Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Hidden Immunity Idol Plays


It’s Wednesday once more, which means it’s time for another Survivor Oz Top Ten. This week’s article comes from Ozlet Alex Koch, who counts down ten of the best uses of the Hidden Immunity Idol. Since its debut in Survivor: Guatemala, the Hidden Immunity Idol has added an extra layer of excitement and strategy to the game. It has been played in a number of ways and has led to some of the most dramatic Tribal Councils in Survivor history. But which Hidden Immunity Idol play was the best? Do you agree with Alex’s choices? Read on and leave your thoughts below!



The game of Survivor is famous for throwing its competitors for a loop at any given time. Nobody can predict when the Merge will hit, when a Tribe Switch will happen, or when a double elimination vote will take place. The game controls a vast majority of rules and options for players. The one thing that players have control over as far as the rules go, is the Hidden Immunity Idol. It offers a chance for people to have an extra wild card that can be played at any time, no matter what twists the game throws at them. Over the history of the game, there have been quite a few moments where a Hidden Immunity Idol has changed the outcome of the game. These moments are highlighted here in this week’s top ten: Top Ten Hidden Immunity Idol Plays.

10. Gary Hogeboom – Guatemala


One would think the first to do something would be a bit higher on any given Top Ten list, but this one is different. While it is impressive that Gary was able to see through Judd’s lie and look in the correct place to find the Idol, it was not impressive on how he was able to play it. The rules at the time gave him free Immunity without having to guess whether or not he received any votes. This was the only instance where something like this happened, and that’s why it falls in at number ten.

9. Tom Westman – Heroes Vs. Villains


Early on in Heroes Vs. Villains, Tom and his alliance were in deep trouble. Tom was able to get his hands on an Idol and divulge a plan to get rid of one of the game’s best players. The reason this landed so low on my list was because of how early it happened in the game, and how it didn’t benefit Tom in the long run. With no Idol to play at the next vote, Tom was promptly voted out. Imagine if Cirie were still in the game at that point. Maybe the heroes would have been smarter…

8. Malcolm Freberg & Eddie Fox – Caramoan


I know what you’re thinking: how could I possibly put this Idol play only at number eight? The answer to that is for the same reason as above. While they were able to pull off one of the most entertaining Tribal Councils of all time, it didn’t help them in the long run. Granted it kept Eddie in the game, but for the alliance itself, it only lasted for that one vote, as Malcolm and Reynold were voted out at the next two Tribal Councils. Not only that, but the majority alliance was able to spilt votes successfully and dictate who went home when.

7. Jonathan Penner – Philippines


This Idol was beautifully timed. Penner could have played the Idol at the previous Tribal Council, but it would have been all for not. While Penner’s Idol play was all to Jeff Kent’s plan, it eventually turned sour for the former baseball player. This allowed for Penner to improve three spots had he not played it. The circumstances that eventually surrounded Jonathan’s elimination led to one of the most brutal Final Tribal Council speeches from a Jury member ever.

6. Yul Kwon – Cook Islands


Fun fact: there have only been nine instances where people have been eliminated due to an Idol play. Fun fact number two: this list is a Top Ten. I needed to find an instance where someone used an Idol to benefit themselves without actually playing it. “I don’t believe you can get to the Final Four, unless you’re aligned with the person with the Idol.” This simple quote is all Yul needed to suck in Jonathan Penner and complete the overwhelming comeback featured in Cook Islands. While Yul might not have actually played his Idol, he used it in such a way that we have never seen on Survivor.

5. Amanda Kimmel – Micronesia


“But I got it!” I’ll always remember this line from Micronesia. This Hidden Immunity Idol play is one of the defining moments in Amanda’s stellar Survivor career. After blindsides had run rampant all season, Amanda was able to play the first successful Idol of season sixteen. The thing that also made this memorable was the acting job she put on to make it look like she was going home. This Idol play turned a sixth place finish into a Final Tribal Council appearance. Had she won, I would have considered putting this higher, as much of an unfair statement that is…

4. Russell Hantz – Samoa


One of the best comebacks in all of Survivor history took place in the nineteenth season in Samoa. The Foa Foa Four managed to overcome the eight to four person odds and make it (almost) to the end. One of the main reasons for this was the amazing Idol play by Russell Hantz. Sure, have your opinion of him, but if you didn’t jump out of your seat when he said, “I ain’t finished playing just yet,” then you’re not a fan of this game!

3. Yau-Man Chan


This one was a hard one to convince myself to put above Russell Hantz. Fiji is considered by many people to be a sub-par season. While this may or may not be true, one thing is for certain: nobody will ever forget the car deal episode (‘I Wanna See If I Can Make A Deal’). Dreamz was looking for a loophole in Yau’s plan, and he found one. If Yau was gone before the Final Four was upon him, Dreamz would never have to give up his Immunity Necklace. After all was said and done, Yau was able to dodge the knife coming into his back and play an Immunity Idol to eventually take him to the Final Four, where we got to witness a crying Dreamz make one of the hardest decisions anyone would ever have to make in Survivor.

2. Russell Hantz/Parvati Shallow – Heroes Vs. Villains


Russell has always been an underdog in every season he has played. Early on at the Villains’ camp, Russell and Parvati found themselves at the bottom of the pecking order. This play allowed Hantz to take control of the Villains tribe and pick off Boston Rob’s alliance one by one. If it weren’t for this play, season twenty would have turned out completely different. Heck, season twenty-two might not have happened if it weren’t for this Idol play. If it weren’t for season twenty-two, season twenty-three might not have been structured the way it was either. So why only have this as number two?

1. Parvati Shallow/Jerri Manthey/Sandra Diaz-Twine – Heroes Vs. Villains


While Russell’s Idol may have changed a lot about the early game, it was Parvati’s game shattering move that really blew everybody away. Viewers at home leapt out of their seats, the game saw a whole new Survivor first, and members of the Heroes tribe were fully exposed to their folly in the days prior. To be fair, had the Heroes been correct about the all-women’s alliance, this play still might exist, only with Russell and J.T. getting the credit for best Idol play ever, since nobody up to that point, and even since, has given an Idol to a member of the opposite tribe.


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!

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15 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Hidden Immunity Idol Plays

  1. This is surprisingly a decent list. Not to bad but not to good. It is actually the best list in a while.

  2. Amanda should be higher but apart from that, perfect list.

  3. “Imagine if Cirie were still in the game at that point. Maybe the heroes would have been smarter…”
    But, Cirie was also weak in the challenge and could cost a lot of immunity challenge to the tribe, but I am sure that she is not stupid to giving an immunity to Russel Hantz.

  4. Good list. You should do a Top 10 variations of the theme song. It would be something different for a change of pace.

  5. Ah, it seems another list went to waste because of either a Boston Rob or Russell Hantz obsession.

    Gary being #10 is depressing because that was when hidden immunity idols were perfect. You had to know when to play it at the perfect time, and nobody would be screwed over by being eliminated with a minority of the votes.

    I would have Yau-Man higher because it was truly the first suspenseful one that did have everyone jump out of their seat. If you do not have Yau-Man’s in the top two, then you are not a true Survivor fan. I do not see why it would be tough to place it above Russell Hantz’s idols. At all.

    Yul’s I would rank lower simply because of the sheer ridiculousness of the Super Duper Hidden Immunity Idol rules that they had for Cook Islands. Even Exile Island’s was less ridiculous because Terry still needed to win a challenge on day 38 to win.

  6. The Fiji Idol between the Four Horseman is memorable as well.

  7. I think Malcolm’s move on Episode 8 of the Philippines is on the same vein as with Yul’s. He didn’t actually played the idol but showing it at tribal council allowed him to leverage the power of the idol. He ended up not having to play it and it got him to Final 4. Just pointing it out there, then again big fan of Malcolm so there goes…

  8. I d’ont agree with the name ofyour top 10, it should be called “Top 10 SUCCESFULL hidden immunity idol plays”, because if only called “top 10 immunity idol plays”, it should include Alex’s play in Fiji, which was one of the most memorable play as well as a really epic failure.

  9. i would love to see Top 10 Final 2 or 3 🙂

  10. I like this list. One of the better ones in awhile. However, I think the Gary one is very underrated. He was gone, and that split vote caused chaos for the Xhakum tribe. Yes, Bobby Jon did go home in the end, but it did cause chaos at that tribal, and he was able to out judd as a little liar, and ruin his game (what a scumbag, man).
    As much as Russell is over rated, I think his move in Samoa with Kelly should have been number 1. It was the biggest power shift in the season, and it was the second tribal of many where foa foa continued that game. Parv’s move should be number 2.
    Malcolm’s move in Caramoan should be a bit higher, and I think Yul should be in another list. If Yul was on this list, why not Sash and Marty in Nicaragua and the deal.

    Pretty good list, however, personally, I would tweak it a bit.

  11. i love this list more than the triple threat thingy last week which is so bias lol. i like objective lists like this and well explained. Queen P is amazing that is all 😉 i’ll put the Samoa play by russell higher though.Overall a good read thanks!

  12. Survivor Troll // November 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm // Reply

    Damn, another number 1 for Parvislut.

    Seriously she should be a prostitute instead of a player she gets too much credit. Most of these lists are made just for her! Although I do admit, it was still a good choice and this is a good list.

    BTW those who are users of the Survivor wiki should know who I am.

  13. thegaminggeek // November 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm // Reply

    I think it’s hard to find a place for Russell’s idol play in Samoa – how many times did he use the idol successfully in that season? Is the rank for all those times, or for one particular time?

    I hate Russell, I don’t like Parvati, but I can’t disagree with number 1 and 2. Those two idol moves shifted the entire Heroes vs Villains season in a way that the others weren’t able to.

  14. Amanda’s should be higher. That is just brilliant. She actrd like she didnt found it with all of the sad faces but then, BOOM. And the facial expressions from the Jury (especially Eliza) and Alexis-Nat-Cirie-Erik were priceless

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