Rob introduces the Survivor Top 20 Players of All Time contest, which he calls the biggest Survivor event since “All-Stars”. Curt Clark tallied the votes, and Kos (the counter of the 2011 ballots) comes back for colorful commentary. Nearly 6700 valid ballots were tallied, with computer wizardry used by Curt to weed out cheaters. 424 survivors received votes.
Counting Down the Top 20 Survivor Players of All Time According to the Voters of Rob has a Podcast
First Rob plays “Were they in the Top 100?” Kos reads the name of a Survivor player, and Rob guesses whether they made the Top 100.
Rob suspects that voters put their favorites in the top 5, and then voted for players they didn’t care about in their 6-10 slots in order to strategically not give any points to anyone but their favorites. Curt also reveals that the more beautiful Survivors picked up a lot of lower slots on people’s lists.
Wendy Jo came in 281st, despite Rob calling her the worst player of all time. Francesca gets 111th. Matthew fell from 67th to 171st. Wanda got 152. Former Miss Survivor RC got 102nd, and current Miss Survivor Andrea got 37th. Three years ago, the worst winners were Fabio at 47, Vecepia at 48, and Amber at 49. Now, the new worst winner is Natalie White at 58, who was previously 44. Amber has broken out of the bottom three winners due to strategic childbirth timing, according to Kos. Last time we had 16 men and 4 women. Let’s see if that changes…
WARNING – EPISODE SPOILERS BELOW!!
20 – Chris Daugherty (-7 spots from the 2011 list, when he was 13th)
Rob says this is too low for Chris. Curt says he got a lot of votes, but very few first place votes. Kos thinks that he’s been called underrated for so long that he’s actually overrated now.
19 – Amanda Kimmel (-2)
Kos is a big hater of Amanda, but there is some discussion that she should be considered one of the best if Russell is, considering that her track record is much better than his.
18 – Tom Westman (-9)
Rob thinks he’s way too low. Curt speculates that many voters haven’t even watched his season, and that recent viewers care more about flashy gameplay which wasn’t what Tom offered. Rob also suspects that Tom hasn’t been as present in the Survivor scene lately, so voters didn’t think of him. Big Brother’s Ian Terry says that Tom was one of the best first time players of all time.
17 – Ozzy Lusth (+3 spots from 2011, where he was 20th)
The panel is baffled at this upgrade. Since the last list, he appeared on a season where he was voted out three times. They suspect that he got points for being a spotlighted returning player with a fan favorite edit. Those who ranked him highly cited his challenge dominance.
16 – Brian Heidik (-6)
The panel agrees that he is too low. Rob even had Brian on his Hall of Fame ballot. Rob says that Brian was the first person to convince everyone that they were going to the end with him.
15 – Malcolm Freberg (New entry)
Rob notes that he is the first person on the list to not have a final appearance. Curt attributes this to his popularity on the show and on the podcast, and to recency bias. Kos sees great potential in him due to his well-roundedness, and suggests we will see him two more times on the show. Rob agrees that he has potential, but thinks that he has not yet shown that he is worthy of the top 20 yet. TheGamerGirl2330 on Twitter says “Woohoo Malcolm! But he should be way higher.”
14 – John Cochran (New entry)
Kos thinks he got a bad tribe in his first season and good tribe in his second season, with Cochran as a solid player. Rob thinks that he and Malcolm are both a bit high, but he supports Cochran ahead of Malcolm due to his win. Kos and Curt wouldn’t even have him in the top 20. Curt puts him in the top 20 when considering Reality Gamemasters.
13 – Spencer Bledsoe (New entry)
The panel agrees that recency bias is completely responsible for this. None of them criticize his gameplay, but they would like to see how he does on the list in a few years once he has shaken off the inexperience of being a young lad. However, Kos and Curt think he would go further than Malcolm if they were on the same tribe. Rob speculates that perhaps Spencer is the intersection of Malcolm and Cochran.
12 – Tyson Apostol (+19)
Kos thinks Tyson screwed up the top 6 in “Blood v Water” and got lucky with the rock draw. Rob and Curt don’t blame him for that, and Curt might even put him in the top 10. Curt points out that he is one of the few players ever to play a completely different game on a returning season, the greatest climber from the previous list. It is revealed that Kos had Hayden in his top ten, which puts all of his opinions into question. Rob thinks this is a good spot for Tyson, which is the first time he’s said that about anyone on the list.
11 – Yul Kwon (-3)
Curt is unsure of how he did so well considering that his idol was so powerful. Some consider his win to have an asterisk due to the proto-Tyler Perry Idol. However, Kos still finds him deserving, and put him 6th on his own list. Rob also says that Yul feels a little low.
10 – Todd Herzog (-3)
Kos likes Todd and likes him in this spot. Rob and Curt also see him as a top ten player. He’s seen as someone who could consistently make the merge and be non-threatening enough to make it to the end. Curt and Kos think that Todd will play again, although Kos worries that it’s for the wrong reasons.
9 – Russell Hantz (+2)
The greatest player of aaaaaalll tiiiiiiiiiime. The panel speculates that he had negative recency bias in 2011 and now the anger at him has settled down. [This writer speculates that more casual fans are voting this time around, as Rob has dramatically expanded his listening audience.] Curt mentions he started a new era of the game and went from an 8-4 minority to a 4-1 majority. Rob points out that he has flaws in his game that others lower on the list don’t have, but Russell always gets to the end and triple-threats like Malcolm do not. Rob says he should have won Samoa.
8 – Tony Vlachos (New entry)
Beats Russell by one spot, which will make Russell extremely pleased. Kos is thrilled, because Tony is one of his favorite characters. One commenter says he’d rank Tony higher if Trish wasn’t putting out his fires on the social front. Another commenter says he played the only game he could, he won with that game, and was entertaining. Curt says that this spot feels right, and expected recency bias to put him even higher. Kos also doesn’t think recency bias played a big role in this.
7 – Cirie Fields (-1)
The panel loves Cirie and loves this spot for her. They all point out how close she was to a two-time winner. Kos has her in his top three. Rob says that once she makes it past the merge, she’ll always make it to the last challenge, but she can never make it to final tribal. Kos points out, however, that Amanda and Parvati actually thought that they were taking Cirie to the end. As Shane Powers says, she’s a gangster in an Oprah suit.
6 – Rob Cesternino (-1)
One voter says that they love how Rob Cesternino dominated Redemption Island. Curt says that he completely revolutionized the game. Rob gives his standard modesty performance and says he shouldn’t be in the top 10, but we know that’s where he belongs. Kos says Rob is too low.
5 – Richard Hatch (-1)
Probst says he’s overrated on Reddit, but Curt disagrees. Curt thinks he’d do better on a third time than on his second. Kos thinks that he could play the modern game just as well as he played season 1. Kos would put him in the top 15. Rob says that Richard doesn’t suffer fools, which could hurt him on a modern season with loony characters. Rob is satisfied with Richard’s placement.
4 – Kim Spradlin (New entry)
Kos says that this is the most egregious mistake of the list, and Kim should have been first by a mile. He says she’s perfect at Survivor in literally every possible way. Curt thinks this is right. Curt does not agree with some fans that she was playing against bad players, but he wants to see how she does in another season. Rob didn’t like her season because she mowed everyone down so easily, but he is considering the possibility that #4 is too low for her. Kos thinks she would make any cast look dumb. Rob thinks that she is held back by only playing one time and having less exposure to television audiences.
Kim and the 3rd place candidate were very close in the votes, and the top two were very far ahead of them.
3 – Sandra Diaz-Twine (No movement)
Kos is not a fan, but doesn’t want to get in trouble so he won’t say any more. Curt would have her at #1. Kos points out her tantrums, and doesn’t think she would win much if we could simulate ten million games. If he had to bet his life on someone winning Survivor, he would not choose Sandra to save him. Rob would put her in his top five, though! Rob says her win cannot be a fluke if she won twice.
There was a 4000 point difference between the top two, so about 400 first place votes
2 – Rob Mariano (No movement)
1 – Parvati Shallow (No movement)
Kos has Boston Rob higher, and says he’s better equipped with strategic sense, built to play Survivor, and Malcolm on steroids. Curt says it’s hard because Rob took four tries, but should have won the second time. Curt has Sandra at #1 and Boston Rob at #2 and Parvati at #3. Kos also says Rob should be a two time winner but some big personalities refused to vote for him in All-Stars. Curt thinks that Rob has moved on from the community more than Parvati, which may contribute to her winning. Many on Twitter defended Rob, and one person on Twitter says that he put Parvati at #1 because he has a crush on her. [I wish I could put more pro-Parvati stuff in the recap so that we can have a triumphant winner, but no one defended her being at #1.]
Kos points out that Stephen Fishbach is #25 and Aras is at #35. I would note that the following individuals from 2011’s top 20 are no longer in the top 20: Jonny Fairplay, J.T. Thomas, Stephen Fishbach, Yau-Man Chan, Earl Cole, and Ethan Zohn.
Special Thanks to Jeremy Berman for this episode recap.
If you’re interested, Review The Full List of the 203 Survivors who Received Votes from 2011