Ah Monday. How you are supposedly hated. Well how can you be hated when it comes to a Survivor Oz feature! Today your favourite features writer Nick Chester is back from his little sheep den in New Zealand to bring you an interesting analysis on why some players can go all the way to the end but walk away without a single vote. You might think you have a handle on why, but there are some topics in this article that might just surprise you! Want to know more? Click below to read on!
As hard as it is to believe, there have now been 14 people who have made it to day 39 and received no votes to win. To not only lose but be completely shunned by the jury must be a pretty demoralising feeling, but these things don’t happen for no reason. There are a variety of factors that would lead a player to get all this way then stumble so badly at the final hurdle, so what are they? And what can we learn about their overall game that ends in such a disappointing way? This article will look at some of the most common causes of “no voters” and what they could have done to change this, if anything.
The “third wheel” in a battle between 2 others
This seemed like a pretty logical place to start as all but one of the “no voters” were involved in final threes. It’s very rare for everyone in the final 3 to receive a vote, and it can come down to a battle between two and one person just being left out altogether. In many cases, this is simply because the jury has decided it has come down to a decision between the other two people left so the third person just gets overlooked. Becky, as the first person to ever receive no votes is a classic example of this. Cook Islands ended in an epic battle for the win between Yul and Ozzy, and Becky became something of a footnote on this. She didn’t really play a particularly good or bad game, she was just the leftover person who didn’t make much of an impression. Another good example if Mick in Samoa. The elected leader of Foa Foa, Mick was a nice guy, but not particularly charismatic in any way. He again was a bit of a side note to the Russell vs. Natalie argument, with Natalie winning the favour of those who didn’t like Russell.
Chelsea could also be included in this list. Although Kim dominated One World, for those that didn’t like Kim, Sabrina was seen as the alternative. Chelsea didn’t seem to do anything particularly bad to deserve a snub at the final tribal council, other than seeming somewhat aloof, leading to the argument being about Kim, and the small amount of resistance to her gravitating towards Sabrina.
In a small way, this does kind of back up Jeff Probst’s theory that you have to make “big moves” in the game. I don’t necessarily agree, but you have to make an impression. A final three means you can’t always assume you will be the default for jurors if they want someone else to lose –you have to be at least memorable enough to warrant a thought. Cassandra may be an example of this. She played a fairly underrated game, being a collaborator with Earl and Yau Man, but trying not to get the kind of blood on her hands that Dreamz did. When she saw an opportunity to get rid of Yau, she took it (unfortunately for her she didn’t know he had an idol), but did it all without malice. Her moves were not seen as noteworthy, and jurors tended to focus on finding reasons to vote for Earl, or to throw abuse at Dreamz. Cassandra just didn’t make an impression.
Just downright hated
There are plenty of no voters who simply play hard, and think little of what the consequences will be once they sit in front of the jury. This type of play always confuses me. You can pull off as many blindsides and idol plays as you want, but if this alienates the jury, you might as well not play at all. Russell’s game in Heroes vs. Villains is the most clear and obvious example of this, but he is nowhere near the only one. Sherry, Sugar and Gervase all played a game that simply wasn’t respected by the jury, and a lot of it seemed to stem from various issues with their social game. Sugar got along well with some people, but made what seemed like a lot of emotional decisions and took pleasure in beating players to the end. This ensured she had no respect at the end, and made it easy for jurors not to vote for her. Sherry came across as somewhat delusional, thinking she was playing a good game but actually was viewed as someone not playing the game at all but simply benefitting from other’s work. Gervase likewise seemed to take delight in voting out his rivals, and seemed to be working on the assumption that Tyson would be seen as the responsible party for people’s failure in the game, and he would get jury votes. He was quite sensationally wrong about this.
And then of course there is Dreamz, who made deals with everyone and honoured none of them. Dreamz seemed to be a player who had little idea of a long term plan, and simply played to ensure he made it through every tribal council. This may have worked but left him with no respect and sitting next to two players who did a much better job than him. For Fiji jurors, casting a vote for Dreamz was unthinkable.
Overestimated their social skills
Two players who I feel are very similar and whose game ended in the same way are Sash and Albert. I actually like both these guys and think they have a pretty good handle on most facets of the game, but didn’t understand how their personalities came off as disingenuous and slimy. For Sash, I have a little sympathy. His plan seemed to revolve around a final 3 with NaOnka and Purple Kelly, in which he either would have won in Boston Rob style (begrudging respect and no good alternative) or lost to Kelly in Russell style (she may not have been that impressive, but it sure beats letting you win). But he had a plan that at least made sense. Then his two finals allies quit and his plans of winning went down the toilet. The fact he got to the final 3 at all is impressive, but he had to do a lot of wheeling and dealing to do it. It seems even his mannerisms (winking and laughing) irritated people, and it seems he never really understood how these mannerisms, no matter how natural they were to him, came across as fake to others. Albert, likewise came in with a very structured idea on how he wanted to play and who with. He had enough social skills to get into an alliance that went the distance and it seemed like was genuinely interested in shaking the game up with Savaii members after the merge, but couldn’t make it happen. Albert has expressed his dismay that players that seemed to thank him after he told them he couldn’t help them from being voted out then called him sleazy. However unfair this may have appeared to him, it was a completely natural reaction of people to feel that he gave them false hope and ultimately couldn’t deliver on any of his promises to them.
Went to the end with a much more likeable/respected opponent
Some players are clearly along for the ride and tag onto aggressive players. Occasionally these players get credit for this at the end, but often they are simply marked as “coat tail riders” who didn’t have a game of their own, and don’t win any respect. One good example of this is Natalie in Redemption Island, who by all accounts was a very nice person, who at just 19 years old was probably a little timid and unprepared to play aggressively, so aligned with someone who would make all the moves for her in Boston Rob. Natalie undoubtedly knew the risk here but gambled that Rob would hurt so many people in the process that she would get the jury votes in the end. However, she hadn’t accounted for the fact that Rob had done this before and was learning from his mistakes. Her mistake was to let Rob take so much control that she was viewed as pawn with no thoughts of her own, and voting her supposed best friend Ashley out right at the end would have solidified the thoughts of jurors that Natalie would simply do whatever she was asked to by Rob, and this was something they couldn’t respect.
At the other extreme is Dawn in Caramoan, who certainly was not afraid to make big decisions and blindsides, but took Cochran to the end with her, who was much more likeable and was seen as less culpable (fairly or not) for the big decisions made than Dawn was. For the jury it was an easy choice. Dawn also displayed her emotions and this made it hard for jurors to separate the Dawn they knew at camp – someone emotionally fragile at times with the game player who had no problems cutting down her closes allies when she needed to. A vote for Cochran was just too easy, and Dawn realistically should have looked to get him out sooner, although it’s hard to see who she could have taken to the end and beaten – if Cochran isn’t there, Eddie, Erik or Brenda are instead, all of whom probably beat Dawn.
The Curious Case of Stephen Fishbach
Of all the no voters, Stephen remains the only one to have been shut out in a final 2. At the time I was a big fan of Stephen’s game and thought he was hard done by not to get even a single vote. JT may have been more likeable but he ultimately wasn’t 7 votes better than Stephen. His situation is a little different from others because of the final 2 and worth looking at individually. JT and Stephen clearly had a strong alliance, but if you listen to Stephen in post-game interviews, it seems clear that he and JT had an unspoken agreement that they would get to the final 5 and then it was Stephen’s job to get JT out before the end if he wanted to win. Conversely, JT knew he just had to get to the end – it didn’t matter who with. As it turned out, JT won the last 3 immunities and put the game beyond doubt. As seems clear in the final immunity challenge, both guys knew this and so knew they had to win. And if Stephen won, he would have voted JT out, and I suspect he probably would have still won JT’s jury vote, and the game. Stephen has also talked about how he was at a huge disadvantage because JT was fondly seen by the jury as the country boy they all wanted to hang out with. Stephen, like them was a city boy, and the jury were far more impressed with JT and his ability to do anything in the outdoors. This explains Stephen’s pitch as the player who had grown the most – trying to appeal to them as someone who didn’t have the survival skills JT had and therefore had to work harder around camp. Stephen has also said that the jury all applauded JT for voting Erinn out on day 38. To cut it short –the jury loved JT and no matter how well Stephen played, he could never overcome this infatuation they all had, despite the fact the two played a very similar strategic game. Sometimes 2 great players will get to the end. It’s rare, but it does happen. Normally it’s a close vote (Tina vs. Colby), but Tocantins is the anomaly. It’s fair to say JT deserved to win, but Stephen definitely didn’t deserve the dishonour of receiving no votes.
In his jury speech in Heroes vs. Villains, JT made a very good point that getting to the end is only half the job. Getting the jury votes to win the game is just as big a part and requires you do a lot of things right along the way. Perhaps the biggest issue is that players need to have their mind on the end of the game from an early point to ensure they don’t suddenly find themselves on day 39 in an unwinnable position. It may mean making yourself known to players, and memorable at the end for all the right reasons. Or, it might require you to suppress the natural urge to make big moves or act like a sleazy used car salesman. And you also have to remember to get rid of your biggest threats before it’s too late. Ultimately it’s a big ask to win Survivor and so much has to go right along the way. These players have all done better at this game than I will ever do, but they do show us in the harshest light that making it to the end isn’t enough. Jury votes are the most important factor in the end.
What do you think about the no votes club? Do you agree with Nick? Comment below to let us know!
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