Matt Liguori ranks the players each week with a new guest in RHAP’s Survivor Power Rankings. This week Matt is joined by longtime RHAP listener and patron, Matt Geoghegan!
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Survivor: Ghost Island Preseason Power Rankings
We’re back! Welcome one and all to a new season of RHAP Survivor Power Rankings!
For those of you new to the party, each week I have a different guest join me to rank the players based on a couple of factors, including but not limited to: win equity, likelihood of being voted out next, and overall gameplay. I’ll get some familiar faces in here each week to let us know what they’re thinking, from RHAP co-hosts to former Survivor players themselves. So stick around if you like what you see, and reach out and let me know if there’s anybody in particular you’d like to see as a guest!
So here we are! 36th season of Survivor is about to begin. The theme seems pretty interesting… past Survivor mistakes coming back to haunt the new players and give them a chance to see if they can turn things around, or if the advantages and twists are truly cursed. We’ve heard in the past few seasons that the advantages, idols, and twists have taken over the game in a way that many don’t seem to love (myself included), so truthfully I have no reason to suspect why this season will be any different. BUT, I will hope for the best and see where this “big swing” takes us.
As for the cast, I really like this group. I think we’re in for some strong, sneaky gamers and some big flame-outs; every good season of Survivor has a mix of both. There’s been some hype around this cast having a handful of superfans. Given the superfans we’ve had in the past few seasons, I’m pretty excited about it.
I’m joined for this preseason edition of Power Rankings by a longtime RHAP listener who also happens to be one of my best friends and the other half of a duo often referred to as “The Matts” for reasons unknown, Matt Geoghegan! Follow Matt G (@mattyfresh24) and myself (@mattliguori) on Twitter, tweet us what you think and leave a comment below!
Programming update: I do plan on doing some rankings for Big Brother Canada 6, which begins in a week from Wednesday on March 7, 2018. Check that out if you’ll be watching the season, and if you won’t be… your loss! Big Brother Canada > Big Brother US all day every day.
This guy has everything it takes to win a pure game of Survivor. As we know, Survivor these days is anything but pure. Twists, idols, advantages, they do a great job at blocking some naturally good players from succeeding. If James can manage to pick up an idol or two and keep them away from his opposition, James’ social game could carry him to win the season.
I know that more than half of fans probably already hate him and I completely get it, but I really like this guy. The last superfan that everyone hated preseason was Spencer Bledsoe, and look how great he turned out. The only difference is, he’ll be able to win a jury vote. Bradley should play very well with this young crowd, and once the game starts he should have no problem making friends and using his strategic chops to get to the end.
A self-described triple threat, Laurel says she’s intelligent, athletic, and knows the game. As many know, she is in fact a superfan, involved in the online Survivor community. I do feel pretty confident in Laurel that she’ll be a key player in the game and make a deep run. Not there to make friends, not there for a vacation… Laurel is there to win.
I just want to be best friends with Jacob, and it seems like his entire cast feels the same way. It’s impossible not to love this guy and every single castaway said they were looking forward to working with him. The last person I can remember having so much preseason love from his cast was Cochran in Caramoan and things worked out pretty well for him. Jacob is super funny, charismatic, and knows how to play the game.
How is Bradley a superfan but hasn’t heard of Josh Wigler? Come on. I get the feeling production is forcing him to wear his glasses for all of this pregame press. But even if they do peg him as a wimpy little non-leader, there are bigger targets out there and he can hopefully coast by for a while. The Spencer comparisons are obvious and if that’ the comparison we’re going with, Bradley may go far! (And lose? But still go far!)
Everyone loves Wendell. He’s the winner pick of many including Josh Wigler and Jeff Probst himself. While I don’t have him as my winner pick, I do agree that he should do well in this game. He’s very laid back and won’t be involved in any of the drama. He’ll be dependable in the challenges and around camp and should make the merge easily. I think Wendell is the type to play a very boring, straight forward game of Survivor. So sorry Wendell, but I’m rooting against you for now.
Athletic, personable, well-spoken. Brendan seems like such a nice guy, I can’t imagine he gets voted out for any reason other than being a big physical threat post-merge. He isn’t going to piss anybody off, he isn’t going to try too hard to be a leader. I really could see Brendan winning the whole thing, but the physical threat thing has me keeping him from the very top of the rankings.
Yet another superfan that I have high hopes for! Laurel is the complete package and I’m not just saying that because she happens to be a fan of RHAP. She’s a former college athlete so she’ll dominate in the challenges and she’s an Ivy League graduate so we know she’s smart. I can see everyone underestimating her and letting her get a little too close to the end. If the rest of the cast isn’t careful, Laurel may just stab them all in the back and they’ll never see it coming.
How is this guy so mature? His language, his tone, his mannerisms… everything about him reads 28 years old, not 18. A guy who graduated high school a year early and was motivated enough to jump right into a career seems like a solid pick to do well on a show where you need maturity and motivation. Lying about his age is probably the right idea, hopefully for his sake, he isn’t questioned about it too often.
I’m not exactly sure why, but I feel like Gonzalez has a really good shot at winning. There’s just something about her. She seems very determined to win and I think the rest of her tribemates will love her. In her First One Out interview, she seemed extremely friendly and charming. If she’s there in the end, the jury is going to feel great about writing her name down.
Nice, intelligent, sociable. For some reason, I can’t get a great read on Kellyn (or Kelly, if you prefer, Nicole). Kellyn is one of those players that will either go all the way or flame out prejury. I can see Kellyn sitting at final tribal council and I can see her going home third after her alliance of three gets picked off and she’s seen as the smartest of the group. As per my confusion, I’ll stick her in towards the bottom of the top tier.
Sebastian has the distinct advantage of being Probst’s favorite so look for him to do very, very well. Jeff literally took away everyone’s rice and gave them fishing gear just so they would have to depend on Sebastian to provide them with food. Sebastian will automatically make the merge because Jeff will make sure his tribe dies of starvation if they vote him out. Sebastian will be a HUGE threat once the merge comes, but look for him to be a fan favorite, find four idols, win a couple immunities, and be the recipient of half the advantages on Ghost Island.
Very likable. Reminds me a lot of Jessica from HHH with her positivity. Plenty of Survivor winners get to the end without being the most strategic, but take home the million bucks for being the most likable. She says she has a boyfriend but is willing to showmance it up a little if needed. Good thing Cole isn’t out there. (But watch out for Michael…)
Oh hey, Tony is back again! Although this guy actually works in construction. The other players are already comparing him to Tony and Boston Rob, identifying him as a threat. However, I do think that will change once he gets the chance to talk to everyone. I don’t think he’s nearly as manic or crazy as Tony or Joe was, and he seems to be a lot calmer and more self aware. As long as Domenick doesn’t go idol hunting on the first day, I think he has a decent shot.
Big fan of Domenick. I’m all aboard team Long Island, between him and Jacob. The problem is, one thing I know about Long Islanders is that we can get pretty hotheaded. If Domenick is anything like that, when things go wrong he may not react well. I’m especially concerned because anybody who mentions playing like Tony seems destined for failure. Tony was (and always will be) a unicorn.
I don’t have much to say about Brendan. At 41 years old, he’s ancient compared to the rest of the cast. He’s nice and athletic enough to get him decently far, and he may even be able to relate to some of these youngsters. I just can’t really see him winning in a season full of 20 year olds. Prove me wrong, Brendan.
Athletic, intelligent, army veteran.. not a bad combination for a Survivor player. Angela shouldn’t have a hard time finding people to work with. The older woman on Survivor does often struggle, but I see a genuineness to her that I think will find her an ally or two and likely bring her into the merge, if not farther.
Kellyn seems like a delight! I would personally love to be stranded on an island with Kellyn and I hope her fellow players feel the same way. She may be an early target, but if she can get through the first couple of Tribals, she could really do some damage in this game. Although, even if she does make it to the final 3, I’m afraid she may suffer the same fate as previous female superfans and not be respected enough to get the necessary votes to win.
Likable guy, will be great in challenges, but one of the biggest targets in the game solely based on appearances and attitude. Ozzy, Malcolm, Joe, Sebastian. I really hope for Sebastian’s grandma’s sake that he does well and at least makes the merge, even though he’ll be voted off as soon as possible after the inevitable Outback merge feast.
It took me 25 minutes to read Donathan’s bio and that’s not even an exaggeration. I hated Donathan from the start and was ready to hate him throughout the game. But that all changed when I heard him talk. He’s just so happy all the time. He loves life and it is impossible not to smile when listening to him. Everyone in the game will love him and everyone watching will adore him. The only problem is he’ll be an obvious jury threat once we get to the end game and no one is going to want to take him to final 3.
I know a lot of people may love James. I am not one of those people. Sure he may be insanely athletic and intelligent, but he’s also incredibly boring and I have a feeling we might be calling him “Purple James” in a couple of weeks. He was already being identified as a big threat during pregame, so I think he could be gone as soon as there’s a tribe swap. Even if he does survive that, there’s no chance he makes it much further than the merge.
I know I just complained about James being boring, but he’s Tony Vlachos compared to Jenna. In a season with many boring contestants, Jenna takes the cake. There was not one moment in any of her interviews that I was able to stay awake for and because of that I have no idea how she’ll do. Maybe she’ll be the first one out, maybe she’ll float all the way to the end. All I know is I won’t care when she gets voted out.
Wendell describes himself as a leader, and I really think he’s going to bring that into the game with him (….not great!). I really like this guy and I hope he’s on our TVs for a while this season. But I’m straying from popular opinions about him and I don’t think he’s necessarily going to do very well.
I really hope Desiree does well. She has a great story and will be a very interesting character for however long she’s there. I think she’ll be able to read people well, but I just don’t think she’ll be able to find people to work with. Desiree will be the likable underdog this season and we will all be crushed when she’s inevitably voted out.
Red flags are going up everywhere. BUT, one thing I love about Jenna from the pre-season is that the reviews on her from the other players at Ponderosa are exactly like they were towards Sarah before Game Changers. She seems intimidating, but if she uses that to benefit her, who’s to say she can’t go far?
I adore Chelsea. She’s definitely someone I would want to work with if I had the chance. Half of her cast seems to think she’s not trustworthy and the other half can’t get a good read on her; that’s definitely not a good combination for making bonds in the early game. Unfortunately, Chelsea will probably be a pre-merge boot. If she miraculously makes it to the merge, I can’t think of a reason why the others would want to target her.
One of my biggest question marks on this cast. Gonzalez seems like a very smart gal, but I can’t figure out if she really knows what she’s getting herself into. My gut says pre-merge. Strange comparison, but she reminds me of fan favorite Sierra Dawn Thomas. We know Survivor is always clamoring for more FFSDT.
Morgan is going to be someone who is either going to be really, really fun or really, really annoying. I’m leaning towards annoying and I think her tribe is going to agree with me. She talks fast, she talks a lot, and she will be unbearable to live with. Jeff Probst compared her to Kim Spradlin for some reason and she apparently has great shoulders, but that won’t be enough when her tribe is looking for a reason to vote someone out. She could be gone as soon as Wednesday.
We’re going to have a lot of fun with Donathan. I expect him to be one of the season’s breakout characters and easily a fan-favorite. Donathan sounds like he’s gone through a lot up until this point in his life, so I think he’ll be able to hang in there through tough situations. However, I don’t think I see him going all the way.
There’s a thin line between cocky and confident, and Michael is right on that line. I think he’s probably charming enough to win people over despite his cockiness, so I’m not worried about him making friends. He may even make it far! However, an 18 year old is never going to win Survivor. It’s never going to happen. I don’t care how old he’s telling people he is. I don’t care if he’s telling people that he’s 31. It doesn’t matter. An 18 year old will not win this game.
I really really really like Desiree. I just don’t know where she fits in with the rest of this cast. She’s young, vocal, and claims to be wise beyond her years. She also claims to have resting b**** face. None of that leaves you hopeful for a successful Survivor player. Fake some smiles and make something happen! Prove people wrong!
17. Stephanie J
Much like Morgan, Stephanie will be another one that’s either really fun or really annoying. I actually think Stephanie could be a very fun character and I would like to see her do well. But I think her tribemates will want to get rid of her as soon as she opens her mouth. It’s a shame, but Stephanie is probably the odds on favorite to be the first one out.
Holy recruit. Listen, we can’t cast 20 people that are destined to be Survivor greats. Some have to be pre-merge. I’m getting Lindsay from Worlds Apart vibes from Chelsea. If I had to pick someone most likely to quit, Chelsea is my pick. I’m sure she’s a very nice lady, but I would be surprised if she does well out there.
19. Stephanie J
Well hello, first boot. A decent strategy to start off Survivor is blend in and not stand out from the crowd. Stephanie seems like she’s going with the Debbie Wanner bathing suit strategy of wearing the most ridiculous outfit so that there’s no choice for the other players but to look directly at her. She says she’s a big fan, so maybe she’ll find a way to get her footing, but 9/10 times, Stephanie is an early boot.
The queen of the humble brag! Angela may think all of her accomplishments make her interesting, but I can assure you that’s not the case. Her fellow castaways will tire quickly of her constantly talking about what a “badass” she is. Combine that with the fact that she’s twice the age of anyone else in this cast, and she’s in a lot of trouble. When she’s one of the first people to be voted out, she’ll be the type to say she doesn’t care because she’s “already a winner in life.”
Male model who knows almost nothing about the game? Chris has pre-merge flame-out written allllll over him. He’s cocky as hell (which, sure, I get it) and seems destined to try to take on a leadership role that will secure him a one-way ticket to the pre-jury trip. On the bright side, I’m sure he’ll get some great modeling shots while touring whatever destination production sends them to.
This guy. This freaking toolbag. There is not a single person in this cast that will take him half as seriously as he takes himself. He has a 0% chance of winning this game; he has a 0% chance of winning any season of Survivor ever. Ironically, he probably thinks he has the game won already. I get why he was cast, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him. Having said that, it’ll be hysterical to watch when he has his Drew Christy fall from grace.