Matt Liguori ranks the players each week with a new guest in RHAP’s Survivor Power Rankings. This week Matt is joined by The Hollywood Reporter‘s and RHAP’s own, Josh Wigler!
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Survivor: Ghost Island Week 6 Power Rankings
This week’s rankings were tough. We’re not entering this next stage of the game to see the beginning of a battle between Malolo and Naviti, as much as it’s felt that way during the pre-merge; we’re entering the official beginning of the Chris vs. Domenick war that’s been building up all season long. We’ve started to get an idea of which players will fall to which side, but there’s still plenty of uncertainty. Since the war seems primed to begin, I’ll use this week as a chance to dissect every player and where I ultimately think they’ll fall.
With the pre-merge over, I just want to echo what I said last week about how great all of the players who have been voted out so far were. Bradley absolutely gets added right into that category. Bradley was a fantastic villain and I’d love to see him get a second chance. If there were ever a season to bring back the Outcasts…. this would’ve been the one. Lil couldn’t get the job done, but maybe one of these Outcasts could’ve reversed the curse to take home the win. I’d be here for it.
My guest this week is co-host of The Wiggle Room and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, the one and only Josh Wigler! Keep up with all of Josh’s fantastic Survivor coverage for THR, here! Follow Josh (@roundhoward) and I (@mattliguori) on Twitter, tweet us to let us know what you think and/or leave a comment below!
Donathan has escaped the phase of the game where his Survivor weaknesses make him a liability. Big threats are about to fall, and the sweet southern boy is not going to be viewed at one of them. Donathan has told us he likes Chris, but he also has allies like Laurel who want to work with Dom. Lock in Donathan as the swing vote of this first tribal.
“We kick off my almost-certainly way-off-base power rankings with the one I’m surest about…” Do those words wring a bell? Good memory, if so! It’s how I launched into my head-to-head power rankings against Matt last season, right before naming JP Hilsabeck as my safest pick on the board. He was subsequently voted out, and things like that. Back then, I said JP was the least likely player to win the game, and therefore the safest player on the board for that very reason. Shows how much I know, especially because I’m going with that instinct again: Angela, previously targeted by members of Naviti but seemingly back in the greater group’s good graces, should be fine this week. Now sit back, watch and laugh at yours truly as she becomes the Queen of Ponderosa.
I really love where Wendell sits going into the merge. His edit has scared me a couple times, and I could be totally fooled here by a merge boot surprise. But based off Wendell’s position in the game and his admitted enjoyment of both Dom and Chris, I don’t think Wendell will find himself in too much trouble. Wendell most likely falls onto #TeamDom, but will Chris feel betrayed by him and target Wendell if he realizes he doesn’t have him?
Firmly in the Naviti majority, no good reason to target her at the top of the merge. The goodwill she earned from burning the Malolo flag should buy her a few more nights on the island.
Two idols before hitting the merge? Damn. It’s pretty clear that Michael’s here to play. With his idol play (attempt) at the vote they lost Brendan, finding two idols, and managing to stay in the game this long despite odds stacked against him… he’s proven he’s got game. Michael’s run out of close allies, but he should still have options. Having never been on a tribe with Chris or Dom, he’s probably just as much of a swing vote here as Donathan.
The least likely Malolo for the merge vote, as far as I’m concerned. He’s made friends on the Naviti side of the aisle, has his potential cross-tribal alliance with Domenick, Wendell and Laurel still going on… plus, it just feels like the pride of Eastern Kentucky has more story still in him.
Laurel’s made it clear that she wants to work with Wendell and Domenick. Her time spent with Chris has seemed generally tiresome, so no shot she has a change of heart there. Laurel may have a hard time if she can’t get all of her Malolo buddies on board with #TeamDom. Unfortunately, the way things are looking, they’re probably not all on the same page.
Jenna hasn’t had the most active role in the gameplay so far this season. She’s had a few key allies picked off, but she made a strong (albiet smellier) one in Sea Bass. If Sea Bass falls on #TeamChris then Jenna’s likely to follow. If Jenna has any influence on Michael, that could potentially bring him to the Noble side as well, but it’s hard to tell if she has sway.
This is where I’m hedging my JP bets. She’s unlikely to win the game, and should be completely fine within the greater Naviti contingent, if not for the fact that she just made a big move against one of her own kind — and you can’t imagine Kellyn’s going to be pleased about it. Chelsea voted out the only person she spent the entire game with up until this point, which should signal to the others just how hard she’s willing to play. Not a bad person to send your votes toward if you’re trying to start the merge on a relatively agreeable note.
Now that Domenick has completely saved her life in the game, Libby has to be considered firmly #TeamDom. She’ll have some company with fellow Malolo Laurel, but she’ll need to help out pulling in the Donathans and Michaels to bolster up their numbers. I have to think this “sneaky Libby” story is going to end up paying off somehow, so I think she’ll be around a little longer.
My winner pick! I’m hoping she’s fine this week. I think we’re going to be okay here. But the move against Bradley has me scared enough to believe she could be on a one-way ticket toward Ponderosa this week. If that’s the case, here’s the bright side: the jury would be hard pressed to find a better foreperson, in my opinion, with all due respect to the /r/survivor community.
Desiree isn’t about that Dom or Chris life, Des is strictly #TeamKellyn. Kellyn and Des are going to be a huge factor in how this plays out, because neither of them have been with Chris or Dom since their first few days in the game before the first swap. Chelsea seems to be close with Dom, so does Chelsea pull them back in? Perhaps. Either way, Des should be comfortably in the middle.
Thrilled that Laurel’s still here. I think she’ll still be here after this week, too. But she’s at least a mid-level threat in terms of the original Malolo, and the rest of the game at large. A proven strategic mind and an immunity beast waiting to be unleashed, Laurel is just a few votes away from being in a fantastic position for the end game — but she’s not home free just yet.
8. Sea Bass
We really know nothing about Sea Bass heading into this merge besides the fact that he has a connection with Jenna, and he’s friends with Chris. If Team Dom decides they want to take a shot at stronger players on #TeamChris who don’t likely have an idol, Sea Bass could be in trouble.
As one of the foremost Libby apologists on the board, I’ll readily admit my shock that she’s still in the game. All conventional thinking would point toward her exit last week instead of Bradley. It wouldn’t shock me at all if it was nothing more than a brief stay of execution. Domenick has no reason to trust Libby, and if he wants to make an unexpected move during what’s looking like the climax of his war against Chris, now would be a good time to avenge the fallen Morgan Ricke.
Angela was #TeamChris before the last swap, and she’ll likely fall back on that side after the merge. Angela has nobody in the game who truly has her back, so it’s hard to say how deep she’ll go or who she’ll stick with, but for now I can’t see her being targeted at the first vote or two after a merge.
Now we’re fully getting into Chris-Domenick War territory, henceforth referred to as CDW. It’s going down this week; the question is, who falls in the crossfire? I’m ranking lieutenants Wendell and Sebastian higher than generals Domenick and Chris, but I could absolutely see one of the two falling this week as a casualty of war.
I feel like Chelsea has been a little wishy-washy so far. She was part of the tight 5 Naviti who picked off Brendan and Stephanie, but she obviously wasn’t too invested in working with Bradley. I take it Chelsea will be #TeamDom, but as for being a big player in this game…. nah?
10. Sea Bass
Same rationale as the Wendell pick, except Sebastian is such an obvious threat in the physical challenge department that I’m knocking him one peg lower. Frankly, I think he’s going to be okay this week; people seem to like him, hopefully he’s providing his tribe with food, and he’s certainly providing them with laughs. But stranger things have happened.
Until we see how things play out in this first week, I’ve got to put the big guys down at the bottom. I truly don’t know if either of them will take the shot at the other right off the bat or try to chip away at the other’s allies first and take the real shot when they feel more comfortable. As for Domenick, he does still have an idol and that gives him the edge over Chris. But who will win this war? Hopefully us.
We briefly interrupt this survey of the CDW to highlight someone who absolutely should go home this week: undercover teenager Michael Yerger, who has proven himself to be a really fun player this season. I feel like Michael has more story in him yet. He has an immunity idol hidden in his pants. (Unless that’s a stick?) But if he gets arrogant or if he’s fooled into complacency, he’s a prime target to go home this week.
Essentially everything I said for Dom applies for Chris. Going into battle, I can’t say I have a ton of faith in Chris to lead his troops to victory. But, I’ve been underestimating Chris all season and there are people who seem to like him. We’re merging and Chris has still yet to attend Tribal, so he’ll need to work hard to ensure he isn’t the next R.C, Nick Maiorano, or Jessica Johnston.
It feels odd to rank Domenick this far down, given that he has a fake idol, an actual idol, a legacy advantage, and a number one ally with an idol of his own all at his disposal. That’s a bag of tricks that even Tony Vlachos would look at and say “WOW!” But Domenick has been playing an odd game. He was caught completely off guard by Morgan’s exit. I’m still trying to find sense in the move against Bradley right before the merge. Domenick should reach into the bag and play one of the tricks on himself this week… but I can’t shake the feeling that his outside-the-box play style could rear its head again at the coming Tribal Council, at the exact wrong time.
My gut feeling (and my head, and my heart?) is that a big player will fall at this first merge vote, and since I have no clue where Kellyn falls into the Dom vs. Chris war, I’ll place her at the bottom as a safety precaution.
If I’m taking sides in the CDW, I’m backing Do Me Nick’s cause. Not because I want to see the Noble One lose his life in the game. Far from it. I have enjoyed every moment of his time on the show. But the dude has blinders on when it comes to wanting Domenick gone, and he’s the only person in the game right now who has yet to see Tribal Council, meaning he’s a guppy going up against sharks. On top of that, he lacks idols and advantages where Domenick is positively swimming in relics. I think Chris is destined for the same fate as one of my other favorite egomaniacs in recent Survivor history: a one-and-done trip to Tribal Council, leading to a long stay on the jury bench.