Ranking The Past 21 Survivor Winners From Worst To First
VIEW THE UPDATED RANKINGS (UP TO SURVIVOR 25) HERE – https://glennyfromtheblock.com/2012/12/18/ranking-the-past-25-survivor-winners-from-worst-to-first/
As Boston Rob lumbers on to his inevitable win this coming (American) Sunday, it’s the perfect time to review the past 21 seasons winners and where they stack up against each other. For the record, if Rob wins, then he’ll be sitting comfortably somewhere around the 3rd or 4th spot (points deducted for it taking him a record 4 times to win and the fact that he’s winnning a season with the single most uneven playing field in Survivor history).
So, from Worst to First :-
Natalie White – Survivor : Samoa
The most maligned of all Survivor winners due to her shocking (SHOCKING) defeat of Russell last year. Whilst her social game was approximately one million times more impressive than that bandy-legged troll, going into the Final Tribal Council, no one from the jury was even planning on voting for White – she won them over purely by answering questions better than Dr Mick.
BEST MOVE : Orchestrating the pivotal merge boot of (the incredibly sexy) Erik, that set the whole Galu post-merge crumble in motion.
SHOULD HAVE WON : *sigh* Russell. Whilst his social game was just AWFUL, he did play an incredible strategic game and changed the way Survivor was played forever.
Bob Crowley – Survivor : Gabon
Who? Bob sauntered along most of Gabon half-asleep, crafting a few admittedly impressive fake immunity idols along the way. Loses points for the fact that he was planning to take Matty to the end who would have kicked his ass ten ways to Sunday.
BEST MOVE : Playing the Grandfather role to human waterworks Sugar, who forced the tie that allowed him in front of the Jury in the first place.
SHOULD HAVE WON : The aforementioned Sugar. Controlled the entire game post-merge without once becoming a target.
Sandra Diaz-Twine – Survivor : Pearl Islands
Better known as the only two-time winner in Survivor’s 22 season history. Less known for winning through sheer virtue of not being Lil or Johnny Fairplay.
BEST MOVE : Openly having her vote for sale every Tribal Council. Warring factions kept using her to vote each other out, ensuring she was never the target.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Umm, no one? Is ‘no one’ an option? Pearl Islands was a rollickingly entertaining season with Rupert! Johnny Fairplay! Outcasts! but no real strong strategic players post-merge. Or, for that matter, pre-merge.
Here’s an amazing clip of Sandra displaying those social skills that won her her first million bucks. I CAN GET LOUD TOOOOO! :-
Ethan Zohn – Survivor : Africa
One of the most likeable guys to ever play Survivor. Plus, not going to make fun of him because of all the cancer and stuff (and, you know, the brilliant charity work he does). Cruised on through to a win by being the most likeable member of a majority alliance.
BEST MOVE : Being the proud owner of one of the sexiest Jew-Fro’s in recent history; Consolidating his winnings by marrying Amazon winner Morasca making them millionaire-squared.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Lex. As awful as he was, he (and his famous ‘gut’) managed to steer the Boran tribe all the way to the Final Four without any casualties.
Amber Brkich – Survivor : All Stars
When Survivor : All Stars first aired in 2004 at the height of Survivor’s popularity it was filled with 17 of the games most famous and infamous players. And then Australian Outback 6th place finisher Brkich. The only thing harder than remembering who she was would be to successfully pronounce her surname, which couldn’t have less vowels even if it were Welsh. A last minute replacement for former America’s Sweetheart and current Right Wing Nutjob Elizabeth Hassleback, Brkich parlayed her status as a non-threat into both one million dollars, a marriage proposal and not one but TWO season competing on CBS sister show The Amazing Race.
BEST MOVE : Aligning with (and eventually marrying) runner up Boston Rob, letting him take the heat for double-crossing everyone and her taking home the million dollar cheque.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Boston Rob. Although there’s no point in playing such a superior physical and strategic game if you’re not going to give any thought to your jury management.
Vecepia Towerey – Survivor : Marquesas
Another one for the ‘Who? Files’. Towerey was best known for, at the time, being the first person of colour (as opposed to just plain colourful, like Richard Hatch) to win Survivor. Was the first to parlay an irrationally bitter jury (Hi Tammy! Hi John! Hi Rob!) into a million dollar cheque.
BEST MOVE : Winning the key Final 4 Immunity Challenge where she was meant to be voted out; Switching alliances with the wind without ever being considered a threat.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Anyone else in the Final 4? Kathy, Neleh and Paschal all played strongers games, but through illness, a bitter jury and an ill-timed accidental boob flash, they all came up short.
Earl Cole – Survivor : Fiji
The first person to get every single jury vote, winning in a 9-0-0 landslide. Less impressive when you consider that his competition was Cassandra and Dreamz.
BEST MOVE : Allowing his beloved alliance partner Yau-Man to be voted out as the last member of the jury, thus ensuring a guarenteed win against the remaining two competitors; The fact that his name was neither Cassandra or Dreamz.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Yau Man. Hands down.
Judd Birza – Survivor : Nicaragua
Oh Jud! By spending the first 30 days of his Survivor experience loping around like an adorable overgrown lost Labrador puppy trying to avoid the inexplicable wrath of Na Onka. By the time everyone realised that he was a threat to win, it was too late. Now, he spends his time getting charmingly arrested and starring in amazing C-grade homoerotic thrillers.
BEST MOVE : Winning the final 3 immunity challenges in a row.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Whilst Holly could have feasibly smoked him if she survived one more vote, Jud can squarely claim a deserved win against a week sausage fest of a Final 3.
Aras Bausauskas – Survivor : Exile Island
One of the less memorable winners, but not undeserving. Bonus points for managing to stay on top of Terry, Crazytown Shane, Courtney and Danielle and her ginormous mutant fake breasts for 39 days without killing himself.
BEST MOVE : Managing to keep the aforementioned ragtag group of misfits focussed on eliminating immunity whore Terry instead of himself and Cirie.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Oh Cirie! Poor, poor Cirie. The best player to have never won came up short in a fire-making tie breaker.
Jenna Morasca – Survivor : The Amazon
Fellow winner Ethan Zohn’s even pretty other half, this ‘Professional Swimsuit Model’ was the youngest winner ever. Her social game was always severely underrated by the public at large, who only seem to remember her now infamous ‘will strip for Peanut Butter’ challenge standown and that she was awfully bitchy to poor deaf Christy and every other woman over the age of 29.
BEST MOVE : Winning 4 individual immunities (especially at the final four when she needed it the most) and realising the need for strong social bonds with jury members (instead of being a borderline psychotic challange whore and camp workhorse like Matthew).
SHOULD HAVE WON : Rob Cesternino, who is the offical title holder of ‘Best Player To Have Never Won Survivor Who Is Not Named Cirie Fields’. Plus, he’s geeky dreamy!
Here’s a little clip of what may be the most unerotic striptease ever committed in television history :-
Sandra Diaz-Twine – Survivor : Heroes vs Villains
Oh Sandra! How can one woman win twice and still only make it to the middle of the pack? Major props for being the only two-time winner (most likely ever) but major luck and a bitter jury played as much part in her second million as did her actual game play and skill. Snaky, charming and hilarious as all hell (her burning Russell’s hat is still pretty much the most satisfying and ironic Survivor moment EVER), Sandra made actively not-playing the game an art form
BEST MOVE : Managing to always be an essential vote to the Villains Tribe whilst constantly making the Heroes feel like she was trying to jump ship to them; Burning Russell’s hat; The fact that her name wasn’t Russell or Parvati.
SHOULD HAVE WON : PARVATI. One million times Parvati. After playing one of the most impressively dominant strategic and physical games in Survivor history, she just couldn’t quite win over the bitter Heroes Tribe on the jury after pretty single handedly destroying them. Sadface.
Danni Boatwright – Survivor : Guatemala
Danni perfected the art of the under the radar social gameplay and key challenge wins. After merging down in numbers, she managed to seemlessly ingratiate herself into the key alliance and convince them to self-destruct. Why anyone ever let her get within a hundred mile radius of the finals was as impressive as it was insane.
BEST MOVE : Winning a key final six immunity and forcing the opposing alliance to start canibalizing themselves one round early.
FINAL SCORE : Sole Survivor 6-1 (defeating Stephenie LaGrossa’s evil twin who was also named, ummm, Stephenie LaGrossa).
Tina Wesson – Survivor : The Australian Outback
One of the most famous winners ever of the most watched season. Tina used her down to earth and unassuming ‘aww-shucks’ Soccer Mom persona to steer her alliance of Colby and Keith into the Final 2 and eke out a victory over the favoured Colby.
BEST MOVE : Getting Colby to take her to the Final Traibal Council over the immeasurably more disliked Keith
FINAL SCORE : 4-3 (defeating former cowboy and current Mini-Probst Colby Donaldson)
Richard Hatch – Survivor : Borneo
The Grandaddy of all Survivor winners. Often regarded as the greatest of all time, his poor showing on Survivor : All Stars four years later showed that his actual gameplay doesn’t quite hold up against people playing the game now. Tempered being the first person to realize forming a organized and solid voting bloc of individuals was the key to success with basically being obnoxious and naked ALL THE TIME.
BEST MOVE : In addition to realizing the value of a voting alliance, he was the first to be a major food provider for the tribe and caught an impressive amount of fish and other sea creatures through his Survivor tenure.
FINAL SCORE : 4-3 (defeated the wishy-washy but amazingly named Kelly Wigglesworth)
Yul Kwon – Survivor : Cook Islands
Yul led the racially-themed Cook Islands to an impressively diverse storybook finish, demolishing all the Evil White People thanks to great strategy, a solid minority (literally) alliance and a well-used Idol. Loses point for being in the early days where the Immunity Idol was basically a ‘Get Out Of Being Voted Out Before The Final 3’ Pass.
BEST MOVE : Convincing Jonathon to flip on Team Whitey at the Merge thus ensuring the heroically ethnic Aitu 4 sailed to victory instead of likely winner Parvati.
FINAL SCORE : 5-4-0 (defeating part-time pornstar Ozzy and apparent deaf mute Becky)
Brian Heidik – Survivor : Thailand
Possibly the most unlikeable Survivor winner of all time. Heidik played the game with all the snake oil charm of a used car salesman (which, ironically, was what he did for a job in real life when he wasn’t doing soft core porn), being in Final 2 alliances with all of the Final 5 and just cutting their throats one by one.
BEST MOVE : Taking the even more reviled (and slightly racist) Clay to the end; blinding conving four other people that he was really, totally, going to the end with them.
FINAL SCORE : 4-3 (beating lazy old potential southern racist Clay).
Chris Daugherty – Survivor : Vanuatu
Survivor:Battle of the Sexes Round 2 saw the women whittle the Men down to a tribe of one – Chris Daugherty. At this point, Chris kicked off his game and masterfully turned the tribe of six women against each other and not just skated his way through to the finals, but managed to earn their votes in the process.
BEST MOVE : Uniting mortal enemies Twila and Eliza for the key Final 7 vote, securing his safety and irrevocably fracturing the core alliance without ever getting blood on his hands.
FINAL SCORE : 5-2 (Against lovable redneck Twila).
Tod Herzog – Survivor : China
Everyone’s favourite little Gay Mormon Munchkin played an impressive game in China, leading a band of motley misfits including snarky waitess Courtney, Denise the mulleted Lunch Lady and Blandmanda the Nature Guide all the way to the end without ever appearing a threat. Using his sight frame and impish nature to his advantage, he cruised under the radar without ever once losing control of the game.
BEST MOVE : Taking unapologetic credit for every single one of his moves and betrayals at the Final Tribal Council – a total masterclass for future contestants; Constantly neutralizing his alliance mates from getting too much control – making Courtney vote out Frosti, not letting Amanda vote out James when she wanted to so he could get the credit, etc..
FINAL SCORE : 4-2-1 (Besting Courtney the Human Sasspot and Wannah Montana)
JT Thomas – Survivor : Tocantins
While JT’s Survivor legacy will always be his failed (but not strategically unsound) passing of the Hidden Immunity Idol to Russell in Heroes Vs. Villains which single handedly decimated the Heroes Tribe, it doesn’t give enough credit to his superb game in the Brazilian Highlands. We’ve seen hot woman make people fall for them before on Survivor, but never anything like how the tubby redneck hick managed to merge down 3-6 and someone make every single member of the opposing tribe fall completely gaga in love with him – it was like he slipped the whole entire tribe one big roofie.
BEST MOVE : Setting himself up as a key swing vote between the two warring Timbara factions without ever getting targetted himself; Winning the last few key immunities.
FINAL SCORE : 7-0 (Against Poor Stephen, who really deserved more credit).
Tom Westman – Survivor : Palau
Few contestants have played such a dominant physical and social game as Tom Westman. So much so that he viewed as the second biggest threat going into Heroes Vs. Villains (more on who was number one next). Using a mix of likability, intimidation and challenge wins coupled with a knack for always staying one move ahead of his opponents, he played one of the most impressive and well rounded games to date.
BEST MOVE : Convincing Ian to step down from the Final 3 immunity challenge and allow himself to be voted out by nothing more than laying one amazing guilt trip on the poor boy.
FINAL SCORE : 6-1 (against Katie, who was one of the most useless Final 2 opponents ever)
Parvati Shallow – Survivor : Micronesia
And here we have the only player more feared than Tom Westmas when twenty best of the best players entered the wilds of Samoa last year. A lot of weight is put on challenge wins and Hidden Immunity Idols these days, partially because they make great television and partly because they’re easily quantifiable. But Survivor is, at it’s essence, a purely social game. If you need to fight for immunity to avoid getting voted out, you’re already doing something wrong, no matter how many competitions you win. Parvati went into the merge closely aligned with 7 of the 9 remaining competitors and managed to always keep herself in the middle of every single vote without ever being a target. And at the Final Tribal Council she gave honest and open answers that won respect and votes whilst Amanda just blubbered away uncontrollably on the bench next to her.
Here’s a random clip of Parvati just being, well, hilariously awesome :-
BEST MOVE : Providing a Masterclass in how to be tightly allied with pretty much every other contestant playing whilst still getting their votes at the end – she never made an alliance for a spot that she couldn’t deliver upon. Amanda was promised Final 2, Cirie Final 3, Alexis & Natalie Final 5, etc.. ; Blindsiding Ozzy and his Hidden Immunity Idol at the Final 9 thus eliminating both her biggest competition and closest ally and thus making her the bridge uniting the Fans and the Favourites.
FINAL SCORE : 5-3 (Against, once again, Blandmanda – who just really isn’t cut out for sitting opposite a jury).
So best of luck to Rob Mariano tomorrow, God knows he’s the only left who even deserves to win at this point!
Here’s a little treat for those of you who have ever wondered what it would look like if Coach and Danielle DiLorenzo ever made a C-Grade movie together. Enjoy :-