tom and Ian battled it out for individual immunity and almost a sure victory over Katie in final Tribal Council. After 8 hours of excruciating pain and exhaustion, Ian decided to give in to Tom with one condition: Tom take Katie to the final two over himself. While we don’t for sure know if Ian would have beaten Tom in FTC, we do know for sure that this is one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history.
9. Rafe Judkins – Guatemala
Rafe Judkins, a 5-8 gay Mormon surprised everyone by playing a very good strategic and physical game in Guatemala. Rafe even won 4 of the final 5 individual immunities on his way to the final three. Before the final three, Rafe did a great job in securing final two deals with both Stephanie and Danni. Rafe was in a great position to win the game, as whoever won the final immunity challenge was going to take him to the final 2. Then Rafe made a mistake that cost him the game and possibly a million dollars: after Danni won final individual immunity, Rafe decided to let her out of any obligations she had to take him to the final 2, thus allowing her to make the decision that was best for her. Being a smart player, Danni decided to take the much hated Steph to the final three and ended up crushing her in a 6-1 vote. Why Rafe played the game so hard and so well just to give it up at the very end I will never know.
8. Paschal English – Marquesas
This may be the first surprising name on the list. Paschal English is known for one thing and one thing only in Survivor history- the purple rock incident. Here’s some background on what happened. We got down to the final 4 in Marquesas with Kathy, Paschal, Neleh and Vecepia. Neleh and Paschal had been a tight nit alliance from the very beginning and Vecepia and Kathy banded together at the final four. What resulted was a tie 2-2 vote at Tribal Council. Now, here comes the interesting part. Jeff offered the contestants a chance at a revote with a warning that if they didn’t, everyone but Vecepia (the Immunity Necklace holder) was at risk of going home by chance. This was Paschal’s easy opportunity to change his vote to Neleh, which would have not only have advanced him another day in the game but also secured him a vote at Final Tribal Council if he had made it there. Instead what happened is that Paschal kept his vote of Kathy, and despite the fact that he was the only one who wasn’t voted for at Tribal Council, ended up going home when he selected the purple rock. This created the legend of the purple rock.
7. Ben “Coach” Wade – South Pacific
A three time player of Survivor, Coach played pretty horrible strategic games in both Tocantins and Heroes vs Villains. However, Coach was a changed man, focused and ready to play for real in his third attempt in the South Pacific. On Day 1 of the game Coach created a powerful five person alliance with Sophie, Brandon, Rick and Albert. Coach dominated the game and the alliance made up 5 of the final 6 with only Ozzy, returning from Redemption Island in the way of a perfect five for five. Coach was in total control of the game making every decision as to the boot order. I believe he made a crucial mistake that cost him a million dollars when he decided to take Sophie and Albert at the end. Coach was not aware of how good of a social game Sophie was playing, especially with Savaii members Dawn and Cochran. If Coach had taken two of Rick, Albert, Edna and Albert to the end with him he would be a millionaire and considered one of the better Survivor players of all time.
6. Jonathan Penner – Philippines
Jonathan Penner; a three time Survivor player, has been one of the most intelligent and entertaining players in Survivor history. He has moulded his game a lot from when he was only focused on strategy and himself in Cook Islands, to the full social side of the game in the Philippines. Penner played a fantastic back to the wall game, playing idols when he needed to and winning Individual Immunity when he had no idols left. Penner finally put himself in a position to win the game when Lisa and Skupin came to him to make a final three deal. However, knowing that he wanted to go the end with Carter and not wanting to lie to Lisa and Skupin, Penner was non-committal towards the final three. Knowing this, Skupin and Lisa ended up making a final 4 with Malcolm and Denise which left Penner on the outside looking in. He was promptly eliminated at the next Tribal Council. If Penner had accepted the deal he would be a millionaire.
5. Malcolm Freiberg – Philippines
Malcolm was the star breakout performer of Philippines and appeared out of nowhere as a true Survivor triple threat. Malcolm has the smarts, plays a great social game and is extremely good looking. Using all of these aspects and the hidden Immunity Idol he found early in the game, Malcolm cruised to the final four despite the fact that his original tribe was nearly decimated. At final five, Malcolm made a tentative deal with Skupin and Lisa to take him to final 3, which he thought covered all bases. Before the final Immunity Challenge, Denise approached Malcolm to shore up their alliance and confirm that they would be voting out Lisa, causing a 2-2 tie. Malcolm, thinking he was covered on both sides did not give Denise the confidence that she needed. This cost Malcolm the million dollars as instead of having to make a fire before the lowly Lisa, and Denise ended up banding together with Skupin and Lisa to vote out Malcolm at the final 4.
4. Russell Hantz – Samoa
Russell Hantz is perhaps the most polarizing player in Survivor history. You either really love the man or really, really hate him. I believe Russell played an amazing game in Samoa and definitely deserved to win over Natalie and Mick. That being said, Russell did make one crucial mistake. Russell did an amazing job through manipulation and Immunity Idols to get the Foa Foa 4 to the final 5. When Brett won immunity at the final five however, Russell had to decide who he wanted to take with him to the final four. He decided that he would easily beat Natalie and eliminated Jaison. What Russell didn’t realize was that Natalie had been playing a very strong social game and made friends with a lot of the Galu members. If Russell had eliminated Natalie White at the final five and went to the end with Jaison and Mick, he would have had a very good chance to win the million dollars in Samoa.
3. Kenny Hoang – Gabon
Kenny, a professional video game player came out of nowhere in Gabon. Kenny dominated the post merge game in Gabon, shifting alliances and being the main man responsible for the eliminations of Charlie, Randy and Corinne. Kenny was in a great position in the game at final 6, having played a great strategic and social game. He had strong bonds with Susie, Crystal, Bob and Sugar, but Kenny made a horrible mistake. After making a deal with Bob that would give Kenny individual immunity should Bob win at final 6, Kenny was too loud about reneging on the deal. Kenny had planned all along to cut Bob at this point which would have been a great game move. However, due to Kenny becoming overly cocky, Bob found out about this plan and instead voted out Kenny’s closest ally and Kenny in back to back Tribal Councils. If Kenny had been a little less cocky and not made this unnecessary game move, he would have had a very good chance to win the million in Gabon.
2. Erik Reichenbach – Micronesia
Erik was a doe-eyed super fan who was on the fans tribe during Survivor: Fans vs Favorites. Erik did a good job getting to the final 6 and being the last male battling against an all-female alliance. Knowing that he had to go on an Immunity run to the win the game, Erik promptly won the next two individual immunities eliminating Alexis. At the next Tribal Council, Erik made the mistake that not only cost him a million dollars but also has become known as the dumbest move in Survivor history. The girls convinced Erik that in order to redeem him from the social mistakes that he had made earlier in the game, his best move was to give individual immunity away to Natalie. Erik at the time was just naïve enough to believe that the girls had good intentions and wouldn’t vote him out. Of course their plan all along was to vote him out and they promptly did so only minutes after he put the necklace on Natalie’s neck.
1. Colby Donaldson – Australian Outback
I’ll keep this short and sweet, as Colby made one simple mistake in Australia that cost him a million dollars. After dominating the entire game both socially and physically, Colby won the final immunity challenge. He had to make a decision over the million dollars and taking Keith or taking his close friend and ally Tina, who perhaps was the only person in the game that could beat him at Final Tribal Council. In the end, Colby went with his heart over his head, picked Tina and ended up losing to her in a 4-3 vote. Had he chosen Keith he probably would have won 7-0. As honourable as this move was, Colby needed to realise that Survivor is just a game and Colby basically handed Tina the game.
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!