NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” coverage. We’ll have Power Rankings with “Kaoh Rong” champion Michele Fitzgerald and “Second Chance” favorite Shirin Oskooi, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.
As members of the Executive Voting Committee, the “Survivor” press corps (along with Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, and other “Survivor” luminaries) has an awesome responsibility. The committee’s votes will make up 50% of the final tally for entry into the prestigious Class of 2016 The other 50% will come from “Survivor” fans like you.
Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly
Dalton Ross is the Executive Editor of Entertainment Weekly and host of EW Morning Live on SiriusXM, channel 105. He humbly submits the exact same ballot as last year.
Tony Vlachos – (“Survivor: Cagayan”): He was far from the perfect player in “Cagayan,” but we had never seen someone play “Survivor” that aggressive before until Tony Vlachos came around. Changing up votes, repeatedly voting against his own alliance, and then somehow getting them to fall back into line after; the fact that someone could play the game so differently in season 28 (and win) is pretty remarkable. I still don’t quite understand how Tony did it, but I totally respect it. And he managed to do it all while hiding out in his spy shack and busting out llama impressions for good measure. If you don’t think Tony deserves this honor, go back and watch Spencer’s final Tribal Council speech. If a self-proclaimed gamebot like Spencer can have that much esteem for Tony’s game, than so should we.
J.T. Thomas – (“Survivor: Tocantins” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”): Some people vote for “characters” or people they simply like on their Hall of Fame ballot, and that’s totally fine seeing as how everyone has a different definition of what constitutes a worthy entrant. For me, however, it’s people that came on and flat-out dominated — the Kim Spradlins and Tom Westmans of the world. They’re both in, so why isn’t J.T.? He was just as dominant in “Tocantins,” getting people in the opposite majority alliance after the merge to fall head over heels in love with him. He was devastatingly effective in all three aspects of the game — strategic, social, physical. Don’t believe me? Just ask Fishbach, whom he skunked in the finals. Sure, J.T. made a terrible move in Heroes vs. Villains in giving a hidden immunity idol to someone on the opposite tribe, but it was a big swing-for-the-fences play. You have to respect that fact that he had the cojones to try it. Bottom line: He may not be flashy, but J.T. gave one of the best first season performances in “Survivor” history. Shouldn’t that be recognized?
Brian Heidik – (“Survivor: Thailand”): If there is some sort of soft porn hall of fame, then hopefully Heidik is already in it. But here is another HOF in which he deserves entry. Look, Heidik is a shady dude and his season was terrible. So naturally you want to dismiss him and instead vote in someone that has appeared on this show three or four times and is a hell of a lot more likable. I get that. But again, I am voting on gameplay, and the guy ran “Thailand” from coast-to-coast. He orchestrated all the votes. He won all the important challenges. He was always in control. Athletes are judged solely for their performance on the field in terms of Hall of Fame admission, and I use that same criteria for players in the game of “Survivor.” Heidik dominated, so should be in. We may not like it, but sometimes you have to go with your head instead of your heart. (Especially when, like me, you have no heart.)
Tom Santilli – AXS.com
Tom Santilli is a film critic for AXS.com and covers Survivor for RealityTea.com. He was previously the “Survivor Examiner” for Examiner.com from 2009 until the site shut down in 2016. He appears weekly on the syndicated TV show “Movie Show Plus” and on FOX-2 in Detroit (follow him on Twitter, @tomsantilli). He claims to own his own “Medallion of Power” that gives him a slight advantage in writing “Survivor” recaps.
Stephenie LaGrossa – (“Survivor: Palau,” “Survivor: Guatemala,” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”): Without a doubt one of the strongest female players ever to play the game…let me rephrase: One of the strongest players, period. Her name keeps popping up because she is in the class of “Survivor” contestant where everyone who saw her play remembers her. Sure, there is a tendency to want to vote in all of the “Survivor” Winners (like Tony Vlachos or Jeremy Collins), but for me, there are certain players that have left more of an impact on the game in losing than many have done in winning. Stephanie is definitely deserving and is the epitome of Survivor toughness.
Rupert Boneham – (“Survivor: Pearl Islands,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): There had to have been some sort of glitch, right, for Rupert to not already be in the Hall of Fame? How is he not? He was the face of the game for many years, and one of the most popular players ever. He’s played the game four times! The “Survivor” Hall is no Hall at all without everyone’s favorite pirate.
Brian Heidik – (“Survivor: Thailand”): Yes, verbatim, here it is from all of my previous ballots: It’s time for my annual push for Brian Heidik, who to me, is the sole remaining “first-ballot”-worthy contestant still deserving inclusion…an upper echelon player and the one guy who needs to be in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. I voted for him the past few years and I will continue doing so until others take notice…Brian is unlike any other Sole Survivor for many important reasons. At the time that he won, nobody thought that a “bad guy” could ever win “Survivor” again after Richard Hatch. Brian to this day is the only true “villain,” playing a villainous game, to have won it all. Brian played masterfully, despite back-stabbing and lying his way to the prize. He was a thinker, but he also won several individual immunity challenges along the way. Others (like, say, Kim Spradlin) have made “Survivor” look easy, but he was the first. Like him or not, admit it or not, he was the blueprint for every strategic player since. The “Survivor” HOF will never be complete until it includes the likes of Brian Heidik.
Josh Wigler – Parade
Josh Wigler is a writer, editor and podcaster who has been published by MTV News, New York Magazine, Comic Book Resources, Digital Trends and more. He is the co-author of “The Evolution of Strategy: 30 Seasons of Survivor,” an audiobook chronicling the reality TV show’s transformation, and one of the hosts of “Post Show Recaps,” a podcast about film and television.
For the second year in a row, I cast my ballot in defiance of Dalton Ross. I’m not voting for the best players. I’m voting for the iconic ones. For my money, there are still three old-school “Survivor” titans who must join the esteemed Hall before I can even bring gameplay into consideration. (And no, I am not voting for Wanda. She might be my boo, but she’s not my Boo Bernis.)
Rupert Boneham – (“Survivor: Pearl Islands,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): He’s without question the most iconic Survivor in the show’s history, even if his gameplay leaves more than a little bit to be desired. (In his defense, the pocket rock was a cool move.) Put every single Survivor on one DVD cover, and Rupert will be right there in the center, or damn close to it. A hands-down Hall of Famer in my book, like him or not.
Tina Wesson – (“Survivor: The Australian Outback,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): Voted for her last year, will vote for her every year until she seals the deal. First woman to win “Survivor,” first-boot of the first all-star season, battled her way back from Redemption Island and got voted out yet again to become the final member of the jury in a modern season… of all the castaways across the 30+ seasons, no one has had a fuller “Survivor” experience than Tina.
Colby Donaldson – (“Survivor: The Australian Outback,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”): I only know one way how to vote in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame, and that’s full tilt.
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