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Survivor: Island Of The Idols Cast Assessment And Season Preview

Survivor 39

The four month wait is over. The greatest show in TV history returns to our televisions tonight for its 39th season. The 90-minute Survivor: Island Of The Idols premiere starts at 8 PM EST on CBS. The special theme to this season is that it will feature Survivor legends Boston Rob and Sandra as secret mentors to the players. The castaways will come to this “Island Of The Idols” to get advice from the two legends and their two giant statue heads.

They will teach the players “lessons” and they will then test them on it for a chance to win an advantage. What’s unclear, at least to me, is when exactly these players will be sent there and why. Overall, I’m not high on the twist. I feel like we’re going to spend waaaaay too much time on Rob and Sandra when neither is actually playing the game. The “teaching them lessons” theme sounds very cheesy and forced too. I think that overall, this will serve as a hype-up for the all-winners Season 40, where Rob and Sandra will both play again.

But alas, Survivor is still Survivor, and I’m glad to have it back on our television screens so I’m excited for tonight. It does seem like a promising cast. If you’re new to the show, you can still watch this season because there are no returning players actually playing, and maybe the scenes with Rob and Sandra can help teach you the game. So it could be the right time to hop on board.

I went through all 20 castaway profiles on CBS and formed my first impressions on them. This is strictly judging books on their covers and their profile answers. It’s not a ton of information, but it’s enough to form some solid opinions.

I did this last season and my top two picks to win were Gavin and Chris. They came in second and first, respectively. So basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m smart when it comes to this stuff. So without further ado….

The cast of Survivor: Island Of The Idols

Ronnie

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Age: 35
Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts
Current residence: Henderson, Nevada
Occupation: Pro Poker Player

Pet peeves: When people try to enter my elevator just as I am trying to exit! Also watching someone misplay a hidden Immunity Idol makes me nuts. 

Couldn’t agree more with Ronnie here. Let people get off before you get on. Same for subways, buses, etc. Really just common courtesy.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Holding the world record for most consecutive cashes in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event. Also getting my dad out of Brockton and buying him a place in Henderson, Nevada!

No Survivor season is complete without the token poker or chess player. Pretty impressive accomplishment by him though.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Jeremy Collins because he’s charismatic, loyal, compassionate, and can read players so well. Strategically, my approach would be a hybrid of Devon Pinto—bluffing the dumb role sneakily well—and Boston Rob—impeccable timing of making big moves and sniffing out when people are up to something.

This is an intriguing mix of characters that caught my eye, specifically the Devon one. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing on Season 35. He played the dumb jock role well but was actually a legit social and strategic threat, resulting in a fourth place finish. Poker players are usually strategic “gamebots” so if Ronnie is actually going to be more social and play his smarts down, I’ll be intrigued.

My Take On Ronnie:

I’m definitely interested in Ronnie. It seems like there might be more to him than the stereotypical gamebot poker player – think Garrett in Cagayan. If my read is correct, he’ll have a legitimate chance to win this game. Otherwise I can see him overplaying his hand early (no pun intended) and being an early boot. After getting to interview him on Cracking Aces with Nate, I’m even higher on him.

Molly

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Age: 27
Hometown: Boston
Current residence: Durham, North Carolina
Occupation: Law Student

Pet peeves: Being unwantedly touched, heavy breathing, slow walkers and slow talkers, people who are unprepared at airport security, rule-breakers, and the assumption that men and women can’t be platonic friends.

Strong agree on people being unprepared at airport security. Extremely inconsiderate and annoying. But it’s a good bonding experience with other people on the line to be like “Do you believe this guy?”

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Parvati (who is the most obvious selection that everyone strives to be) because she was charming as she was being manipulative. She allowed herself to be grouped into a “dumb girl alliance” but controlled the social situation throughout. I also relate to Wendell. Like Wendell, I am able to remain emotionally neutral and find humor in stressful or irritating situations.

Parvati and Wendell would be a dangerous combination if she’s able to pull it off. A promising answer that makes me think she has a decent understanding of the game.

What’s your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
I have wanted to compete on Survivor since I first watched Elisabeth Filarski jump off that cliff in the Australian Outback. Now that it’s happening (!!!), I keep reminding myself that the show is for money and not just an adventure. I want a behind-the-scenes look at the show I love, and I want to test my mind, body, and social prowess. The opportunity to graduate law school with zero debt is a bonus.

Yup, knows the show.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I am smart, strong, and not annoying. Discomfort and being dirty don’t bother me. I can fit in anywhere and form relationships with anyone. Being an oldest child and being a teacher taught me how to manage chaos, how to be adaptable and considerate to others’ needs, and how to use subtle powers of persuasion to get people to do what I want.

If you describe yourself as “not annoying” then there’s a good chance that you are actually annoying.

My Take On Molly:

She’s going to be a high-energy player who seems to be a fan of the show. As a law student, she must have some brains too. Describing yourself as “not annoying” is a red flag, but overall I think she has a chance to make a run.

Lauren

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Age: 28
Hometown: Bakersfield, California and Rochester Hills, Michigan
Current residence: Glendale, California
Occupation: Nanny

Hobbies: Eating an entire bag of Hot Cheetos in one sitting while binge watching true-crime shows, laughing at my own jokes, writing/blogging, music festivals, talking people’s ears off… my stepdad says I have the gift of gab, thanks Dad!
 
Pet peeves: People that take a French fry while asking “can I have a fry?” before I even get the chance to say yes, saying “literally” before every sentence (guilty), being late (if you’re on time you’re still late), talking in third person, and clapping when a plane lands.

I pictured her listing off all these things at a mile per minute. She’s gonna be a big time talker, as she says herself. Could get slightly annoying when you’re on a deserted island.

 Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Troyzan because we’re both hot, Cirie because she’s the best social player to date DUH, and I also like to think of myself as a gangsta in an Oprah suit. And last but certainly not least, Sandra because I have no problem being cutthroat to make power plays to enhance my individual game. The queen stays queen!

Oprah never played Survivor.

My Take On Lauren: 

There’s a slight chance she’s a super endearing player that lasts awhile and is a Cirie fan-favorite like she wants to be. More likely? She’s overly talkative and annoying and gets an early exit. Possible first boot.

Dean

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Age: 28
Hometown: Westfield, New Jersey
Current residence: New York City
Occupation: Tech Sales

I have no idea why Dean looks familiar and I feel like I know him, but he does. Looked up his Instagram and we have no mutual connections so maybe I’m just imagining things.

Hobbies: Basketball, crafts, and DJ-ing.

Based on those things, I’m going to guess Dean is also an avid sneaker head.

Pet peeves: People honking in dead-stop traffic, people from the back pushing up a couple rows upon airplane landing, and roommates leaving dirty dishes in the sink for a prolonged period of time.

People jumping up after a plane lands and not following the order for de-boarding are the scum of the Earth. I think I now like Dean.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
I have recently grown to appreciate astronomy, physics, and our place in the universe.

Gross.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
Self-awareness is one of the most important leadership characteristics. My social intelligence will allow me to read when to go big and when to fall back. I strongly believe in my ability to get along with and be liked by a variety of different people. This will allow me to build strong, diverse alliances. Additionally, my athletic and puzzle abilities will make me a threat within challenges. My experience working in sales will fuel my persuasion within my alliances.

My Take On Dean:

Being a young, seemingly athletic male gives Dean a huge advantage in the pre-merge. He also seems somewhat pleasant and likable. I can see Dean lasting for awhile, but I’m not sure he has that killer instinct to be a big strategic threat and winner.

Janet

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Age: 59
Hometown: Neptune, New Jersey
Current residence: Palm Bay, Florida
Occupation: Chief Lifeguard

Pet peeves: Laziness and being wasteful.

Three words to describe you: Aggressive, enthusiastic, and vivacious. 

Something tells me she’s not going to be the most pleasant presence around camp.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Saving many lives in the ocean and of course, my kids and my grandchildren.

Sick brag.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
I come off tough and stern… not true. 

She describes herself as aggressive. Says she hates laziness. But isn’t tough or stern? Not quite sure I’m buying that one.

My Take On Janet:

Statistically speaking, older women always have a tougher time on Survivor. In 38 seasons, a woman over 40 has only won two times. Typically they get type-casted as the “mom” character and are either an early boot, or get in a solid alliance and make it to Final Tribal Council where they don’t receive any winning votes. That’s just the harsh reality. I don’t see anything out of Janet to suggest she’ll break that mold. She’s a good bet to be an early boot and an extremely unlikely winner.

Tom

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Age: 60
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Current residence: Greenwich, Connecticut
Occupation: Former NHL Player

Former NY Ranger apparently so I guess I should like him.

Hobbies: Watching Survivor, anything fitness, and hanging with the people I love.

A guy named Tom who watches Survivor and is a big time fitness buff? Basically me.

Three words to describe you: Disciplined, dedicated, and stubborn.

I’d put “stubborn” as one of the worst possible qualities to have in Survivor.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Ben the Marine, he did whatever he had to.

The worst winner ever.

My Take On Tom:

Tom strikes me as a pretty easy guy to read. Older guy, former athlete who is probably drawn to Survivor for the physical challenges and survival aspect. Won’t be a strategic threat. I can see him trying to take the leader role early on and annoying his tribe. Likely an early boot. Very, very, very small chance to win.

Kellee

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Age: 29
Hometown: Costa Mesa, California
Current residence: Philadelphia
Occupation: MBA Student

Pet peeves: People who wake me up while I’m sleeping or try to talk to me while I am falling asleep.

Not a great sign when your only pet peeves in life involve sleep, and she’s going to be running on very little sleep during Survivor.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
I hate mayo; if I had to eat a tub to get to the Final 3, I’m not sure I could do it. And I don’t like whipped cream, vanilla frosting, or sour cream.

She appears to just hate all white food substances.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Kelley Wentworth. She’s athletic and gets along with people. And we almost have the same name.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
My pain tolerance is high, and I love to make difficult things fun. With a pinch of luck and a good “meat shield,” I’ll win.

Both of these are positives. She seems to understand the game, and I like that she is already thinking of a “meat shield” strategy that has proven to be effective.

My Take On Kellee:

There’s not a ton here to form a solid opinion, but I’m more optimistic than pessimistic on her. I can see her making the merge and with a few key moves, she can definitely make a deep run.

Jason

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Age: 32
Hometown: New York City
Current residence: New York City
Occupation: Personal Injury Lawyer

Pet peeves: Bullies, slow walkers, and when someone coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth.

A fellow germaphobe. Love to see it.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
A mix of Stephen Fishbach/Adam Klein/Cochran 2.0/Rob Cesternino and weirdly a little Tony Vlachos. Buckle up baby, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Interesting combination for sure. The nerdy superfans mixed with the absolute wild card of Tony. Color me intrigued.

What’s your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
The love of the game. I love Survivor and I want to play this game. I need to play. This is like Darwinism in its truest form.

I’m beginning to see a lot of myself in Jason and needless to say, that means I’ll have to root for him.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
Survivor is a relationship-based game. First, I will develop the relationships needed to win the game. I have a deep and fundamental understanding of human communication and connection. I have an uncanny ability to make strangers feel at ease. I disarm them with humor and self-deprecation. But I reinforce the connections with true and sincere interest and care. I will build relationships that will not only take me further into the game, but will win me the votes at final Tribal Council. Second, I will take control of my game and lead my allies to make favorable decisions to my game. I am a natural leader. Third, I will outwork my competition; I am an animal. I am resilient and hardworking. When I start something, I NEED to finish it.

That is one of the best answers I’ve ever seen to this question. Spoken like somebody who truly understands the game. Survivor is all about relationships. It’s more of a social experiment than a strategic experiment. People often fail to understand that. Jason is clearly a well-learned student of the game.

My Take On Jason:

He’s my early favorite. He fits the mold of a lot of past winners (Nick and Adam come to mind). He seems to understand the game but not as an overbearing superfan. There’s always the chance that someone like him comes out of the gate too quick and tries to overplay things, but my gut tells me that won’t be the case. Serious winner potential.

Elizabeth 

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Age: 26
Hometown: Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Current residence: Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Occupation: Olympic Medalist

Three words to describe you: Gregarious, competitive, and loyal.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Becoming the youngest member of the United States Olympic Team in 2008 at 15 years old.

What’s your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
To compete again. I retired from swimming a year ago and I miss challenging myself and bringing myself to the edge. Second reason… one million dollars.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I’m physically, mentally, and socially strong. I can easily connect with people—my alliances will be strong and help carry me through the game. I can win individual Immunity due to my strength as an athlete. I’m a tough girl who will fight until the end. 

My Take On Elizabeth:

Some booooring answers here makes it tough to get a read on her. If she’s as boring as her answers are, an invisible edit is certainly possible. Seems like someone that may make the merge, but end up on the jury and never really be a threat to win the game.

Aaron

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Age: 36
Hometown: Uncasville, Connecticut
Current residence: Warwick, Rhode Island
Occupation: Gym Owner

Hobbies: Lifting, traveling, and outdoor activities.

Three words to describe you: Attractive, intelligent, and strong.

A gym owner who loves lifting and describes himself as intelligent and strong. Looks like we have our meathead for the season.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Ozzy. He’s a physical monster when it comes to challenges, a major contributor around camp, a smart player, and social threat.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I flat out want this! I have to come in with a STRONG social game because I will have a huge target on my back as a physical threat. I know how to work people, get people to know me, like me, and trust me.

My Take On Aaron: 

I don’t see much here that makes me think Aaron is a serious threat in this game. Seems like he will put way too much stock into how important the physical part of the game is. He’ll likely make the merge and then be targeted quickly after for being a physical threat. I can also see him being cocky, lacking self awareness, and getting on people’s nerves. Unlikely winner.

Vince

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Age: 27 
Hometown: Merced, California
Current residence: Palo Alto, California
Occupation: Admissions Counselor

Pet peeves: When people are flaky and do not follow through with their promises. When people don’t understand that the middle seat passenger has rights to both armrests. When people tell me, “Wow! Your English is really good!” and follow with, “Where did you learn English?” When people dismiss and/or invalidate my lived experience as a person of color.

Strong agree on the middle seat pet peeve. It’s just basic decency.

Three words to describe you: Shamelessly-me, quick-witted ,and not-afraid-to-flip-tables.

That’s like 9 words. Also “not-afraid-to-flip-tables” could be a dangerous trait in the game of Survivor.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
In 2015, after years of experiencing erratic and frightening out-of-body panic-attack-like episodes, my grandmother’s Shaman Master declared that I was, and am, the next shaman to rise in our family!

I have no idea what this means, but it sounds awesome.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Vince is Vince. Survivor ain’t never had anyone like me before, haha. IF I had to choose, I’d say a mix of Shii Ann Huang, because she didn’t let nobody mess with her. The Shii Devil, Cirie Fields, because she’s humble, analytical, strategic, and inspirational, and Natalie Anderson, because she was loyal, innovative, and an overall boss!

The “there’s never been anyone like me” answer always irks me, but at least he did eventually answer it.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I have accumulated grit from the challenges that I’ve faced throughout my life and have always been able to gain the trust and confidence of others. I believe I can use my unassuming image and 209 vernacular to fool others into believing that I am not an immediate threat. However, I’d say I’m pretty crafty and will be able to use my smarts to create plans and execute votes that will eliminate anyone I feel is a threat to my game (if you’re not with me, you’re dead to me). I also understand how to deal with big egos and personal quirks and can use my social skills to build confidence among all characters. Lastly, I’ve got quite a mouth and can smack the Jury with an award-winning final Tribal Council speech to guarantee my win.

My Take On Vince:

I’m somewhat struggling to get a strong read on Vince. There are some promising signs that he’ll be a likable under-the-radar threat who can make a few key, sneaky moves that give him a good shot to win. I can also see him being overbearing, talkative, and annoying which would lead to an earlier boot. Biggest wild card so far.

Jack

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Age: 23
Hometown: Newport News, Virginia
Current residence: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Occupation: Graduate Student

Hobbies: CrossFit, listening to and singing musicals, all-you-can-eat sushi, and exploring the world.

Long-hair. Does CrossFit. Travels. Seems like a classic free-spirit hippie.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
Externally, I can easily be perceived as a laid back, longhaired, ditzy guy. In reality, I can be quite intellectual, intentional, and LOVE having serious, deep conversations with people.

Yes, that was the exact perception I had of you, Jack.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Devon Pinto. Devon just absolutely loves life and constantly radiates good vibes. He is always smiling and so am I.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I can navigate anyone and every social scenario. I understand I will be a target for people, and I do not take that lightly. I will get rid of anyone I view as a threat to me, without moral qualms. At the same time, I will be intentional in trying to remain more in the background and not viewed as a threat. Finally, if it came to life or death in a challenge, my smarts, physical ability, and focus will always make me a fierce competitor.

Alright, maybe there is some hope for Jack after all. A couple of solid answers here.

My Take On Jack:

Maybe I was a little too quick to judge a book by its cover here, although that is the exact purpose of this blog. If he really is smarter than he lets on, a Devon run is certainly possible. I still don’t love his chances to win. He will probably be sniffed out as a threat for his athleticism and likability, making him a likely merge boot.

Karishma

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Age: 37
Hometown: Philadelphia
Current residence: Houston
Occupation: Personal Injury Lawyer

Hobbies: Experimental cooking, hosting theme parties, and reading travel blogs.

Three of the worst hobbies I’ve ever heard.

Pet peeves: Party poopers, girls who play dumb for attention, when the tire hits the curb while parallel parking, mansplaining, passive aggressive behavior, and PDA.

Hates mansplaining? Would’ve been incredible TV if her and Dan Foley from Season 30 were on the same season.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I feel like I was born to play this game. I’ve always craved challenges that help me learn more about myself, and I know deep down that I do have the physical, mental, and social skills to outlast, outwit, and outplay anyone. My job and my life experiences have trained me exactly how to win. I am hungry to be out in the wild, pushing myself to the edge, and doing things I never dreamed I could do. In the end, surviving this game means something more valuable than money to me. 

My Take On Karishma: 

She didn’t really give us enough where I can form a solid opinion on her. She won’t be a physical threat so it’s always possible she’s an early boot. Nothing here gives me winner vibes.

Noura 

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Age: 36
Hometown: London / Bethesda, Maryland
Current residence: North Potomac, Maryland
Occupation: Entrepreneur

Hobbies: Working out, creating healthy foods and beverages in the kitchen, traveling, and social media posting on self-help, food, and fitness.

What an extremely rare trifecta we have here. A social media account that does fitness, motivational quotes, AND foodie posts? Talk about unbearable.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
I love frogs. I don’t drink and have never done a drug or smoked a cigarette in my life.

Two vastly different facts here.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Malcolm. Physically strong and great at puzzles and problem solving and genuinely liked by most people. And easy on the eyes. But underestimated with a low threat-factor like Fabio and Jud.

Rare to see a girl compare herself to Malcolm. An interesting mix here.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I’m multidimensional and not just one thing or person. I’m the nerd, jock, and model with brains, brawn, and beauty. Most importantly, I have the social skills needed to both win and influence people, and relentless drive to go after what I want.

This is a good answer. It’s rare for a person who clearly fits a certain archetype – big jock, nerdy superfan, hot model – to win the game. You need to have a mix of everything. Seems like Noura might.

My Take On Noura: 

There’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic about Noura. She seems athletic enough to be kept around pre-merge. And as she says, she seems unassuming enough where she won’t be an immediate threat at the merge. That’s a recipe for success. My concerns are she has little mention of strategic gameplay and her annoying answer about social media. Other than that, I’m optimistic and get some Sarah Lacina vibes. Definite winner potential.

Missy

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Age: 24
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
Current residence: Tacoma, Washington
Occupation: Air Force Veteran

Pet peeves: Annoying human beings.

Simple enough.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Kim, my girl is a legend. She hit the sand and aligned quickly. She played both sides effortlessly. I would play like this. Kill ‘em with a smile.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
Beyoncé wrote a song about surviving so I have to honor Queen B.

Gag.

My Take On Missy:

All of her answers were pretty brief so there’s not a ton to judge her on. She definitely seems like she’ll be competitive with her Air Force background and some of her answers. Perhaps overly competitive? Also hated that Beyonce answer. I’m not high on her chances to win and think she could be an early boot.

Tommy

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Age: 26
Hometown: Bayville, New York
Current residence: Long Beach, New York
Occupation: 4th Grade Teacher

A guy named Tommy S from Long Island made the show and it’s not me? Fuck this fucking guy. I also read that he apparently even lived in my hometown of Floral Park. Unreal.

Hobbies: Surfing, sports (basketball, volleyball, football), and asking questions to my magic eight ball.

It’s 2019, Tommy. Time to put the magic eight ball in the attic with the rest of your toys from elementary school.

Pet peeves: I hate bullies who think they are better than everyone else and talk down to others. I also cannot stand grumpy and serious people. Lighten up, life is amazing, let me see that smile. LOL.

Well I hate you. Did he really type out “LOL” in all caps? Christ.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud of all the children’s lives I have changed teaching. Also, I have a really killer Disney coffee mug collection.

That Disney coffee mug collection must look sick next to his magic eight ball.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
I have the biggest heart. I love people and would do anything to help them, especially kids.

I just threw up in my mouth.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I am physical and can win challenges, but that won’t win Survivor. What wins Survivor is the time spent opening up and connecting to people. When you have real connections with people they will keep you around longer. Also, I am there to win the game. I see myself finding idols, making moves and leading blindsides.

My Take On Tommy:

At least he has enough game awareness to realize there’s more to Survivor than just physical challenges. But being the guy who says “I’m gonna go find idols and make the big moves” is a concern and might mean he’ll overplay. All unfair hatred aside, I’m still not too optimistic on his chances. He seems too happy-go-lucky, and I just don’t see much winner potential, although he will likely last for a bit.

Jamal

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Age: 33
Hometown: Jersey City, New Jersey
Current residence: Providence, Rhode Island
Occupation: Admissions Counselor K-12

Hobbies: Coaching basketball, taking West African and salsa dance lessons, teaching myself the bass guitar, and losing in fantasy football leagues.

I’m always a little weary of people who coach and come from other leadership roles. Concerns me they’ll take that mindset into the game and become a bossy tribe leader early on.

Pet peeves: I hate bugs that insist on leaving behind itchy, painful bumps. I don’t mind sharing my blood with you, but why the discomfort? Why the ache? It’s pretty rude if you ask me.

This could be bad news for Survivor, Jamal.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
You wouldn’t know that while I was a tri-varsity athlete by my junior year in high school, I was also in the school a cappella group, played the trumpet in the orchestra, and played a role in the spring play! You can’t judge a book by its cover.

You actually can judge a book by its cover, and that’s why I’ve done for every single contestant. I am a sucker for some good a cappella so hopefully he’ll break out those pipes on the island.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
I most relate to Jeremy. I think he played the game the second time similarly to how I would want to play it. Wendell, Officer Sarah, and Christian are all players I relate to, as well.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I’ve been intensely studying this game. I feel like I have a good handle on what to do in order to give myself the best shot at making it to the end with enough good will to get votes. People will be happy to write my name at the end.

My Take On Jamal:

On the exterior he seems like a big jock, but as he said, perhaps there is more to him than that. I don’t think he’s a huge fan of the game which might hurt. All his player comparisons were recent seasons that he likely watched during the casting process and said he’s been “intensely studying this game” which makes me think he’s playing catch-up. Like most big strong guys, the easy prediction is he makes the merge and is then targeted soon after.

Dan

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Age: 48
Hometown: New York City
Current residence: Los Angeles
Occupation: Talent Manager

Being a talent manager means he deals with people a lot and should know how to massage egos. Could be useful in Survivor.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?
I don’t have a hero, per se—Jane Goodall and people like her who have a selfless devotion to something in the way she did. The way she illuminated the life of chimpanzees, and never let anything get in her way, is heroic to me.

Well, that’s a weird answer.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
That I am a big softy. As my first client always reminds me, I cried at Finding Nemo.

It is a very sad movie, to be fair.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Crowley and Kwon because of background, Westman and Boston Rob for social gameplay, and Cochran because he’s freaking cool and weird.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I think I have the basic, if not superior, physicality to be useful to the Tribe. More importantly, I have an incredible ability to know what people need and to make them feel good, and to make myself critical in their success.

My Take On Dan:

The first comparison that came to my mind was Dan Lembo from Nicaragua, but that could be off after reading his answers. His answers are all brief so it’s a little tough to read him. He says he’s physical which is surprising, I was going to say he could be an early boot. I can see him being a key piece of a majority alliance and flying under-the-radar. Don’t be surprised to see him make a deep run, although winning might prove difficult.

Elaine

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Age: 41
Hometown: Woodbine, Kentucky
Current residence: Rockholds, Kentucky
Occupation: Factory Worker

She should get along well with Boston Rob.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
People think I am a real hard ass but I am actually a big softy.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
I think I am most like Rupert, rough and raw on the outside, and a big marshmallow on the inside. He seemed to be a very kind person just like me.

I’m a big time Rupert hater, so I hope this isn’t the case.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?
I think people will underestimate me. I think with my people skills and my ability to relate to different types of people, I will be able to befriend them or gain their trust. I would be overlooked because I wouldn’t be a threat, but an ally.

My Take On Elaine:

She could be a quiet fan favorite. I don’t see her winning, but I think she can last for awhile if she gets in the right  majority alliance. But she’s not someone I see winning the game.

Chelsea

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Age: 26
Hometown: Marlton, New Jersey
Current residence: Los Angeles
Occupation: Digital Content Creator

Hobbies: Working out, going to the beach, soccer, rooting for Philly sports teams, and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm.

She’s on Survivor and watches Curb? Some great taste in television out of Chelsea.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?
Larry David because he respects wood.

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
I’m pretty, pretty, pretty good.

OK so she really likes Curb.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Getting on Survivor. I started applying to the show when I was 21, and I remember believing once I put in that application, Survivor would be chomping at the bit to invite me to play this game. Little did I know at that point that this would be the start to a very long journey. After almost six straight years of applying, with rejection after rejection after rejection, I finally contemplated throwing in the towel. Yet, as hard as I tried to push it away, I could never get the thoughts and urges to play out of my mind and out of my heart. I’ve never quit anything in my life, and I’m so proud of myself for never giving up on my dream, despite people telling me to do so. The best thing I ever did was believe in myself.

This will be me one day.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Parvati and Kelley Wentworth, although I am aware the two girls play very different games. Parvati plays a very social, flirty, unsuspecting game, and establishes herself in power when she can. Kelley plays a very sneaky, threatening and aggressive game, tends to be more in your face with what she wants to accomplish, with a “never give up” type of attitude. I see myself in both of them.

A couple of Survivor legends here. They’re definitely great people to compare yourself to.

My Take On Chelsea:

I can see Chelsea being a major factor in this game. Winner potential written all over her. She’s a superfan who knows the game but won’t come off as an obvious threat early on. If she can fly under-the-radar for awhile and then make some key moves at the merge, she has a real shot to win.

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And that wraps up the 20 players we’ll have vying for the $1 million prize on Season 39. Seems like a well-balanced, intriguing cast. All season long, I’ll keep a running ranking of players I think have the best chance to win. This is NOT who will last the longest. Don’t look at the person ranked last as the person likely to go home next. Look at them as the person with the least chance to win. That person could very easily get dragged to FTC as a goat, but won’t win. This is ranking people based on their chance to actually win the game.

The Favorites (I feel very confident that one of these five will win)

1. Jason

2. Chelsea

3. Ronnie

4. Noura

5. Molly

Contenders

6. Dean

7. Kellee

8. Jack

9. Jamal

10. Tommy

11. Aaron

Longshots

12. Elizabeth

13. Dan

14. Missy

15. Karishma

16. Lauren

17. Vince

0.001% Chance

18. Elaine

19. Tom

20. Janet

And now we’re officially ready for Season 39 of Survivor. If you’ve never given it a chance, or haven’t watched in a long time, try to get back in to it tonight. It’s always a fun viewing experiencing and it’s fun playing the game along the way and making predictions.

39 days. 20 people. ONE. Survivor.