Heros Vs. Villains

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Man this is what I live for - Survivor All Star season cast analyses. The new season starts in just a couple of weeks, and while I spotted the unofficial (which turned out to be the official list) a month or so ago, NOW is the time to put my odds on. Why? Mostly because my mom just called me and explained in the Survivor pool she's a part of they get to pick their top 5, and from there will be assigned one of them. I just spent 15 minutes doing a brief analysis of each competitor and realized it's a tougher call than usual for who might win. In general the All Star winners tend to be people who do decently physically (but aren't overpowering threats), have a solid social and strategic game, and tend to fly under the early days radar...Amber and Parvati? I mean who woulda thunk it?

So here we go...a look at our top 20, by the alphabetical order listed on the CBS website.

Amanda (China, Fans vs. Favorites)
(Presumed)Tribe: Heroes
Summary: Amanda currently holds the record for days spent on the island, having made it to the finals twice, but never winning. She tends to align herself with people who make bolder, flashier strategic moves, and her 'but I'm a nice girl' argument at the end earns her resentment, not votes.

Working For Her:
- The gamers might respect if she can make it to the end three times. That's a LOT of time to spend in the jungle for a measly $500K after taxes.
- People might glom onto her as an 'easy win' in the end, putting her in an ideal alliance yet again

Working Against Her:
- People might think she's more than had her chance - twice - and will simply cast her off - again - if she makes it to the end
- Her drippy empathy pleas irritate even the most fervent Amanda fans by season's end
- People might target her as someone to slow burn their way to the end, and eliminate this semi-threat early on

Candice (Cook Islands, aka the 'race' season)
Tribe: Heroes?
Summary: If anything, I expected Candice to fall under the villains category. A totally unremarkable player other than the fact she mutinied tribes with Jonathan, leaving a weak foursome to take her old-new tribe down (and eventually win). I don't think I'm alone in thinking everyone was cheering for Yul/Ozzy & co. and NOT Candice & co.

Working For Her:
- Candice did stick it out longer than some other members of the once powerful tribe she mutinied to (although notably, Parvati outlasted her)...she might be able to pull a Parvati this time and fly under the radar / play a solid strategic game, although I don't know the heroes she's stuck with will buy her game
- As a relatively forgettable player who didn't really shine in her season, she'll likely escape the early heat the big names put out for past winners / major threats

Working Against Her:
- She has NO previous relationship with anyone on her tribe. This is actually a pro/con. On one hand, she has no hurt emotions, but on the other hand, she has no assets to say "Remember when we...?" to make people align with her. Which might make her a match for Russell...ack but he's also on the villains tribe.
- She wasn't particularly strong physically on her season...but you only need to be marginally fit to win the all stars usually
- She's on the wrong tribe. Her game (or the one she needs to play) is much more suited to the Villains than the Heroes.

Cirie (Panama, Fans vs. Faves)
Summary: Cirie plays one of the best social / secret strategy games around, which has propelled her to the near-top on both seasons she's been on. Unfortunately she fails to make that tight bond with her alliance, which has inevitably led to her being axed at the 11th hour.

Working For Her:
- Great social player, as I mentioned, and she's got the momentum of a big fan push back home to keep her mind set that she can do it...or get closer than she has in the past.
- People don't really (rightfully so) see her as a physical threat, so as long as she's careful strategically, she'll probably be okay during the first week heat
- She looks lovely and mom-like in her photo above :)

Working Against Her:
- Cirie's 'game' was really showcased on the last All Stars season...people will be paying WAY more attention to this little engine that can and will take you out with a smile on her face
- Her lack of physicality could hurt her, especially with the dominant physical forces this season vs. the last All Stars
- Danielle. I'm not saying she's a threat or anything, but these two were on the same season and had a tough relationship with each other in the final days.
- Parvati and Amanda. This will easily be the most interesting dynamic this season as the three ladies split on relatively negative terms (at least in TV land) and now two of them are back on the same tribe. Will the real hero stand up?
- Wonder if the girl's learnt how to build a fire yet?

Coach (Tocantins)

Tribe: Villains ?
Summary: Coach really is one of the most colourful, bizarre characters the show has ever seen...and one that makes you wonder how stringently they do their psychology / background checks. Not the greatest strategist and surprisingly unfit, he does play a loyal game.

Working For Him:
- He's got two Tocantins members with him - one on each tribe - that he had decently tight relationships with last time around that may keep him as a mute ally. Coach doesn't question those that are loyal to him.
- People might underestimate him strategically (maybe), so he might be able to concoct a non-ridiculous plan for once.

Working Against Him:
- He's supremely annoying and doesn't exactly fit the profile of a villain (aka strategic) - everyone knows what he's planning 10 steps before he does
- No one will want to align with him, or Tyson might get rid of him just to avoid the perception that they've got an alliance
- He's a weak physical threat (unless he's beefed up in the last year)
- The people he'd be most likely to root (/ align) for are all on the other tribe! What will the noble Coach do amongst villains?

Colby (Australia, All Stars)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: Survivor's poster child of prettiness, athleticism, and a penchant for mom figures, Colby is the winner that never won. The game has come a long way since BOTH seasons he played, but that also means it's been a long time since anyone has seen him in action - which may let him lay low in light of his more recently competing tribemates.

Working For Him:
- All around likable (if slightly boisterous) guy that seems like a bit of a wacky relic in the world of cutthroat Survivor playing
- If he's kept it up in the last decade, some great physical dominance
- Again, people haven't seen him play in awhile, so they might not see him as a big gun

Working Against Him:
- Colby's a relic, when days were much simpler on the island...even since All Stars things have changed dramatically. Hidden idols might confuddle him.
- The boy has milked his Survivor fame better than most others, landing some commercials and recurring TV roles. He's probably not hurting for cash (although that receding hairline isn't helping much).
- Doesn't really seem like someone that will really be there to play - he knows next to no one playing this season (Jerri & Rupert?) so it'll be harder for him to work his way into a comfortable alliance.
- Isn't as likable as JT.

Courtney (China)
Tribe: Villains?
Summary: Courtney played an acidic, but tagalong game, which I guess earned her a villain spot. I'd call her more of an anti-hero. She didn't strike out on her own beyond the nest Amanda and Todd feathered for her, but she did play a vocal one, which earned her some props when all was said and done.

Working For Her:
- Could be under the radar, although not as much as Candice and Danielle
- Banks her strategy on her alliances - if she finds a good one she can go far
- Weakness (strength-wise) could be seen as a benefit for people who want to beat her at the end
- Being on the villains tribe works for Courtney. These are strategists that will see her flaws and capitalize on them, for a sidekick game.

Working Against Her:
- Supremely weak, up there as the weakest gamer this season with Sugar
- If her whiny attitude persists, the gamers that are SERIOUS about being there will have no tolerance for it this time and boot her out
- Has the highest profile of the low-profile players, there's a good chance Candice and Danielle will be there to 'prove something' and manipulate people into voting out their compatriots like Courtney

Danielle (Panama)
Tribe: Villains ?
Summary: Danielle had a pretty unremarkable season, although she worked her way into the final two with a few impressive showings come final 5 - she ultimately lost to much more likable but forgettable homeless yoga instructor Aras. No one had anything particularly scathing or complimentary to say to her, and she in fact only earned one actual vote (her other one was a random guessing game).

Working For Her:
- Another very under the radar player (although I think Candice takes top honours there) that will easily escape notice in the first week if she plays hard in the challenges and sucks up to those that she needs to
- Similar to Courtney, Villains work better with under-the-radar types. If she finds a good alliance here she can ride it to the end, and hopefully take credit for a few things along the way.
- Candice and Danielle are probably the most likely to be out there to 'prove something' to the world, so they'll probably play harder than they did before.

Working Against Her:
- She had a pretty negative personality from what I remember, and is just the type of person you want to pick on. Her fellow GAMERS might take offense and get rid of her in a "no contest" vote
- If her and Cirie meet up, sparks might fly...or they might not acknowledge one another, so entrenched in their various tribes they'll likely be by that point.
- Much like Candice, she has no connection to anyone on her existing tribe, which could make it hard for her to find a place. If you're that unmemorable, people might go with a 'sure thing' like Courtney over Danielle. Although she might make a good idiot alliance with Russell.

James (China, Fans vs. Faves)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: James has got this game made in the shade. He never makes it to the end (once out of stupidity, once out of injury) but he always wins the fan favourite award, giving him second place by default...twice. Beyond that, he's actually a great player - you can't help but like him and want him on your side, plus he's got a body like a battle axe.

Working For Him:
- Fan power (not to win, but to get the mega fan award again...last all stars it was a million bucks...)
- Physical prowess
- Likable in a slightly less threatening way than Colby and Tom

Working Against Him:
- Weak strategist, more content to get by on good looks and personality
- Not a great social game - known as a bit of a renegade loner
- Is one of the big guns other players will go for early on
- The whole two fan faves prizes might work against him. If these players were intelligent they'd get rid of him early on so he doesn't have a chance to shine in the fans eyes (typically only merged players get shorlisted for the fan fave prize)

Jerri (Australia, All Stars)
Tribe: Villains
Summary: Jerri's similar to Colby in that she'll be challenged by how dramatically how the game has changed...and she's a lot older / can't play the looks card to anyone but Coach at this point. Beyond that, she's also more effed than Colby because while his prowess has been questioned (He ain't all that!), Jerri's bitchtastic reputation has lasted.

Working For Her:
- Older & wiser, Jerri might come back with a solid strategy to go with her big mouth
- She looks pretty fit and was always a solid but not overpowering physical competitor from what I recall
- Probably not the most villainous of the villains to go after in the beginning

Working Against Her:
- The game's evolution will confound her
- She's got NO friends in this game...Colby and Rupert dislike her, and everyone else is newer than that
- She might be an easy 'no contest' throwaway bitch vote
- Her reputation proceeds her - she's someone no one will really want to keep in the game, and if she tries to soften her image, they'll eat her alive

JT (Tocantins)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: Ah JT...your season relatively sucked because we knew you were going to win all along, but in some ways, I think everyone was okay with that because you're adorable, smart, and strong. Love!

Working For Him:
- The dude doesn't scheme to win people over...he just does.
- One of the greatest physical competitors ever, and a lot more recently / at a younger age than his fellow physically dominant players of Colby, James, and Tom
- Who doesn't want to align with him? Seriously?

Working Against Him:
- Winners generally have no shot at winning again. BUT if any past winner did, JT would be it.
- Without brainiac and best buddy Stephen by his side, he might be too trusting. The sharks will be swimming around him early on and JT might be a tad too innocent to realize it.

Parvati (Cook Islands, Fans vs. Faves)
Summary: Parvati was the surprise winner of Fans vs. Faves, but not really an undeserving one. Most people will probably be immune to her giggle & backstab strategy this time though - it's a shame her and Candice aren't on the same tribe as I can see them working well together again.

Working For Her:
- Expert strategist who plays a very strong rallying game
- Decent physical threat
- The girl 'villains' aren't very tough and might rally around Parvati (Courtney & Danielle in particular)

Working Against Her:
- As strong as Parv is, she's a past winner, and a very high-profile schemer. People will be gunning for her in early days and it's unlikely any of the Villains will want to be aligned with her after seeing her beat Cirie and Amanda quite handily towards the end. Plus the guys on the villains will be impervious to her charms - Randy is anti-love, Rob is married with a baby, Russell and Tyson will think she's a dumb girl. Sadly, everything is working against her this time around.

Randy (Gabon)
Tribe: Villains
Summary: Randy is one of the nastiest, personal players the game has seen. Say what you want about Johnny Fairplay and the like, Randy was rude to people's faces - and yet he still made it decently far in one of the most vindictive vote-out sessions the show had ever seen. A well-deserving spot on the villains tribe.

Working For Him:
- He's not a threat on the surface...he isn't super strong strategically, his personality is a turn-off for the final tribal, and he isn't particularly physically strong compared to some of the big guns playing this season. Thus, good material for a tagalong finish.
- In some ways, not having any Gabon tribemates - other than the tolerant Sugar - in this season is an advantage for Randy (unlike other solo stars). People will be able to deal with his attitude for longer.
- Randy seems the type to come back with a vengeance, I can see him angling to win this if only for the bragging rights (a la Russell).

Working Against Him:
- Serious gamers have no room for complaining. While Randy isn't a big whiner, his negative tude might drag down his tribe enough to vote him out early on.
- Typically speaking the final cluster is strong enough in challenges that one of them can almost always win the necklace, at least when it counts. Randy doesn't exactly factor into that.
- His vile past game might turn off even the most villainous of villains.

Rob (Marquesas, All Stars)
Tribe: Villains
Summary: Rob has dominated reality TV more than any other player from the show - after wifey Amber won the $1M in the first All Star season, they cruised through two seasons of Amazing Race (sadly not winning, but snagging plenty of trips and cash along the way), got CBS to pay for a lavish wedding and dream life, AND Rob starred in a short-lived poker series. It's a bit weird to see him return to his Survivor roots while Amber stays home with their baby girl.

Working For Him:
- Rob might be one of the game's most notorious strategists (in what I can imagine will be some fun cat and mouse antics between him and Russell), but he hasn't played the game 10 seasons. It's changed a lot, but unlike Jerri and Colby, Rob's apt to be able to keep up with it. It also means that compared to some more recent all stars, he might be able to slip under the radar a bit more than if he had, say, come back for fans vs. faves

Working Against Him:
- Rob's high-profile extra-Survivor affairs will easily make him a target...he doesn't need the money, he'd just like the bragging rights
- Colby, Jerri, and Rob are all crippled in the lack-of-connections department
- There's no lady love for Rob to use as a shield (she's at home!)
- While he might not be a winner, he's a near-winner, and that's good enough motivation for the gutsier players to get him out (and earn bragging rights of their own)

Rupert (Pearl Islands, All Stars)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: In retrospect, Rupert is somewhat in the same boat as Colby, Rob, and Jerri - it's been awhile since any of them have played the game. Yet Rupert (along with Rob) just seems more likely to be able to tune in earlier on. He's a weird hybrid of supremely lovable (JT & James), supremely strong (like the other heroes men), but also threatened by these same things (him and James will duke it out for fan fave if they make it far this season).

Working For Him:
- You love Rupert in the same way as you love James and JT, he's also loyal to a fault as show in past seasons, whereas James and JT were never really put in a position to show to the world that they were also quite loyal
- Strong as a horse, and looks more fit than usual in this picture

Working Against Him:
- Although not a technical winner, Rupert did pwn in the fan favourite contests, walking away with $1.1 million between the two past seasons he was on.
- Loyal to a fault as mentioned, and people in the all star editions will be savvier than ever
- His lovableness has lost some of its shine...it's been awhile since we've seen him on TV and other lovable stars might take the cake

Russell (Samoa)
Tribe: Villains
Summary: Russell dominated last season, and was visibly upset that he didn't take the title of Sole Survivor (rightfully so) - which may be a tip that he doesn't take the cake this season. Although he completely owned Samoa, it'll be a treat to see him play with real players...but real players that don't know what he's capable of.

Working For Him:
- These people don't know who Russell is or what he's done or why he's on the villains tribe. He might be able to use that shady southern charm to lure a few weaklings in like he did with Natalie (although that didn't exactly work out)
- If the production crew doesn't change things up too much, Russell has a knack for finding idols which will likely serve him as well this time as it did last season
- He looked VERY beat up in the finale of Samoa which implies he was out there for a good long time

Working Against Him:
- Just as they don't know what he's capable of, people might be wary to trust a player that's cast as a villain before it's even aired
- These are real, serious players - Russell was playing with infants compared to these grown-ups!
- It's unlikely idols will be as easy to come by as they were last season
- The fact he was so moved at the finale implies he was banking on *something* to come out of it that didn't happen in the all star season

Sandra (Pearl Islands)
Tribe: Villains
Summary: Yikes, being a relatively forgettable villain / winner is NOT a good place to be, especially if you're not as young and good-looking as Danielle. Sandra basically somewhat orchestrated Rupert's ousting and uh, walked to the win mysteriously.

Working For Her:
- She gives off the weak mom vibe, which'll work for her in the early weeks (or could backfire)
- She's forgettable next to the much bigger threat of Rupert, despite being a former winner

Working Against Her:
- She had a temper and an annoying attitude from what I remember, which are easy ways to get voted out of the happy fun All Star world
- She's a past winner
- She won't fall into line with Parvati's army of chicklets

Stephenie (Pulau, Guatemala)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: Stephenie was a total hero after valiantly fighting her way to the jury in Pulau - but when she and former tribemate Bobby Jon returned in Guatemala she was somewhat villainized and failed to walk away with the title, despite making it to the finale. She remains one of my more-liked players and one of the better bets to win this season based on her physical prowess, likability, and strategic powers over her fellow hero females.

Working For Her:
- Super strong (look at her abs!)
- Good strategic / social game, people tend to respect her
- Possibly the strongest overall of the female heroes, the guys will want to keep her around

Working Against Her:
- She's a scarily strong female threat, if the guys stick together she'll be gone come merge time
- She doesn't relate to girls so well, and she'll need them to get anywhere
- Similar to a few others this season (despite several players coming back for the 3rd time) she seems to be one of those people that you feel like saying...you had your chance lady!

Sugar (Gabon)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: Okay. I'm glad Bob won this season and all, but Sugar does not pass for a hero - she was irritating throughout the whole season, but wildly popular for whatever reason, so I get why she's back, I'm just not happy about it. I thought she played a weak all around game, with her blatant handing-over-the-win to Bob. Plus I've heard rumblings she's the first to go (not a spoiler because I didn't read it anywhere 'official' - just speculation).

Working For Her:
- Weak player, might be fodder for an idiot alliance a la Russell

Working Against Her:
- Weak player, thus easy to cut if your tribe should win the first immunity challenge as dead weight
- Wasn't very liked by her tribemates - more by the fans
- Dippiness will have no place among the fierce strategists playing this season

Tom (Pulau)
Tribe: Heroes
Summary: Tom was asked to come back for fans vs. faves, but apparently turned them down. My personal thought is that he was a bit of an arrogant winner compared to fellow likable men Rupert, James, and JT, and that might hurt him this time around. Plus I don't feel his was a fair trial against ad exec Katie, him and Dolphin Trainer boy should have been the final 2.

Working For Him:
- Super strong
- Hasn't been in the spotlight for a good long time, and wasn't on as high-profile a season as his fellow hero men
- Older guy can command the children a bit

Working Against Him:
- Winners never have a shot at winning again
- Arrogance will make him less approachable than the other hero men
- Might not bond with younger tribemates

Tyson (Tocantins)
Tribe: Villains
Summary: Despite being a blah season, Tocantins gave us three characters for this season. Curious. I put Tyson up there as another very solid potential competitor, as he is in a very similar position to Boston Rob in All Stars - a great schemer that was ousted too soon that will work double hard to make things work this time (and not be as blatantly vicious as he was in the past).

Working For Him:
- People haven't seen the full range of what he's capable of
- He's kind of a 'lite' version of the other 'known' villains. He's not as vicious as Randy, and he's not as well-known for strategy as Rob - the lesser of three evils if you will since no one knows what Russell's about.
- Solid physical competitor, decent strategizer

Working Against Him:
- He is the most recently SEEN villain, which might hurt him
- He might play an immature social game again which will kill him
- The chicks might be out for him as he was particularly nasty to Sierra back in the day

So there you have it...the full cast list. My top two picks are Stephenie and Tyson based on the aforementioned mix of physical, social, and strategizing strength - but they also might be able to earn some respect from their peers as well. That being said, I'm also pointing to some of the "I WILL PROVE MYSELF" candidates like Danielle, Candice, and possibly even James as surprising you, just as Amber and Parvati's wins surprised us all.

Till Feb 11th!

Britt's On


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