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!