Happy Wednesday S’Ozers, and that means its time for another top 10. This week Noah Groves continues his series on players who should return for a second time, with this selection of players coming from the middle era of Survivor. There’s no doubt there’s plenty of potential on this list but what other ‘middle school’ contestants from seasons 11-19 would deserve a second chance on the Survivor merry go round? Share your thoughts with a comment below!
10. Danni Boatwright – Guatemala
Danni is a bit of an anomaly as a winner. She overcame so much in the game to make it where she did and yet we saw so little of her in comparison to other players in the game and other winners for that matter. The common accepted theory for this was that Danni hid her gameplay from the producers to prevent them from manipulating the game and turning other players against her. Regardless of this Danni was still a fun player and with already winning the game she would have much less to ride on and would perhaps relax more in playing. This could be a chance for Danni to prove herself as a winner, player and character and hopefully show us more of her game and why it was such a success the first time around. Plus, Guatemala returnees!
9. Judd Sargent – Guatemala
Guatemala returnee number two making it on to this list, the producers seriously need to bring back some players from this season. Judd was arrogant, loud, over the top and often unlikeable but he was TV gold and is responsible for much of the greatness in Guatemala. He is a quote machine who would make his mark yet again in another season even if he was an early boot. On top of all this Judd is also an underrated player who had the potential to go on and win his season, or at least wasn’t a floater in finishing where he did. If it came down to Judd or Shane returning, both being similar players, I would choose Shane but there are so many benefits in bringing back Judd to Survivor. Unfortunately it is unlikely to ever happen.
8. Yul Kwon – Cook Islands
Another winner making it on to the list, I will never understand why people continue to call Yul a boring player. Yul dominated Cook Islands through his intelligence and strong social game. He was an entertaining player who many people rooted for to win the game and was voted second to Ozzy in the end of season fan favourite poll. On top of being plain awesome, Yul would be one of the better winners to bring back as his win is often credited to the god powered idol he had and less on his gameplay. Eliminating the idol would require Yul to focus on other aspects of the game to try and achieve the same level of success he had in his original season.
7. Natalie Bolton – Micronesia
Natalie, the longest lasting fan in her season is on many peoples list on who they want to see return. She was overshadowed by playing on a season full of big characters like Cirie, Amanda and Parvati but is still a popular player none the less. Natalie was a bit of a villain and had some entertaining confessionals. While she wasn’t the strongest player in the game, she showed a tonne of potential that could well be realised in a second outing. I am still kind of baffled she wasn’t included on the Villain tribe during Heroes vs Villains as she seems to have the full package of being a character, having a bit of game and an attractive woman. Natalie is one of those players who is seemingly always in the running to return but misses out at the last minute. Perhaps one day this will change and she will finally return to Survivor.
6. Taj George – Tocantins
I believe Taj has said that she doesn’t wish to return to Survivor which is why I am guessing that it hasn’t happened so far. She was a beloved player who was touted by many as the second coming of Cirie, an older African American woman who kicks arse. Tocantins is full of over the top and well known characters that Taj sometimes gets lost in the mix but in a season that wasn’t overly strategic, she was pretty damn impressive. She was crucial in the Exile Island alliance which could have went on to solidify this season as one of the most noteworthy in the entire Survivor canon. Taj was strategic, social and a fun character to watch from a viewer perspective. If she does decide that she wants to return, Taj is definitely someone who would deliver on a second time playing.
5. Rafe Judkins – Guatemala
Guatemala player number three on this list…seriously we are in dire need of someone from season eleven to return! Rafe is a hugely popular player who many fans have wanted to return since Guatemala first aired. Obviously his job as a television writer would realistically prevent him from playing again but who knows what the future holds. Rafe was a strong player who had some flaws in his game which makes him a perfect candidate to bring back for a redeeming second chance. At first glance you wouldn’t expect him to but he dominated in the challenges and excelled in the social and strategic aspects of the game. Who knows if he could have beat Danni but he for sure would have beaten Stephanie in a final two, coming so close to winning before allowing Danni to vote him out. Like many players I don’t think we will see him again but Rafe would be a brilliant player to bring back.
4. Earl Cole – Fiji
Earl is the third and final winner to appear on the list. Not only is Earl one of my favourite players, he is also one of the best. Perhaps even the greatest player in Survivor history, dare I say it. Fiji is an underrated season full of great characters and Earl is one of those. He dominated the game in every aspect and did everything right to ensure his win. On top of all this Earl is a fantastic narrator and comedic confessionalist. In my opinion Earl is the most dominate African American person to ever play the game, only adding to the list of reasons why he should return. I truly believe Earl could go on to win the game for a second time, something that few could. Earl’s best chance of returning is an all winners season and that is pretty unlikely to happen in its own right. I am currently taking submissions for the official Earl fan club, sign up now!
3. Kenny Hoang – Gabon
Of all the people on this list, Kenny is perhaps the biggest surprise to not have returned, with exception of the number one spot. I am actually not the biggest Ken Hoang fan but his impact on Gabon and as a character in Survivor can’t be denied. He has perhaps the biggest underdog story in the history of the show, starting from the geeky shy kid to the evil master of the tribe, a total breaking bad story, Gabon style. Ken’s game was impressive but still filled with many flaws that would no doubt be improved on the second time around. Would Kenny begin his second game at the same place he left off when he was voted out in Gabon or would he revert back to the shy guy that he was at the beginning of the season? Kenny could have easily fitted onto Heroes vs Villains, Fans vs Favourites, Blood vs Water and Second Chance so it is amazing that he hasn’t returned and perhaps now he never will.
2. Crystal Cox – Gabon
Joining Kenny is his closest ally in the game, Crystal. Crystal is an amazing character who is a big part of why Gabon was such a good season. Crystal was a part of many a memorable moment, be it ‘eat yo rice’ or sucking at nearly every challenge, most notably the basketball dunking which has me cracking up while I type this, a truly glorious moment. Crystal was the source of conflict, most notably with Randy which ended with her famous “forget you, go home, goodbye” confessional at tribal council. For such a big character (no pun intended) Crystal has surprisingly never returned and it is long overdue. How can someone this entertaining not be on the producer’s radar for a second go at the game? A long standing fan theory is that her Olympic medal controversy is what is preventing her return but given they have cast people along the lines of John Rocker would this really play a factor in her not returning?
1. Shane Powers – Panama
If there is one person who everybody wanted to see in Survivor: Second Chance it was Shane Powers. The exciting live finale reveal was seriously dampened when Jeff told Shane that he would not get a second chance. Shane Powers is one of the best characters in the history of the show, he was constantly entertaining and was responsible for many a soundbite in Survivor: Panama. Shane and Terry were two huge characters in the season so naturally fans were excited when they both FINALLY had the chance of returning to Survivor. Most people took it for granted that Shane would make it back on the show without a doubt, only leading to the disappointment of his exclusion. The cast of season 31 is admittedly pretty strong but Shane being a part of it would have made it all the more better. Shane claims that he will never return again which couldn’t be more disappointing but let’s hope he changes his mind because not only do the producers seem to want him back but almost every fan seems to as well. Shane truly is a unique and entertaining Survivor player who needs to return.
Honourable Mentions (The Next Ten): Sally Schuman-Panama, Cao Boi Bui-Cook Islands, Nate Gonzalez-Cook Islands, Jenny Guzon Bae-Cook Islands, Rocky Reid-Fiji, Michelle Yi-Fiji, Todd Herzog-China, Jean Robert Bellande-China, Sierra Reid-Tocantins, Shambo Waters-Samoa
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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