Kaiser Island - Ryan Kaiser's Island of the Idols recaps

Ryan Kaiser's Survivor: Island of the Idols cast assessment


I forgot to wish everyone “HAGS” like I was signing a yearbook and saying, “Have a great summer!” but I’m excited to have reached the end of the CBS Survivor offseason!  Now don’t shame me by saying the offseason didn’t exist because of Australian Survivor, Survivor: South Africa, or some of the great college Survivor series – I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things, but from September through May I consume so much Survivor content that it’s imperative to my mental health that I take a break during the summer.  Maybe when CBS finally calls it quits, I’ll pick up all the international shows to get my fix.  Who am I kidding?  CBS will never cancel Survivor because of how creative and original it continues to be with all of these themes and twists!


Sandra and Rob and their giant heads


I’m sorry, but those monumental Rob and Sandra heads will never get old!


This “twist” has its flaws, but we can only go up from the Edge of Extinction.  The Island of the Idols is basically Ghost Island but instead of Survivor ghosts, you have two Survivor legends there to offer a chance at an advantage in the game.  My only real gripe about it is that the Island will take screen time away from the 20 incredible new players.  This was the first season cast without Lynne Spillman (may she rest in peace) and I have to say ... bravo.  It looks diverse, sounds diverse, feels diverse – this is a group of 20 authentic people with interesting backgrounds, and when you see all 20 at once you go “yeah, this is decent representation of America ... with one Canadian.”


I don’t think we have to worry about Rob and Sandra entering the game as players at any point.  However, their influence over the newbies will be certainly be present, creating a whole new meta game of how to win over the hearts of two of Survivor’s most cold-blooded players.  With Rob and Sandra gearing up for 40, I’m extremely confident that the info the press received about their roles being 100% that of mentors to be accurate.  I wouldn’t rule out Rob and Sandra each getting to cast a vote at Final Tribal Council, however, and it would ironically be the pair’s first time serving as jurors.  We’ll see ...


But enough about who we already know – let me get to who we don’t know!  Much like David vs. Goliath, I wasn’t given any significant video footage of these 20 new hopefuls, and while other press sources are doing amazing work with rolling out new content each day, I was too eager to wait for everything to be out before collecting my thoughts, so I’m going into this almost as blind as I could.  I only have names, pictures, and some shallow CBS bios pulled up, but in my past job, I was paid to judge people all day long, so that will be enough for me (now who’s the shallow one?)


With there being no theme to the tribe division this season, the two starting tribes are mostly arbitrary, so I think we can expect the two to be swapped sooner rather than later.  I’ll spend a little time with each person talking about what jumped out to me from their profile, who could be in danger early on, who I see staying late into the game, and of course, who I’m shooting my shot on for the title of Sole Survivor.


Lairo tribe


I’ve got favorites on both tribes, but overall, I’m leaning Lairo in terms of personality and their performance in the first few challenges.  There’s no one from these 10 that I’d like to see leave early, so that probably means they’ll go to every tribal council before the swap.


Tom Laidlaw


Survivor’s first (and only) Canadian!  Naturally, he’s a retired professional hockey player because if they’re going to put a Canadian on the show finally, it may as well be in the most stereotypical form as possible.  Describing himself as “disciplined” and “stubborn” on top of being the oldest person on Lairo by just shy of 20 years, Tom will likely emerge as the tribe’s leader.  Canadians are known to be a little more laid back and friendlier than the average American, however, so for once I could see this role not dooming someone like Tom.


What will doom Tom is that he sticks out like a sore thumb for a variety of reasons.  I’ve already mentioned age, but physically he is a powerhouse and anyone who knows how Survivor typically casts will instantly peg him as the token ex-“something” player.  Tom names Ben (the marine, not the Dragonslayer) as the player he’s most like, and while I think Tom will be well-liked by most of the cast, they’re not going to let someone Ben their way to the end.  Tom will be an asset early on, but I’d expect him to be cut after a swap right before the merge as someone who is too big of a threat and also who may be unable to maneuver himself out of a crappy set of swap numbers.  Sorry a-boot it.


Prediction: Pre-Merge


Missy Byrd


Missy had to be an immediate lock once Survivor saw her.  She’s smart, she’s athletic, she’s an Air Force veteran, and she’s survived a brain tumor.  At just 24 years old, she sounds like she’s been through more in life than most of the cast, and she’s its second-youngest player.  Missy was also a fast favorite of mine, describing herself as “decently dope” and when asked why she’ll win Survivor, her answer was basically, “because Beyoncé wrote a song about it.”  Missy B in it to win it for Queen B.  I love it!


Missy looks competitive as hell and with a pro hockey player and Olympian on her tribe, that should be seen as valuable.  While she looks intense, Missy says she wants to play like the great Kim Spradlin and “kill ‘em with a smile” which makes me feel a lot better about her going far in the game.  If she had more of a “take no prisoners” mindset, I’d worry about her being an early boot.  I think Missy will relate well with other young players and, as mentioned, will be respected and appreciated by some of the older ones for not being your typical millennial.  I think Missy’s a big Survivor fan too, and I expect her to be involved in a lot of strategy that drives the game.  That’s what I think her downfall could be – leading too much without even realizing she’s doing it.  Until that eventual #SurvivorBlindside, however, I anticipate Missy being one of the biggest names of the season.


Prediction: Mid-Jury


Vince Moua


Vince has the longest bio of anyone on the official CBS page which means he has more to say about himself than anyone else does (fitting ten words into the “three words to describe you” prompt) but I don’t think that’s a great look for him going in to Survivor.  Like Missy, Vince has had a wild ride in life and wants to inspire other kids who grow up in hardship that the sky is the limit.  Vince has an enormous personality and a lot to offer as a character on the show but he already seems like a lot to handle to me, and I’m not living with him 24/7.


Vince has one of the biggest personalities on the Lairo tribe, and should he face tribal council before swapping, he could be in the hot seat for it, but I believe Vince will be able to escape being the first boot from his tribe, maybe even sensing he’s in trouble and successfully sells out the other vote contender to secure his own safety.  Once a swap hits, though, whether it’s his former tribemates or new ones, Vince could still be the guy that talks too much and plays a little harder than he needs to, talking himself out of the game early.  Vince’s story seems like one with many layers to be unfolded throughout a full season, and one that the show would hope to be able to tell for many weeks, but I’ll take a swing and say that his arc is still big but not long for the stay.


Prediction: Pre-Merge


Elizabeth Beisel


Hopefully they give Elizabeth plenty of water challenges to show off her Olympic-medal-winning capabilities.  Elizabeth is definitely going to be a “feel good” person on the show.  She’s an American hero in more ways than just winning swimming events for her country – she currently speaks around the country as a mental health advocate having dealt with depression herself.  Elizabeth says she sees herself in Kara from David vs. Goliath with their shared exuberant personalities and positive attitude (also revealing that she’s a newer fan of the show).


It’s going to be a sad sight to see when Elizabeth is brutally backstabbed or cut from the game without a clue it was coming.  39 seasons in, Survivor casts are a lot savvier than they used to be and incredibly more cutthroat.  A heroic player like Elizabeth who relies on strength and loyalty is going to have a tough time when it gets closer to Day 39 and the villains within everyone emerge.  I predict Elizabeth to go relatively deep and probably pick up a knack for how to really “play” the social game but end up outplayed by someone who’s been on top of their own since the beginning or even for months/years prior and sees Elizabeth as too big of a threat in the final three.


Prediction: Late Jury


Dean Kowalski


The last Survivor winner was a salesman who was voted out on Day 8, so Dean’s got that working for him.  I wouldn’t have taken him for a former teacher, though, and an admitted math and physics nerd.  At first glance, I would have expected Dean to be of the young, overconfident idiot breed, but after learning a (limited) little bit about him, I don’t hate him.  I think it helps too that I had a very negative opinion two seasons ago with Alec Merlino, and he ended up being a star among his star-studded cast, so I’m more open-minded to that archetype now.  Look at me – I’m growing so much as a person.


There’s also another teacher from New York in this cast, Tommy, which could mean the blossoming of a bromance assuming he and Dean end up together.  Normally, I’d guess Dean to be a standard early merge boot for being a challenge threat, but there are a lot of big dudes in this cast, and Dean may be the smallest in height, which could save him from being gunned down like the other Goliaths.  If Dean can make it to the finale, I could definitely see him winning the last few challenges to get to the final three.  Winning though?  I think someone else will end up outselling the salesmen there.


Prediction: Final Three


Chelsea Walker


Chelsea likely has the title of “biggest superfan” in this cast having watched the show since she was 8 (like me!) and being close to be being cast several times after applying for the last 6 years.  She sounds like she also has a crush on Larry David so it’s safe to say she has a pretty, pretty, pretty good taste in TV.


Players like Chelsea are always difficult for me to determine where they’ll end up.  Superfans either can get themselves very far in the game and win (Adam, Nick) or overplay themselves into an early ouster (almost Nick).  On Lairo, I don’t worry a lot for Chelsea.  Karishma and Vince are going to be the big personalities there to overshadow Chelsea, but I could see Chelsea ending up in a post-swap situation like another California-based superfan, Roark.  Roark didn’t play a bad game but just came across as a little too smart for her own good and if other players catch on that Chelsea is a super-duperfan, then any normal level of sneakiness is going to be magnified and she could end up a target quickly once the tribes mix at as early as 18.


Prediction: Pre-Merge


Aaron Meredith


The first word Aaron uses to describe himself is “attractive” which is probably the least attractive thing about him.  From the looks of it, he may be the biggest guy in the cast?  Like with Tom, people are going to be wondering what professional sport Aaron has played.  He’s actually a gym owner and I’m sure that will show in challenges.  He’s going to be the guy everyone wants to keep around until about the day before the merge.


Aaron thinks his “STRONG” social game is going to be able to make everyone else forget that he towers over them and could quite literally crush them in almost any competition.  I’m not buying it.  There’s a reason big dudes like Aaron don’t win unless there’s Edge of Extinction in play – no one lets them within a few days of the finale.  Aaron likens himself to Ozzy (how original) but I don’t envision an Ozzy 1.0 that’s one vote away from the million.  Instead, I’m expecting more Ozzy 2-4 with Aaron ending up as an early merge boot, maybe having never lost a challenge until then.  That’s always a fun phenomenon.


Prediction: Early Jury


Karishma Patel


Karishma is totally casting trying to recapture the spirit of Angelina, and I am 100% for it.  As the first ever Indian-American on Survivor, she is here to represent “Brown girl power” and doing something that goes against the grain of women like her are “supposed to” do.  Karishma says she hates mansplaining, girls who play dumb for attention, and passive aggressive behavior – my favorite peeve of hers because it means that she will be all up in someone’s business if she has words to say.  As a lawyer, Karishma won’t be afraid to argue and convince her courtroom (tribal council) that her case is the best.


I LOVE Karishma but strong women on the show that I end up stanning before the season starts (Stephanie J, Natalie, Reem) sadly don’t have the best track record.  Karishma is fortunate that Lairo is made up of half 30-and-overs, so she should at least escape the overdone “oldest woman” scapegoat vote, but her big personality is going to create big waves.  Especially in the early days of Survivor, you have to bite your tongue more than speak your mind which could be a struggle for Karishma.  If she surprises me, she could go deep as someone who’s always on the chopping block but never gets chopped like Angelina, but I fear she’ll end up on the other end of the spectrum as another fallen angel pre-merge legend.


Prediction: Early Boot


Ronnie Bardah


Ronnie’s got some reputation-restoring to do for the past professional poker players on Survivor – Jean-Robert, Garrett, Anna (I almost thought The Wardog, but having a few poker videos on YouTube doesn’t make The Wardog a pro, and is that rep even possible to restore?)  I think Ronnie will end up as the best of them in terms of success in the game.  He’s well-traveled, knows how to read people, and will be able to hold his own in challenges without being put in the same league as Tom and Aaron on Lairo or Tommy and Jamal on Vokai.


If I were going to pick a guy to win, Ronnie would be my pick.  However, 5 seasons after the last woman won the game, I think we’re due for another victory from the ladies, and this cast has compiled some of the strongest ever.  Thus, I have to come up with a way Ronnie doesn’t win, and if he makes it to the final three, I think he would, so what I have to think then is that somewhere down the line, everyone realizes Ronnie has been pulling all the strings and has put together a game-winning hand so he has to be dealt with before the end.  If he finds an idol, Ronnie will be able to read when to rightly use it, so getting rid of him won’t be easy.  I imagine it’ll take a few stabs at Ronnie to finally finish his game.


Prediction: Mid-Jury


Elaine Stott


Everyone’s going to love Elaine.  To me, she’s like Elizabeth Olsen, Lauren Rimmer, Donathan Hurley, and (per her own assessment) Rupert rolled into one.  She says that people think she’s a hardass but that she’s actually a big softy.  Elaine definitely will be the hard worker at camp and someone who’s useful for brute strength in challenges.  She’s also had to take on the role as a caregiver in her life, so she knows how to nurture.  With all of these aspects of her personality, Elaine could actually be a dangerous player in this game.


The only weak spot I might see in Elaine her strategic game.  If she says she’s like Rupert, that gives me some concern on Elaine’s ability to craftily creep her way to the end.  Elaine should make the merge as long as she avoids any Rupert-level outbursts, and there will be a few of the usual alpha males to take out first, but when those voting blocks are shifting and shaking up every round, Elaine’s going to have to keep well on her toes, and that’s where I could see her getting lost in the shuffle, especially if she’s viewed by then as someone too sweet to sit next to in the final three.


Prediction: Mid-Jury



Vokai tribe


There are some stars here, but I think Lairo got the biggest of the brightest personalities and some of the stronger challenge competitors, so we could be seeing more of Vokai than they’d like us to see.  I just hope the ones I’m rooting for can escape those first few boots (Lauren, I’m looking at you…)


Jack Nichting


Is this actually Joe Anglim’s younger brother?  At 23, Jack’s the youngest member of the cast and next in the long line of long-haired, laid-back, surfer-looking guys (though surfing’s mentioned nowhere in his bio) that are cast solely for that key 12-to-17-year-old girl demographic.  Like I said about his lack of a surfing reference so far, Jack already breaks the mold set before him.  He at least lists Devon as the player he relates to the most instead of Joe, Ozzy, or Malcolm.  Describing himself as a “dreamer,” he plans to radiate those same “good vibes” throughout the game.


As a player, I’d be inclined to see Jack as someone a little naïve and maybe easy to drag along in the game.  He does seem like a genuinely positive person, so I think people are going to take a liking to “the kid.”  I don’t know how he’s actually going to strategically out-maneuver 19 other people, some of whom are almost triple his age, but throughout the game I think there are going to be bigger fish to fry than Jack – physically, strategically, and socially.  Jack looks like he’ll have the right mix of all three without seeming the strongest in any single aspect.  Like his boy Devon, I can see Jack going deep but voted out just before the end.  How tragic would it be if Jack suffered the same fire-making fate as Devon?


Prediction: Late Jury


Janet Carbin


In contrast to Jack, Janet is the oldest on her tribe and second oldest in the game – Tom’s got her by a year.  Janet looks about as authentic as they come.  Just look at that picture of the Vokai tribe.  Everyone else is all smiles while Janet’s face says “I’m just here to win.  I don’t care about any of this other stupid shit.  Are we done taking this fucking picture yet?”  She says she comes off as tough and stern but that it isn’t true ... I don’t know, Janet.  If I was asked to look at the tribe photos and pick out who’s most likely to kill someone with a machete, literally all my money would be placed on Janet.  Maybe Vince or Jason, but that would be an accident.  Janet would know where she was swinging.


Janet’s bio reads exactly how I think her game will play out: short and blunt (also her inspiration in life being Tina Turner ... lolwut?)  The first word she uses to describe herself is “aggressive” and while she does say she believes she can win because she can read people, especially the younger players are going to be intimidated by Janet, and just being able to read that won’t exactly solve the problem.  I hope Janet comes off as more fun-loving and less serious than she does in this brief introduction to her, but if she doesn’t and Vokai loses the first immunity challenge, then Janet is my unfortunate first boot pick which is a shame because I’d love to see her kick ass and scare people for 39 days.  “Why does she need the machete so sharp?  I think she’s gonna kill us!”


Prediction: First Boot


Dan Spilo


Originally from New York and now living in Los Angeles, Dan is going to have an in with a lot of the East- and West-coasters of the cast.  He admits he cried during Finding Nemo, so unlike Janet saying she’s not as tough as she looks, I think Dan is true in saying he’s a softy.  Rather than being the strict father figure, he may better play the role of the fun, goofy uncle.  As a talent manager, I’m sure Dan has many different types of clients and he says he’s good at knowing what people need and how to make them feel good.  That’s quite a gift to possess when playing Survivor.


I think I’ll like Dan and others will too, but being one of the older guys, he’ll have to be careful about becoming the leader of any tribe or alliance.  People may naturally look to put him in that role, and again being a people-pleaser, he may not immediately reject it which could put him in trouble post-merge when players are looking to take out the people at the top of the totem pole.  While this cast does lean older than most, I could still see some of the younger people gravitating toward one another and eventually turning on their “funcle.”  I’d love to get another Penner-type of player from Dan, but that’s asking a lot.


Prediction: Mid-Jury


Noura Salman


I’ll be frank – Noura is an enigma to me.  I guess I’m struggling to get past why anyone would compare themselves to “Fabio and Jud” who Noura taught me are actually two different people.  It’s time for a Nicaragua rewatch, I suppose!  She also relates herself to Malcolm, so Noura may be able to fit well within the younger crowd as well as lean older when she has to since she’s in her mid-30s.  For some reason, Noura lacks something that jumps out at me about her.  Perhaps she blends in too well with the rest of the cast?


I feel like I need to see Noura to get a bigger impression of who she is and how she fits with everyone.  I’m not exactly sure on how big of a fan she is – mentioning Fabio makes me think she’s a bigger than average fan to be remembering his season, but at the same time, Malcolm is a pretty generic answer.  Noura looks physically strong, she has an adventurous spirit to put herself out there, but I don’t know.  These first impressions are all mostly quick, gut reactions to people, and I feel like I’m throwing a dart at the board with Noura more than anyone, but I’m going to go with middle-of-the-road pre-merger for her.  There’s definitely room to show me more and I hope she does!


Prediction: Pre-Merge


Jamal Shipman


Jamal has a lot going on about him that one wouldn’t guess at first glance.  I’d look at him and think a former athlete/jock, and while he excelled at that in high school, he was also musically talented both instrumentally and vocally before then going on to receive an Ivy League education.  Apparently, Jamal is also an avid salsa dancer so he’s striking me as a bit of a gentle giant.  When it comes to Survivor, he says he most relates to Jeremy who I think is one of the most well-liked players both inside and outside of the game, so that bodes well for Jamal’s chances.  He also lists Wendell, Sarah, and Christian who don’t all fit in the same category of player – methinks Jamal is maybe a newer “fan” and those were some of the first names that he could remember.


I can’t imagine people not taking a liking to Jamal.  He’s going to be a very positive energy at camp, and while that should make people want to keep him around pre-merge, already being a strong and likable guy, Jamal needs to be pretty strategically sound to escape an early boot at the merge.  He and Aaron both have Rhode Island ties (along with Elizabeth) so I could see them teaming up, but for the worst, especially for Jamal.  He should stay away from any sort of alpha-bro alliance.  Jamal needs to play a relatively low key and passive game to get over that merge hump.  Otherwise, he’ll end up bumped around then.


Prediction: Early Jury


Lauren Beck


Lauren’s bio is hysterical and if she brings any of that personality to the show, she’ll be my favorite.  She’s a Hot Cheetos-eating, Britney Spears-impersonating, Troyzan-loving ball of fire and I love it.  Plus, she credits Cirie as the best social player the game has ever seen and recites Sandra’s now-iconic phrase, “the queen stays queen.”  Girl knows her shit.  I hope for Lauren’s sake, she’s one of the first to visit the Island of the Idols so she can meet one of her heroes.


Lauren’s a nanny and children are the toughest people to put up with, in my opinion, so adults might be cake to her.  I expect Lauren to navigate her way through the game almost flawlessly by just being a genuine, bubbly, fun-loving person to be around, and while she’s not the only person to possess that gift with people, she’s a big fan of the game and knows how to use that social game as a sharp weapon.  Lauren’s probably my dark horse winner pick, someone that comes on at the end as someone people realize has been manipulating the entire time.  Any mention of Cirie, though, and I get a little scared.  I’ll now be haunted by the idea of Lauren being the victim of an Island of the Idols-instigated “Advantagegeddon” or her supreme social game being robbed by someone who can start a fire seconds faster than her.  I pray that Sandra can influence the game enough to prevent either from happening, but I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket.


Prediction: Late Jury


Tommy Sheehan


Tommy’s a total man’s man when it comes to his hobbies, so the fact that he’s a 4th grade teacher is a fun twist to him.  I feel like that’s been an overarching theme with a lot of this cast – there’s a lot more than meets the eye.  I also wouldn’t have guessed Tommy owns a Disney mug collection which no longer has me feeling as cool about just the pair of Donald Duck and Stitch mugs I have sitting next to my coffee-maker.  Tommy says he’s a goof with a big heart, which makes sense then that he compares his social game to Davie.  I’m a little less sure of the “pinch of Amanda Kimmel’s likeability” – not that she isn’t likable, but when you think “most likable Survivors” it’s an odd choice to name the person who failed to convince two different juries to give her the million dollars (I’m an Amanda fan, but facts are facts).


Tommy’s personality will definitely soften him as a threat, and I think he’ll quickly find himself working with fellow New Yorker, Jason, and pick up the other, Dean, who used to also teach, but if these three are all ever an alliance together, I think Tommy will be the one who’s either picked off first or sacrificed.  Tommy’s kids at school may have given him the okay to play like a villain, but others are likely to be quicker at it than he is.


Prediction: Early Jury 


Molly Byman


Molly’s another who with the wild, wavy hair and big smile one may just think “oh, she seems fun!” which she absolutely is, but I think Molly’s going to be the big surprise killer of the season.  She references Parvati when talking about her way, but not just as the common answer to “which Survivor you’re most like” and instead saying that Parvati is who Survivors should strive to be (she’s not wrong).  Molly’s a diehard fan so she’ll have to keep some of her excitement in check, but she called that out as well and is prepared to do just that.  Molly has a long list of hobbies and ways to connect with people and she says that being a former teacher has helped her with managing chaos.


Molly’s my first impression winner pick after reading what everyone has had to say about themselves.  She’s perceptive, self-aware, and she’s going to be someone that is able to draw people in and keep them there until she decides it’s time to cut them loose.  On Vokai, she’ll have the teacher connection to Tommy, the law school and student connections to Jason and Kellee, respectively, and I can see her forming quick, close bonds with the people of Lairo when the time comes.  This will be quite the big first exam for the aspiring lawyer, seeing if she can get the Survivor jury to declare her the winner, but I’m going with that she’ll pass with flying colors.


Prediction: Winner


Jason Linden


Jason compares himself to Stephen Fishbach, Adam Klein, Cochran, Rob Cesternino, Tony, Boston Rob, Sandra, Parvati, Bob Crowley, Kathy Sleckman, Scout Cloud Lee, both Rupert and Laura Boneham, Sekou Bunch, Willard Smith, Kim Spradlin, Kim Johnson, Kim Powers, Leif Manson,  Yau-Man, Boston Rob two more times, Parvati again, and, of course Malcolm and Ozzy in his Survivor bio.  Okay, so maybe only those first five names, but I hope his indecisiveness in choosing a Survivor contestant (no “s”) isn’t indicative of how he’ll play the game.


Based on who he says he’s similar too, Jason is giving me some nerd vibes which is good.  He doesn’t look like a slouch when it comes to athletic competition, but there are definitely bigger dudes on the field which should work to Jason’s advantage.  I think Jason will go deep like those players he’s listed.  He plans to use humor and self-depreciation to disarm his opponents, but he then must be careful not to look too much like a goat or that could injure this personal injury lawyer in the eyes of the jury.  He knows how to work with people and get to the end, I’m just going to say someone he’s up against (Molly) has a little more natural charm and charisma to best him ( ... like JT did to Stephen).


Prediction: Final Three  


Kellee Kim


Last but not least, we now have a third spelling of Kelly/Kelley/Kellee cast on the show.  Listing Settlers of Catan first in her list of hobbies scores Kellee major points with me as does hating mayonnaise (I’ll let hating on vanilla frosting slide).  Kellee is another Ivy Leaguer in this cast which could help her score some connections, and while she attended Harvard, she played on the soccer team so she’s not all just board games and book-smarts.


Kellee seems fun and bubbly from her bio and while there’s nothing obvious on paper why I think she’ll finish one way or the other, everyone has to end up somewhere on the boot list.  Like Chelsea, I’m going to say that Kellee finds a good position on her initial Vokai tribe, playing in between any younger and older age groups, later to find herself a little swapfucked with some of her closest allies ending up on another tribe.  If Kellee can make the merge, I can see her having the right mix of skills to win.  I’d love to see that happen, but if she’s a triple threat being socially, strategically, and physically strong, that could be way she’s cut before the merge – before she can do heavy damage.


Prediction: Pre-Merge.


Rob and Sandra, again


Class dismissed – that’s the list!  This is always fun to look back at after the season, seeing how horribly wrong my predictions were.  Compiling the list of who ends up where, here’s what I ended up with:


Pre-Merge: Janet, Karishma, Vince, Chelsea, Noura, Kellee, Tom


Merge: Aaron, Jamal, Tommy, Dan, Elaine, Ronnie, Missy


Finale: Elizabeth, Jack, Lauren, Dean, Jason, Molly


I’m feeling less confident about this than prior seasons because I think anyone has potential to go deep, so I think we’re going to be in for many shock boots early in the game.  This cast is solid.  I only wish there were a few that struck me as early villains.  All of these 20 seem like “good” people – I don’t like that.  I need some edginess, and I think someone will inevitable emerge to root against, but right now I’m not coming up with a name.  Maybe more of that will come out with some of the other press leading up to the premiere.  I need someone to talk about their game plan like, “I’m out here to fucking kill people.”  At least there’s always Sandra.


Mad Sandra


With that, Kaiser Island is officially home to Island of the Idols for the next 3 months.  Look!  They even gave me a statue and everything!




Okay, so I gave myself a statue.  If that’s a crime, then one of the lawyers in this cast can sue me.


Ryan KaiserRyan Kaiser has been a lifelong fan of Survivor since the show first aired during his days in elementary school, and he plans to one day put his money where his mouth is by competing in the greatest game on Earth.  Until that day comes, however, he'll stick to running his mouth here and on Twitter: @Ryan__Kaiser