Quick Note: I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Blood vs. Water” competitors before the game began. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each pairing in the days leading up to the September 18th season premiere. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for those interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives, and more…
Another Quick Note: Once the season has started, check back for full recaps immediately following each episode, interviews with the eliminated players the day after they’re sent packing, and the return of the always controversial “Survivor” Power Rankings featuring “Survivor” dreamboat Malcolm Freberg.
When did this get so hard?!
Back in the day it was safe to assume that the annoying people were going home first and the challenge liabilities were next. From there, we’d hit the merge and the challenge threats were sent packing. Then it was anyone’s guess who’d take home the big prize.
But now? People are dying to take the annoying people to the end. There are idols and Redemption Islands waiting to give people a second (or third) chance. And anyone can be targeted based on what their family members have done.
Welp, here goes nothing…
|Read Vytas’s Interview||Read Caleb’s Interview|
| 1. Vytas – Vytas and Aras might be totally different outside of the game, but inside of the game they both have the tools to get the job done. They’re smart, they’re strategic, and they’re personable. They’re strong, but not too strong. However, the thing that gives Vytas an advantage is the fact that he’s a little rough around the edges. While people won’t want to take Mr. Perfect to the end, Vytas might have an enemy or two on the jury.
||2. Caleb - I feel like Caleb is going to be a power player’s right hand. He’s going to be loyal, he’s going to be amazing around camp, and he’s going to be solid in challenges. If he’s in the right alliance he could find a seat at the final Tribal and he’s definitely likable enough to win over a jury.|
|Read Aras’s Interview||Read Ciera’s Interview|
|3. Aras - There’s no need to question Aras’s ability to win this game, because he’s done it before. He’s still the same guy. He’s likable, he has a good head on his shoulders, and he’s very even-tempered. The only weakness in his game might be that’s he’s too nice. I think I’d have trouble trusting him.||4. Ciera - On paper, it looks like Tadhana could dominate in the challenges. (Although, returnees tend to have a serious advantage in challenges.) What that could mean for Ciera is a safe trip to the merge and the possibility that her mother will be an early elimination. Now, that may sound like bad news for her, but I think there’s a real benefit to being a lone player out there. Someone’s got to be a couple’s third alliance member.|
|Read Tina’s Interview||Read Katie’s Interview|
| 5. Tina – If there’s one thing I learned from this season’s pre-game interviews, it’s that a lot of people want to align with Tina. You know who everyone wanted to align with before “Survivor: Caramoan”? Some guy named Cochran.
|| 6. Katie – Anybody who knows me knows I love me some Sophie Clarke. Maybe the most underrated winner of all time. Katie reminds me of Sophie quite a bit.
|Read Gervase’s Interview||Read Tyson’s Interview|
| 7. Gervase – Most people think Gervase’s greatest asset is that he’s likable. I respectfully disagree. While, I do find my fellow Philadelphian (maybe not a word) to be a great guy, I think his biggest asset is that nothing sticks to him. If Teflon Gervase manages to sneak into the final three, he could brush off any backstabbing he had to do and take the whole thing.
|| 8. Tyson - I wanted to put Tyson higher than this, but I kept coming back to one thing; how would he perform at a final Tribal Council? If he has to cut throats on the way to the end, can he convince those people to give him the win? Would the world spin off its axis if Tyson had to be serious?
|Read John’s Interview||Read Hayden’s Interview|
| 9. John - Mr. Cody has all of the tools necessary to make it to the end. And, he’s a great guy. But, nobody is going to want to keep a physical specimen like him around after the merge. It’s rare that the Captain America types aren’t taken out by the rest of the pack.
|| 10. Hayden – Our buddy Hayden is in the same boat as John, but with another disadvantage heaped on top – his “Big Brother” win. Everybody knows how dangerous he is.
|Read Laura M.’s Interview||Read Candice’s Interview|
| 11. Laura M. – A lot of people were scratching their heads when they saw Laura’s name on the cast list. But, if they go back and watch “Samoa” they’re realize that she’s a savvy player who can go in challenges. My big concern for her is I’m not quite sure where she’ll fit in with the rest of Galang.
|| 12. Candice - Cochran was able to shake the “flipper” tag last season. I don’t think Candice will be so lucky. Everyone remembers her “Cook Islands” mutiny and I’m sure Rupert will be more than happy to remind everyone about what happened during “Heroes vs. Villains.”
|Read Rachel’s Interview||Read Colton’s Interview|
|13. Rachel – Rachel’s a super tough person to rank because both Tyson and Jeff Probst were worried that her emotions might get the best of her. That’s a shame, because she has the right easy-going personality to go deep into this game and she’s charming enough to win over a jury.||14. Colton – Nobody needs an image makeover like Colton. In fact, with his controversial past, he seems like a great goat to take to the end. But, anyone who didn’t purge “One World” from their memory (and many of us have tried) will remember that Colton was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and stabbing people in the back the entire time. Maybe if he can rein in that conduct he’ll have a shot.|
|Read Marissa’s Interview||Read Rupert’s Interview|
| 15. Marissa – I like Marissa a lot. She’s a ton of fun and full of life. But, I worry that she might be a little too open for “Survivor.” A little too trusting. If she makes it to the merge she could stick around for a while, but I think that’s a big “if.”
|| 16. Rupert – Next to Russell Hantz, Rupert has to be the most polarizing player in “Survivor” history. Lots of people can’t get enough of him, while others simply don’t buy his act. (For the record, I personally enjoy him.) Where this is going to cause a major problem for Rupert is…the people he’s playing with don’t buy his act. He’ll probably be safe until the merge because Galang is the weaker tribe, but after that’s he’s a goner.
|Read Laura B.’s Interview||Read Brad’s Interview|
| 17. Laura B. - Scroll back up this list and look at all of the names that are in red. Those are Laura’s Tadhana teammates and the majority of them are much younger than she is. How is she going to fit in? Add that to the fact that she’s wearing an outfit that’s very similar to her unpopular husband and you have a recipe for disaster.
|| 18. Brad – The Culpeppers broke out a controversial plan during their pre-game interview. They’re going to tell the jury to vote for whoever they go to the end with. Why? Because they don’t need the money. Interesting…but Jimmy Johnson went into “Survivor: Nicaragua” with that strategy and was the third person out.
|Read Monica’s Interview||Read Kat’s Interview|
| 19. Monica – In the first-ever season with couples, people are going to be looking to break up the duos that have the potential to dominate after the merge. First on that list has to be Brad and Monica. They’re just too high-profile, too early in the game.
||20. Kat -I love me some Kat. Power Rankings represent. But I think people are going to be mega wary of Hayden, and that puts a big target on her back. Especially if Galang loses as often as I think they might.|
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
Don’t miss the special 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET.