Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific Preseason Power Rankings

I hate doing power rankings before we've seen an episode of Survivor. I thin it's incredibly difficult to get a read on the new players simply on the basis of their bio and odd video that is kicking around. With that said, the last time I did something like this, it lead to the hilarity of Misty, winner of Panama. So for your amusement, here are my preseason power rankings for South Pacific.

(And remember, I will disown any predictive nature of these power rankings unless I nail the winner. In that case, I will gloat forever.)

1. Jim (Savaii):

He has a great life story, doing a lot of things, but it looks like he might have a case of ADD.

In all seriousness, he strikes me as a strong contender to win - a likable person who also has some smarts to him. He is grounded, but he's also able to think strategically.

2. Elyse (Savaii):

One of the most confusing biographies of them all. Most of it reads like what a stereotypical vapid person would write. But then there are pieces which show that there is an intelligent and complex person there. I'm leaning to Elyse being a revelation, and being similiar to Brenda from Nicaragua (who she claims she is most like.)

Of course, saying that you embrace that you are a "character" isn't a good sign for future success either.

And after watching her video over at ew.com, she seems like she is truly going to fit the Parvarti/Brenda role. We will have to see how she fits in with everybody else though - there is a good chance that her game could go south very quickly.

3. Ozzy:

I think the only way to play against Ozzy is to vote him into Redemption Island early and often. If you assume that he is the greatest threat to win challenges, then your best bet is to make him compete in as many competitions as he can, in hopes that he trips up once and ends up losing.

Even if he does win every challenge though, if you sent him to Redemption Island you have an interesting argument for everybody to consider - that he had an easier time when compared to everybody else. If he is sent to Redemption Island right off the bat, he won't have to outwit anybody. Heck he won't have to really participate in any part of the social side of the game. The argument would be that all he had to do was win challenges, and if that's what Mark Burnett wanted Survivor to be, he would have never had a jury to judge everybody else.

The other side of the coin would be to let Ozzy carry you until the merge, then blindside him as soon as he does not have immunity. The problem with that idea is that (a) he could win every challenge or (b) you risk pissing him and othe people on the jury off while hurting any chance you might have of claiming to have played a honest game or (c) you risk him being able to create bonds with other players that end up keeping him in the game.

I dont' believe that Ozzy will win this season, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. He is obviously a great challenge competitor, and his social game is not bad by any measure. If he's learned anything since his last time on the show, he has a chance of winning.

4. Whitney (Savaii):

So Whitney is best known for finishing 5th on Nashville Star. Now she's released a record.

Her bio doesn't concentrate on the singing career too much, which is a good thing. And her description of herself is a good thing - being outgoing, happy and honest are characteristics that can get you carried a far way. I do have concerns about her reasons for being on Survivor - proving to yourself that you can do it and going on the adventure of a lifetime is not showing the drive necessary to actually win.

Beyond that, she does have the qualities to be somebody who could benefit from an angry jury against a dominant player, though she lacks the qualities to be a dominant player. She is going to have to rely on others to carry her to the end, when she could strike.

5. Albert (Upolu):

I'm considering calling bullshit on Albert here - his occupation is Baseball/Dating Coach, and his inspiration in life is Crash Davis, who was essentially a baseball/dating coach. Also, do you want to be a "life-grinder" at age 26?

"I have little to no patience for ignorance" and "I also get bothered by mentally weak people" does not jive with "I have a legitimate chance to win one million dollars," regardless of how calculated and self-aware you are.

Also, wanting to prove to yourself that you can beat all in a game of strength, strategy and will does not lead one to think that you have a legitimate shot at winning one million dollars.

After watching his EW video, I am less confident in his ability to do anything - first he applied for the Amazing Race, which is a totally different game, and he is very full of himself (here's a hint - physical and social game is not unique in Survivor.)

6. Mikayla (Upolu):

So, Playboy cover model and Lingerie Football Player. Great! Being a strong woman is always a plus, and being an attractive woman is also a plus.

But you're most like Jane? JANE? That is easily the worst comparison ever.

And trying to not stand out as a physical threat? Do you not understand what a benefit it is to be a plus in physical challenges if you are a woman?

Mikayla is the most difficult to place - she could surprise in individual challenges, but at the same time she could end up getting the boot early on. Her best bet is to get to the merge with two alpha males, and let them try to battle each other to skate under the radar.

7. Mark (Savalii):

DANGER!

SURVIVOR contestant you are most like: I haven’t seen anyone like me.


Even though he's the Sears competiton winner, he can't come up with one previous Survivor that he's like? Say you're like Russell in being able to find things even. Something other than the lame "I'm unique." You know what? You seem like a nice guy, which makes you like many prior players. Just run with that.

His placement is going to be dependent on his tribe. If he ends up on the dominant tribe, he could go far as a reliable piece of an alliance, one that won't turn on his alliance. If he's on the weaker tribe though, he could make the jury, then get picked off. He just doesn't seem like a player capable of making a big move. That isn't necessarily a detriment to winning the game, but it does make him more dependent on how his alliance does.

8. Dawn (Savaii):

Her contestants that she is most like are Sandra, Parvati and Stephenie. And yet in her Dalton Ross video, she says that it is about time for a strong female to emerge. Now I could be mistaken, but I would think that Sandra, Stephenie and Parvati are all strong women, two of whom won the game. Maybe I wasn't watching the same show as she was?

Confusion aside, nothing strikes me as being particulary noteworthy about her. She seems destined for the jury, but who knows? She could end up emerging as a great player.

9. Rick (Upolu):

Rick has an awesome mustache. This must be mentioned if only to get it out of the way.

Rick is also very pre-occupied with people quitting, which is not going to be a good thing should somebody get the idea that they don't want to play any more. Rick will be sure to let you know why you shouldn't be quitting.

It's obvious that Rick has a high respect for Survivor as a game - the hatred of quitters, and the desire to be named "Sole Survivor" is genuine. And it seems like he is going to end up on Coach's tribe, if only beccause he's the only person to express any sort of animosity towards Coach.

He's hopefully going to be the guy who tells it like it is, and hopefully gets to last for a while.

(That hatred of lazy people who don't keep their word coudl end up biting him in the butt though.)

10. Edna (Upolu):

Edna could go far, or she could be the first one gone. That she is an anestesiologist will at some point work against her; it could be at the end when people are deciding that she doesn't need the million dollars, so she could get voted out or lose jury votes. Or it could be at teh beginning of the game, when her desire to play "for the experience" hinders her from making the moves necessary to win.

As well, Corinne Kaplan mentioned that Edna has a similiar personality to Corinne (whcih Corinne knows as she is friends with Edna.) That will get her into trouble at some point; how Edna reacts to it will also be interesting to see.

I do appreciate her abilities to nickname everybody though; hopefully she stays long enough for some good confessional time.

(At the very least, I hope she drops many $2 words on us.)

11. Sophie: (Upolu):

Okay, what's with comparing yourself to Sue Hawk, even if it is just her "trueness to character?" Why do you want to compare yourself to somebody who is best known for calling somebody a snake and for being (allegedly) grinded upon by Richard Hatch?

Beyond that, she seems to not take herself seriously - how else would you describe somebody who would list her personal claim to fame as being Prom Princess in a graduating class of 28 people (and 10 girls)? She also seems driven, wanting to win the money and thinking it will be easy.

From her video, it does seem like she will not be afraid to speak up, and could be the insstigator for many an argument. I think she's destined for the jury, but not a victory.

12. John (Savaii):

NERD!

(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

I don't know if you want to combine the humour of Rob Cesternino and the candor of Jonathan Penner - that might lead to some awkward situations when self-editiing would have helped. As a matter of fact, I think I would have left Jonathan Penner out of it completely.

I also worry about somebody who is in Harvard Law School, but is playing up his sense of humour. He might be overcompensating here.

And finally, to bury him further, uberfans never do well on Survivor. They tend to end up trying to play the game too hard and screwing themselves over.

His video wasn't very funny either (save his random shots at David Murphy.)

13. Keith (Savaii):

So you have a pacemaker and you are goign to confront people who tell lies about you behind your back. That is not a good sign for your continued existance in this game.

I feel bad for saying that, as he seems to be a good person, but unless his personality carries him far, I can see people viewing himas an easy out early on.

14. Coach:

This will be an interesting season to watch Coach. He wants to be in the Alpha Male role, but is probably better served to be a follower. He definitely needs somebody to rein him in from time to time, along with somebody to help him with strategy.

At the same time, he remains a great person to bring along to the final three, as he's less likely to get jury votes. And he is not scheming as actively as Russell, so there is less of a reason to vote him out early on.

Coach is more likely to make the jury than Ozzy. But he stand much less of a chance to win the game. He should remain entertaining though.

15. Brandon (Upolu):

That's Brandon Hantz, of the Survivor Hantz family.

Brandon has two things immediately working against him. First is the Hantz name. He can actually work around this problem by not mentioning who his uncle is. So that's pretty easy to solve.

His bigger issue is that he's 19. Youth is not well served in Survivor; juries tend to not like their their winners to be young. This might be mitigated by his having a son; it might have made him more mature than your typical 19 year old who hasn't had much life experience.

Then again, his hobby of "shooting [his] guns," his pet peeve of not getting food the way he wants or having his hot sauce forgotten indicates he might be a typical 19 year old. And being headstrong isn't a good sign either.

BTW, if I wanted to distance from myself from my uncle Russell, I would not use the terms Cunning and manipulative to describe myself.

(Oh god, Hantz vs. Hantz could be the most terrible thing ever.)

Watching the video, I'm afraid that Brandon might get caught up in the "I'm doing this to improve myself" mentality, which can be useful to rally yourself, but not to base your game play on.

16. Semhar (Savaii):

Nothing stood out in her bio - it strikes me as something that was written to not tip anybody off as to

Her video shows a bit more personality, but is also somewhat unremarkable. The only thing that stood out is her reluctance to say she won a beauty paegent. It wasn't a major beauty paegent, so who cares? That might be an indication of having a bigger opinion of yourself than you should.

17. Christine (Upolu):

This reads like somebody who I would predict to be out first, only to have her survive for a long period of time. I can't really explain it, beyond her top reason for being sole Survivor is that she won't quit, and that she seems to belive that being strong and outspoken is a good thing to use as a description for yourself.

The combination of stubborn and helpful is interesting, but seems more likely to end up being a hinderance than a help. If you refuse to take no for an answer to the question of "can I help you?" will end up causing more trouble.

Saying that most of your sentences start with "I was angry" is not an encouraging sign.

18.Stacey (Upolu):

Major props to Stacey for choosing a player that nobody else would have thought of choosing to describe themselves. Now, choosing Vecepia because she quoted verses from the Bible (specifically the crucifixion) is a bit odd.

She wasn't really a fan prior to this, which isn't a good sign for her chances. I get a feeling that she isn't long for this game.

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