Michele Fitzgerald: Winner of Survivor, the Why?


Survivor Kaoh Rong was season that was full of surprises but now it's all said and done one of the main talking point is about winner Michele. Was she the most deserving player, did her lackluster edit do her an injustice, why did the jury vote for her over the other two? In today's feature, Ozlet Alec Culver takes a look at the ways in which Michele is a deserving winner and why she deserves more credit from fans. Continue reading to find out why Michele won.

Final Tribal Council Performance


There is no doubt in my mind that Michelle gave the best final tribal council performance out of the final 3. Her getting owned by Aubry was her only flaw but then she bounced back and gave the answer that the jury was looking for. Sometimes it just comes down to how well you finish and well that could be a big part of Michele’s win. She was impressive when she had to be and when the jury went to go vote the only thing on their mind could have been the most recent thing that happened which was Michele’s performance. I don’t think that the jury was bitter at all. I just think that Michelle shined when she needed to and the jury voted for that.

She did everything she needed to do in that final tribal council. She shined and well it was good enough for her to get the votes that she needed.

Didn’t attend tribal until the merge


I don’t know why people criticize this fact with Michele. She (and Nick) lasted longer than anyone else without having to go to tribal council. The whole point of Survivor is to survive. I mean just because she never went to tribal council doesn’t mean that she wasn’t playing the game. Obviously that takes away from some air time that she could have got. However, I don’t think someone like Michelle who only had to survive 6 tribals is any less of a winner than Denise who went to every tribal council.

While I’m on Survivor: Philippines, nobody down played Skupin or Lisa’s chances of winning just because they never went to tribal until the merge but for some reason they do with Michelle. If Lisa or Skupin would have won then nobody would have criticized it. Overall, I think that it just goes to show how much better of a player Michele was that she was able to survive post merge even without going to tribal council because you need to vote together to gain that trust.

Won her way to the end


Michele wasn’t your typical challenge beast. However, in the end she turned out to be a force in challenges. She won 4 individual challenges (including the meal when she beat Jason and Scot) and then also won a couple of team reward challenges. She also was on a winning tribe where she never had to go to tribal council.

It was played up that she needed to win the final immunity challenge to make it to the end and she did that. She won when she really needed to and everyone on the jury seemed impressed with it. She wasn’t a Colby type of dominant in challenges but she did enough to make it to the end and get the respect from her fellow players.

Her great social game


Alright, all conspiracies aside Michele must have had a great social game. She was never really thought of as a target, and when she was it was only because of her great social game and not because of her strategic or physical prowess.

She must have done something right with her social game because she was able to still have great friends on the jury. People like Julia who she betrayed and voted out, still voted for her in the end because she was such a great social player. Survivor tends to really highlight the strategic players whereas the social game is underplayed which is another great reason why Michelle must have been a great social player.

Made moves when she had to


Michele never really had to make big moves. She didn’t really need to blindside people. She was a part of all of those moves but that doesn’t mean that it was her move. However, her being a part of that was her big move. She didn’t need to be the creator of the move because that wasn’t her game. That doesn’t make her a bad player at all. Sometimes coat tail riding is the best way to win the game.

However, Michele made one move that she needed to make that no one else has made in the history of Survivor. She voted off a jury member. She really needed to make that move because if Neal was still on the jury, Michele would have had to work even harder to get the votes that she needed. Even just being the only person to ever make such a memorable move means that she is a deserving winner. We will always look back and remember Michele, winner of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, was the first (and possibly only) person to ever make the move to vote out a jury player.


I’m not saying that Michele is one of the greatest winners of the game at all. I’m just saying that she was a deserving winner. Plus, her winning made the season even all the more unpredictable. Overall, I would love to see Michele play again just to see her prove her doubters, or myself, wrong.

What do you think the strongest part of Michele’s game was? Would you like to see her play again? Comment below to let us know your thoughts!


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13 Comments on Michele Fitzgerald: Winner of Survivor, the Why?

  1. Good points. I agree with them all. Also, Michelle did have strategy. She knew to play “dumb” around Nick. She knew that she had to get tight with Cydney if she wanted to make it far. When she was on the wrong side of a vote, she immediately reevaluated her options and whatever she needed to do, i.e. vote out Julia, she did. I respect her game.

    • ^This. All of this is right.

    • But I honestly still have no idea, how “playing dumb around Nick” accomplishes anything. Nick was actively looking for somebody smart to work with and the only reason, these two were allies was because he saw her audition video and thought, that she was a smart player. The only thing it accomplished was losing his respect and vote in the end.

      But I understand what saying that she had to “play dumb around Nick” accomplishes…

  2. She outlasted and got the win.

    Aubry and even Tai played better overall games. However they put strong personality players on the jury, which in turn bit them back. CBS also highlight certain scenes to make viewers assume another player is getting the winners edit.

    Every tribe member would’ve said let’s vote out Debbie, Scot, Jason, Nick etc however CBS made it look as though it was all Aubrys idea.

    Michele got the win, so deserves the sole survivor tag, but as shown in upcoming series there are other cast members ahead of her that make better TV.

  3. RB Liljestrom // June 27, 2016 at 4:26 pm // Reply

    She definitely was a deserving winner. Aubry made too many crucial mistakes. She put an embittered Debbie on the jury too early. She was so good that people weren’t aware of her great game play and she didn’t sell it enough at final tribal council. Aubrey should have put Tai on the jury instead of Cydney. Tai would have voted for her and Jason would have voted for. Cydney. That would have given her 3 votes Michele 3 votes and Cydney 1 vote. This season was more a case of Aubrey losing it than Michele winning it. She’s not the worst winner ever but in the bottom 5 IMHO.

  4. You put all of that very nicely. I find it interesting that her not going to tribal before the merge is a weakness considering the number of players that comment about going to tribal early can have its advantages if you survive as you then get a feel for that part of the game. Overall Michelle played all the circumstances put to her. She did it well. I agree that she won’t go down as one of the greatest winners but she is definitely deserving. Good article.

  5. lol at someone saying Jason would have voted Cydney. Never in a million years.

  6. Michelle played a Natalie White/Danni Boatwright kind of game to me. Didn’t get her hands dirty (except for voting out Julia, which didn’t even backfire on her because of the strength of that bond), let someone get all the crap for the blindsides, but played a strong social game wherein she was more in everyone’s good graces than the other players who’d eventually make the final 3 (Natalie game). Also, I get the sense she kept her game more to herself than a player like Aubry, and she won the challenges she needed to win (Danni game).

    Again, I’ll say Aubry got the Carolyn 2.0 edit. Carolyn, as a runner-up, had a relatively small edit in Worlds Apart when compared to Mike, which is likely what kept her from being voted back into the game for Second Chances. Knowing Aubry would lose, knowing she’d be a solid returnee, hoping to have her make a strong enough impression to be voted back in an eventual second Second Chances edition, the producers needed to have a really good edit.

    • RB Liljestrom // June 28, 2016 at 12:19 am // Reply

      I can’t say I agree with your Aubry analogy in regards to Carolyn. Aubry played a much better game than Carolyn and was more in command than Carolyn ever was. We will find out how good Aubry really is when she plays in season 34. She’ll have her work cut out for her in an all-star season.

      Andrea Boehlke
      Brad Culpepper
      Aubry Bracco
      Caleb Reynolds
      Ciera Eastin
      Jeff Varner
      Cirie Fields
      JT Thomas
      Debbie Wanner
      Hali Ford
      Ozzy Lusth
      Tai Trang
      Sandra Diaz-Twine
      Tony Vlachos
      Sarah Lacina
      Troyzan Robertson
      Sierra Dawn Thomas
      Malcolm Freberg

  7. Michele was a deserving winner for THAT JURY. More than any other season, Kaôh Rōng made me think that survivors need to spend more time considering potential jury members from the very beginning of the game. Take Scot & Jason out of the equation and you’ve got a completely different scenario.

  8. Michelle wasn’t a great player but she was a good one. Cydney & Aubry were easily the two best players this season but unfortunately for Cydney things just fell wrong in the finale for her, if anyone but Michelle had won the final immunity then Michelle would have gone to the jury & Cydney would probably have won. And as for Aubry she ran into a quagmire of keeping her gameplay TOO secret mixed in with four bitter jury members in Scott, Jason, Julie & Debbie & that was it for her.

    In the end Michelle was an underwhelming winner, she was a decent middling player but was clearly 2nd tier compared to the games power players & the fact she beat Aubry in the final tribal did leave a bitter taste to the season but that happens sometimes in Survivor.

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