Idols, Idols Everywhere!


It’s Monday which means it’s Feature Article day at Survivor Oz! Today, our brand new Ozlet, Alex Morella, debuts his first article on Survivor Oz! Alex’s articles looks into the use of the Hidden Immunity Idol since it’s introduction in Guatemala. Alex discusses how Idols have become more prevalent across the years, why Idols needs to be more difficult to find and why there is no longer as much shock when they are used at Tribal Council. Don’t forget to comment your thoughts on Hidden Immunity Idol’s and Alex’s article below!

Now I love a good Hidden Immunity Idol when it’s played at Tribal Council, who wouldn’t? But I feel it’s become a bit ridiculous now…

Caramoan had a total of five Idols present throughout the game, (Reynold had two, Malcolm had two, Andrea had one), and that’s simply too much. I love the occasional use of one to change the game up and potentially spice up what would be a routine vote, but it’s destroying some of the core principles of Survivor game play. Outwitting is gradually becoming “outlucking”, reach into a tree or rock, there’s an Idol…I was always expecting Russell Hantz in Samoa to just look under his seat at Tribal and have an Idol waiting for him.

Let’s look back at Idol numbers in past seasons:
So that gives us a total of forty-three idols present in Survivor, (plus five fake Idols), with thirteen used successfully. If we remove those held onto or used for the sake of it, we are left with thirteen of twenty-eight Idols used effectively, so just under fifty percent. This of course doesn’t take into account any leverage the Idol created in determining other people’s votes, (Yul in Cook Islands, Russell in Samoa).

These numbers aren’t a concern in terms of effectiveness, having an Idol doesn’t guarantee success, but the prevalence of Idols, especially in later seasons, suggests they are needed to ensure a successful season, there is a compulsive need to hide another one, generally with an easier clue.

Whatever happened to needing three or four clues to decipher where the Idol was? It was fun seeing the tribes in China need four clues to determine the Idols were right in front of them, or watch castaways rummage through Rewards for hidden clues that needed a lot of interpretation. The producers pretty much handed Malcolm a third Idol in the Survivor Auction in Caramoan, telling him the exact location; it’s a shame after those beers he’d already bought he wasn’t quite able to remember it.


If there was ever a campaign to suggest binge drinking can cost you…this was it

The frustrating thing about this now is it leads to every single Tribal Council discussion generally involving “but what if he/she has the Idol?” which alters everything, because even the Survivor’s know how prevalent they are these days. This leads to everyone else’s favourite thing, the split vote. Ah the split vote, creating security through casting lower votes on your rivals to try and knock off an Idol…and it happens way too frequently these days. The sad thing is too, it’s been mastered now, with the Favourites, (plus Sherri), utilising this several times, which lead to us having to endure an extra two minutes of Cochran and friends rubbing in the fact someone didn’t have an Idol. As a result, there’s a distinct lack of good Idol blindsides, because everyone is seeing it coming, even when Malcolm and Eddie unveiled Idols to the horror of the majority alliance, it resulted in some great looking around, but ultimately didn’t change the game… and that’s what Idols need to do, not prolong one vote..


Idol blindsides are funny when they occur

The key question after all this is…are more Idols making the game more exciting? I see this as both a yes and no; more Idols mean more chances to save yourself and look heroic…but the more it happens the less special it seems. My personal favourite Idol plays have been the ones edited so we are unsure if the Idol has been found, (Amanda in Micronesia, Gary in Guatemala), as it just throws us off that little bit more when enjoying the uproar it causes, or the ones that clearly don’t involve split votes and give the underdogs a small chance, (Russell’s “I ain’t finished playing just yet”).


The reaction fans want when an Idol is played

To make the Idol work again, it needs to be hidden better, (Russell Hantz revolutionised this by simply reaching into rocks and tree stumps), and require several clues to get to it. This as a result leads to several people knowing small amounts of information about the Idol, so it creates uncertainty, but also suspicion. Idols should mess with player’s minds, but not to the extent where tribe members are being sacrificed every time because of this fear, it should not dictate as much of the game as it does these days. It should reward the intellect of those who can keep their mind, while bamboozling those struggling to comprehend the unforgiving elements, highlighting who the real players are in this game.

Does it mean that Idols should not be re-hidden? If you’ve used your lifeline it’s rough to suggest you should be able to keep scraping by, but at the same time, when we look at plays by Russell and Parvati we enjoy the sheer shock of it. Simply making the clues that much harder can prolong the search by a few episodes and reduce the numbers, although with Redemption Island back in play for Blood vs. Water, the impact of the Idol is likely to be slightly less if history is to be suggested.

I like Idols, and I love them played well, it just seems a bit too easy to find them and a bit to easy to get around them for the majority. I want to see the genuine surprise Idol return and turn the game on its head!








Do you agree or disagree with Alex? Leave your thoughts by commenting below!

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2 Comments on Idols, Idols Everywhere!

  1. I liked the way it was done when Exile was in play – you could only find the idol on Exile, and even then it required three or four clues to find (with you having to find each clue in succession)!

  2. The chart forgot James Clement being voted out with 2 idols in China.

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