Survivor Kaoh Rong Cast Assessment + Preview Episode!

KaohRongCastAssessmentEpisode

As the weeks go by and we get closer to the latest season of Survivor now is the time to sit down and see just who will be playing on the 32nd season of Kaoh Rong! Join Ozlet Ivan Ornelas as he walks you through the 18 new castaways competing Kaoh Rong and talks through all the new twists! You can then download our FULL preview episode as Ben is joined by his Ozlets for full cast analysis and opinions in what is always one of our craziest episodes each year!

Continuing the trend of repeating locations, Season 32 will take place in Cambodia. Perhaps saying the location will be repeated is not entirely correct since unlike the other 30 seasons that are numerically organized in both airing and production order, the events of this season have taken place before Season 31: Cambodia-Second Chances began filming.

Buffs

Unlike the two Fans vs Favorite seasons which shared the same starting tribe colours, Kaoh Rong went with a different trio of colours than Cagayan. However, it’s the same colour combination we witnessed in Philippines and Worlds Apart. Chan Loh is Blue, Gondol is Yellow, and To Tang is Red. Is this Survivor Brains/Brawns/Beauty 2 or Survivor Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow versions? Despite the absence of Charizard, Blastoise, and Pikachu, the alligator of Chan Loh, snake of Gondol, and tiger of To Tang make for good decoration.

This will be the fourth season of Survivor where there will be an idol that could be played after the votes are read, the most recent prior to this being the original Brains/Brawns/Beauty. However, it’s a little more complicated this time around. Individually, every idol will work like the standard idol where you have to play it after the votes are cast but before they are read. But if two of them are combined, then they become a “super idol” just like the one Tony had. Like any game, balance is key. The super idol sort of threw off the balance a bit, but with this new twist, it’ll be much more difficult to obtain one. Will two players combine their idols and trust each other to use it in case one of them gets voted out? Or could this be the basis of a big betrayal, similar to the Car Deal from Fiji? Like any good game, the balance issue appears to be sorted out by “nerfing” or weakening the broken element of the game. Anyone who masters this idol though would definitely deserve the Tony Vlachos award.

Other than that, not much else is known at this time. So let’s start analysing this season’s  players.

Chan Loh (Brains)

Aubry Bracco

Many of these contestants look like they belong on either of the three tribes. I don’t think many people will be shocked to see Aubry on the Brains tribe. In the midst of her eclectic experiences and interests, she is a social media marketer. Even more impressive is that she graduated Brown University while writing a children’s book instead of a thesis paper. I’ll have to try that in one of my classes with an essay (if I succeed, maybe I’ll be on the Brains tribe the next time this format is used). I feel like she could easily be an outcast on a normal season. On this season, that possibility still exists but she’ll be in her element. That will either aid in the alliance process or repel people.

Debbie Wanner

The obvious starting point is her tiger swimsuit. A safe bet would be that it intimidates even the Brawn tribe just a tad. Special Agent Phillip Sheppard approved? To be determined. Anywho, she comes off as a big personality. That could either set up an early exit or it could keep people from taking her serious when she could actually be a threat. Who knows how people will react to this chemist.

Joseph Del Campo

Tell me I’m not the only one who saw him and thought he was definitely on the Brawn tribe at first. This former FBI agent might be the combination of Rudy Boesch and Tony Vlachos, although he identifies more with Tom Westman. His best bet is to be the father figure and develop those kinds of relationships. I think he will surprise people from time to time with his skills and abilities, and he could provide some good confessionals. He is tied with Rudy for oldest Survivor contestant at the time of playing the game. Players of such an age are a small sample size, but hopefully we’ll be 2 for 2 in memorable players from this demographic.

Liz Markham

Being a quantitative strategist, a lot of Liz’s time is spent crunching and manipulating numbers. That’s good news considering how important the strategic aspect of the game is, but over thinking can be the death of you in Survivor. Which way Liz will go is anyone’s guess really. She seems to have more than just the strategic way of playing as part of her Arsenal, claiming she is definitely willing to flirt to get farther (ok, she isn’t the only one who has talked about using that strategy). With the majority of the tribe hailing (get it? Because of the blizzard? Ok never mind…) from the Northeast US, she definitely has alliance opportunities and that could be enough to see her go far.

Neal Gottlieb

Could this be Erik Reichenbach’s long lost Ice Cream brother? Neal definitely leaves an impression upon first examination. Part of you wants to take him seriously, but it’s hard to. That might be because of his very long bio. His ability to turn a small ice cream company into a large organization could possibly hint at his ability to play the game, even if he is on the outs at some point. He definitely has a lot going on in his brain, which makes me think he’ll have various gears he will have to constantly shift between in order for him to properly navigate this game. If he manages to do that, he’ll be around for a while and hopefully his bio is a preview for some long but fun confessionals.

Peter Baggenstos

Probably the closest we’ll get to seeing Barack Obama on Survivor. Coming off the heels of a season that featured the Brazilian Dragon, will this Survivor contestant who also has citizenship in a foreign country make this season more entertaining? Interestingly enough, Peter mentioned Pete Yurkowski, Abi’s ally from the Philippines, as the player he is most like. He looks older than he his, but not only does he seem like someone you can trust in an emergency situation, he has a more casual side to his personality. Both of those traits can serve him well in the good times and bad that come with Survivor. It may be difficult for him to work his magic on an intelligent tribe like this one, but I can still see him faring well.

Gondol (Beauty)

Anna Khait

Instead of the male poker players we’ve seen occasionally on Survivor, we have a female one competing this season. She claims she has studied the game for a long time. In a game as tough as this one, all the studying in the world is great but often times it does not make a significant difference. We’ve seen people who have watched every episode and people who haven’t watched a single episode get to the end. If she’s capable of formulating the right moves that she feels she can make, she could definitely be a threat. She is also playing this season in an effort to support her currently unemployed mother. Few causes more noble than that.

Caleb Reynolds

Yep, Big Brother-Survivor fans have not seen the last of him. Beast Mode Cowboy, as he was slightly appropriately nicknamed in Big Brother 16, was known for his one sided relationship with Amber, his loyalty, and his performance in competitions. Survivor tends to have more physical challenges than Big Brother, so it seems like Caleb might be more in his element on this show. Although he did not win like previous Big Brother turned Survivor contestant Hayden Moss, he did do a decent job finish in 4th place, albeit in a season where few players besides Derrick Levasseur had a strategic foothold. Caleb’s experiences from Big Brother could help him with the gameplay of Survivor, but he bears more pride in his military background. The question is, will he have learned anything and will it be enough to win?

Julia Sokolowski

The torch has been passed from Baylor “Sticky Situation” Wilson to Julia as the youngest Survivor by birthdate. However, despite being almost a 4th of the age of the oldest contestant this season, she’s probably got more life experience than some people 5 or 10 years older than her. She’s a well travelled college student who doesn’t just say she loves adventure, but I get the feeling that she’s genuinely into it. I could be very wrong but she does not seem like the type of teenager that will be complaining early on in the game. Julia does not seem like a know it all, so if she can let some older players take control and overlook her, she can do well as long as she isn’t seen as the weakest link (and no tribe seems to have a clear weak link)

Michele Fitzgerald

Michele is definitely a player nerds will be rooting for (if there are any nerds left who aren’t already rooting for Aubry), and definitely another player that could easily be on another tribe besides their designated one. She’s far from the typical New Jersey native. She comes to the game with a positive demeanour, and very passionate about her interests such as Survivor and Harry Potter. A combination of hobbies including traveling and rock climbing could be useful in preparation for Michele’s latest adventure, and she can definitely do well in this game.

Nick Maiorano

Definitely seems like one of the cockier players. He’s very confident in his abilities as a player, but it rarely ever works that easily on Survivor. Many of the best players have a few bumps in the road, as Tom Westman, Brian Heidik, and Kim Spradlin are exceptions, not the rule. He considers himself his own hero, which is something you don’t see many people say about themselves. His choice for Survivor contestant he’s most like was interesting: Courtney Yates and Jonathan Penner. That’s a high bar for entertainment he just raised, and I’m sure he believes he can reach it. Not sure about anyone else though.

Tai Trang

He appears to have become an instant fan favorite. His personality is infectious, and watching his intro video was delightful. He also comes with a very interesting background immigrating from Vietnam and growing with a family of 11 siblings including himself. He may seem like an easy outsider in not only a young tribe but also a Beauty tribe. To me, he definitely belongs on this tribe. Definitely helps that he’s a gardener, and they definitely know a thing or two about beauty. If Tai can impress people with his outdoor skills and go under the radar for a little while, the early favorite has a shot at winning this game located nearby his home nation.

To Tang (Brawn)

Alecia Holden

Apparently when she’s not selling houses in Dallas, she’s going on amazing adventures everywhere else. She can be a dangerous player if she plays her cards right. There’s a lot of layers to her personality and if she can use that to maintain relationships with differently players, she’s in it to win it. It’s good to have a tough exterior, but not if it keeps you from relating to people. At some point someone will likely have their first impression of her proven wrong, and hopefully she’s used to that. Hopefully she can live up to expectations and be a major factor of this season.

Cydney Gillon

Usually strong female players are described as the strongest woman on the tribe. But even on a Brawn tribe, Cydney is a contender for strongest player of any gender on her tribe. Not just anyone is cut out to be a professional body builder, and she seems very devoted to keeping in shape. Physically she’s no doubt a good player, strategically I feel she would be solid, but socially she seems like someone who won’t back down if she feels she has been wronged. Also a concern is women who don’t get along with other women could get voted out sooner. Hopefully she’ll be able to fit in with the women she’s put on a tribe with, but it should be interesting if a swap occurs. And she has alter egos? Awesome.

Darnell Hamilton

I think his placement on the tribe is partially due to him possessing a different kind of strength than his tribemates have. He definitely sees things differently, and there’s a side to him that’s funny and appealing to other people and the audience, but there’s also a side that’s serious. I feel those perspectives could help him immensely in this game. He’s definitely someone I do not want to see go out early, but will he? I don’t see a middle road for Darnell. He’ll either be an outcast and make an early exit or he’ll find the right place and he’ll be difficult to stop later on. I hope he’s as entertaining in the show as he was in his pregame interview.

Jennifer Lanzetti

I am definitely excited to see Jennifer play Survivor. She has a unique background and her personality can make for great TV. I think she has a good mentality going into this game, and I don’t see here being an obvious first or second boot on her original tribe. I feel like she’ll get along well with people and then she’ll be tough and take people out when she needs to. Her biggest obstacle may well be what she disclosed about her past struggles and how her tribemates react. I have a feeling that won’t become an issue.

Kyle Jason

Normally whenever someone says Russell Hantz is the only player in Survivor History to play the game right, that’s a red flag for me. But on closer inspection, I have a feeling he could be one of the bigger characters this season and I hope he doesn’t disappoint. Could he play the game well? Definitely. But what’s more of a certainty is that either in confessional, in camp, or both, he’s going to be the centre of some drama. He is a fearless person, which is a necessary by-product of his work and life experience, but how hard will he play out of the gate? The Russell Hantz way worked when no one saw it coming, but now anyone who attempts anything like it is a likely early boot. Look forward to seeing what he has up his sleeves other than his tattoos.

Scot Pollard

Another NBA player appears on Survivor, once again as a member of the Brawn tribe. Judging by his profile and intro video, not much appears to separate him from Cliff Robinson, or other past professional athletes in terms of personality or outlook on the game. We’ve seen Brad Culpepper, John Rocker, and Uncle Cliffy go pre merge, so it’s not the most successful demographic in Survivor history, but also a smaller one compared to the models and bartenders and such. The one thing Scot does have going for him is no one really targets athletes because they are famous anymore, so he does stand a good chance of making it far in the game, but it’s a question of how far.

18 contestants, 6 for each of the 3 aspects that are supposedly the keys to victory in this game. Especially in this setting, the players who will find the most success are those who can adapt and also play to their strengths. What role with the idols have? Will expectations be shattered or proven? And which contestants will fall victim to the apparent physical nature of the season and get medevac’d? I can’t wait to watch and find out.

BEN’S THOUGHTS

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I’m very intrigued by this cast. I have to say that it isn’t a super stand out cast that really is giving me good vibes for this season. There are definitely some great people who I already think will be my personal favourites but there are just so many players that are just middle ground that aren’t standing out for much. I think San Juan Del Sur had a bit of that vibe about it though going in and I have to say that is one of the most underrated seasons of all time, so perhaps it will all turn out for the better.

I’m a little hit and miss with this new idol twist idea. i think it has potential to really create some interesting moments, especially if it brings two people together to actually use it to save somebody which will be great to see. But it is also once again very gimmicky and for the most part these attempts at doing something different don’t really work. As for the main twist bringing back brains vs brawn vs beauty, I’m again very meh on the idea. Worked a treat last time around, but it was only four seasons ago. Can’t we let it rest a few more seasons before bringing it back?

As I always do in these preview articles I give some predictions that will prove to be super wrong. So let’s do this:

Alecia: Not a whole lot really to see from Alecia. Seems like a nice person but I don’t see her making too much of an impact on the game. Think she’ll go just before the jury. Predicted Finish: 12th

Anna: Ding ding ding! Here is the person who I predict will win so in every likelihood they won’t. But let’s look at Anna. She is smart, social, beautiful and I think a lot of people will underrate her ability in this game. That will get her far and with poker playing ability I think she’ll easy be able to get through unscathed. Let’s get me a correct prediction for once! Predicted Finish: 1st

Aubry: I like Aubry. She has a very interesting look about her and combined with personality I think she’ll definitely make it further than people will originally think. Could surprise even further than 7th but let’s put this up now and hope I’m wrong. Predicted Finish: 7th

Caleb: Never seen him on Big Brother so wouldn’t have a clue what to expect. Based on what I have seen though I don’t think he’ll make it too far into the game. And people coming in with previous reality experience are generally held on a different page to others which I think given he comes from a very social game it’ll hurt him. Predicted Finish: 13th

Cydney: Cydney seems like a unique person with her bodybuilding background and I also think she seems to be highly capable in the social side of things. However I sadly can’t see her making too far in this game which sucks given I think she would make a great person to see go deep. Predicted Finish: 15th

Darnell: Love Darnell, he seems like he will be a great character this season. Not sure too much though what he will bring in terms of the game so let’s put him right on the middle and see how he will go. Predicted Finish: 10th

Debbie: The female Coach! How can you not like Debbie? She looks like she will be one of the stars of this season and she already screams returning player. I think though that game wise she’ll be a jury player first time around sadly. Predicted Finish: 9th

Jennifer: Jennifer definitely has a lot going for her and I think she’ll be another person who is underrated during the season. I think just above half way fits her well but it wouldn’t surprise me if she went further. Predicted Finish: 8th

Joe: So happy to see somebody older than 70 come back on the show! Something that I honestly thought we would never ever see again. Joe definitely seems like a cool guy and one who could bring a lot to this season. Sadly however I think perceptions will be locked into place fairly early and I hate to say it but I think he will be the first boot, joining his doppelganger Jim Lynch in the first boost hall of fame. Predicted Finish: 18th

Julia: Julia is absolutely stunning and I for sure hope we see her go far in this game. But she is 18, and that is extremely young in the game of Survivor. I think for sure that will work against her and although she can easily pull off being older, I don’t see her necessarily being able to go any further than 6th. Prove me wrong Julia! Predicted Finish: 6th

Kyle: A bounty hunter on Survivor! I think I’ll just call him Boba Fett! But it will be interesting to see how his profession will work for him as he is used to hunting and chasing and lying to get his way. It can definitely work for him and I can actually see him winning this game. But I’m going to put him 5th as I think he can also find himself being seen as a big threat that he will be cut just before he gets to the end. Predicted Finish: 5th

Liz: Another one of my pre-game favourites, Liz definitely has a lot going for and could easily be on the beauty tribe as well as being on the brains. But I think being on the brains will absolutely work for her because she can pass off as being smart and beautiful at the same time and use her strong social ability to take her far. For sure think she can get to the end. Can she win? I’m saying no in predictions but in my head I definitely think she can. Predicted Finish: 3rd

Michele: What to say about Michele? She is there, and seems super nice. But I sadly don’t see her going far enough in this game to be able to show anything more. Predicted Finish: 16th

Neal: Alright so how did Peter Harkey get back on this season? Seriously?! This guy is a dead ringer for him in both looks and personality. Sadly we didn’t get too see too much of Peter during Marquesas so hopefully this time around we get to see enough of Neal to really see what a character such as Peter Harkey would be look going deep into the game! Predicted Finish: 14th

Nick: There is a reason why Nick won’t win this game and this is because he is my favourite person on this entire cast. I love this man! He is hilarious, sarcastic and has a dry humour which I find fascinating. The guy is a life coach and openly rips into his own profession! Gold! And I think his ability to be able to do that will take him all the way to the end, but sadly I think he’ll rub enough people the wrong way so that he won’t get the votes. Hope I’m wrong though because judging on his pre-game stuff he would make an amazing winner. Predicted Finish: 2nd

Peter: The greatest thing about Peter would be to actually find out he is Barack Obama and then on day 39 he reveals himself to be the President and everybody has to vote for him. That would be GOLD! But outside of the obvious resemblance (sorry Peter I know you’re sick of it) he actually seems like an extremely capable player who can go very very far into this game. And I think he will, and I think he will be the ‘person voted out just before the FTC who should’ve won’ joining the likes of Kathy, Lex, Rob and Fairplay in one of the most unwanted clubs in Survivor. Can’t wait to see him in action. Predicted Finish: 4th

Scot: Another pro athlete, Scot doesn’t necessarily scream basketball player (despite obviously being super tall) which I guess can work in his favour with all the non-basketball fans out there. But having said that he seems willing to be super open about his past which will be interesting to watch. Predicted Finish: 11th

Tai: Ok who can’t like this man? It’s like the put Yau-Man, Cao Boi and Coby in a blender and you get this result. He is amazing. And I really really hope we see him go very deep and very far because he’ll be incredible to watch and easily one of the best characters. Sadly I don’t see him going far, but I really hope I am wrong. Predicted Finish: 17th

That’s it folks! As I always say at the end of these predictions feel free to message me in four months and laugh at how wrong I am! But until then bring this season on!

IVAN’S THOUGHTS

IvanOrnelas

Predictions

First boot from each tribe:

To Tang: Each of them are useful in challenges so it could come down to who doesn’t get along with who. The only player I don’t see as a potential first boot from this time is Alecia. The most likely would be between Scot and Jennifer since I feel they stand out a little more compared to the others. Unfortunately Jennifer’s my pick for first boot.

Gondol: Although Caleb and Nick may butt heads, they might be hesitant to take the other out so soon. I think Anna might be seen as a smart player but expendable in challenges and would be voted out first.

Chan Loh: I want to see Debbie do well, but it can be hard to avoid the target of being the oldest male or female. Joseph’s susceptible to that as well. However as a first boot, I could see Neil coming on too strong right away and he could be voted out similarly to Vytas last season.

Other pre-merge boots:

I’m not convinced Scot is the guy to reverse the trend of former professional athletes being voted out early. And I think Kyle will be seen as a threat having engineered some previous votes and his work will start to catch up to him, possibly during a swap. Caleb will win the battle for supremacy on Gondol at Nick’s expense. And Liz strikes me as someone who could be victim of a swap as well.

The merge:

I’m sure the merge will be a lot more complicated, but if the original tribal bonds hold strong, Brawn’s trio of Alicia, Darnell, and Cydney would be the swing votes between Beauty’s Tai, Caleb, Michele, and Julia and Brain’s Peter, Joseph, Debbie, and Aubry. While logic suggest the Brawn would rather associate with Beauty than Brain, in some ways these Beauty members are bigger threats than the Brain. However, especially with Caleb fitting in well with the Brawn players, I think for the first few votes Brain and Beauty vote together and take out Peter and Debbie. However, then Brawn and Brain would form a five player alliance to hit back on the Beauty tribe and take out physical threat Caleb and social and possibly strategic threat Tai.

End game:

At this point tribe affiliations may not be so important as much as jostling for position not only in the final 3 but also finding a final 3 that they can succeed in. Although this may be unlikely, given this final 7 there could very likely be an all girl final 5. Joseph and Darnell don’t seem like players people would be comfortable going to the end with. And then from the rest, Cydney and Aubry would fill the last two seats of the jury being left out by the others.

Final 3:

Michele, Alecia, and Julia seem like very likely candidates to get this far, but how would they fare after getting this far? Julia would have to have played a very good game, because often times young players lose at Final Tribal Council or lose jury votes by virtue of their young age. I feel like Michele and Alecia would be the main contenders for victory in this final tribal council scenario. Ultimately I feel Michele would have played a slightly better social game and built better relationships than Alecia did.

Prediction boot order: 18th: Anna 17th: Neil 16th: Jennifer 15th: Liz 14th: Nick 13th: Scot 12th: Kyle 11th: Debbie 10th: Peter 9th: Caleb 8th: Tai 7th: Joseph 6th: Darnell 5th: Cydney 4th: Aubry 3rd: Julia 2nd: Alecia

Winner Pick: Michele

I definitely think Michele has what it takes to win this game. She’s smart enough, good enough socially, and will be able to win when/if she needs to. She won’t be a boring player but there will certainly be bigger players that will take the attention off of her and she’ll have the qualities to convince the jury to vote for her in the end.

PREVIEW EPISODE

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Our seventh ever preview episode is here, as Ben is joined by a gang of Ozlets to decode everything about the 32nd season! From going through the twists, talking through the players and discussing just why Ben will be wrong with all his predictions again, it’s one of the most entertaining episodes in the history of Survivor Oz! We also draw our ‘ponies’ live on air for all to hear about! For those playing at home, here is who has who for the ‘pony draw’, and remember real money is on the line too!

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The person who has the pony who wins will win $100, person who gets runner-up will get $35, third place gets $25 while the first boot will get $20! We will update you on the progress of this during our weekly Oztopsy!

In the mean time, stay tuned to Survivor Oz during the season where we will once again be publishing episode recaps, recap interviews with former Survivor’s, Oztopsy’s and Power Rankings all season long! So stock up on popcorn and get ready for what will hopefully be another fantastic season of Survivor!

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6 Comments on Survivor Kaoh Rong Cast Assessment + Preview Episode!

  1. Here’s hoping Tai or Darnell win!

  2. Noah, after every contestant is introduced: “Uhhhhhh, I don’t really like him/her. Uhhhh I didn’t really prepare for this show…. “

  3. Darn you Ben, that is 2 strait seasons you have picked my pony to win. Stop cursing me!!! 😉

  4. The Artist Formerly Know As Jeff Probst // February 8, 2016 at 11:42 am // Reply

    Loll at Ivan’s bootlist

    • Ivan Ornelas // May 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm // Reply

      This season’s final 5 were all in my final 8 so it could’ve been worse. Alecia and Darnell I was way off 😛

  5. Awaiting the Potter v LOTR debate podcast. 🙂

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