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!