Another season of Survivor is right around the corner and with it, comes a brand spanking new cast! Join your host, Ben Waterworth, as he walks you through the 18 castaways competing on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur and talks through all the new twists! You can then download our FULL preview episode as Ben is joined by his Ozlets for full cast analysis and opinions in what is always one of our craziest episodes each year!
I am very excited to be able to take you through my very first cast assessment and introduce you to the 18 new contestants who you will be paying close attention to for the next three months! One of these 18 Americans will join a group of select people to have won Survivor, and just thinking of that already gets me excited! The season is slated to premiere on Wednesday September 24th at 8pm USEST and with promos already running on Go! here in Australia it looks very likely that we will once again see the season fast tracked to our screens! What’s in store for you this season though? Well let’s go through the changes and twists before meeting the cast.
The main twist of the season sees the ‘Blood vs Water’ twist return for a second time in three seasons. This of course is the twist that sees a contestant play with their loved one as they battle out for the million dollars. Unlike season 27 however there are no returning players, which means coming off the back of the hugely successful Cagayan, it’s the first time since Samoa that we’ve had at least two consecutive seasons featuring no returning players. Players will once again be separated onto two separate tribes and will only get to play with their loved one should they make the merge or there be a tribal switch at some point early on. This will also be the first season since Fiji to have a gender unbalance, with a female pair dropping out just before the filming began leaving us with 10 men and 8 women.
Probably the biggest surprise in terms of twists this season is the return of Exile Island, a twist that hasn’t been seen since Tocantins. Exile Island is where a player is sent between challenges by themselves to fend and live alone until their time runs out and they go to the next challenge. With Redemption Island being scrapped, Exile Island takes it place and will still see loved ones battling it out against each other. The winner of the battle will get a reward, whilst the loser is sent to Exile Island. Of course Exile Island isn’t all bad. The person sent there will be given a clue to the location of a hidden immunity idol which is somewhere back at their camp’s beach, allowing them to search for it and gain an advantage should they find the idol. Of course being in such an open location will prevent challenges when it comes to looking for it. Pretty interesting stuff! And it will surely bring an added twist to the season! A twist that seems like it won’t include the dreaded ‘Tyler Perry Idol’ either. Phew!
So this season is actually extremely light on the changes to the game, which is a bit refreshing given CBS always seems to like to bring in something major to ‘spice it up’. It will be interesting to see how the Exile twist works and whether or not the unbalanced gender split will also come into affect.
A season is great with twists, but it’s even better with it’s cast! Before we meet the 18 new contestants, let’s first take a closer look at the tribes and the buffs that they will be wearing.
The Coyopa & Hunahpu Buffs
The two tribes will be called Coyopa (A Mayan God of Thunder) and Hunahpu (Mayan father of ‘hero twins’). Each tribe will have 5 males and 4 females on it. It marks the first season since Guatemala that started with 2 tribes to have blue and yellow as the starting colours. The location itself of course is San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua, marking it the 3rd time Survivor has filmed in the area and the first since the ill fated Redemption Island season.
But enough of the stats, let’s meet the players!
BAYLOR WILSON & MISSY PAYNE
RELATIONSHIP: Daughter & Mother
Baylor and Missy are both cheerleaders and have a very close bond. Baylor is 20 and currently resides in Nashville and is a student, and won the 2009 World Cheerleading Championships with her competitive Cheerleading team. Missy is 47 and currently resides in Dallas and owns a competitive cheerleading gym. Baylor claims she will win Survivor because “I believe that I am secure and confident enough in myself to not let others’ attitudes, comments, or situations affect me” whilst Missy believes she will win because “I’ll bring compassion, determination, leadership, respect, athleticism, sense of humour, the ability to dispute resolution and analysation.”
DALE WENTWORTH & KELLEY WENTWORTH
RELATIONSHIP: Father & Daughter
Dale and Kelley are a close father and daughter pair. Dale is 55 and currently resides in Ephrata, Washington and is a Farmer. Kelley is 28 and currently resides in Seattle and is a Marketing Manager. Dale claims he is most like Big Tom out of all the past contestants, whilst Missy believes she is most similar to Parvati because “she’s a strong, intelligent woman who did what she had to do to get to the top”. Both come across as massive fans of the game.
JACLYN SCHULTZ & JON MISCH
Next up are college sweethearts Jon & Jaclyn. Jaclyn is 25 and lives in Las Vegas and works as a media buyer and is a former beauty queen. Jon is 26 and lives in Waterford, Michigan and is a Financial Assistant and former College football star. Jaclyn believes she will win Survivor because “I’ve learned to try and turn every negative into a positive and that life will always throw hard things at you, but it’s how you handle those obstacles that matter the most. This game is tough. It’s challenging mentally, socially, and physically and I know that I can overcome anything is thrown at me no matter how bad it hurts and no matter how many times I break down just because I have in my life.” Jon believes he will win because “I can build a fire from scratch, debone/gut a fish, catch lizards, and lift things up and put them down.” Both are keen to win money to help them have a child.
JOHN ROCKER & JULIE McGEE
John is the token ‘celebrity’ of the season and comes in with his girlfriend Julie. Jon is 39 and lives in Atlanta and is a former Major League Baseball player with a ‘controversial past’ after comments he gave to Sports Illustrated in 1999 caused a stir amongst several minority groups. Julie is 34 and also lives in Atlanta and is an owner of a spray tan business as well as a model. Jon believes he will win Survivor because “I have world-class athletic abilities and leadership skills. I have the ability to read people and morph my personality in a way that lets me mesh with people from all walks of life.”. Julie believes she will win because “I am the most observant person. I’m told by everyone that knows me that I can figure out someone’s state of mind and intentions within minutes. I’ll bring that strong instinct to the game to help my team win.” Expect these two to get lots of airtime, especially John.
WES NALE & KEITH NALE
RELATIONSHIP: Son & Father
Wes & Keith are a father son pair with some of the best accents ever! Wes is 23 and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana and is a fire-fighter. Keith is 53 and also lives in Shreveport, Louisiana and is a fire captain. Wes believes he can win Survivor because “I can provide food for my tribe. I can climb trees, and I’m strong as an ox. I can also start fire easily and can talk to people and lift their spirits if they’re having a bad day.” Keith believes he will win because “I will have a good social game, I’ll be good at challenges, and I work well with others.” Two fire-fighters together on a season, but they aren’t the only fire-fighters here!
VAL COLLINS & JEREMY COLLINS
Val and Jeremy are a married couple from Foxboro, Massachusetts. Val is 35 and is a police officer. Jeremy is 36 and a fire-fighter, making them one interesting couple and bringing the total of fire-fighters this season to three! Val says the three words that describe her are “competitive, loving, and loyal” while Jeremy reckons he can win Survivor because “I believe my whole makeup is prime for this game. I don’t need to eat much, I am athletic, and I am likable. I also can make people feel like I like them even if I don’t, which will help in blindsides”.
ALEC CHRISTY & DREW CHRISTY
Drew & Alec are brothers from Winter Park, Florida. Drew is 25 and is a traveling sales representative in the family business while Alec is 22 and a student at Florida Gulf Coast University. Drew likens himself to Fabio and Malcolm and lists one of his favourite hobbies as ‘booze cruising’. Alec says he will ‘survive’ Survivor because “I have no fear” and lists Playboy magazines as one of his three island must-haves. These will be two interesting guys!
JOSH CANFIELD & REED KELLY
Josh and Reed are a ‘Christian Broadway couple’ from New York City. Josh is 32 and is a singer/writer/actor while Reed is 31 also is a performer and is perhaps best known for being in the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark production on Broadway. Josh says he can win Survivor because “have the stamina to make it through the challenges, I have the mental grit to get past the mind games and the gutsiness to make the big moves when they need to be made. I am Survivor”. Reed says the reason he is on the show is because “I’m dying to play this game. You can never truly know what your limits are until you push them. I’m tired of watching others do it, and I’m ready to experience it for myself firsthand.”
NADIYA ANDERSON & NATALIE ANDERSON
RELATIONSHIP: Twin Sisters
Nadiya & Natalie are Twin Sisters who are both well known as ‘the Twinies’ from The Amazing Race. Nadiya is 28 from Edgewater, New Jersey and is a Crossfit Coach. Natalie is also 28 (duh) and also from Edgewater, New Jersey and is also a Crossfit Coach (I sense a pattern here). Nadiya’s reason for being on Survivor is her saying “show me the money, honey!” while Natalie thinks she is similar to Tony from Cagayan, but not as ‘insane’. They become the first ever contestants from The Amazing Race to compete on Survivor.
So there you have the 18 new cast members to be playing the 29th season of Survivor! As of right now not much has been released in terms of tribe designation, although some of the clips above clearly show certain players on certain tribes. We will see which players are put together of course when the season begins!
So excited for another season of Survivor to finally be here! The middle part of the year is always the hardest as it’s always the longest wait! But amazingly it’s season 29, and it’s incredible to think we are nearly at season 30! Amazing!
I personally think that it’s too soon to bring back the Blood vs Water twist given we only had it a year ago, but I guess I shouldn’t judge until we see how it plays out. Be interesting how it pans out with all new players as opposed to returning players with new players, and I’m sure it’ll make for interesting viewing. Some interesting characters this season, although a very young cast which is disappointing. Would love to see a few more older players out there if I had the choice.
Exile Island returning is a bit left of field but why the hell not? I’m going to reserve judgement until the season begins, but I guess it’s better than Redemption Island right?
Time for me to give some predictions on the players and see how wrong I will be throughout this season!
Val & Jeremy: Love these two, probably my second favourite couple of the season. I also think that they will go far. I get some extreme Cirie vibes from Val while Jeremy gives me some lose Earl vibes as well. I think both will go extremely far in the game, so far they will be the final 2 with Val winning and keeping the perfect record of African-American female contestants having their name starting with V winning. PREDICTED FINISH: Val 1st, Jeremy 2nd
Jon & Jaclyn: Very meh, I see them as the Candice and John of this season (not just because his name is the same either). Both very keen to get the money to have children which is nice that they have a cause to play for, but will remain interesting to see if they keep that a secret or tell people for the sympathy vote. Think they will be a middle of the road couple with Jon possibly staying a couple of places further after the merge. PREDICTED FINISH: Jon 8th, Jaclyn 10th
Nadiya & Natalie: I’ve never seen The Amazing Race seasons with these two on it but after having watched a package on YouTube of the two of them I can see their entertainment value. Both seem very social but both could get quite annoying to other players. I also think their reputation from the Race might hurt them. As much as I hate to say it, I don’t think they will go far. I really hope I am wrong. PREDICTED FINISH: Nadiya 16th, Natalie 14th
Drew & Alec: These two had me fading out of their preview video within 30 seconds. Nothing too special here. But given they have a similar style like a Fabio or a Carter then I see them going far for the fact they will just scrape by with nobody seeing them as a threat and just take them out around the top 5. I also predict they will say ‘bro’ more times than we have ever heard of any season of Survivor. PREDICTED FINISH: Drew 5th, Alec 4th
Kelley & Dale: My pony for the season Kelley! How appropriate that I got a blonde female called Kelley in Nicaragua! Hopefully she gets more airtime though then our beloved Miss Shinn! Dale looks as though he will struggle big time, and I think that both will struggle to make an impact in the game. A shame really, because Kelley seems to have some snark in her like a Kelly Goldsmith or Courtney Yates. Sadly I don’t see them making it past the first couple of weeks. PREDICTED FINISH: Kelley 17th, Dale 18th
Missy & Baylor: My girls! Cheerleader mother and daughter=Ben’s favourite. Hands down. I’m running the ‘Missaylor’ train all the way to the end and I’m sure as hell hoping for a fun ride! In all seriousness I do see them both doing well, and I have a vibe Missy could work her way into an alliance after Baylor gets blindsided but become the dreaded ‘no vote getter’ at the end. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to watch them each week! PREDICTED FINISH: Missy 3rd, Baylor 7th
Josh & Reed: These two are going to be entertaining but I also feel they will struggle being on separate tribes. Interesting that it has taken 29 seasons to have someone from Broadway on the show, but finally we have someone and that could make for some great entertainment around camp! I feel as though they will try and go under the radar but get under enough peoples skins to just make the merge but be early merge boots. PREDICTED FINISH: Josh 12th, Reed 11th
Wes & Keith: The southerners of the season, not sure how they will go. Keith I don’t see lasting long at all, while Wes I feel can be a Jeremiah style player and just get to a certain point and have some people forget about him, despite him not actually playing a bad game as such. I just want to keep hear them talking all the time for that accent! PREDICTED FINISH: Wes 6th, Keith 15th
John & Julie: Being that I’m not the biggest Baseball fan, I have no idea who John is which I feel will help me make my own mind up about him rather than going by on what he said in an interview over a decade ago. I for one think he seems like a complex guy who will definitely get a lot of airtime and be a dominant character. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a good player, and I can’t really see him going far. Julie on the other hand will be the ‘Monica’ to her ‘Brad’ and go further than John, but just sneak into the early jury. PREDICTED FINISH: John 13th, Julie 9th
Feel free to send me a message at the end of the season laughing at how wrong I was with my tips! But hey, surely I must get close one year right!?
Going to be a great season with our most comprehensive coverage yet! Bring it on I say!
I remember being a critic of BvW the first time around and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. So here we go again a year later – will lightning strike twice? I feel it will have to, as Season 27’s success was very much driven by a good cast and exceptional circumstances rather than a terrific format.
I’m pleased to see Redemption Island gone, as regardless of if it worked better in BvW, it’s still a terrible idea that no only messes with the very basic concept of Survivor, but actually messes with natural structure and flow of the episodes. Will Exile Island be any better? Who knows but it’s worth a shot. I still think the winning tribe should have been able to go to Tribal Council so someone can watch their loved one be voted out – would have made for great drama.
And so to the cast. I haven’t had time to do a great detailed read on all the contestants so this is very much first impressions. I would say they look pretty bland for the most part. I’ve never been a massive fan of stunt casting but I think it can work well in the right situation and the choices made here don’t seem awful. I know very little about the Broadway couple, but their bios are at least interesting so I think they will bring something unique to the show. John Rocker has been compared to Jeff Kent due to their shared sport, but he strikes me as being much more like Brad Culpepper – likely to be unable to hold back his natural desire to be the leader and probably get himself in trouble early because of it. I am an Amazing Race fan and generally liked the Twinnies. Yes they can be a bit irritating but I think they also are pretty self deprecating and try to have fun in stressful situations, so I think they will be good additions to the show.
The rest of the cast unfortunately seem pretty dull and don’t stick out much. They all seem like people with next to no knowledge of the game outside the last two seasons so my hopes are not high for great game play sadly. There are a few standouts. I do like Val and Jeremy (we actually do have a Jeremy this season!). They seem the most realistic about how hard this will be and I can easily see them slipping by people and taking control late in the game. Wes and Keith seem pretty interesting and Wes especially seems like he wants to cause trouble. He could be one to watch. Dale and Kelley also seem pretty interesting. Dale gives me Rodger Bingham vibes and could easily end up lasting a long time. The Christy boys seem incredibly boring and less interesting versions of Fabio. Why do production keep trying to get new versions of Fabio?? Missy seems incredibly bitchy but has contributed to Survivor culture by naming her daughter an unusual name that you would never find in real life. Baylor? Only acceptable on Survivor and Game of Thrones.
One thing that gives me some confidence is that the season does seem to skew to the older side. Older casts tend to be more motivated to play hard, as opposed to young casts who will follow a leader to their clear and impending doom. Plus we have the “Tony factor” and to a lesser extent BvW 1 which show that playing hard and not being afraid to switch things up can work out well. We also have to think about how these players will look at how BvW 1 played out – expect those who have loved ones left at the merge to consider banding together for their own protection. So whilst this cats doesn’t jump out as me as being really awesome like the last two have, there is plenty of cause for optimism for a good season ahead.
If I am forced to pick a winner on a 5 minutes skim of bios, I will pick Jeremy. I can easily see him going all the way. He seems likeable, a good team player but also realistic enough to know that winning will require him to get his hands at least a little dirty. He is tough enough to last in the elements and win the odd challenge if he has to, but level headed enough not to get too personal. Oh, and at least one Twinnie to make it all the way to the end as a goat, just to annoy all the people that done like them even more!
Val & Jeremy
Jeremy is one of my favourites to win this season. He is will probably be well respected within his being a fire-fighter. He looks very fit and looks to be very sociable. I see him working in an alliance with one of the other fire-fighters in Keith or Wes.
Val could be a disappointment but I am hoping she is not. Being a Police Officer, that puts her automatically as one of the leaders of the tribe. It could work against her as she could be quite forceful and annoying. But I hope I am wrong.
Jon & Jaclyn
The All-American couple with a former college football player and a former Miss Michigan. I think these two will go a long way into the game. Jon is the ‘token’ athletic guy on the tribe, so as long as the tribe keep winning at the challenges, he will be safe. Jaclyn seems likeable and loyal. She has an interesting story to tell as she was born without a uterus and can’t have any children.
Nadiya & Natalie
Nadiya & Natalie, aka ‘The Twinnies’, competed on The Amazing Race seasons 21 & 24 (All Stars). The ended up finishing in 4th place on their first attempt on The Amazing Race. But on their second go on the show, they ended up being the first team eliminated. For those who haven’t seen them compete on The Amazing Race, these two are quite strong and competitive. But they can be quite loud at the best of times. This could be their downfall, as they will be perceived as being annoying and opinionated. They have to learn to bit their own tongues if they want to progress in the game.
Drew & Alec
I give these guys the nickname of ‘Team Jesus’. Drew seems to take himself a little too seriously and could rub his tribe up the wrong way due to his somewhat ‘arrogance’. Alec is the little brother who has the competitive edge and won’t be afraid to stand up to his older brother.
Kelley & Dale
The father and (cute) daughter team, which could be the underdogs for this season. Dale, being a farmer, looks like he will be a ‘hard-working’ member of the tribe providing them with food and help to build a shelter. He is treating the game like Brian Heidik did in Survivor Thailand….strictly business. Kelley seems very likeable and level-headed. I feel that she will use her looks and flirt with the males on her tribe to get her way.
Missy & Baylor
This mother and daughter duo remind me of Laura & Ciera from the first Blood vs Water season. I love their interactions with each other and could be a potential dangerous pairing if they make it to the merge.
Josh & Reed
Broadway Boyfriends. They seem very funny and entertaining. Both seems to have great personalities and in the game of Survivor, being social and well liked within the tribe can get you a long way in the game.
Wes & Keith
The father and son Fire-fighter team could do well if they team up with Police & Fire-fighter team of Val & Jeremy. Wes has described himself as a mix of Ozzy & Russell Hantz. That is a big call as there is only one Russell Hantz, aka The King of Survivor. He sounds as though he will go at any cost to get further and further in the game which could lead to his downfall. Whereas Keith is the old wise man and has a lot of life experience that his son and will be looked upon as a potential leader of the tribe.
John & Julie
Every season has at least one villain and John Rocker fits into this category. He was quite outspoken during his baseball career. He made very offensive remarks towards homosexuals as well as minority groups living in the US. He later apologized for his comments, but was suspended for the first 28 games of the season but that was later reduced to 14. He could be one of the first voted out or he could be a dream to take to the finals as he is ‘one hell of a douche’. But wouldn’t it be great to see him eat his own words if he did make an alliance with boyfriends, Josh & Reed, the African American couple of Val & Jeremy and the twinnies, Nadiya & Natalie.
I don’t think Julie will go far in this game. She is a model and owner of a spray tanning business. She comes across as being a little too ‘posh’ and spoilt, as the girlfriend of an ex-baseball player. But she seems likeable and doesn’t mind blindsiding and backstabbing people if the opportunity arises. Watch out for her, she could be the dark horse.
Our fourth ever preview episode is here, as Ben is joined by a gang of Ozlets to decode everything about the 29th season! From going through the twists, talking through the players and discussing just why Ben will be wrong with all his predictions again, it’s one of the most entertaining episodes in the history of Survivor Oz and create history by becoming our longest ever! We ever draw our ‘ponies’ live on air for all to hear about! For those playing at home, here is who has who for the ‘pony draw’, and remember real money is on the line too!
The person who has the pony who wins will win $100, person who gets runner-up will get $40, third place gets $25 while the first boot will get $15! We will update you on the progress of this during our weekly Oztopsy!
In the mean time, stay tuned to Survivor Oz during the season where we will once again be publishing episode recaps, recap interviews with former Survivor’s, Oztopsy’s and Power Rankings all season long! We also will have a very special surprise that we will reveal a little closer to the season beginning! So stock up on popcorn and get ready for what will hopefully be another fantastic season of Survivor!
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