Game Changers is actually. going. to. happen.
Well, it has happened. Filming ended a while ago, ballots are waiting in the box with the name of the winner, and Jeff Probst has successfully filmed 34 seasons of Survivor.
But in a mere three weeks, we are actually. going. to. watch. Game Changers!
I AM SO EXCITED!
Can you think of a better, more enthusiastic, brilliant, and manipulative blend of past players to return? My anticipation is through the roof, so to speak. The mix of strategy, social game, and pure genius is blowing my mind. Nice job, CBS!
Is it even possible to make a winner prediction this season? With all the factors that you have to account for and the numerous returning winners, predicting any outcome is daunting… but, I’m going to try.
I’m geeking out right now. I’m combining two of my favorite things: Survivor, and Ranking Things. My pre-show prediction list is in order of least likely to win, to most likely to win. All opinions are my own, and of course, I welcome any discourse on the topics presented.
Survivor Season 34 Pre-Show Predictions
*I do not read spoilers. This ranking is not a prediction of boot order.
20. Brad Culpepper (Survivor: Blood vs Water)
I have nothing against good ol’ Brad Culpepper. But a lot of people from his season sure did. Google this guy, and the first thing that pops up is the most memorable quote about him, “F*** you, Brad Culpepper”. He didn’t make it very far in Blood vs. Water, and there’s a reason for that. He’s not strategic, he allows his ego to overshadow his efforts, and socially, he has a difficult time fostering relationships. I’ll be surprised if he makes the merge.
19. Ozzy Lusth (Survivor: Cook Islands, Survivor: Micronesia, Survivor: South Pacific)
This is a perfect meme for Ozzy because he has NO STRATEGY. Seriously, why is this guy coming back for a fourth time? His only way of even making the merge is hooking up with a strong girl and riding her coat tails to the end. If he couldn’t win the first three times he played, I doubt he can win the fourth.
18. Debbie Wanner (Survivor: Kaoh Rong)
I’m sad to rank Debbie so low. But, in turn, I can’t see Debbie winning this game. While she is highly entertaining for the audience, she is playing against a cast that will have no patience for her shenanigans. If she made it to the end, I don’t see a jury validating her chaotic game play. Of course, she could change her strategy (like she changes jobs), but I wouldn’t bet on her.
17. Jeff Varner (Survivor: The Australian Outback, Survivor: Cambodia)
I love Jeff Varner. I love that he ripped the sleeves off of his shirt, and then still wore the sleeves. I love the comeback he made from Australia and the four entertaining episodes he gave us in Cambodia. The problem is, he only gave us 4 episodes. He was out early and he struggled. He’s entertaining, but in a field of super-strategizers, I don’t think he’ll stick out.
16. Troyzan Robertson (Survivor: One World)
I’m happy that Troyzan is getting a second chance to play. He was severely overshadowed in One World by Kim (probably the best of ALL time), and he was consistently on the outs due to the all-girls alliance. That being said, his social game was poor. So, while I am rooting for him, I am ranking him low based on prior gameplay.
15. Hali Ford (Survivor: Worlds Apart)
I’ve watched almost every season of Survivor twice. When the cast announcement was made, I had a difficult time remembering Hali. And, to be cast in a “Game Changer” season? It is a bit mystifying. That being said, Hali could fly under the radar with all the other “larger” threats. She’s not dumb, she’s a sweet girl… she has a shot.
14. Andrea Boehlke (Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: Caramoan)
This is exactly my reaction to Andrea being cast on another season of Survivor. I just don’t get it… I guess she has a fair shot to win simply based on the fact that this will be her third time playing. You would think her strategy would be more evolved. I dunno – I got nothing here.
13. Sarah Lacina (Survivor: Cagayan)
I quite like Sarah and think she played a solid game. Unfortunately, she was Tony-ed. But, she’s likable, she’s smart, and she is physically able to tackle the game and win challenges. I would imagine she does better this go ’round.
12. Tai Trang (Survivor: Kaoh Rong)
The only reason I am putting Tai this high on my list is because he is super likable and willing to make big moves. Aside from that, he is unable to keep a secret, he switches sides basically every Tribal, and his is way too emotional to play a solid, strategic game. (But maybe he’ll make another chicken super popular?)
11. Caleb Reynolds (Survivor: Kaoh Rong)
Caleb… he’s come so far since his debut on Big Brother. It’s a universal sentiment that he was much preferred on Survivor, and it is no surprise that he is back after his untimely exit from Kaoh Rong. I like Caleb, I’m rooting for Caleb. Beast Mode!
10. Ciera Eastin (Survivor: Blood vs. Water, Survivor: Cambodia)
Ciera has proven to be a tough and witty competitor. She has plenty of experience to draw from, and she clearly will not hesitate to backstab and lie ( Jeff loves to remind us how she voted her mom out). Awe, everything I love in a Survivor.
9. Sierra Dawn Thomas (Survivor: Worlds Apart)
It’s risky placing Sierra this high in the rankings, but I think she is the one person that could slip through to the end. Do I see her as a “Game Changer”? No. But, she’s strong, social, and should have virtually no target on her back.
8. Malcolm Freberg (Survivor: Philippines, Survivor: Caramoan)
Malcolm is a legitimate Survivor player who could easily win this game. While he is a threat, there are several other larger threats that he could use at ‘meat shields’. While Malcolm’s game play in Caramoan wasn’t strategically sound, he proved in the Philippines that he is capable of using his brain and going far.
7. Zeke Smith (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X)
Zeke has the distinct advantage of being the new kid on the block; the other players haven’t had years to mull over his strategy. In addition, he didn’t go terribly far in S33, making the target on his back significantly smaller. Zeke is all about playing based on logic and strategy, which will appeal to this jury.
6. Michaela Bradshaw (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X)
Michaela left way too soon last season. I am SO HAPPY she was cast back, and not at all surprised. Michaela is super smart, and her mind is a huge threat to the rest of the Castaways. If she can mask her strategic prowess, she could go all the way; and I’m rooting for her!
5. JT Thomas (Survivor: Tocantins, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains)
Ignore his gameplay in S20, the poor guy has the lasting legacy of getting schooled by Russell Hantz (but who hasn’t been schooled by RH?). JT played an amazing game in Tocantins. He was SO likable, the other players confessed to wanting to lose just so JT could win. JT may be the only player in this cast that can win based on an excellent social game. I’m rooting for Tocantins-JT.
4. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains)
The Queen! She’s played twice. She’s won twice. If she gets to the end, I have no doubt she’ll be crowned with a third victory. She is one of my most anticipated returnees; can she do it again?
3. Aubry Bracco (Survivor: Kaoh Rong)
There is no question in my mind that Aubry should have won Kaoh Rong. She played an excellent game based on strategy, but she also held her own in the competitions. I would love to see her win this powerhouse season and prove that she belongs in a list of the greats.
2. Cirie Fields (Survivor: Panama, Survivor: Micronesia, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains)
Cirie has orchestrated some of the best moves in Survivor history. She has gotten so close to the end, but hasn’t been able to execute and win. If she can avoid the inevitable target that will be on her in the beginning, she could outsmart her way to the end.
1.Tony Vlachos (Survivor: Cagayan)
Never will I ever vote against Tony Vlachos.
Survivor: Game Changers premiers on March 8th on CBS!
Until next time,