Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Unlikely Winners


Survivor Oz Top Ten is back for yet another week! In its history, not counting the winner of its latest season, Cagayan, Survivor has seen a total of twenty-six different winners (including two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine). Of these winners, some could be predicted a mile away (e.g. Tom Westman, Boston Rob, Kim Spradlin), while others proved to be much less expected. Today, Ozlet Clay Shirley counts down ten of the most unlikely winners of Survivor – those whose victory we just didn’t see coming. Do you agree with his choices? Read on and tell us your thoughts in the comments box below!

10. Tina Wesson – The Australian Outback


The only person not heard from the Australian Outback premiere, Tina Wesson’s win seemed unlikely mainly due to her editing for a large part of the season. Unlike Hatch who was front and centre from Day One, Tina was slowly revealed, gaining momentum from episode to episode and playing a much more subtle game than her predecessor. Add in the fact that Tina’s core alliance mate was all around super star Colby Donaldson and Tina’s winning chances looked pretty slim.

9. Bob Crowley – Gabon


In the world of Survivor, being upwards in age is almost never a good thing. Older contestants are often seen as weaker tribe members or sometimes excluded simply due to lack of common ground with typically younger tribes. At 57 years old, Bob Crowley proved that notion wrong by becoming the oldest winner in Survivor history. After an unwieldy and unpredictable game, Bob found himself in one of the most unlikely Final Three ever, joined by Sugar and Susie, taking home a disappointingly narrow victory.

8. Natalie White – Samoa


The least visible winner in the history of the show, Natalie White pulled arguably the biggest upset in Survivor history by defeating Russell Hantz in Survivor: Samoa. Much like Amber before her, Natalie attached herself to a far more aggressive player that took the brunt of the damage, allowing her to reap bitter Jury votes. In a season that focused so heavily on Russell, it seemed wildly unlikely that anyone else would take the victory, making Natalie’s win a true shock.

7. Jud “Fabio” Birza – Nicaragua


Portrayed from the very start of Nicaragua as a clumsy goofball, the idea of Fabio winning wasn’t really even on the table. While players like Sash and Brenda were wheeling and dealing, Fabio seemed to sit on the sidelines, simply having a good time. Before anyone knew it, Fabio was in the Final Six and then winning Immunities all the way to the Final Three. Next to the wishy washy Chase and sleazy Sash, the adorable lunkhead pulled off a win that still has fans grumbling.

6. Parvati Shallow – Micronesia


When Parvati returned in Fans vs. Favorites, it left more than a few people scratching their heads. The season featured two of her former castaways from Survivor: Cook Islands in Jonathan Penner and Ozzy Lusth; two returnees who made sense and had left an impression. But Parvati? As it turned out, Parvati had learned a thing or two and soon she was an intricate part of the infamous Black Widow Alliance, cutting down one player after another until all that remained was her and the Final Tribal disaster that is Amanda Kimmel. Parvati not only surprised everyone by achieving a victory, but by achieving one so well deserved.

5. Vecepia Towery – Marquesas


Had we been watching Survivor: Marquesas today, Vecepia’s win might not seem like such a shock. She was smart, well spoken, well liked, and manoeuvred her way through more than one sticky situation unscathed. At the time, however, big personalities and preening gamers overtook the spotlight and Vecepia slid into the background, going largely unnoticed to most viewers despite receiving much more screen time than many seem to remember. In fact, I believe if Vecepia were a modern day player, she would be a favorite to win, but silent gameplay wasn’t noticed quite like it is now, making Vecepia’s win a real surprise at the time.

4. Amber Brkich – All-Stars


The biggest “What is she doing here?” of Survivor: All Stars, Amber looked to be the absolute least likely to win in a season full of master strategists and revenge hungry cut throats. As it so happened, most of those players eliminated each other, making way for Amber and Rob to climb to the top of the bloody heap. While most of the credit for Amber’s win usually falls on Boston Rob, Amber did play a good game that deserves a little more credit than it gets. A little.

3. Chris Daugherty – Vanuatu


Perhaps no winner has ever had a singularly worse performance in the first challenge of the game. After completely blowing a balance beam portion of the first challenge, Chris Daugherty looked to be the first to go. Daugherty survived the vote, however, and went on to power through the game, ending up as the last man standing in a group of women. Taking out one after the other in one of the greatest displays of Survivor strategy the show has ever seen, Chris found himself sitting in the Final Two, delivering an incredible Final Tribal performance that scored him the win.

2. Sandra Diaz-Twine – Heroes Vs. Villains


Sandra entered into Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains alongside some of the very best players, in a game that had evolved in a big way since she played in the Pearl Islands thirteen seasons previously. A big personality amongst even bigger personalities, Sandra’s laid back strategy worked for her just as well as it did the first time, letting others battle it out while she bided her time. If Sandra hadn’t been considered a threat the first time around, she was considered even less of a threat this time, being a previous winner. Who would vote for her? Enough, as it turned out and Sandra pulled off what most had thought impossible. She had won Survivor twice.

1. Richard Hatch – Borneo


When producers put together the first ever Survivor, there were a lot of unknowns. One thing they thought they were sure of, however, was that Richard Hatch would be the first person voted off. At first, it seemed that would indeed be the case, as Hatch immediately butted heads with tribe mates and made absolutely no effort to keep his arrogance in check. Yet the game progressed and Hatch was still around, not only surviving the game but inventing it. That the fat naked gay man would go on to be the winner of the show was something nobody could have predicted, setting precedent from the very start that anybody could win.


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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16 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Unlikely Winners

  1. Where’s Denise? She survived every tribal council despite being on two extremely weak tribes? Sophie was pretty surprising too.

  2. Good list. I like that Natalie isn’t #1, it would’ve been too easy

    • I would put Jenna Morasca on the list, possibly replacing Tina. Jenna was an underdog pre-game and even going into the final four she probably needed to win the last two immunities to make it to the end.

      Not to say she didn’t play a great game, but she was certainly an unlikely winner.

  3. All the people are good, except for the fact I haven’t watched Marqueas, All-Stars, and Australia. Have watched most of the other seasons and my list would be:

    (1. Chris – Vanuatu (1 guy, 6 girls, guy wins, WHAT???!)
    (2. Sandra – HVV (She beat Parvati at FTC. Period. That’s an upset).
    (3. Natalie – Samoa (I was sure Russell would win.)
    (4. Sophie – South Pacific (I thought Ozzy would win final immunity and then given the F3 I thought Coach would win. Definitely a surprise.)
    (5. Richard – Borneo (Reason described by Survivor Oz)
    (6. Fabio – Nicaragua (Surfer dude winner against Sash, and Chase!)
    (7. Bob – Gabon (His age)
    (8. Earl – Fiji (I thought Dreamz would have kept his promise and thus Yau-Man would win.)
    (9. Tony – Cagayan (Pre finale I thought Tony would be dumped at 4. During finale after Woo won final immunity, I was sure he’d take Kass. Plus I thought the jury would be more bitter. Definitely an upset IMO.)
    (10. Cochran – Caramoan (If the Ozlets say that Parvati is an upset because of who she was up against, Cochran is an upset because of who he was up against! Parvati at least was a likely winner post merge, I wasn’t sure Cochran would likely win until Final 5 or Final 6!)

  4. Anonymous // June 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm // Reply

    Looking at the statistics more, it’s interesting to me how some of my Top 10 unlikely winners would be happy that they are considered unlikely winners, while others would be disappointed.

    For example, I’m sure Chris Daughtery would take pride in being such an underdog and pulling off a great victory. Sandra, Richard, Bob, Tony, Cochran, and what I’ve heard about Tina (even though I haven’t watched her season) would too. IMO these people were considered unlikely winners based on their GOOD game play (thus they’re a target) or who they were up against, and if they win based on that, good for them! I’m sure they’d be thrilled. On the other hand, IMO, if Natalie, Sophie, Fabio, Earl, or based on what I’ve heard Vecepia, or Amber heard that they were considered unlikely winners, they’d probably not like it. If I played a game like them (taking Natalie as Example #1 here, and Fabio too) I’d be like “Really? What a shame that people consider me a “useless” winner. I thought I was great, not that I won only because I beat a polarizing character like Russell Hantz or Sash/Chase!”.

    • Anonymous // June 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm // Reply

      Adding to this further, just to clear some air, I’m not TRYING to make people feel bad here, but rather trying to point out how there are two kinds of unlikely winners. The Chrises and the Bobs of the Survivor world that beat the odds and came out on top, and the Natalies and Fabios that in part may have won just because of who they were up against but maybe not the best player in their season. Personally Fabio is one of my favorite players ever, and I certainly wasn’t a Natalie hater, just maybe not the “best” winners ever.

  5. I’m rewatching The Amazon for the first time in awhile and Jenna would be high on my list for this.

  6. Based on her tv edit Natalie’s win may have been “shocking”. Looking at her personality skill set though I would put her up there with anyone in Survivor history to win since she is personable,adaptable and likeable. Outside of wildnerness survival skills those are actually more important then anything else to win at Survivor.

  7. I disagree about Natalie being an unlikely winner. To those of us who are familiar with the social aspect of Survivor, it was pretty clear that Russell wasn’t going to be getting many jury votes, since editing aside, the one thing that has been constant in all 28 seasons is that if you’re too much of a jerk and treat others like garbage, you don’t get the million, and Russell’s social game being pretty nonexistent ensured that he wasn’t winning any time soon, so it was really a battle between Natalie and Mick as to who could give the better jury pertormance

  8. Fabio shouldn’t be on the list, from the beginning he played a superior social game and was a challenge dominator. I think Cochran should be on the list because he came in with a villain persona from South Pacific, and nobody expected that he would dominate in challenges like he did. Or maybe Boston Rob, he was dubbed as a villain from his three previous seasons, but he still amazingly managed to create a strong alliance and decimated the once powerful Zapatera to get to the top 3 with not one but two goats with anybody else he would have had a strong chance of losing. One final one could be Danni Boatwright because she was always in the background and throughout Guatemala never had a strong edit.

  9. You put Amber and Parvati on the list only because of their previous appearance, but based purely on the season that they won, they don’t deserve to appear on it. Danni and Sophie deserve much more to be on the list.

  10. I’m surprised that Danni isn’t on this list, I doubt anyone really thought she was going to win after the merge.

  11. I have to disagree also with Chris’ placement. He was in the Final 4 with three goats, and he had made a final 2 deal with Eliza and a final 3 deal with Scout and Twila. His last two immunities were in the bag, and his FTC performance would have beaten anyone.

  12. Enjoyed this list, maybe next time you guys can do a top 10 list of survivor sweethearts?

  13. The worst winner ever was B. Rob simply cuz he had it too easy! And no he should not have won All-Stars either!

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