Rob’s esteemed team of bloggers are gathered in this roundtable to give their thoughts and predictions for the upcoming 26th season of Survivor: Caramoan. Joining Rob are returning bloggers Andy Baker, Glenn Holford, and Sarah Freeman, as well as Josh Wigler who is joining the RHAP blogger coterie this year.
Rob starts out asking the crew if they are excited for the repeat concept of Fans vs. Favorites. Andy likes the format in theory and is glad to see some of the returnees back, but is concerned that the favorites are just going to decimate the fans. Sarah is optimistic, but Glenn feels there are only couple of fans who could be strategic but doesn’t think the numbers will be on their side. Josh thinks the casting of zany characters such as Phillip and Brandon could be enough to be the downfall of the Favorites tribe. Andy, however, doesn’t foresee an implosion as he thinks there will be many built in Day 1 alliances on the Favorites tribe, such as the South Pacific castmates and the New York Wine and Cheese club.
Sarah is hoping that the fans will be smarter this time around because they would have seen the first Fans vs. Favorites, but she realizes she’s in the minority. Rob wonders if alpha males will be targets on the Favorites as they were in the original FvF season, but Sarah thinks the women will be bigger targets this time. Andy agrees as he thinks all the returning males with the exception of Malcolm do not scream “alpha male.”
Next, they take a question from a viewer who feels the favorites are bigger fans than the “fans.” Rob feels that makes sense because people who have played before continue to ruminate on the game after they leave the island, and just have an understanding of the game that’s 100 times greater than new players. The bloggers lament that there aren’t any unabashed fans, like Erik Reichenbach was his first time out. Glenn thinks people who are superfans are more likely to become favorites. The group feels last season had more superfans and that’s what made it an enjoyable season. Sarah says she doesn’t have a problems with recruits per se– her favorite “fans” this year, Reynold and Julia, were recruits, as were past impressive players Stephen Fishbach and Yul Kwon.
Then the players discuss how the Favorites tribe has a lot of B-level personalities, rather than a bunch of alpha, big-game players like the first Favorites tribe had. The only one who fits that mold is Malcolm, and Andy points out that Malcolm is screwed in this season. All of Gordon Holmes’ preseason interviews have other Favorites speculating that Malcolm is another Russell Hantz. Sarah thinks Brenda, who was Rob’s pick to win, is in more trouble. Rob hopes Brenda has enough scrambling in her, like Parvati.
The group then talks about how it seems like so many people will be courting Cochran, which seems ironic since the narrative in South Pacific was that he was a traitor. Glenn thinks people will give Cochran credit because they can understand his position of not wanting to draw rocks.
Then Rob asks each blogger to share which fans they are most excited to see this season. Sarah enthusiastically picks Reynold Toepfer and claims it’s not just for his looks– she compares his charm and smarts to Kim Spradlin’s. Glenn and Andy compare him to previous winners Aras Baskauskas and Brian Heidik. Josh is Reynold’s only detractor– he thinks he lacks the killer instinct.
Josh says Michael Snow, who was Nicole’s pick to win, is the fan he likes the most because he seems like he knows how to use lying to his advantage. Andy thinks Michael and Sherri could be a power couple to watch. The group worries that people might get a schemer vibe from him, but Andy says he his “fabulousness” will offset that perception. They do worry that his age may work against him too because the Fans tribe is so young.
Glenn also puts his money on Reynold, so he talks about Matt Bischoff and his resemblance to a dwarf in Lord of the Rings and how he thinks he will be the first to go. The group thinks his conversational focus on beards and BMX racing will make him an outsider. Rob’s pet peeve is the people who only talk about food, and through two seasons he says Amber and Boston Rob were the worst offenders.
Andy has high hopes for Hope Driskill, who he thinks is Reynold’s female counterpart. He thinks she is like Alexis from the first FvF. Rob also got a good impression of her, as well as Laura. Sarah thinks the four young girls will be a likely alliance, and she thinks Hope and Allie will be targets if there’s a swap.
Next Rob plays a round of “True or False” with the Blogger Roundtable.
1. Malcolm will make the merge. Andy says: FALSE. Josh disagrees because he thinks his challenge prowess will be enough to keep him around.
2. A fan will be in the Final 4. Glenn says: FALSE. Rob agrees, but Josh, Andy and Sarah think a fan will squeak through.
3. The tribes will still be divided in Episode 3. Josh says: TRUE. He thinks they will swap at 4. Rob, Glenn, and Andy disagree. Andy hopes that in the 2-hour premiere they may be swapped by the end of it.
4. Andrea will showmance this season. Sarah says: FALSE. Glenn vehemently disagrees. He expects her to go for Malcolm, Reynold, or both. Andy thinks Corinne will hit on Reynold. After hearing the guys’ detailed opinions on this matter, Sarah changes her vote.
5. Francesca will get payback on Phillip. Andy says: FALSE. He thinks Francesca will be the anti-Sandra, gone first twice.
6. One day a Hantz will win Survivor. Glenn says: FALSE. The panel all agrees, unless there is a Survivor: Hantz edition.
7. Corinne will get along with her tribemates. Josh says: TRUE. He thinks she’ll find some friends– maybe one or two. Rob is worried about her this season. Andy thinks she’s a confessional assassin but can get along with people at camp. However they think she’ll have a lot of material to work with this season.
8. The winner of the Fan Favorite this season will be Cochran. Sarah says: FALSE. Andy thinks Dawn will win Fan Favorite. Rob thinks she will be out early because she’s too dangerous to take to the end.
As they wrap things up, Andy announces that another roundtable post will be up on the website in the next few days, as well as a Baker’s Dozen pre-season post.
Finally they share their winner picks. Sarah selects Reynold, Josh picks Erik, Glenn chooses Dawn, and Andy names Corinne as his winner.
Be sure to follow the blogs all season long and follow the bloggers on Twitter:
Rob Cesternino is a two-time Survivor contestant and life long reality TV fan. Often referred to as "The Smartest Player Never to Win Survivor", Rob now gives his thoughts on his favorite reality shows as the host of "Rob Has a Podcast". More About Rob