Matt Liguori analyzes the Survivor: Island of the Idols cast each week to pick out which players make up his top three and bottom two, as well as identifying one player we should keep an eye on.
Survivor: Island of the Idols Preseason
#DontSleepOn39 they’re saying. It’s a pretty reasonable request from this new cast of players that I’m more than happy to grant. There’s been some disappointment surrounding Survivor U.S. in recent seasons for some of us, but if there’s any chance a newbie cast can capture the magic of a season like David vs. Goliath I’m down to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best!
Island of the Idols will feature 20 newbies, serving as guinea pigs for a new twist. Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine are back, and as a huge fan of both players I’m pretty excited to see them back in a new role to the Survivor experience!
Edge of Extinction was a tough season to make predictions for. Filling out the blog each week seemed easy, but in the grand scheme of things the winner was hardly involved in the gameplay and it made for lots of confusion trying to read what was happening. I expect the players who spent time in my top 3 last season (Gavin/Victoria/Lauren) will end up in Fiji again someday, so hopefully all of the hard work they put into playing the first time wasn’t for nothing.
If you’re new to the Survivor 3-2-1… welcome!! Every week I’ll be breaking down my thoughts on the players, covering who I believe to be:
- the top three players in the game
- the bottom two players in the game
- one player to watch (someone who may have just missed out on the top three, or perhaps may be nowhere near the top but is a pivotal player that we really just need to keep an eye on)
There are a lot of Survivor episode recaps out there both written and in podcast form. If there’s one thing the world will never run out of, it’s ‘Survivor’ content. The Survivor 3-2-1 is often a shorter weekly article compared to some of the others, so hopefully you can find time each week to squeeze it in every week and tell me how wrong I am. As always, check me out on Twitter @mattliguori for Survivor takes and bad jokes all season long!
Jamal is going to be a dangerous player and nobody will see him coming. He’ll have the social, physical, and strategic aspects of the game all on lock, while not appearing too threatening to raise alarms. Jamal seems to have an idea of how to play the game from behind-the-scenes and I expect he’ll succeed at it. I can’t see him getting into many arguments, but if heat does come his way I think he’ll be able to calmly work his way out of the line of fire.
It doesn’t hurt that Jamal in his preseason press was name-dropping Sandra… in a season where Sandra herself will be heavily involved. Speaking of former winners, Jamal’s favorite player is Jeremy. I think Jeremy is exactly the kind of player Jamal has the potential to be. He’ll make you feel part of the group… he’ll make you feel heard and like he’s on your side… but when the time comes, he’ll have his plan set with the people he’s actually working with and take you out of the game while you’re mad at someone else.
There’s been a lot of talk about Missy this preseason. Leading up to Survivor, Missy had been through a lot and I think it’ll earn her a lot of respect from her tribe to know just how strong she really is (if she plans to share many details).
Missy says she’s most like Kim, and if that’s true just write her in now with the $1 million check. I certainly think she’s got the social ability and charm of someone like Kim, as well as the physical strength to win individual immunities when the time comes. There’s good Survivor players and there’s great Survivor players, but I’m not sure we’ve ever had a decently dope Survivor player. Missy is changing the game 39 seasons later.
Molly is absolutely a threat to win the game. Probst says she’s a superfan who has Survivor whiteboards at home for planning out strategies and studying different ways to do well in the game. Sometimes I worry about players like that because they can overthink and end up playing themselves or revealing to everyone else how much of a threat they are. Molly seems level-headed enough to know when to lay low and when to come out of the shadows and turn the gameplay up. It may just be that she literally kind of looks like Parvati or that her answer to “what player are you most like” was Parvati… but hey, Molly strikes me as someone who could play just like Parvati. If she’s modeling her game after a combination of Parvati and Wendell, she’s already miles ahead of the others.
I would be pretty surprised to see Dan make the merge. As a talent manager in LA, Dan is used to dealing with some strong personalities and often having to be a little assertive to get the job done. He’s used to people coming to him for help or advice and then bringing answers to people who may not want to hear what he has to say. He seems like a guy who takes charge and possibly doesn’t react well when things aren’t going his way.
Dan is smart enough to understand the importance of an alliance and finding people to vote with, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who can nurture relationships for 39 days to keep his game alive. Also, he’s not going to be the weakest challenge competitor, but as one of the oldest guys out there he could definitely slow his tribe down a bit, making it even easier to get him out early.
Noura was not cast on Survivor to be anywhere near an endgame player (let-alone making the merge). She’s got a lot of energy and seems ready to hit the ground running. Nothing from Noura’s pregame interviews left me with even an ounce of confidence that she’d do well. I don’t mean to be super harsh, but you can tell she isn’t much of a fan and wasn’t planning any kind of strategy for the game like 85% of the other players certainly were.
The one thing Noura does have going for her is her fitness. Having a strong player around early on to win challenges is never a bad thing, so she may be able to skate by for a bit… but ultimately I don’t see any world where Noura can win Survivor. Keep your hands off the table my friend, it’s not that hard!
Elaine is my early favorite of this cast. Her energy and spirit are so positive and having that person around camp can be extremely beneficial for morale. Elaine seems physically strong, so I don’t expect her to be slowing down her tribe early on. If she can make it to the merge keeping everyone laughing, she’s got a chance to go deep into the game.
Comparing one’s self to Rupert is certainly a choice, but Rupert’s gotten to the merge three times and made it to finale night twice. If Elaine can be like Rupert… but actually somewhat strategic (oops), then why couldn’t she win? If I were on a jury, I’d love to write down Elaine’s name to win $1 million. I expect and hope she’ll be around for a bit, so from both a game and entertainment perspective, Elaine is one to watch.