With more than 30 finalists who have sat at Final Tribal Council and had a shot at the million dollars and who we have never seen return to play the game again, this week Noah Groves takes us through his non-winning finalists who he'd like to see return to the game. Do you agree with his picks? Which finalists who have yet to return would you like to see one more time? Let us know at the end with a comment.
10. Becky Lee – Cook Islands
Ok hear me out on this one, I know Becky Lee is not on most fans radar as someone they would like to see again. Becky was certainly overshadowed in Cook Islands thanks to all the other louder characters in the season but it wasn’t as if she was completely out of it. Becky was a player who strategized, socialised and competed, all doing so with her partner Yul. Becky helped Yul a lot but fell into his shadow and was completely overlooked. If Becky was to return she would be stepping out of the shadow to either prove herself as a player or prove that Yul was the one who was pulling all the strings the whole time. Becky (along with Yul) is also the first Asian American contestant to make it to the finals, the first finalist to be third place, the first finalist to receive zero of the jury votes, all notable (the latter two perhaps unflattering) statistics relating to the position of a finalist.
9. Sabrina Thompson – One World
It often seems to be an overlooked fact that Sabrina was such a huge character in the early portions of One World, seen as both a strategist and character and frequently involved in the Salani and even Manono camps. She received more confessionals than anyone else in the premiere episode along with finding an idol, albeit the wrong one. Towards the end of the season Sabrina drifted into the background but was still an integral part of the season. Sabrina is a strong contender and one of the few African American contestants to make the finals, who would be a valued member on a returning player season.
8. Matthew Von Ertfelda – The Amazon
Matt certainly was a notable character in The Amazon, viewed as an overly serious “cweepy” guy constantly with machete in hand. Matt started the season with next to no knowledge on what Survivor is or how to play the game. Over the course of 39 days he learnt from alliance member Rob on the details of Survivor gameplay and gathered up a library of knowledge. Surprisingly he made the finals and while he couldn’t gather the jury votes to win, he did grow the most out of any player and in turn has one of the best season long story arcs. If Matthew was to return would he use his knowledge learnt on the season to become a successful player and finally pull the win or would he fall back into obscurity and have to relearn the newer era of Survivor?
7. Sherri Biethman – Caramoan
Sherri is perhaps one of the most underrated Survivor players in the history of the series. She dominated the early fans tribe, creating a strong six person alliance to counter the ‘cool kids.’ Following the switch she integrated well with Phillip The Specialist allowing her to survive to the merge where she did everything correctly to make the finals. Unfortunately due to circumstances (and a poor final tribal performance) she failed to gain respect from the jury. Sherri was a kickass older woman and had the basic foundations for a strong player which on a return could flourish and show what many people seemed to miss in Caramoan. Unfortunately a return from Sherri seems increasingly unlikely so it seems time to get #bringbacksherri trending over the internet!
6. Dreamz Herd – Fiji
Dreamz was a huge character in his season of Fiji. In some ways he was an influence in every tribal council results in which he attended. Dreamz isn’t a brilliant player and made many a mistake in the game which a second chance could see him either improving to become a competent player or at the bare minimum giving us that Dreamz entertainment that many enjoyed while watching Fiji. He is perhaps most remembered for the car deal in which he ruthlessly turned on Yau Man and thus proving he would do absolutely anything to make it to the finals, even if that anything is sacrificing any chance of winning the game at all. Dreamz was a memorable character who was a part of what made Fiji such a strong (and underrated) season, a season which needs to indulge in more returnees.
5. Neleh Dennis- Marquesas
I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t initially a strong Neleh fan but after several rewatches and her Survivor Oz interview, I am fully on board for her to return. She came one vote from winning Marquesas and was a formidable player who was a worthy second placer to Vecepia’s win. Neleh was an integral part of Survivor’s first ever power shift at the merge and is a part of a five person collective that will be fondly remembered amongst Survivor fans. What would make a return from Neleh so fascinating is that when she played in Marquesas she was a young Elisabeth like woman, filling the young ‘sweetheart’ role. Nowadays she is in her 30’s and married with children, more than likely very different to when she was in 2001. Players from that era have returned some time later such as Tina, Skupin and Gervase but none would have went through as much of a life transition that Neleh would have. It is nearing 15 years since she first played and it is time for Neleh to return!
4. Jaclyn Shultz – San Juan Del Sur
Jaclyn was such a fun player to watch in San Juan Del Sur and someone I think no one thought would end up being a finalist in the season, even one week before the finale. She started the season being the most invisible player, being dubbed as “Purple Jaclyn.” Once the tribe swap occurred she and her boyfriend (soon to be Husband) Jon started to explode as major players and characters in the season. Jaclyn is entertaining, good looking, a game player and had a story about her not being able to give birth to add into the package. Jaclyn ended up being a surprise star of San Juan Del Sur but is a good Survivor player who is worthy of returning to the game, let’s hope she can even match her epic final challenge win and this time take the final win on the game. Just think of this image, Jaclyn Shultz (Misch?) as a winner of a future season of Survivor…MAKE IT HAPPEN CBS!!
3. Stephen Fishbach – Tocantins
Stephen was one of the main characters of Tocantins, if not overshadowed by Coach, JT and Tyson. He was the underdog, the unlikely city guy that overcame the odds and made it to the final day of Survivor. Stephen is often associated with another player be it Taj or JT. This pairing situation would make for an interesting return from Stephen to see if the guy who is often credited as the more strategic and even stronger player than JT could survive as his own independent player. JT won the jury vote 7-0, something that can’t happen by accident so could Stephen overcome the odds a second time this time stepping out of the shadow of any other player and gaining the credit that many fans think that he deserves. The fact that he is considered such a strong player yet is a finalist to receive zero votes to win the game makes for a strong case for a returning player story arc.
2. Twila Tanner – Vanuatu
Twila is one of my all-time favourite people to play. She is a character, an older woman who is tough in the challenges, definitely has some game all while being a completely genuine person who isn’t playing up the characters. Twila had a rocky road to the finals and perhaps surprisingly came so close to the win. While Ami and Eliza took the spots for Micronesia, Twila should have already returned to the game. She could have easily fitted a villain role in Heroes vs villains or joined Blood vs Water with a relative. I am sceptical if Twila could win the game on a second time but she is so damn entertaining that she has to return. Twila has a huge cult fan base and is still fondly remembered over 10 years since the original airing of the season. Twila would bring the same no nonsense personality and repeat everything we loved about her back in 2004. In simple terms…Twila Tanner is awesome!
1. Kelly Wiglesworth – Borneo
Kelly Wiglesworth is the original, the very first runner up and finalist in Survivor history. Back in Borneo in 2000, over 51 million Americans tuned in to see her lose out to Richard Hatch as the first ever winner by just one vote of the jury. Kelly is a Survivor legend, an extremely memorable character that stood on her own during Borneo, absolutely dominating the reward and immunity challenges and turning on her Tagi four alliance, in turn leading to the infamous Rats and Snakes speech. If there is one contestant of all 400 odd players I want to see return, Kelly Wiglesworth is that one. She initially turned down a spot on All Stars as she was done with the experience but if she was willing to (which she very well might be) then CBS and Survivor need Kelly back on the show ASAP. Kelly had one of the best story arcs during the first ever season and would have one of the best stories to return with, could she continue her legacy and finally get revenge on Richard and Sue by winning a returning player season? I refuse to accept the fact that Survivor could one day end without Kelly gracing our screens one more time. Kelly Wiglesworth is without a doubt the number one finalist who should return to play!
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there non-winning finalists 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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