Wednesday top 10 is here and it’s time for you to go over 10 moments in Survivor history and debate whether or not they should be on the list or not! Fresh off the shocking vote out of Jeremy last week on San Juan Del Sur, Noah Groves takes you through 10 blindsides that were purely shocking to the viewer as we watched the episode! Whether or not it was a complete surprise due to editing or whether the person voted out was against the ‘type’ that usually fell at that point, these are the 10 vote outs the left our mouths open long after the credits rolled! Click to see whether or not your choice has made the list!
A “viewer blindside” is when a vote is set up to show one thing and shocks us with the final result. This can either come from purposeful editing or based on our past knowledge and expectations of Survivor. More often than note the viewer is privy on how the votes will go and a #blindside to us is really ever a shock. What follows is a collection of ten of the best and/or notable “viewer blindsides” as well as other shocking vote outs from the first 29 seasons of Survivor. Many more of these moments exist but as will be explained in each respective entry these 10 are included for a mixture of notability, shock and blindside factor.
10. Brandon Hantz – South Pacific
When Erik gave up his immunity to Natalie in Micronesia it was an extremely shocking moment that no one ever saw happening a second time. Going into the final six tribal council there was one thing for certain; Brandon was safe from the vote. Brandon often gets labelled as a “crazy” player based on his return in Caramoan but during South Pacific he was well liked albeit still rash. Brandon was a physical threat and had stepped out of the shadows of his uncle Russell. It was hinted about god wanting him to be loyal and give up immunity but at this point few saw this moment coming after it had already happened and was labelled as one of the worst moves in Survivor history. While we all knew Brandon was going as soon as he gave up immunity, heading into the tribal no one thought Brandon was really going home.
9. Jenny Guzon-Bae – Cook Islands
One day before the merge the Raro tribe lost the challenge and received a note that would be read after the person was voted out at tribal council. In the pre tribal sequence it was heavily hinted that Rebecca would go home and unsurprisingly she was voted out. After Rebecca left the tribal council, the note was read and revealed another vote would take place immediately and lead to Jenny leaving the game. The edit focused mainly on Rebecca being voted out as the contents of the note was not revealed at this point. A brief sequence of Jenny being a candidate was featured but glossed over to Jonathan Penner who was growing to be public enemy number 1 at this point. While some viewers may have guessed the contents of the note, many were surprised and many more would have guessed from everything we had seen up until now that Penner would be the second person to leave tribal council. The viewers were instead blindsided as we saw Jenny, perhaps anti climactically leaving the game.
8. Jonathan Libby – Palau
From the get go Palau was a unique season. It was the first time to have twenty contestants and the game didn’t start in tribes. We knew from the get go to suspect something shocking and on day two it was revealed that the castaways would pick their tribes via a “schoolyard pick” with the last two picked leaving the game immediately. Unsurprisingly to most viewers Wanda, the oldest female was not picked and sent packing and singing. Much more shockingly was the two males left to be picked, Willard, the oldest player in the season and Jonathan, a strong, fit young male. Jonathan was the type of player you expect to see stick around for challenge prowess, especially over Willard who looked useless in challenges. This is almost an accidental viewer blindside based on all we knew from the previous nine seasons and the edit didn’t especially explain or hint that Jonathan wouldn’t be picked. The reunion and subsequent interviews further clarified why exactly Jonathan wasn’t chosen.
7. Katie Collins – Blood vs Water
Ok, let’s get one thing straight. If you watched this episode live then this was defiantly not a shock or a viewer blindside. CBS decided they would fully advertise what was to happen in the week leading up to the episode which, in fairness to them, did pull in more viewers. If you look at this moment in isolation with no context behind it then it is a huge “didn’t see that coming” moment. Few people thought we would ever see the Purple (white?) rock return and even fewer thought we would see it at the final six. Especially when you throw in the fact that Ciera switched just last episode. Going into the tribal it was hard to predict Katie would be leaving over Hayden or Ciera and the moments leading up to the rock draw could have gone three completely different routes. This is an example of something that could have been shocking had it not been already hinted at.
6. Tyson Apostol – Heroes vs Villains
This vote out was a viewer blindside because it should never have happened. The majority alliance hatched a plan to split the votes between Russell and Parvati in case of an idol. Before tribal Russell tricked Tyson into voting Parvati in which Russell gave her the idol and saw Tyson shockingly voted out. This is a case of the Survivor red herring trick where a scene is placed in the episode to try and catch viewers off guard. However in this case, it came true. Nobody believed Tyson would be stupid enough to switch votes but the viewers were #blindsided and shockingly Russell and Parvati stayed in the game.
5. Paschal English – Marquesas
Heading in to the Marquesas final four tribal council it was well established that Kathy or Neleh would be going home. Vecepia won immunity and Paschal was off everyone’s radar. After a double forced tie we learnt of the rule in which everyone without immunity would have to pull rocks out of a bag with the person drawing the purple rock going home. Paschal refused to change his vote to his ally Neleh and thus had to take part in the rock draw and poetically is the one to touch the cursed rock and was sent packing. Based off this double tie and new rock drawing rule, the one guy we thought wasn’t going home that night ended up going home.
4. Bobby-Jon Drinkard – Guatemala
This viewer blindside comes more from who isn’t voted out then who is. By the time the idol is played it is almost no surprise that Bobby Jon is going home but going into the tribal right up to the votes are about to be cast, everyone thought Gary was going home. It isn’t made a secret at camp that Gary would be the next to leave so he sets his sights on searching for the first ever hidden immunity idol without any clue. The genius in this is that Gary finds the idol but it isn’t shown to the public. We didn’t know the rules to the idol back then but most people assumed he hadn’t found it as we haven’t seen it. That’s what makes it so shocking when Gary out of nowhere pulls out the idol saving him and leading to Bobby Jon’s vote out. Ironically watching this tribal council years after, as I did, makes it even more of a viewer blindside as the rules in which the hidden immunity idol is found and used is already established so it would be assumed Gary did not find the idol. A moment few people saw coming!
3. John Carroll – Marquesas
The first ever power shift in Survivor! After the big Boston Rob vote out at the merge, it seemed as if John and his alliance were going to the final four. It seemed almost a given that Sean would be the next one to go and even the edit supported this. After the immunity challenge, Neleh gathered the minority in an attempt to regain power in the game. Once again this seemed like a ruse to hide the completely obvious Sean vote out and up to this point we had never seen such a shift in power. Even more notably is the fact that John’s name is never mentioned in this pre tribal sequence and given what we are used to in Survivor history you would naturally assume it would be The General or Zoe, the lesser edited players going home. Not the power player John who had a substantial edit. This was one of the most notable vote outs in Survivor history and is indeed a viewer blind side.
2. Sarah Lacina – Cagayan
Going into the Cagayan merge most people would agree that Sarah was the only person to be safe in the game. How many times do you see the swing vote being voted out, especially at the beginning of the merge? This viewer blindside didn’t hide the fact that Sarah was being voted for but few would expect it to actually come true. In the week leading up to the episode Kass was never considered as someone who would flip and the edit up to this point suggested she was locked in with the brain/beauty alliance. It even went as far as showing the three brains discussing being the final three which is not something we often see. The edit certainly did show the distancing of Kass and the rift between her and Sarah but in one of the craziest tribal councils ever Tony pulls out the idol and Sarah’s alliance on the fly claims they will vote for “the other one.” Tony then played the idol for LJ and LJ for Tony meaning surely “the other one” was immune from the vote and Sarah would be going home. In another twist in the story, Jefra is revealed to be the other one and is sure to be voted out until the Sarah votes are finally revealed and that on top of this craziness, Kass actually had flipped and Sarah was voted out. The “viewer blindside” comes from the Kass flip, the tribal council craziness and the fact that Sarah had received a fairly prominent edit up to this point, especially over Jefra.
1. Jeremy Collins – San Juan Del Sur
You can preach recency bias all you want and I will disagree with you and you can tell me that you saw this moment coming and I will call you a liar. This is the biggest viewer blindside in Survivor history, hands down. San Juan Del Sur had built up to major contenders for the win who were going head to head. While there have been a few other players on the ‘winner radar,’ most fans agreed that either Josh or Jeremy would win the game. Two weeks ago Jeremy came out on top of Josh and was considered the most likely candidate to win. This was largely due to his huge edit, receiving just four less confessionals than Tyson did on his winning game and almost double the likes of Sophie or Natalie White. Jeremy was getting the typical “winners edit” being shown often and being shown as the power player. Some fans stated his edit was too negative for him to be the winner but no one saw him leaving the game last week, just one tribal after Josh.
With this edit established to put Jeremy off the radar to leave, the editors pulled even more tricks to fool the viewers. During the pre-tribal scheming scenes we saw Keith’s name being brought up as a likely candidate to be voted out along with Reed after losing Josh and plotting at camp. Jon was also mentioned due to the likelihood of him having an idol. Jeremy’s name was only mentioned once to Missy in a brief scene before tribal. Normally these blink and you miss it moments are added as a red herring to try and put the viewer off, most of the time unsuccessfully. As a viewer we have almost been taught to ignore these moments. Then at tribal came the glimpses of votes in which we only saw votes for Keith and Reed being shown on camera. At this point most people assumed these two were the only ones to receive votes. This continued when Jeff read the votes starting with Keith and Reed and then came the Jeremy vote…and another….and another.
Major props to the producers and editors for this superb piece of editing and season long ruse that every viewer fell for. Seriously I challenge you to name a bigger “viewer” blindside than this jaw dropping vote out. Normally during a #blindside the viewers are privy to the plan but for this occasion I am thankful that this wasn’t the case. This was a much needed moment for a season that perhaps undeservingly is being criticised and has really opened the cards for who could be the possible winner of the season. What a fantastic Survivor moment that will be fondly remembered for the unique and “viewer blindside” moment it is.
What do you think of Noah’s top 10? Do you feel there are blindsides that haven’t been included that should’ve? Let us know in the comments below!
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