QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Game Changers.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire 20-person cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Alright, you all know the drill; I go out on location. I interview everyone, I hang out for a few days, I get a sunburn. Then I come back and rank the players from most-likely-to-win to least-likely-to-win. Inevitably these rankings are horribly wrong. Let’s all ignore that mathematically, I probably should have picked a winner by now.
Note: Betting on Gordon Holmes’ Patented Terrible ‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Pre-Season Rankings is frowned upon.
|1. Malcolm: I’m not just picking Malcolm because he batted his eyes at me. I’m picking Malcolm because it looks like he has matured and learned from his mistakes. The “Boston” Rob who won “Redemption Island” was much different than the one who alienated everyone in “All-Stars.” And, with challenge threats like JT and Ozzy around, Malcolm’s going to have room to maneuver after the merge. Read Malcolm’s Interview||2. Sarah: There’s something really dangerous about someone who has a reputation for being honest but is totally prepared to lie. Sarah could shock us all. Read Sarah’s Interview|
|3. Sierra: In a season of big swingers, it’s the quiet threats that you have to keep an eye on. Nobody expects anything from Sierra, so she’ll have plenty of time to plot out a move that could win the whole thing. Read Sierra’s Interview||4. Zeke: Anyone who’s worried that Zeke is Russell Hantz 2.0 is in for a rude awakening. Zeke’s worse. He pairs Hantz’s ability to sway people and make moves with a social game that would have won Hantz at least one…if not two…final Tribal Councils. Read Zeke’s Interview|
|5. Aubry: Aubry…you were…the hardest person to rank. You’ve clearly got the skills to get yourself out of sticky situations. But…everybody knows that. So, I’m going to put you relatively high on this list because I don’t think you’re tops on anyone’s hit list. Read Aubry’s Interview||6. Brad: You’d better get used to seeing Brad on your TV screen, because he’s going to be around for a looooong time. Everyone is viewing him as the perfect goat to take to the end. That might not be the safe bet everyone assumes it is because Brad is actually a likable guy. Read Brad’s Interview|
|7. Troyzan: I’m putting Troyzan in the same boat as Brad. A LOT of people want to take him to the end. And remember, even Phillip Sheppard received votes at final Tribal. Read Troyzan’s Interview||8. Andrea: Andrea’s biggest weakness in Caramoan seemed to be that she was always going a mile a minute. I think that kind of activity can rattle your alliance-mates. She should take a page from Tyson’s playbook and hang back a bit. Read Andrea’s Interview|
|9. Michaela: I don’t think the show has done a great job showing how likable Michaela is. She is a sweetheart. If she can get to the end, she can beat almost anyone. Read Michaela’s Interview||10. Jeff: I’m putting Jeff right in the middle of the pack because he has the highest ceiling and the lowest floor. He could keep his wits about him and take the whole thing, or he could panic and be one of the first people out. Read Jeff’s Interview|
|11. JT: Soooo…JT totally won “Survivor.” It was like a hundred seasons ago and it was before Tyler Perry idols and voting blocs, but it totally happened. This is a guy who dominated challenges and charmed a jury. I feel like everyone is forgetting that. Read JT’s Interview||12. Ozzy: “Boston” Rob finally picked up the big win on his fourth trip. Rupert didn’t even get to see his tribe’s beach. I’m guessing Ozzy’s strategic game won’t make up for what a big threat he is and he’ll end up somewhere between them. Read Ozzy’s Interview|
|13. Hali: I don’t know what it is about Hali. She seems to have all the tools to get the job done. She’s likable, she’s fit, she’s smart. But for whatever reason, I don’t see it in her. Don’t get me wrong, she could do it, but it’d be like a Fabio-level event. Read Hali’s Interview||14. Debbie: Puzzles lay down for Debbie like lovers. But will jurors lay down their ballots? I just can’t see it. Read Debbie’s Interview|
|15. Sandra: I’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t fangirl over returning players. Strike that, I have only ever fangirled over one returning player; Sandra Diaz-Twine. She is SO much more than you see on TV. Likable, real, and super smart. It would take a miracle for her to get to the end. But if she got there, she’d win. Read Sandra’s Interview||16. Cirie: There is never a bad time to get rid of Cirie. From day one to day thirty eight, there’s always going to be a reason. You don’t need her at the beginning because she isn’t strong in challenges. You don’t want her at the end because she’s savvy enough to cut your throat. Read Cirie’s Interview|
|17. Ciera: Ciera and Cirie are in the same boat. There just isn’t enough upside to keep them early in the game. And if they do find allies, they might lose them during the day-six swap. Read Ciera’s Interview||18. Tai: Everyone is afraid to work with you, Tai. You have a reputation for spilling the beans, working with whoever talked to you last, and befriending dinner. You might go far, but you won’t win. Read Tai’s Interview|
|19. Caleb: Whenever newbies square off against returning players, the newbies almost always get squashed. With his zero lifetime Tribal Council visits, Caleb is basically a newbie. Read Caleb’s Interview||20. Tony: I put Tony last in Cagayan and he won the whole thing. I’d love (ahem…LOVE) for him to make me look stupid again, but I doubt the others will give him the chance. Read Tony’s Interview|
Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes