The worst kept secret in Survivor was confirmed last week as CBS officially announced that season 31 would be a Second Chance season where YOU the viewer gets to vote for some of your favourites to return for another shot at the game! Now as we prepare to see the cast announced at next weeks Worlds Apart finale, Ben and the Ozlets sit down and analyse the 32 candidates and talk up who they want to see come back for another shot. Our Ozlet James Pickering also takes you through each of the candidates with his written analysis in what is serving to be one of the most exciting times in the history of the show! Click for more!
Get prepared for another fun episode as Ben and the Ozlets take you through each of the candidates, pick their ideal cast and each give their predictions as to who they feel will be on the final cast! Ben also gives you a bit of a teaser for who will be coming on Survivor Oz in the coming days to help talk up their chances!
Ozlet James Pickering now gives you a full written analysis of each of the players! Read on for more:
Survivor fans, it’s finally happened. We have the second chance season many of us have been pining for. In one of the worst kept secrets in TV, CBS finally announced on after the latest episode that season 31 will officially be Survivor: Second Chances. For the first time since Heroes v Villains and for only the third time in the show’s 15-year history, we will have a full returnee season. And what makes it even more interesting? Well, for the first time in the show’s history, the cast will be decided by a fan vote. According to CBS, every single member of the cast will be left up to the fans – the 10 female and male contestants that receive the most votes will be the very contestants fighting it out for the million-dollar cheque and the title of sole survivor. It’s an unprecedented move by the producers of the show, and one that is sure to invoke a lot of discussion and chatter.
For any decision that deflects from the usual procedure so abruptly, there is always an air of cautious optimism surrounding new rules. There are cynics and optimists; people certain that this is the moment the show finally admitted it’s approaching it’s end; others adamant it’s a bold move by one of the most resilient franchise’s in American TV – one that is coincidentally enjoying an increase in viewing figures and winning it’s time slot against the former giant American Idol. Personally, I’m on the fence. It’s certainly a bold move – and one that if executed correctly could lead to a fantastic season. Survivor producers have said for years that they listen to the fan base and act accordingly, and this is definitely them proving it once and for all. But it comes with huge risks – handing over the decision of who the cast is for a season to the fans, many of whom only watch the show once a week and promptly forget anything that happened more than 3 seasons ago certainly opens up the possibility of extreme recency bias. It would not be unprecedented – when the US version of Big Brother allowed the public to vote for who should enter the house for an All-Star season, the highest proportion of people voted in were from the season just prior. The producers also gave themselves six choices that weren’t subject to a fan vote, which gave them a level of power in perhaps balancing the season to give it a well-rounded cast. Survivor producers supposedly haven’t given themselves that luxury.
Not giving themselves the luxury to choose the cast of their own TV show is a huge risk by Survivor producers. Make no mistake – it is impossible to have a good season of reality TV without a well balanced, diverse and interesting cast. It is the propeller that moves the season forward – if it is unbalanced and as a result one-dimensional, the season will not be entertaining to watch. The best seasons of Survivor are the ones with the best casts – Pearl Islands and Cagayan are both universally beloved and it is no coincidence that both have some of the most memorable character’s in the franchise’s history. Putting the entire cast decision in the hands of the public, albeit with the restriction of only being able to choose contestants off a list published by the producers, is either going to be genius or idiocy. We’ll only know when the results are published.
Personally, I’m a cynic. I think the producers are going to have to influence the cast in secret, and won’t allow the entire cast to be out of their hands. They have to ensure that there is a mix of races, ages and personalities. They’re not going to allow the entire cast to be white and in between the age of 20 and 35. There is just no way. They also not going to put somebody like Kelly Wiglesworth or Shane Powers in the mix and then not cast them. But I could be wrong.
There is no point rambling on any longer without looking at the nominees. So here we go…
List of Male Nominees
Name: Jeff Varner
Original Season/Place: 10th Place and merge boot of Survivor: Australian Outback
Most famous for: A contestant on the most watched season in history; a member of the popular Kucha tribe; stepping out of an immunity challenge for peanut butter before being voted off at the crucial merge vote after his previous votes were disclosed to Ogakor by his tribe mate Kimmi Kappenberg.
Pros: His charisma oozes through the TV screen. Exceptionally engaging and amusing in confessionals. Had Kucha gained the numbers at that crucial merge vote, he was in a good position to go far. Seemed to have a good strategic game despite it being in the early days of Survivor.
Cons: Might be a victim of recency bias, as more casual fans will have forgotten about him. Competing with some popular, more recent players who fit the same casting prototype. Has an alleged history in providing spoilers for previous seasons.
Likelihood to be cast: By no means a 100% certainty. I don’t think he beats more recent players in a fan vote. I think he’d have to rely on Production making sure he’s on to appear.
Verdict: Personally, I want to see him back. Re-watch Australia again; he’s dynamite entertainment. I think he’s also more dynamic by somebody like Jim Rice, who is a very similar character.
He’d be on my list.
Name: Andrew Savage
Original Season/Place: 10th Place and merge boot of Survivor: Pearl Islands
Most famous for: The de-facto leader of the Morgan tribe on one of the most beloved seasons in the franchise’s history; singlehandedly winning challenges with epic displays of will power; having his word come back to bite him when his former tribe mate returned to vote him out.
Pros: One of the most polarising figures in Survivor history, and polarising characters always make good TV. Enchanting in confessionals. A memorable character in a season with arguably the best cast ever. No mean feat.
Cons: He fills an alpha-male spot that there are many candidates for. Some people find him pompous and arrogant. Might be at an unfair advantage due to his alleged close friendship with Jeff Probst.
Likelihood to be cast: He doesn’t get in on a fan vote alone. Like Varner, would be relying on production to ensure his spot. Despite this, I have a feeling he will be there.
Verdict: I’m on the pro-Savage train and I always have been. I found him engaging, likeable and very eloquent. Above all, he’s a great character. On the cast for me.
Name: Shane Powers
Original Season/Place: 5th place and 5th jury member on Survivor: Panama
Most famous for: The guy who gave up a several-pack-a-day cigarette addiction a day before going out on the island, leading to whacky outbursts and confrontations with his tribe mates. Adopting a piece of wood as his ‘Blackberry’. Threatening to kill Courtney Marit. Being very protective of his thinking chair.
Pros: If you want entertainment, unpredictability and genuine craziness, Shane’s your man. He’s very memorable for a reason; he delivered as a character. Also was playing a decent strategic game despite all of the above before he got voted out.
Cons: Genuine craziness can also be a tad scary at times. Seems very annoyed at being turned down at the last moment for a return on various seasons in the past, so might not be interested unless guaranteed a spot. And… I’m struggling here…
Likelihood to be cast: He should have returned already. Again, recency bias might hurt him – its approaching ten years since his season aired. But I think production will ensure his return this time.
Verdict: He’s the most obvious must-have for the men on this season. The candidates to return are filled with strategic players – we need some wackiness and craziness.
Please god. Please.
Name: Terry Deitz
Original Season/Place: 3rd place and 7th jury member on Survivor: Panama
Most famous for: Being an absolute challenge beast and equalling Colby Donaldson’s 5 individual immunities record. Very nearly making it to the very end despite being outnumbered at the merge. Being told to call a ‘whambulance’ by Aras Baskauskas, the eventual winner.
Pros: He’s a legitimate Survivor record holder; winning 5 immunities in a single season is no mean feat. Like Shane, he’s been rumoured to be returning on numerous occasions. Was very popular with the audience at the time as the massive underdog. Seeing him compete with Vytas would be interesting.
Cons: One of several alpha-males on the potential cast list, so he has a lot of competition. Would now be 55, so physically it is hard to imagine he’s in the same shape as he was 10 years ago.
Likelihood to be cast: Hard to call. I think a genuine 50/50 chance.
Verdict: He’s somebody who I’d be happy to see return, but not devastated if he wasn’t there. His spot is easily filled with other characters that are just as dynamic and interesting to watch.
Name: Stephen Fishbach
Original Season/Place: 2nd place runner-up to JT Thomas on Survivor: Tocantins
Most famous for: Forming a legitimate power couple alliance with JT and managing to overturn a numbers disadvantage at the merge to make it all the way to the final two. Not having the best final tribal in history. Now highly respected and beloved in the fan community for his work as a Know-it-All on Rob Has a Podcast and his blog at people.com.
Pros: Showed good strategic gameplay in Tocantins that with some fine-tuning could make him a formidable player. Obviously well informed on Survivor strategy and recent seasons. As stated, is very popular online for his work on RHAP and is well connected with the Survivor community in general.
Cons: Going in as the strategic super-fan prototype character, and boy there is some strong competition. Spencer is without a doubt being cast, so whether there is room for Stephen as well is debateable. Might be hard to come back as a Know-it-All if he’s voted out early, which is a high possibility considering the strategic and social threat he is.
Likelihood to be cast: RHAP has a very loyal and dedicated fan base, so their support in the voting process will be crucial. I think he’s not going to be able to rely on production to get cast. It’ll come down to votes. And the knowing RHAP fan base, I think he’ll be there.
Verdict: I think he’ll be there. And I won’t be disappointed about it.
Name: Jim Rice
Original Season/Place: 12th place and 1st jury member on Survivor: South Pacific
Most famous for: Being a medical marijuana dispenser. Being in a good position on the Savaii before the infamous John Cochran flip.
Pros: Showed an awareness of the strategic element that the game entails. Was good in confessionals.
Cons: He’s going for a men’s strategic game-player spot on the season. And there are a lot of candidates for that position. Although on a relatively recent season, it’s far enough away for some more casual fans to forget him.
Likelihood to be cast: I don’t think he makes it. I could be wrong, but I think there are other candidates who will beat him in both a fan vote and in production’s preference to play again.
Verdict: Jim was always a meh character for me. I hate South Pacific as a season, so my view of him is probably tainted as a result. But I won’t lose any sleep if he’s not there. Give me a Vytas/Jeff Varner over Jim any day of the week.
Name: Troyzan Robertson
Original Season/Place: 8th place and 5th jury member on Survivor: One World
Most famous for: Screaming ‘This is my island’ at his tribe mates after winning a crucial immunity. Being the underdog that valiantly lost to an all-conquering woman’s alliance and one of the most dominant winners in Survivor history.
Pros: Played strategically. Good in challenges. Was an underdog that people rooted for. One of the most memorable contestants from his season.
Cons: See Jim Rice except add bundles of obnoxiousness. Remains bitter about the fact he lost his original season. Being one of the most memorable cast members on a season as unpopular as One World doesn’t help too much.
Likelihood to be cast: I think he will expect to be a shoe in, but he might not be. Like Terry, I think it’s a 50/50 shot.
Verdict: No thanks.
Name: Brad Culpepper
Original Season/Place: 15th place pre-merge boot on Survivor: Blood v Water
Most famous for: Being the dominant alpha-male leader on the tribe of loved ones at the beginning of the game. Struggling with numbers. Being blamed by everybody on Redemption Island for his or her demise, most noticeably when sworn at by Candice Cody. Was blindsided when the late Caleb Bankston memorably flipped his vote at tribal council.
Pros: One of those characters that just makes good TV. Tried to play the game strategically, and was an obvious physical presence. Provided bundles of drama and was a big part of achieving the unthinkable; making Redemption Island compelling and worthwhile viewing.
Cons: Got voted out early in the season, which means his character wasn’t as fully developed as others. Lots of competition for alpha-male spot. Involved in a publicised legal spat over insurance that was caused directly by his participation in his previous season, so might not be interested or able to compete. There are a lot of candidates from his season, and they aren’t going to cast them all.
Likelihood to be cast: I think he’s coming back. He got a lot of airtime, he’s a former NFL player so brings some of that wow factor, and Jeff Probst loved him.
Verdict: A character with a lot of potential. Causes conflict wherever he goes, which is always good television. Yes please.
Name: Vytas Baskauskas
Original Season/Place: 10th Place and 2nd jury member on Survivor: Blood v Water
Most famous for: Being the former heroin addict turned yoga instructor brother of former winner Aras Baskauskas. Playing the game well until finding himself voted out immediately after his brother’s blindside. Casting his jury vote for Monica in order to decide who finished second.
Pros: Again, Vytas just made good TV. He was very engaging in his confessionals, and eloquent in the way he expressed himself. His calculated way of using his former struggles as a way of making people trust him was fascinating to watch. He’s a character who I think could be explored further.
Cons: I sound like a broken record, but he’s going for the strategic male character prototype. They are only going to cast a limited amount of them and there is substantial competition for that role.
Likelihood to be cast: Although he’s got a lot of competition, I think he’ll be there. He was a dynamic character who Jeff Probst loved. Plus he was memorable and from a recent season.
Verdict: He’s not on my absolute must be there list, but I think he’d add something to any season on which he was present, and as a result I will be happy to see him there.
Name: Spencer Bledsoe
Original Season/Place: 4th Place and 8th jury member on Survivor: Cagayan
Most famous for: He’s the super fan who became the likeable plucky underdog. Made it all the way to the final 4 against the all odds before finally being voted out by his arch nemesis’s Kass and Tony.
Pros: Incredibly popular contestant from a popular recent season. Knows the game well, was good in challenges and active on social media. Has the potential to learn from his mistakes last time and come back a better player.
Cons: Could be seen as a big threat and as a result have a large target on his back immediately.
Likelihood to be cast: Oh, come on. He’s a complete lock. There is absolutely no chance Spencer isn’t there.
Verdict: He’ll be there. No point even considering a possibility where he isn’t. I don’t think it exists.
Name: Woo Hwang
Original Season/Place: 2nd Place runner-up to Tony Vlachos on Survivor: Cagayan
Most famous for: Infamously took Tony to the final 2 ahead of Kass, who was widely seen as a goat who Woo would have beaten easily. Instead, he lost in a landslide 8-1 final tribal council.
Pros: He’s got the basics to be a very good Survivor player – he’s physically fit and very likeable, plus he’s not seen as a threat. He’s had a go at the game, so his understanding of the strategic element of it should be stronger. And cynically again, he does fill a racial minority spot which can only help him in a list of mainly white men.
Cons: Didn’t get a lot of screen time for a losing finalist, and he wasn’t the most lively TV in the world. Could be somebody that is again carried to the end as a goat again, and not contributing much to the storyline.
Likelihood to be cast: I think he’s unlikely to be cast.
Verdict: Personally, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Woo again; I liked him. I think he could be an interesting person to come back and see how he’s grown from the experience.
Name: Jeremy Collins
Original Season/Place: 10th Place and 2nd jury member on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur
Most famous for: Strategically dominating his tribe and the pre-merge game of his season. Had a big rivalry with his fellow tribe mate Josh Canfield which he ended up victorious in before being promptly blindsided himself.
Pros: He was a fan of the show and understood how the game worked. He had a good grasp on the season up until he was blindsided. Good in challenges. Being a racial minority also is a positive because as stated before, the options for men this season is heavily white. Is from a very recent season, so will be fresh in the minds of fans.
Cons: He was a bit of a whiner in San Juan Del Sur, plus the way he berated Keith at the reunion show was harsh. Play the ‘strategic male’ music again.
Likelihood to be cast: I think he’s in. He’s a popular contestant from a very recent season who made good TV, and it’s a bonus he is also a representative of a racial minority.
Verdict: Personally, I’d like to see him again. It’s very likely, and it doesn’t upset me. I won’t lose sleep if he isn’t there, but I’d much prefer him to many others.
Name: Keith Nale
Original Season/Place: 4th Place and 8th Jury member on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur
Most famous for: Bumbling his way to the end as he learnt how to play the game whilst playing it. Became an unlikely immunity challenge threat.
Pros: It’s hard to be a completely unique character after 29 seasons, but Keith is one of the most unique we’ve had in recent history. He was endearing in his naivety and highly likeable in his approach to the game. Although he is by no means the strongest strategic contestant ever, he still came one challenge win away from being 1 of only 28 Survivor winners. And he is definitely unique on this list of available men. He brings something different to the table.
Cons: He’s not strategically strong. He probably doesn’t have too much of a chance of winning.
Likelihood to be cast: He’s got a good shot due to recency bias and the fact he was a popular underdog. I think he’s going to be a part of this season.
Verdict: I want him there. He brings something completely fresh to the cast. We need characters like Keith on Survivor. They make it fun.
Name: Max Dawson
Original Season/Place: 14th place pre-merge boot on Survivor: Worlds Apart
Most famous for: Being the Survivor professor. Spending his time on the island paying tribute to previous players at the expense of getting himself in a better position. Being blindsided after joking about the ‘hold up, bro’ moment in Survivor: Caramoan.
Pros: He’s a professor that teaches his students about the show– he obviously knows how the game works. He’d have a lot to prove after his last showing. And we didn’t see a lot of him so he probably has a lot more to offer us. Plus he can rely on recency bias for people remembering him
Cons: There is just so much competition for the strategic male role in the season. And the competition is very strong.
Likelihood to be cast: I think he misses out. If he does get in, it’s because of fans voting for him because he’s on the most recent season.
Verdict: I want to see him play again one day – I just would prefer to see some of the other nominees more. So it’s a pass for me. Nothing against him, there’s just stronger competition.
Name: Joe Anglim
Original Season/Place: 10th place and 2nd jury member on Survivor: Worlds Apart
Most famous for: He’s the loveable challenge beast; a modern day Ozzy. Also a heartthrob for the women and gay fan bases.
Pros: He was super popular on his current season, and that is a huge asset to have going into a public vote like this one. He was very impressive in challenges, and he’s a very likeable bloke. Also Probst loves him.
Cons: He’ll always be a big target due to his ability in challenges.
Likelihood to be cast: He’s 100% going to be there.
Verdict: Personally, I don’t need to see him again, but he’s going to be there and I’m ok with that.
Name: Mike Holloway
Original Season/Place: TBC on Survivor: Worlds Apart
Most famous for: Being the underdog on the most current season. Looking like a potential winner at the moment.
Pros: He’s popular in the fan base and a big character in the most modern season. He’s very good in challenges and has shown some strategic prowess that could be improved on after playing once before.
Cons: His social game is not the best, as shown by the impressive feat of going from the head of his alliance to public enemy number one through his own fault. He’ll also have a target on his back due to his popularity.
Likelihood to be cast: If he doesn’t win, recency bias will ensure he makes an appearance once again.
Verdict: I’d prefer to see other men on this season, but he’s going to be there if he doesn’t win his current season. I’ve accepted that and come to terms with it.
List of Female Nominees
Name: Kelly Wiglesworth
Original Season/Place: 2nd Place runner up to Richard Hatch on Survivor: Borneo
Most famous for: Being a member of the Tagi 4 and the runner-up on the founding season of the show. Still holds the record for the most consecutive immunity wins by a female. She was the unfortunate target of the infamous Sue Hawk ‘snakes and rats speech’.
Pros: She’s a Survivor icon purely because of her place as the first runner-up in the show’s history. Seeing anybody from the first season come back makes for fascinating viewing. The fact her immunity record still stands THIRTY seasons later shows just how much of a challenge beast she was, and it would be interesting to see whether she could do it again.
Cons: According to her interview with Survivor Oz, she didn’t even watch her own season when it was aired, so might be very naïve on how the game has evolved. She wasn’t the most dynamic character the first time out either, but she was up against a stellar cast. It’s hard to predict how she’ll go or be the same person fifteen years on.
Likelihood to be cast: I don’t think she would be in the mix if she weren’t going to be cast. She got a random mention from Jeff in Survivor: Cagayan, which suggests they want to remind the audience of her existence. Production must want her back, and if they want her, she’ll be there.
Verdict: I’d have her back in a second. She’s one of the most interesting options for the women for this season.
Name: Kimmi Kappenberg
Original Season/Place: 12th Place pre-merge boot on Survivor: Australian Outback
Most famous for: The loud mouth vegetarian from the second season of the show. A participant in the infamous ‘I will always wave my finger in your face’ argument’. Spoke loudly on national television about masturbation. Almost couldn’t compete in the gross food challenge due to her vegetarian beliefs. Believed to be the reason why the Ogakor tribe knew that her tribe mate Jeff Varner had votes at previous tribal councils.
Pros: She’s a contestant from the most viewed season in the show’s history, and was involved in some iconic moments. She is loud mouthed and brash, and that almost always means entertainment. It’d be interesting to see the whole vegetarian dilemma again when the gross food challenge is inevitably played.
Cons: She seems an incredibly random candidate – a pre-merge boot from a season that aired approaching 15 years ago? Plus she was a 27 year old when she last played – she’d now be a 42-year-old mother. That’s not necessarily a problem, but she’d be filling a different demographic.
Likelihood to be cast: The fact she’s even being considered leads me to believe she has a shot – why else would she be in the mix 15 years on?! Having said that, there is no way she’s going to get through on a public vote. Would need to rely on production to ensure her a spot.
Verdict: I’m on the fence with Kimmi. I wouldn’t be disappointed either way. She’s too much of a wildcard pick to have any real strong opinions about. She could be an amazing casting choice, and she could be a complete flop. We just don’t know.
Name: Teresa Cooper
Original Season/Place: 5th Place and 5th jury member on Survivor: Africa
Most famous for: She was the southern flight attendant who overcame the cursed young person alliance of Samburu to make it all the way to the final 5. She also cast a vote for Lex at the merge tribal council, which became a massive issue in the game as he blamed Kelly Goldsmith for it.
Pros: She was a highly likeable lady, and she also showed some cutthroat game play when allowing Kelly Goldsmith to take the fall for her stray Lex vote. She’s also one of the forgotten underrated gems as a character (the sweet lady whose also a member of the mile high club?!). She fills a demographic that isn’t as competitive as others, and seems unique compared to the other candidates.
Cons: As a contestant from an earlier season, she will struggle in a fan vote due to recency bias. More than ten years has passed since her original season. At 55 now, if she was cast, she’d be a target immediately purely because of her age.
Likelihood to be cast: I think she’s going to be there. She fills a different demographic to 85% of the women candidates, and she’s one of the most dynamic of the remaining 15%. Production will want her there, so she will be.
Verdict: Yes, yes, yes. And she’s a winner candidate.
Name: Peih-Gee Law
Original Season/Place: 5th Place and 6th jury member on Survivor: China
Most famous for: Being a plucky underdog on a pretty popular season. Fighting her way to fifth place against the odds but ultimately falling just short. Also was involved in one of the most blatant challenge throws in the history of the franchise.
Pros: She showed she has some strategic chops and it would be interesting to see what she learnt from her first time out there. She was pretty popular amongst the viewers when China aired. She also fills a racial demographic.
Cons: She’s from that middle period of Survivor where lots of people weren’t bought back and thus have been forgotten. People from earlier seasons benefit from nostalgia, people from recent seasons from recency bias. Peih Gee doesn’t get either.
Likelihood to be cast: She’s not going up for the bikini body role where she would beat some more forgettable contestants. I think she’s competing with people like Tasha, Sabrina and Shirin for a spot. If she gets a spot, I think it’ll be a borderline call.
Verdict: I want her there. She’s a much more interesting proposition than many of the other women that could potentially be cast. I can see her missing out though.
Name: Monica Padilla
Original Season/Place: 7th Place and 6th jury member on Survivor: Samoa
Most famous for: Being on a season with Russell Hantz.
Pros: I think she has some strategic nous about her, and would surprise some people. She was the first person to really get under Russell’s skin that season, which she tried to use to her advantage. People seem to forget how much of a non-entity Parvati was in her first season. She’s also very attractive, which might get her votes from some young men.
Cons: Like everybody on Samoa that wasn’t called Russell, she was heavily under edited, meaning that she’s not a very memorable character.
Likelihood to be cast: I think she faces a struggle to get the vote required. The only thing going for her is that many candidates filling the same demographic are as equally unmemorable.
Verdict: I’d like to see her cast. She’s more interesting than some of the younger women up for the vote. *Cough Mikayla cough*
Name: Stephanie Valencia
Original Season/Place: 14th Place pre-merge boot on Survivor: Redemption Island
Most famous for: Being on a season with Russell Hantz.
Pros: She’s quite feisty and tries to play an aggressive game, which can make for entertaining viewing. For a pre-merge boot she did receive quite a lot of airtime. Her mistake was aligning with Russell when he was obviously a massive target and thus alienating herself from the rest of the tribe. It’d be interesting to see what she has learnt.
Cons: She’s a pre-merge boot on the one of the most unpopular seasons of all time. That season was also a good few years ago now, so she won’t have the recency to rely on in order for the public to remember her.
Likelihood to be cast: I have a feeling she’ll be there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she misses out.
Verdict: Meh. I don’t really care either way.
Name: Natalie Tenerelli
Original Season/Place: 3rd Place runner-up to Rob Mariano on Survivor: Redemption Island
Most famous for: Being the girl who allowed herself to be led to the final three with Boston Rob, before being accused of riding coattails and not doing anything by the jury and getting zero votes at the final tribal council.
Pros: She was super young in her first season. A few years more life experience combined with the lessons she learnt from playing before should put her in a position to improve on her last showing. And she’s very, very attractive.
Cons: Often accused of being the person who allowed Redemption Island to be so painfully boring as a season. Her letting Boston Rob to run that season without trying to do anything about it means many fans don’t like her at all. Also accused of just being boring television.
Likelihood to be cast: I’ll think she’ll be there because she’s attractive and a name people recognise.
Verdict: She wouldn’t have been in my list of candidates to be up for the vote, but now that she is I actually wouldn’t mind her coming back. She’d have a lot to prove and I think she could do quite well given the opportunity.
Name: Mikayla Wingle
Original Season/Place: 14th Place pre-merge boot on Survivor: South Pacific
Most famous for: Getting voted out because Brandon Hantz didn’t like the urges she provoked in him.
Pros: She perhaps got targeted unfairly in South Pacific and left the game through no fault of her own. She’s attractive and probably good in individual challenges if given the chance. Again, would have a lot to prove.
Cons: She’s an entirely forgettable character in a season that is met with disdain by the audience. It’s just so random that she’s a candidate.
Likelihood to be cast: I don’t think she’s going to get the votes. I see her being one of the people missing out.
Verdict: No. I don’t have strong feelings either way. She’s just such a generic character. And a pre-merge boot from a season a few years ago. No thanks.
Name: Sabrina Thompson
Original Season/Place: 2nd Place runner-up to Kim Spradlin on Survivor: One World
Most famous for: Being a runner-up to one of the most dominant winners in Survivor history, Kim Spradlin.
Pros: She was a player that had a lot of potential and a good chance of winning if she wasn’t up against one of the best players of all time. Her social game was impeccable, shown by the fact she managed to get two votes. She also a fun character who represents a minority.
Cons: For some reason I struggle to remember anything about her. For a runner up, her edit was quite minimal. She might struggle with getting the votes required for that reason. Plus One World isn’t a popular season.
Likelihood to be cast: I think she’s going to miss out.
Verdict: I think if she got on she’d do well and be an interesting person to watch. She’d even be a potential winner for me. But I think she’ll struggle to get the votes required to make that a reality.
Name: Abi-Maria Gomes
Original Season/Place: 5th Place and 7th jury member on Survivor: Philippines
Most famous for: Being the cantankerous villain of Philippines. Being so annoying that she was voted off despite looking like the perfect goat. Calling Mike Skupin a moron at tribal council.
Pros: Say what you want about Abi Maria – she’s great TV. I couldn’t stand her on first watch, but she’s grown on me over time. She is a fountain of entertainment to enjoy. She’s a very memorable character from the past five seasons as well. Oh, and she represents a racial minority, and certainly can’t hurt.
Cons: She’d have a big target on her back due to her reputation. I don’t think she’s ever going to be a viable winner candidate for a social game like Survivor. Plus due to her edit last time, she might tone down what made her so entertaining to start with.
Likelihood to be cast: She’ll be there. She’s one of the most memorable women on the list.
Verdict: She’s a must. Offers something completely different, and she’s such entertaining TV. The season will be so much poorer without Abi Maria on it. And just imagine her, Kass and Shane Powers on the same beach. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Name: Ciera Eastin
Original Season/Place: 5th Place and 7th jury member on Survivor: Blood v Water
Most famous for: Being the girl that voted out her mum. Realising that she was on the bottom of an alliance of four during tribal council, and then forcing only the second rock draw in the show’s history. Also was the subject of a Probst rant at the reunion show about being the perfect example of how to play a game like Survivor.
Pros: She was one of the stars of a recent season that had a very strong cast. Her willingness to make moves does make for entertaining TV. I feel that her character was well developed – although a lot of her confessionals centred on strategy, there was a lot of emotional content that makes her likeable and memorable.
Cons: She was a target from the start in BvW due to her weakness in challenges, and there is no reason not to believe it won’t happen again. Plus she’ll have a big target on her back purely because everybody knows she was willing to vote out her mother.
Likelihood to be cast: I think she’s the Spencer of the girl’s list. There isn’t a scenario where she isn’t there.
Verdict: She’ll be there and I’m very happy about it. I am firmly on the Ciera bandwagon. I just hope she isn’t an early boot, because I think that’s a strong possibility.
Name: Tasha Fox
Original Season/Place: 6th Place and 6th jury member on Survivor: Cagayan
Most famous for: Being a member of the notoriously bad Brains tribe. Being in the minority alliance 95% of the game. Battling her way to sixth place against the odds, with the help of an impressive individual immunity run.
Pros: She’s a memorable character from an incredibly popular recent season. Her performances in the individual challenges were impressive to say the least. She also showed some good strategic skills throughout that with the added experience of already having played once should improve. She also represents a racial minority.
Cons: I think originally being from Cagayan might actually be a disadvantage for Tasha – on any other season she’d be one of the most memorable characters. She’s not in the top tier for characters from that season, and that might be a disadvantage. She also might be targeted due to her challenge prowess.
Likelihood to be cast: I think she’ll be there because she was very likeable. Plus the women up for nomination aren’t as strong as the men.
Verdict: She could win. I think she’s got a good shot. And I am looking forward to seeing her play again.
Name: Kass McQuillen
Original Season/Place: 3rd Place and 9th jury member on Survivor: Cagayan
Most famous for: For being ‘Chaos Kass’. Being the catalyst of some of the most debated moves in recent history. Also providing some incredibly cutting confessionals and being the reason we were blessed with Tony’s llama voice.
Pros: Oh my days, she’s entertaining TV. Every scene that Kass is in is better for it. She was such a polarising character, but polarising is a good thing. She wasn’t boring. She is completely unique to any other of the candidates. And she’s a huge fan of the show. What’s not to love?
Cons: She’ll have a completely humongous target on her back.
Likelihood to be cast: She’ll be there.
Verdict: I absolutely love Kass and can’t wait to see her again, but I’m almost certain she’ll be the first boot of her tribe. I hope I’m wrong so much, but I just can’t see it going any other way.
Name: Kelley Wentworth
Original Season/Place: 14th Place pre-merge boot on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur
Most famous for: Showing some good game play before being voted out early on. Also being a big part of the fan community since her boot. Making it to the final three of the RHAP Miss Survivor competition.
Pros: She is a huge fan of the show, and from the little we saw she looked like she had a good grasp on the game. She’s also very popular in the fan community, and that can only help when it comes to getting the votes required to be a part of the season. Plus she’s from a very, very recent season, so has that advantage over some other pre-merge boots from earlier seasons.
Cons: She’s a pre-merge from a season that had a pretty generic pre-merge. She didn’t receive a lot of airtime. And there is a lot of competition for the young girl that looks good in a bikini role.
Likelihood to be cast: She’s shown previous skills in campaigning for votes, and for that reason and the strength of the online community, I think she’ll scrape into the season. Will be a close call though.
Verdict: I want to see her play again and she’s the type of person who will win this season – a low profile woman without a big target on her back. Those type of people win all-star seasons.
Name: Shirin Oskooi
Original Season/Place: 8th place and 4th jury member on Survivor: Worlds Apart
Most famous for: Being the loveable superfan on the season currently airing. Garnering a lot of sympathy for the way she was treated by some of her fellow tribe mates, and provoking debate about issues as serious as domestic abuse and misogyny. And before all that, she was the one who was washing dishes with a bikini top on but the bottoms off.
Pros: She’s hugely popular, and right at the forefront of everybody’s mind as we see her every Wednesday on TV. She’s very likeable, and because she’s such a big fan, it would be fascinating to see her come back and play again to correct some mistakes she definitely did make.
Cons: It was portrayed on TV that she annoyed pretty much everybody on her season, and that means her social game needs improvement. She’s also very popular, so might be a target for other players who don’t want her to steal all the airtime.
Likelihood to be cast: She’s going to be there. That much is certain. I will be shocked if she isn’t. Beyond shocked.
Verdict: Yes, yes, yes. Has to be there. And will be.
Name: Carolyn Rivera
Original Season/Place: TBC on Survivor: Worlds Apart
Most famous for: Being ‘Mama C’. She’s put herself in a good position in her current season. Hard to say what she’s most famous for before she’s been voted off. At the moment, probably finding the idol in the first episode.
Pros: She’s a gamer and that much is certain. Also incredibly good in challenges for somebody her age. Also has a very good social game considering how integral she is to most people’s games within the current season.
Cons: She’s not had an exceptional amount of airtime since the first episode. Always seems to be on the periphery of what the episodes have focused on. That’s not a bad thing considering the bad tone of the episodes, but it’s not helpful in getting to know Carolyn as a character. Is also going for the older lady demographic, which there aren’t usually a lot of in a season and the candidates for that role are very strong.
Likelihood to be cast: I think she’ll probably be there due to recency bias.
Verdict: I don’t mind seeing her again, but there are others I want to see more.
Contestants that were overlooked
Obviously with a process like this, producers aren’t going to please everybody with the choices in nominations. I think they’ve done a pretty good job overall. Personally, I think it would have been nice to see some more old school players like John Carroll, Sean Rector, Coby Archa, Deena Bennett, Helen Glover and Katie Gallagher. Greg Buis was originally rumoured to be a part of the nominations, and obviously that would have been amazing. From more recent seasons, I think there are some noticeable snubs on the female side – people like Erinn Lobdell and Taj Johnson-George are far more interesting prospects than some of the ladies on the list. For a random pre-merge pick, I’d have liked to have seen Jillian Behm in contention over some of the random pre-merge options on the ladies side – she was a player with a lot of potential before falling victim to a tribe swap. Her partner in crime Marty Piombo is also a name noticeable in it’s absence, as is Holly Hoffman and RC Saint-Amour. All three have been linked with returns in the past, so it’s a surprise not to see them in the mix here. Hayden Moss was also originally linked with being a candidate, but seems to have been overlooked. Above all though, I’d have loved to have seen somebody from Guatemala – it’s criminal nobody has returned from that season. Judd Sergeant, Jamie Newton, Cindy Hall, Brian Corridan, Amy O’Hara and Rafe Judkins would have all been great additions to the candidate list. But Judd would have been incredible.
Opinions of other Ozlets
Cable: “While I’m a tad disappointed in some survivors that missed out on the final 32, I’m extremely happy that CBS, Jeff Probst, Lynne Spillman etc, have actually let the fans decide who gets to play the game again. I think too many fans have focused on the negatives, like who missed out, why is he/she getting another chance, and why are there so many Worlds Apart players and forget to realise how epic it is that we as fans get to have a say. This is a monumental day in the history of Survivor and one that the fan community should embrace and realise how important we are as viewers, to the success and longevity to the show. I just hope as a community we bring back an awesome cast, and have one of the best seasons of all time. If this season becomes a roaring success expect another second chances or favourites season in the coming years!”
At the end of the day, although it’s very exciting to think we have an influence in deciding the cast for a returnee season, the only thing I care about is that we have an entertaining season of Survivor. There is the potential here to have an absolutely fantastic season with a balanced cast of returnees, all of whom have something to prove and will be hungry to correct past mistakes. If that opportunity is wasted because producers couldn’t cast players they knew would provide entertainment, then this whole experiment will be a mistake. If we get the right cast, then it will be a success.
And just so you know who you should be voting for, here is the cast that I think will provide the most entertainment for the viewing public.
Peih Gee Law
Abi Maria Gomes
So get voting guys!
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Stay tuned in the coming days as we bring you interviews with the season 31 candidates!
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