The way you start the game of Survivor can set you up for a long and fruitful journey - maybe even all the way to the million dollars. A less than perfect start however usually means you'll be quickly disposed of. Some unlucky castaways through accident or design, found themselves in deep right from the get go for a number of reasons. This week Clay Shirley recaps the 10 worst starts in the history of the show. Read on for 10 lessons in how you do NOT want to start a game of Survivor.
10. John Cochran – South Pacific
John Cochran may have gone on to win Survivor: Caramoan, but his initial run in Survivor: South Pacific was far less successful. Starting the game as an outsider based on appearances alone, John Cochran’s personality did him no favours. Perceived as weak and a liability for the tribe, he proceeded to dig himself a deeper and deeper hole in the first few days, ostracizing and overly self deprecating himself to the point of nearly guaranteeing himself first boot. Fortunately for him, there was someone even more expendable than he was in Semhar. John Cochran would continue to alienate people throughout the game through bizarre complaints and off putting comments before single handily destroying his entire tribe at the merge, making it even more stunning that he lasted as long as he did. In a sense, his entire run on South Pacific could be considered a “bad start.”
9. Colton Cumbie – Blood vs Water
No one came into Survivor: Blood vs. Water with a worse reputation than Colton Cumbie. Known for being cruel, dramatic, and manipulative, it was a shock to many that Colton wasn’t the first person voted out of his tribe at the start of the game. He wouldn’t last much longer, however, as he spent the majority of his time at camp complaining and trying to turn the dominant Galang alliance against each other, none of whom were dumb enough to take the bait. The combination of missing his loved one Caleb and utter strategic floundering was too much for Colton to handle and after only two Tribal Councils into the game, he elected to quit. Though it is unlikely he would have lasted much longer anyway, Colton himself sealed the deal in making his brief second run on the show so disastrous.
8. Blake Towsley – Guatemala
The contestants of Survivor: Guatemala were welcomed to the experience with an 11-mile hike through the jungle, a challenge that exhausted everyone to the extreme. No one was more affected by the hike more than Blake Towsley, who had an extremely painful thorn ridden branch fall on his shoulder mid-hike. After being forced to stop while Margaret extracted the thorns, night fell and the tribe took a break of the night as Blake’s condition began to worsen. A combination of residual pain and dehydration left Blake vomiting all night, under the constant watch and care of Margaret. Blake slowly recovered and only lasted a few votes, but he holds the title for contestant who has taken the largest physical toll before even reaching camp.
7. The Boneham’s – Blood Vs Water
Rupert and Laura Boneham were never going to have it easy on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. His fourth time playing, the target on Rupert’s back was in place from the start and he likely would have been the first voted off his tribe in the initial vote on the beach had it not been for last minute replacement Candice, who attracted the most votes. There was no such target on Candice’s husband John, however, and Laura was immediately voted out of the loved ones tribe. Given the opportunity to switch with his wife, Rupert gave his spot to Laura, sending himself to Redemption Island where he would lose his first duel and become the first person eliminated of the season. Laura went on to lay low on the returning players tribe until getting blindsided before the merge. Rupert may have given up his game for his wife, but his sacrifice ultimately did nothing but buy her time.
6. J’tia Taylor – Cagayan
A pre-game favorite for some, J’Tia Taylor’s days on the island were some of the most disastrous anyone has ever seen. J’Tia started the game off leading the building of Luzon’s shelter, a task that she would not only fail at, but irritate several of her tribe mates as well through her bossy demeanour and ultimate ineptitude. After the shelter debacle, J’Tia went on to perform terribly in the following challenge, resulting in a trip to the first Tribal Council. J’Tia was saved by David’s Samson’s vote off, but Luzon soon found themselves right back in the losing position. After being directly told that she was likely going home, J’Tia proceeded to dump the majority of the tribe’s supply or rice in the dirt. Against all odds and to the shock of many, J’Tia was spared yet again in favour of Garret Adelstein. After a brief victory that sent Solana to Tribal Council, Luzon suffered a terrible defeat against both tribes, one of the which was actually attempting to throw the challenge. J’Tia’s reign of terror was finally ended when her alliance of Tasha and Kass decided they just couldn’t be weighed down any longer and sent her packing in place of odd man out Spencer. Perhaps no one in the game of Survivor has put in such an actively terrible performance and yet lasted so long.
5. Mike Borassi – Samoa
An early sign of bad things to come for the Foa Foa tribe, Mike Borassi found himself extremely exhausted after a physical challenge on Day 5. Borassi, both older and heavier than anyone else on the season, was in such bad shape that Dr.Ramona was forced to take a look at him. After a period of waiting and observing, Dr.Ramona deemed Borassi unfit to continue due to potential heart risks, citing that he initially looked blue after the challenge. For a time, Mike Borassi held the record for earliest medivac, a title he would eventually lose.
4. Zane Knight – Philippines
One of the best seasons in recent memory, Survivor: Philippines began with the story of Matsing, a tribe that never won a single challenge and eventually whittled its way down to only two members. The first to go down on the Matsing ship was Zane, a player who proved himself to be both a physical and social liability. After a poor performance in the first challenge, Zane found himself on the chopping block. While others may have chosen to try and prove themselves or perhaps try push the vote onto someone else, Zane had a different plan. Instead, told everyone to vote him out. The plan, which was supposed to have been an exercise in reverse psychology, backfired and a shocked Zane was sent home.
3. Francesca Hogi – Caramoan
Francesca Hogi’s initial run on Survivor: Redemption Island was resulted in her being first the one voted out of the game. It was a bad start, sure, but nothing exceptional. The second time, however, it was historical. The first person to ever be voted out first twice, Francesca is a one of a kind contestant. Learning nothing from her first experience, Francesca spent her brief time on Caramoan over playing and managing to get on Phillip’s bad side for a second time, resulting in her elimination in a vote that was switched from Andrea in a bout of paranoia. Francesca may not in fact be a terrible player, but getting voted off first twice is a remarkable feat for all the wrong reasons.
2. Jonathon Libby & Wanda Shirk – Palau
Over the years the game of Survivor has had many twists. Some good, some bad. None, however, were as cruel and mean spirited as the twist at the start of Survivor: Palau in which previously unseparated tribes were divided by captain’s in a school yard pick on day two. The resulting pick would leave two castaways unchosen and immediately sent packing. Unfortunately for Wanda Shirk and Jonathan Libby, those two were them. While Libby was seen as stand offish and self interested after jumping off the arriving boat in a scramble for an immunity necklace, Wanda was seen as an outsider for her age and her tendency to break out in never ending song. Lasting only two days and having never even been assigned to a tribe, Wanda and Jonathan sailed away for good, Wanda’s dulcet tones fading the distance.
1. Kourtney Moon – One World
Some say that Survivor: One World is one of the lesser seasons, while others will argue that it is, in fact, an under-appreciated gem. What is less arguable is that the season got off to a rough start when, for the first time in Survivor history, a contestant was medevac’d in the very first episode. Kourtney Moon, who appeared to be a quirky, free spirited if not already on the outs player, broke her wrist while competing in a challenge that called for her to jump from a height and onto a net. Despite being warned of the dangers of landing on one’s hands, Kourtney tried to brace her fall, sticking her arms out under her as she fell. The snapped wrist put Kourtney out of the game for good, never allowing her the chance to be voted out, go to Tribal Council, or even complete a challenge. While Kourtney may have technically lasted more days than other contestants, none have exited the game so quickly without it being a function of the game, making it the single worst start to a game of Survivor that any contestant has ever had.
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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