User Score: 1400
Four similarities between this season and the first Fans vs Favorites: (1) a tribe of first-time players competes against a tribe of returning players, (2) all returnees are competing for the second time, (3) out of all the returnees, only one made it to a final in his/her previous season (Amanda in Micronesia, Philip in this season), and (4) one contestant is returning immediately after competing in the previous season (Amanda in Micronesia, Malcolm in this season).
With her elimination, Francesca now holds the record for fewest days (9) playing Survivor by a contestant who competed more than once, breaking the previous record set by Russell Swan last season.
By tying for second place in the "Philippines",Michael Skupin significantly improved on his previous season (day 17 in "The Australian Outback").
With Michael Skupin in the final three, every season of "Survivor" with returning contestants has had at least one of those returning contestants make it to the final.
In a "Survivor" first, Denise is the first contestant who has been to every Tribal Council during one season and survived each one. She broke Stephenie LaGrossa's, from the Palau season, record of fifteen by attending all sixteen Tribal Councils in a season.
Denise is the oldest (41) female contestant to win the game, surpassing Tina Wesson from Outback (40 at the time she won).
Denise becomes the third consecutive female winner, after Sophie from South Pacific and Kim from One World. The last time there were three straight female winners came after All-Stars, where Amber followed Sandra from Pearl Islands and Jenna from Amazon.
Denise is the first winner since Heroes vs Villains to have not won the final Immunity challenge.
Having been to 13 consecutive Tribal Counsels, Denise Staples has now beaten the record of Stephanie La Grossia set in Season 10: Palau for the most tribal counsels attended in a single season of Survivor.
Having been to 12 consecutive Tribal Counsels, Denise Staples has now tied the record of Stephanie La Grossia in Season 10: Palau for the most tribal counsels attended in a single season of Survivor. The difference being that Denise is still in the game; whereas Stephanie was voted out in episode 12 of Season 12: Palau.
With Carter's ouster, five consecutive males have been voted out via Tribal Council. This has happened in only four other seasons, One World, Heroes vs. Villains, Gabon, and Guatemala. This is the first time for it to happen in successive seasons, however.
Penner is the second contestant (joining James Clement) to play the game three times without ever finishing in the final four.
By being voted out on day 30 in the "Philippines", Jonathanimproved on his medically evacuated season (day 15 in "Micronesia") but was four days shy of improving on his "injury free" season (day 33 in "Cook Islands").
Jonathan Penner becomes the fourth contestant in series history to play a Hidden Immunity Idol at Tribal Council which nullifies votes against him AND saves him from elimination. He joins Yau-Man in Fiji, Amanda in Micronesia, and Russell Hantz in Samoa in accomplishing this.
For the first time ever, the tribes merge at 11 total contestants left in the game.
Counting all its original members (Pete, Artis, Lisa, Mike, RC, and Abi-Maria), the Tandang tribe is the first tribe in the history of this series to make it to a merge without ever attending Tribal Council.
With his elimination, Russell becomes the first "Survivor" contestant to play more than once and not make the merge each time.
A total of 10 contestants have been medically evacuated (medevaced) from the show. Three of them return in this season. It is the second time for Russell Swan ("Samoa") and Michael Skupin ("Australian Outback") and Jonathan Pener's third ("Cook Islands" and "Micronesia").
Coincidentally, Russell and Jonathan were both removed on day 15 in their respective seasons while Michael was removed on day 17. All three contestants were the sixth player to leave the game (although during Jonathan's injury-free season, he was the 14th player voted out).
It has been 11 years since Michael Skupin's last appearance on Survivor. This is the longest gap between a returning contestant's first and second appearance.
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