At the start of each Survivor season, the bloggers get together to make our fearless predictions about the upcoming installment. We haven’t revisited our picks in the past to compare them to what actually happened. This process would certainly raise doubts about our status as experts. That trend changes now; it’s time to step up and face the music! Who made the silliest gaffes in our initial comments? What observations about the players were spot on? Which blogger is putting the others to shame? This post is the first in a series of updates that we’ll offer periodically throughout the season. Each one will also include new predictions for what’s coming on the horizon at that stage of the game.
How Are Our Picks Doing?
The most important prediction is who will be the Sole Survivor, and it’s quite a challenge based on short videos and online bios. None of us have lost our winner yet, but several are in trouble. We also picked the two runners up plus 11 players that would make the merge. Here’s a quick summary of our results:
Scott: He chose Joaquin for his “ability to get people galvanized to do his bidding, carry out Survivor assassinations, and blindsides.” Scott has 9/11 of his merge picks remaining, with So and Nina departing. He also chose So to make the finals, so putting his money on Malcolm’s girl was a mistake.Joe was a very popular winner pick among the bloggers. Will he prove them right?[/caption]
Catherine: The popular choice of Joe looked very good at the start and still feels solid. Catherine explained, “He’s incredibly likable, Probst wants to poke him, whatever that means, and I think everyone is going to want to work with Joe.” All three seem accurate, especially the second point. Catherine included all three boots in her merge picks, so she’s only 8/11 thus far. Nina also made her finalist predictions, so it’s been a tough start for Catherine. Her winner pick looks good, though.
Michel: Sometimes the reasons are so simple. Michel equaled Catherine’s pick because “everyone loves Joe”. Thus far, it’s hard to argue with that pick. Michel has 9/11 merge picks and has lost Vince and So. His runner-up picks of Hali and Jenn are both going strong, but it may be a stretch to expect the No Collar trio to make the end.
Sarah: Her first pick was also Joe, but Sarah mixed it up and picked Shirin because she’s her sentimental favorite. Warning signs are appearing, but Shirin has been fun and still has a chance. Sarah also has 9/11 merge picks remaining, but her finalist Vince is gone. Her other choice was Jenn, and there’s a good possibility that will happen.
Dan: When I picked Max to win, I told him to “enjoy 16th place” because of my bad predicting history. He’s already passed that spot and appears set to last for a while. I’m not convinced he can navigate to the end, but it’s been a convincing start! My finalist picks of Shirin and Sierra also don’t appear too bad, though the latter choice has been largely invisible. Whether that’s good or not is still a question. I’ve only lost one merge pick in So (we all picked her) and am feeling good about 10/11 correct slots. Of course, I have a feeling there may be a huge shift after next week’s two-hour episode.
Call Us Nostradamus
There are some predictions that are so accurate that they give you chills. Did the bloggers take a DeLorean into the future and discover what would happen? Or are we just that good? Here are a bunch of short quotes that reveal some impressive predicting skills:
Catherine on Dan: “Dan did compare himself to Rupert in his bio, saying he has Rupert’s love of family, strength and stunning good looks. And watching his video, I’m not sure if he’s going to be anything more than Rupert in a better outfit.”
Sarah on Max and Shirin’s alliance: “On the plus side, Shirin is a fellow Brown alum who also takes a professional interest in social media, so that would seem like a ready-made alliance, while Joaquin is certain to make a bigger target of himself.”
Scott on Carolyn: “I think it’s clear that Carolyn is an overachiever; being a mom, working and going to school shows that she’s not a lazy dummy. One would have to think that Carolyn will be able to blend in, not stick out as an overt target, which is always key in the game. The less reason early on that people have to suspect you being a monster in the game the better.”
Michel on Mike: “I think that Mike will show his dumb side and get himself booted as soon as his strength isn’t needed anymore.”
Dan on Hali: “I’m inclined to think that she’ll take a wiser approach and save her big moves for the right time. I’m taking a more optimistic view and sticking my neck out on this one. I think Hali will surprise and be a player to watch on her tribe.”
Catherine on Joe: “He seems to be very sweet; his video was very likable. He will get along with everybody, and almost certainly be part of the main alliance of the tribe.”
Another fun activity is looking back at the ways we underestimated players based on their cast videos and bios. Jeff Probst famously said that Spencer had a “zero percent chance” to win the game. I was ready to put the same bet on half these players. While it was easy to recognize the smarts of Max Dawson, some of us missed on others. Let’s start with the blue collar hustler.
Catherine on Rodney: “I hate to just echo what everyone else in the Survivor world is thinking, but Rodney has zero percent chance to win this game. His CBS video and bio make him seem like he could be the third Christy brother.”
Sarah on Rodney: “I am putting all my money on Blue Collar being the train wreck tribe, and the reason for that is almost entirely Rodney (if you haven’t, read his interview with Gordon Holmes, which defies all laws of journalism). Athletically, he should be one of their star players, but somebody like Rodney is not going to listen to others and will act on impulse without checking in with everybody else first. That’s a problem in challenges. It’s a problem in camp. It’s one hell of a problem in strategy.”
We were also surprised by Carolyn, who found the idol by tailing So and Joaquin. She formed a solid alliance that helped her to avoid the vote. Carolyn is outspoken, and that approach may come back to haunt her down the road. Michel was really hoping for her to fail. Here’s more on his pre-season wish:
Michel on Carolyn: “I hope Carolyn falls flat on her face. It would be funny to see supermom crack under pressure and quit. I’m pretty sure that we will see her leaving early so that would be enough to satisfy me.”
Another surprise was Tyler, who’s kept his cards close to the vest. He was annoyed by Shirin but didn’t start a fight. He also didn’t reveal Carolyn’s idol. We weren’t convinced about Tyler’s chances, however. His videos disguised his skills. Here’s more from Scott:
Scott on Tyler: “Tyler looks like he will be wallpaper this season. I don’t see him being taken out of the game early. I see him struggling to separate himself in this game, meaning I don’t see him being an Alpha leader in the game that makes it to the final 3.”
These quotes reveal impressions of the first three boots that were right on the money. The comments (especially Sarah’s) show insights about how they connected with others and where it led them.
Sarah on Nina: “The age gap is immense, and unlike the other older women on the season, there’s a sense of naiveté about Nina. At one point in her video, she worries about being deceitful, and notes that it’s a game for a million dollars and ‘these people have to understand’. That’s the problem, because as much as players know that, they only understand if you sell that to them throughout the game.”
Dan on Vince: “The big question for Vince is whether his personality will connect with his fellow Nagarole tribe members. There’s a fine line between having positivity and being just too much. This group offers a possible chance, yet I still see ‘early boot’ written all over his forehead.”
Michel on So: “She wants to prove that women can be strong and strategic, but I’d like it if she could prove that she isn’t all talk and no play. I know why it’s hard to get a good read on her: She says the right thing but it sounds like it comes from notes she took before leaving: ‘I should say this… I can’t say that, etc…’ She wants to have fun, but I get the feeling the fun will be at her expense.”
On the other hand, some of us were a lot higher on the players who ended up leaving early. The most prominent example was Scott, who picked So as the challenge monster and for the final three. To his credit, Scott did admit that he jinxed her with the pick. Here’s his rationale for the choice:
Scott on So: “I think I’m in the minority here thinking that So seems like she will do well this season. I think she will be chill back at camp and use that to bring people to her to work a decent social game. I don’t think she will be a drama starter, I don’t think she will have a target on her back. I think she will be able to play nice with both the men and the women which is always an underrated skill in the game of Survivor. I think she makes a deep run in this game. I’m going to predict a top five finish…which probably means she will start a fire the first day and be the first one gone. Sorry So.”
Vince also showed up in Sarah’s picks as one of the final three. No one knew quite what to make of him. Sarah wasn’t enamored with Vince’s abilities yet picked him to make the finals. He was a prime candidate to be a goat, and Catherine had similar feelings about that possibility. Who knew that he’d tried to make a play early? Here’s Catherine’s fun take on the coconut vendor:
Catherine on Vince: “He’s also going to be good value in the challenges, and I can’t see anyone wanting to vote Vince out, ever. It wouldn’t shock me to see Vince in the Final Tribal Council. However, first impressions last, and from first impressions, I don’t think Vince is getting anybody’s votes, but $100,000 would buy him a lovely new coconut cart.”
We Missed the Boat
Here are more short quotes that show how much we failed. The most obvious one was Mike, who was a lot more BB than Tom Westman. We also weren’t so accurate in our thoughts about some of the No Collars, who’ve received a lot of attention in the beginning episodes.
Dan on Mike: “Mike seems like a very familiar personality type for Survivor. He seems tough and strong and has enough charm to avoid bothering the rest of his tribe. “
Sarah on Mike: “There’s no reason to vote off the affable oil driller, and considering his experience with counselling, he may well be needed as a pastoral figure in his tribe.”
Catherine on Hali: “I don’t think Hali is going to go far — in fact, I think she very well could be the first boot, unless someone else on her tribe puts in a J’Tia-like challenge performance.”
Scott on Jenn: “She just has the vibe of someone that is just going to float along for about four episodes, not really be observant of the social dynamics going on around her. I could see Jenn being the victim of a not-so-subtle blindside.”
Michel on Will: “He sounds like a guy who enjoys life and wants to have fun with the others, so he should be seen as a good teammate.”
It’s too easy to rest on our laurels and failed early predictions; we’re making more! It isn’t clear from the promos if a tribe swap is coming next week, but the odds are good in a two-hour episode. These picks will give us more bragging rights down the road since they’re certainly all correct.
Whose game is destroyed by the tribe swap?
Dan: Tyler, whose role in the middle on the White Collar group won’t remain in a new tribe.
Michel: Rodney, Lindsey and everyone in the White Collar tribe except Shirin.
Sarah: Rodney — Mike’s got him out to prove that nobody tells him what to do, and that’s going to backfire horribly in a new tribe, especially when blue collar are seen as a threat.
Scott: Rodney — Too entitled, not enough social smarts to handle the adversity of hanging with the heavyweights of the game this season. I see an epic implosion.
This player is in trouble and will be saved by the swap. Who is it?
Dan: Joaquin. Despite the irritation with Shirin, he’s still in trouble on the White Collars. A new tribe may value his challenge strength.
Sarah: Shirin — The White Collar dynamic is shifting against her, but I think Shirin’s whimsy will go down well in a new tribe, particularly with the young No Collars.
Scott: Joaquin — Ok. Ok. This is wishful thinking because I want to save face with my pre-season prediction of Joaquin winning the game, but bear with me. If he can make it to the merge, he has a fighting chance…just needs a little help from the Survivor gods.
Which two players are the next to go?
Catherine: Dan, Joe
Dan: Will, Lindsey
Michel: I’d go with Shirin or Will for the first episode, but maybe there isn’t a vote and someone is medevaced.
Sarah: Will, Rodney. Postscript — it’s going to be hysterical if there isn’t a swap, so we’re wrong about everything.
Scott: Mike and Shirin — I think Mike’s quest to alienate himself with every single player reaches its end and once he pisses off the last player on his list, he will look lovingly at the pile of wood at camp and vanish up to Survivor Heaven like Patrick Swayze in Ghost.
Where did you miss the boat with our predictions? Will Jeff Probst stop talking about collars? What do you think will happen this week?