Rob Cesternino welcomes back Nicole Cesternino to the podcast for the first time since October 2015 to preview the 18 new players competing in Survivor Kaoh Rong. Rob and Nicole introduce each member of the Brawn, Beauty and Brains tribe and discuss their chances in the game.
Plus, Rob and Nicole give their predictions for the winners of Season 32. Nicole will be attempting to pick her third straight winner and her 5th overall winner in 12 season preview podcasts.
Episode Recap (with Timecodes)
6:28 – “Nicoletradamus” describes her amazingly successful strategy when it comes to picking winners, which involves not speaking to Rob about the cast AT ALL prior to making her choice. Anytime Nicole picks a winner prior to talking to Rob, she gets it right. Anytime she allows Rob and this podcast to influence her opinion, she gets it wrong. Now she will attempt to demonstrate her uncanny clairvoyance again with the cast of Koah Rong:
Cydney Gillon – (13:44): Rob thinks that Cyd’s discomfort with not having her health supplements out on the island is a red flag for her chances in the game. He also questions her assessment of Tony as “someone whose loyalty was unwavering to the people that really mattered.” He thinks Trish would beg to differ. Nicole sees Cyd potentially having some interpersonal conflicts with people. Rob thinks the fact Cyd is listing types of people and behaviors she cannot stand prior to even starting the game is a bad sign. Both agree she could make for great television. If she can keep her alter-egos in check, both Rob & Nicole think she is well-positioned to make the merge as a strong female on the historically-dominant Brawn tribe.
Jennifer Lanzetti (24:16): Rob is amazed that Jennifer’s pet peeve of “assholes” made it to CBS.com unfiltered. He also found it funny Jennifer claimed to know a contestant from Survivor 22 (Redemption Island) when it turns out it was Jonas, the sushi chef from ‘Survivor: One World.’ Upon reading that the player Jennifer believes herself to be most like is Kim, Rob speculates that ‘One World’ may be the only season she has watched. Nicole thinks Jennifer could potentially come out of the gate too hot. Both agree that, at least in part due to circumstances, she is likely to make the merge. However, neither Rob nor Nicole have high hopes for her as a winner.
Alecia Holden (33:19): Rob notes that Alecia’s pet peeve with liars and her practice of “telling it like it is” is traditionally unsuccessful in Survivor. Nicole thinks it is probably unsuccessful in life. She says her experience is that people who make a habit of “telling it like it is” tend to alienate others with unnecessary bluntness. Rob wonders if Alecia’s obsession with being an “adrenaline junkie” desensitizes her ability to get an adrenaline rush. He and Nicole agree that Alecia’s desire to play like Chaos Kass, while potentially fun, does not bode well for her odds at winning the game. Rob is worried that Alecia will not get along with Cydney, and that one of them therefore will not be long for the game. Nicole does not think it seems like a particularly compatible mix of women. Both Rob and Nicole peg Alecia as the female contestant from Brawn most likely to miss the merge.
Darnell Hamilton (42:44): Rob is confused by Darnell’s wish for sunglasses on the island, “because of all the ugly people.” Nicole speculates that it is so he could avoid looking at faces while talking to ugly people. Nicole identifies with Darnell’s story of growing up having to regularly sneak out of his parents’ house. She also thinks his knowledge of CPR could come in handy on this season known to be full of medical evacuations. Rob says that saving someone’s life would be a great argument for a Final 2 jury speech. Rob loves Darnell’s obvious knowledge of the game, as well as his seemingly high levels of self-awareness and humor. Rob thinks Darnell seems like a good bet to make the merge and stick around a long time, while Nicole thinks he could be gone pre-merge. Rob likes his ability to handle the potential crazies on his tribe given his background as a postal worker, and thinks the women will probably be most willing to work with him. Nicole does agree that the other two guys on the tribe are potentially less likely to click with the women than Darnell.
Kyle Jason (52:21): Nicole thinks Kyle looks like he could be on ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ Nicole says she had a good feeling about him right up until learning he wanted to play exactly like Russell. Rob is actually pretty high on Kyle’s chances in the game, and thinks someone with a “blue collar look” like Kyle’s is often seen as trustworthy on Survivor. Nicole says that his bounty hunter background should make him very good when it comes to reading people. Rob thinks pretty much the only red flag on Kyle’s bio is the notion that Russell is the only person who played the game correctly, as he probably made his jury feel like idiots on an unnecessary level. However, he does think Kyle will be underestimated, and should go far as long as he does not go “Kylo Jason,” take the Russell thing too far, and burn the camp down. Both Rob and Nicole like his chances to go far.
Scot Pollard (1:00:06): Nicole thinks that other players will always resent the professional athlete, and so they will not want to see Scot even get close to the end of the game. Rob adds that Scot’s presence on the Brawn tribe in particular could further alienate him, being surrounded by more of a blue collar group who actually need the money. Rob worries about Scot’s size, and how many calories his enormous body might need to function well. He is also concerned Scot might eventually decide that the level of discomfort in Cambodia is not worth the aggravation, since he clearly is not playing for the money. Nicole thinks Scot is likely to be alienated from the group, and probably will not make the merge. Rob disagrees, and thinks Scot will make the merge, if only due to the overwhelming strength on the Brawn tribe. However, he sees him as a big early post-merge target. Nicole notes that there seem to be a lot of strong people this season.
Michele Fitzgerald (1:11:13): Rob notes that Michele is a big fan of Harry Potter, and that there seem to be a few “Potterheads” this season. Nicole wonders if anyone will argue on the island over their obsessive love of Harry Potter. Rob feels like bartenders have not traditionally done well on Survivor, despite having a lot of representation. Nicole thinks Michele’s love of the game, combined with her love of Harry Potter makes for an awesome combination, and thinks she is someone who should do well bonding with the other girls on her tribe. However, Nicole says she never likes when women say they hope to play like Parvati, because it is an unrealistic goal. Rob notes that all three women on this tribe are from the Northeast. Nicole thinks Michele will ultimately make the merge. Rob disagrees, and thinks Michele will be out pre-merge, mostly because her bio is relatively vague and he cannot get a great feel for how she might be as a player.
Anna Khait (1:18:00): Nicole says that Anna’s distaste for bullying is a good character trait in real life, but maybe not for Survivor. She finds it interesting that all three girls on Beauty are super-fans. Rob thinks the “Survivor IQ” on this tribe, especially among the women, is much higher than the Beauty tribe in Cagayan. Rob is interested to see if she will disclose her profession as a poker player. He thinks she should be able to maneuver without much suspicion, especially given her presence on Beauty and not Brains. Nicole thought she came off as a little awkward in her interview. Rob loves that Anna is open to flirting with anyone, man or woman, to stay alive in the game. Both Rob and Nicole see her making the merge and possibly going far.
Julia Sokolowski (1:23:51): Nicole identifies with Julia’s distaste for people who walk too slowly. Rob wonders if Julia will have trouble implementing the flirt card the way she wants to because of her young age. Nicole thinks the guys on Beauty will have no problems with it whatsoever. Nicole worries that Julia being talkative could get her in trouble, as it will prevent her from being someone who is overlooked. Nicole thinks Julia is probably too young to have any real success in the game. Rob disagrees, and sees real potential for all three of these women to stick together and potentially call the shots on this tribe. Nicole says she would love that, but is unsure if the girls can all get on the same page. Rob says he is in on Julia. Nicole says she could see her as the first girl gone from this tribe, whenever it comes to that. However, both Rob and Nicole agree that whoever Anna decides to go with could very likely form the dominant alliance on Beauty, so if that is the girls, then Julia could go far.
Nick Maiorano (1:31:22): Rob compares Nick’s practice of speaking to the reader on the CBS.com blog to the style of the show ‘Mr. Robot’ on USA, and thinks it is something he has not seen before on these bios. Nicole thinks Nick seems to really love himself. She thinks he could be someone who will be hard to get along with and therefore may struggle to form solid alliances. Rob surprises Nicole with the information that Nick is a former blogger for ‘Rob Has A Podcast,’ having helped cover the first Brains vs. Beauty vs. Brawn, ‘Survivor: Cagayan.’ Rob says that, from his experience corresponding with Nick, the narcissism he is showing in the video package might not be an accurate representation of his character or how he will play, similar to Spencer Bledsoe. Rob says he could see Nick possibly having flaming out early, similar to Garrett Adelstein, but he cannot really envisions a scenario where Nick is the first person voted off this tribe. Rob does not know if Nick can win the game, but he does think he will be making the merge. Nicole is irked by the notion that Nick would misrepresent himself on all his entrance material, and says she is out on him.
Caleb Reynolds (1:37:39): Nicole wonders if Caleb might be coming into Survivor with a little bit of an inflated ego following his run on ‘Big Brother 16.’ Rob says he is really interested in how Caleb will be perceived by his tribe-mates coming off of ‘Big Brother,’ and wonders if anyone will recognize him. Nicole says she would be surprised if at least one of the three female super-fans on Beauty did not. Rob notes that Caleb fact-checked him on Twitter following his preseason cast assessment podcast with Josh Wigler, reminding Rob that it was actually Derrick who gave him his “Beast Mode Cowboy” nickname; that it was not self-branded. He also reminded Rob that he finished 4th on his season, not 5th. Rob feels that, from what Caleb showed on ‘Big Brother,’ he was a very loyal person in terms of the game, so he is not really someone who needs to be targeted right away strategically. He does question if Caleb can find any kind of “bros alliance” among the men on Beauty, and thinks that he and the other two guys may easily find themselves at the mercy of the women. Ultimately, Rob says he does not have a very good read on how far Caleb will go, but does not think he is likely to make the merge, despite the physical strength asset that he brings. No matter how it plays out, Rob thinks it will be a fun ride having Caleb on this season.
Tai Trang (1:44:01): Nicole and Rob both really like Tai’s good-natured, easy-going personality, but question how well he will gel with someone like “Beast Mode Cowboy,” for example. Rob thinks given the tribe dynamics that if the girls do stick together, they might find Tai the easiest to relate to of the three guys, and decide to take him with them over Nick or Caleb. Nicole agrees, and thinks that Nick could be the first out of this tribe. Rob thinks it might be Caleb. But both like Tai’s chances if he can endear himself to this group of women.
Peter Baggenstos (1:49:33): Rob is disheartened by Peter’s distaste for “Know-It-Alls,” but does not believe it to be a podcast reference. He is confused by Peter’s desire for a drone on the island “so he can get the layout of the land.” He is also intrigued by Peter comparing himself to Pete Yurkowski from ‘Survivor: Philippines,’ and wonders if it goes any deeper than first name recognition. If not, Rob says he is confused by the irony of Peter’s dislike for “bros,” contrasted with his adoration for “Pete-bro.” Rob and Nicole joke about Peter’s hatred for getting compared to President Barack Obama, but Rob also speculates that Peter probably does deal with a lot of people angry with their health insurance as a physician, and so maybe has seen a side of that comparison which people have not fully considered. However, both Rob and Nicole agree that they absolutely saw the comparison before hearing anyone else mention it, so the resemblance is striking enough. Rob notes that there are many worse people to be consistently told you resemble. Nicole says that being told she looks like other people is a pet peeve of hers. Rob worries that Peter’s irritation with the Obama comparison might be a bad sign for how he will handle the stresses of Survivor. Nicole says that ER doctors have a reputation for being a little crazy, and wonders if Survivor will be too slow of a game for Peter to find his comfort zone. Both Rob and Nicole believe Peter will make the merge, though Rob notes that he does not love his long-term chances.
Joseph del Campo (1:56:34): Both Rob and Nicole’s immediate impressions are that Joe looks fantastic for 72. They also note his desire for an iPod on the island, and that it is no small thing for a 72-year-old to be fully-versed in using an iPod. Rob notes that Joe’s short bio probably indicates he is not a big talker. Nicole says she likes that, as well as Joe comparing himself to Tom Westman. Rob notes that this is a much older group relative to the other two tribes. He says he is excited to see the ‘Millennial Generation’ reach Survivor-playing age, and he is interested to see what approaches a new generation might bring to the game and how they will deal with older players. Rob says that if Joe wants to have success in the game, he will need to put some of his FBI training to work and meet the younger crowd on their level, rather than demanding they acquiesce to him. Rob is concerned that in a season with many evacuations, Joe could be a prime candidate given his age. Nicole disagrees, and thinks he looks like someone who can handle the harsh conditions. Nicole sees Joe making the merge, while Rob thinks he will be out pre-merge. He argues that, due to the conditions coupled with Joe’s advanced age, he is a likely candidate for either possible injury or a first boot target.
Neal Gottlieb (2:03:42): Nicole felt like Neal’s CBS.com bio was too long-winded and boring. She also hates that Neal claims to enjoy “one-upsmanship.” Rob thinks it has more to do with Nicole having a short attention span. Rob thinks Neal seems like a fusion of Erik Reichenbach and Stephen Fischbach, having Erik’s good-natured, boyish love of the outdoors coupled with Stephen’s long-winded and introspective nature. Nicole thinks Neal could have some problems being overly talkative or neurotic. Rob notes that the longest bio on ‘Survivor: World’s Apart’ was Joe Anglim, so descriptiveness probably does not indicate much. Nicole thinks Neal seems nice but comes off as a little awkward. However, she also thinks he might be in a good group to be able to overcome that. Rob thinks being someone who is in good physical condition but cast on the Brains tribe is probably a bit of a curse, because you have to have been cast onto Brains for a reason, and people are likely to immediately be suspicious of you and your motives. Rob thinks Neal has a lot to overcome to do well in the game, and Nicole agrees. Both feel he is likely to be gone pre-merge.
Aubrey Bracco (2:12:57): Rob disagrees with Aubrey’s premise that crayons smell really good. Nicole agrees, especially after having to change a crayon-filled diaper in the recent past. Rob likes that Aubrey refers to herself as “beguiling,” and notes that word has not been heard on Survivor since Tarzan used it to describe Bill Posley. Nicole thinks Aubrey is probably too quirky to ingratiate herself to the majority, and sees her as a likely pre-merge boot. Rob disagrees, and thinks that Aubrey being 29 years old puts her right in the sweet spot in terms of the ideal age for relating to the highest amount of people on Survivor. He sees her making the merge.
Elisabeth Markham (2:17:32): Rob notes that Liz claims to be a blackjack player and card counter. Nicole wonders if that admission will put her on the radar for any casinos she visits in the future. Nicole has mixed feelings on Liz’s chances in the game. She thinks Liz’s bio says all the right things and that Liz seems to have a great “Survivor resume,” but questions if she is potentially too smart for her own good in this game. Nicole worries Liz might have a hard time relaxing during the game. Rob agrees, and thinks that, like Neal, Liz suffers from being cast onto the Brains tribe despite the fact she could easily be on Beauty. Nicole thinks Liz will probably be pre-merge, but thinks that if she can make the merge, she will go very far. Rob thinks Liz makes the merge. Nicole feels that, similar to Luzon on ‘Survivor: Cagayan,’ this tribe will be seeing a lot of Tribal Council before the merge.
Debbie Wanner (2:21:54): Rob thinks Debbie’s air-brushed bathing suit is amazing, while Nicole says it is scary. She hopes Debbie does not get voted out because of it. Rob notes that Debbie seems to be in very good shape, and could easily have been cast on the Brawn tribe. Nicole loves that one of Debbie’s pet peeves is “the idolization of garish, repugnant, supercilious people like the Kardashians.” However, she does not like that the former contestant Debbie claims to be most similar to is Coach Benjamin Wade. Despite this, Nicole still likes Debbie’s chances to make the merge. She sees her as someone who will probably be intelligent and down-to-Earth. Rob says he struggles to see how this tribe will come together and function as one cohesive unit. He wonders if Debbie and Peter could bond over some similarities in their scientific backgrounds. Nicole says she could see the older players sticking together on this tribe. Rob points out that there really are not any true “kids” on this tribe, and says he sees Debbie as probably going out pre-merge. He argues that the quirky older woman is traditionally a prime target early in the game, but he hopes she can make it through, because she should be very entertaining.
Rob has decided to pick Anna Khait as his winner. Rob thinks she will be overlooked as an attractive girl, cast on the Beauty tribe but with every bit of capability as someone on Brains. Rob notes that Liz is sort of in the exact opposite situation. Rob believes Anna is set up in a great position to control the course of action and ultimately win the game.
“Nicoletradamus” has three players she sees as strong contenders for the title. She says Kyle sticks out to her, but certain aspects of his bio makes it difficult to pick him. She also likes Tai Trang, but feels she may have been persuaded in that direction during the course of the podcast and so cannot go in that direction. Ultimately, Nicole picks the person that stood out to her from the beginning: Debbie Wanner. Nicole feels like Debbie has a lot going for her, and is especially impressed by her history working as a bomb neutralizer. Rob questions if the social game will be there with Debbie. Nicole does not see Debbie as someone who is quirky to the point of being likely to be alienated. She sees Debbie as the only person on this cast who can fill a sort of motherly role to other players this season, which has helped many people go far in the game.