Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites -- Caramoan: The Returnees

Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites -- Caramoan premieres Wednesday in the US and Thursday in Australia, and to prep you for it, we've put together a brief history of the returning players and what we think their chances are this season.

Erik Reichenbach

Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites
5th place

Erik hands immunity over to Natalie Bolton as Parvati Shallow watches on.
(Erik gives imm image by Gabexo, CC BY-SA 3.0)

One of the fans on the original Fans vs. Favorites series, Erik was a gun in challenges, but unfortunately, rather naive. Having desperately won individual immunity in the final five, he was conned by the infamous Black Widow Brigade into handing the immunity necklace over to Natalie Bolton -- who promptly voted him out (watch it in all of its glory below). He is thus known as one of the dumbest players in Survivor history (perhaps even eclipsing James Clement, who got voted out with not one, but two immunity idols in his pocket on China; Tyson Apostol, who effectively voted himself out on Heroes vs. Villains; and JT Thomas, who gave an immunity idol to Russell Hantz, which was then used by Parvati Shallow to vote JT out, also on Heroes vs. Villains). But at least Erik never mistook a stick with a face for the immunity idol.

Odds of making the finals: HIGH

Malcolm Freberg

Survivor: Philippines
4th place

Malcolm winning immunity for the 1 millionth time.
(Survivor Philippines Malcolm Freberg image by Waterwecna, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The newest Survivor alumni on this season, Malcolm only just graduated in fourth place from Philippines, which means that he barely qualifies for a "favorite" (much like how none of the fans knew who Amanda Kimmel or James Clement were on the original Fans vs. Favorites, as it had only just begun airing before they started shooting Micronesia -- and how no one knew who the hell Russell Hantz was in Heroes vs. Villains). Malcolm was only given a two-and-a-half-week break between filming Philippines and Caramoan, which could either work to his advantage -- no one will know how he plays the game, plus he is already acclimatised -- or to his disadvantage, as he could still be exhausted from his first 38 days out there. He seems to be a natural at the social, mental and physical aspects of the game, however, and will probably do quite well.

Odds of making the finals: HIGH

Andrea Boehlke

Survivor: Redemption Island
5th place

Andrea competing for immunity in the most attractive way possible.
(Andimm8 image by Alik99, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Andrea came fifth in one of the two seasons dominated by "Boston" Rob Mariano. She never lost a redemption island duel, and managed to return to the game after defeating three strong guys in the final redemption challenge. The only person left with a strong will, and thus, his only remaining threat, Boston Rob voted her out at the final five, leaving him with sheep Natalie Tenerelli, Ashley Underwood and Phillip Sheppard -- and US$1,000,000 (actually, $1.1 million, after also winning fan favorite that season).

Fun fact: out of the close to 200 women who have ever played Survivor, Andrea was one of the five contestants to be nominated for the Miss Survivor pageant on Rob Has a Podcast (run by Rob Cesternino of Survivor: Amazon and Survivor: All Stars), along with Parvati Shallow, Courtney Yates, Amanda Kimmel and Jenna Morasca. (Obviously, Parvati won.)

Odds of making the finals: MEDIUM

Phillip Sheppard

Survivor: Redemption Island
Runner up

Phillip horrifies Natalie and Ashley with his pink underwear.
(9391073-large image by Ckarimalis, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Speaking of Phillip, he's back, too. Oh, Phillip. Was there ever a contestant like him? He basically spent the entire season hanging out in his pink underpants, wearing feathers in his hair and insisting that he used to be a federal agent. His strangeness and lack of any redeeming qualities as a player led to him being taken to the final three as a goat for Boston Rob. He actually did manage to get one vote for the win, defeating the other goat, Natalie, who received zero, and ruining what would otherwise have been Boston Rob's well-deserved unanimous win for a perfect game. Oh, Phillip.

Odds of making the finals: LOW

John Cochran

Survivor: South Pacific
8th place

Cochran's comeuppance.
(Vo cochran image by IAmNothing712, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cochran began South Pacific by stating his intention to become one of the great Survivor players, but was a failure socially and in challenges. With only one out of the three core values associated with the greats (mental, but no social or physical, aptitude), he coasted through on luck until the merge. He then made a huge blunder by swapping alliances (eliciting the famous "you disgust me" tirade from Whitney Duncan) and came in eighth, right after the other tribe had picked off his original tribemates, one by one. Hopefully he'll do a little better this time; he's actually been coached by Cook Islands winner Yul Kwon, who was such a mastermind that we was recruited by the FBI and FCC right after winning Survivor.

Odds of making the finals: MEDIUM

Corinne Kaplan

Survivor: Gabon
7th place

Corinne tears Sugar Kiper a new one in her jury speech (watch below).
(Corinne jury 2 image by Gabexo, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Corinne did well in challenges and was an excellent strategic player with a strong alliance, who no doubt would have made it to the finals had there not been three tribal switch-ups before the merge. Also, she shares a name with the author of this article, and we are thereby obligated to root for her. She was, however, labelled a villain due to her unfortunate propensity to tell people what she really thought of them, which is not always a great strategy in a social game like Survivor. If she can hold her tongue, or at least unleash her temper at someone with a minority alliance, she should do well -- but that's a big if.

Odds of making the finals: LOW

Brandon Hantz

Survivor: South Pacific
6th place

Brandon and that Jezebel, Mikayla.
(Brandon and Mikayla ep.1 image by Ckarimalis, CC BY-SA 3.0)

One of the few Survivor players who we think were actually, clinically crazy, Brandon was only cast in the show to begin with because he happens to be the nephew of the infamous Russell Hantz. Brandon spent the first half of South Pacific gunning for poor, simple Mikayla Wingle, who he was certain was another Parvati Shallow (note to Brandon: there is only one Queen P), who screwed his Uncle Russell over in Heroes vs. Villains. He spent the second half of the game in a full-on crazy tailspin. During the "loved ones" visit, Brandon's father attempted to strategise on his behalf, bullying Coach into making a final-three pact with Brandon. At the final five, Brandon pulled an Erik Reichenbach and handed his immunity necklace over to Albert, and was, of course, voted out. At the Reunion Show, Russell proclaimed that he was ashamed of Brandon for ruining the Hantz name. So perhaps this season is Brandon's chance to redeem himself in his uncle's eyes. In any case, it would certainly be funny to see another loved-one visit from his father or uncle (though we doubt he'll last that long).

Odds of making the finals: LOW

Brenda Lowe

Survivor: Nicaragua
10th place

Like a boss.
(Brenda lowe 2 pic by Ckarimalis, CC BY-SA 3.0)

On an infamously bad season (seriously, what was up with that?), Brenda made things a little more interesting. She dominated strategically and was a great physical player -- and was duly blindsided after the merge. Perhaps if she doesn't play quite so hard, so soon, she could last longer this time. Also, it might be amusing for people to try to say both "Brandon" and "Brenda" in the same breath. Possibility of people tripping over their words? We're there.

Odds of making the finals: MEDIUM

Francesca Hogi

Survivor: Redemption Island
Last place

Francesca tries to defeat both Redemption Island and Matt Elrod.
(Duel 1 image by IAmNothing712, CC BY-SA 3.0)

This season marks the first time ever that the very first bootee on a previous season has been invited back. We assume it's so that we can watch the friction between Francesca and Phillip again, and to entertain us with the fact that Phillip finds it physically impossible to pronounce her name. As long as she isn't targeted first again, she should do fine, although it's hard to judge someone we saw so little of.

Odds of making the finals: MEDIUM

Dawn Meehan

Survivor: South Pacific
10th place

Goodbye, cruel buff.
(Bb dawn 01 image by SurvivorHuey , CC BY-SA 3.0)

The last of the South Pacific alumni to be cast this season, Dawn was a bit of a nothing player, so we're not entirely sure why they're bringing her back -- although, she is pleasingly articulate in tribal councils, a surprisingly rare trait. However, it does raise the interesting question about whether the three former South Pacific players will make an alliance of familiarity together. But would Dawn really trust Cochran again after he sold her out? And would she ever trust crazy man Brandon? She seems a little too smart to do so, but an alliance with them could put her in the majority, which is something an older player could really use.

Odds of making the finals: MEDIUM

The New Players

This is the part where we're supposed to post the pictures and bios of the new contestants, but really, what's the point? No matter what someone's age, gender or occupation is, they are all objectively equal in their likelihood to win (at least until we know what their personality is really like). I mean, a 34-year-old highway construction worker has won before. A 40-year-old nurse has won before. A 22-year-old male flight attendant has won. A 21-year-old swimsuit model has won. A 57-year-old high school physics teacher has won. A 25-year-old female boxer has won.

As long as the contestants have mental, social and physical game -- and a strong helping of luck -- they all have a shot at winning.

Which favorite do you think is most likely to win?

Comments (1)
Feb 13, 2013
Seems like the article writer might have been drinking the same Kool-aid Jim Rice had in talking about John for the returnees, I think the best chance lies with those who aren't the most physically fit or best strategists...guys like Phillip and Brandon are such wild cards that if they show an ounce of IQ and rein in their attitudes, they could go far..