Survivor Second Chance Power Rankings – Week 1

Survivor

With the first week of Survivor out of the way, I wanted to take some time to begin creating a weekly power ranking of each player. To do this, I’m going to judge players on three different criteria: Strategy, Challenge, and Entertainment.

Strategy speaks to how much control a contestant seems to have over the game. Are they on the right side of a vote? Did they orchestrate someone’s exit? Did they, as Vytas Baskauskas said in the premiere, “make a mistake”? This is how this category will be judged.

Challenge looks at how someone performed in that week’s challenge. Most people are going to get “5” in this category, because there’s usually only a few people that stand out week to week. That said, it’s unlikely Joe ever goes below a “9”. Joey Amazing cannot be stopped.

Finally, Entertainment is the most subjective of the three categories (and, let’s be honest, they’re all pretty subjective) and examines how watchable someone is. Do they instigate fights? Are they hilarious in confessionals? Is Woo being confused? You get the picture.

From there, I’ll take a total score and break ties as I see fit. As mentioned, this list will be incredibly subjective, so feel free to put your debates in the comments below.

20) Vytas Baskauskas

Strategy: 2   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 3   Total: 10

Vytas was actually a pretty good threat to win this game. He flashed big potential in his first season and that’s what made him the first boot. Vytas gets a very low strategy score because, obviously, he got voted out, but also because he trusted Terry Deitz and Kelly Wiglesworth just a little too much on Jeff Varner. Vytas seemed to have some doubts about Varner, but didn’t act them. That turned out to be a massive mistake. Entertainment takes a hit because no one was buying Vytoga.

19) Kelly Wiglesworth

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 4   Total: 10

Wiglesworth was a mess in the challenge and got absolutely torched by Joe Anglim. That was a bad sign for her because this challenge was supposed to give her a chance at some redemption from Borneo. It just wasn’t in the cards and then, at Tribal, she discovered that her pre-show alliance with Varner wasn’t even going to last a week as he flipped on her and Deitz. Wiglesworth is in a bad position heading into Week 2.

18) Terry Deitz

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 4   Total: 12

Deitz didn’t really do anything of note in Week 1. He did his job in the challenge and seemed to establish a solid foundation back at the shelter with most people. But when Tribal hit, Deitz’s game flew off the rails a little bit. Deitz and Varner were supposedly in a pretty tight pre-show alliance, but Varner flipped at the first chance and it would not be surprising to see Deitz blow up back at the shelter. Can he compose himself and turn his situation? Deitz is a player to watch next week.

17) Keith Nale

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 5   Total: 13

I considered bumping Keith’s strategy rating by a few points because he was able to bury the hatchet with Jeremy and enter into a sub-alliance with his fellow fireman. Then I started thinking about it and realized that that move had much more to do with Jeremy than Keith. Thus, Keith gets a middling score, with two points docked from the challenge because he dropped the torch in the water. You have Joe, Jeremy, Savage, and even Fishbach and you’re giving the torch to Keith? Why did Bayon think that was a good idea?

16) Abi-Maria Gomes

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 14

Abi-Maria has to lose points on Strategy because she legitimately seemed like she had no idea that she was going to be saved this week. That tells me that the vote wasn’t about keeping her near as much as it was about getting out Vytas. So, she’s technically on the right side of the vote, but just barely. That said, her near-explosion over bracelet-gate was one of the better parts of the episode. Here’s hoping she drops a real A(bi)-bomb sometime soon.

15) Woo Hwang

Strategy: 2   Challenge: 7   Entertainment: 6   Total: 15

As usual, Woo had no idea what was going on at Tribal this week. In typical Woo fashion, he was confused about who to vote for and completely blindsided by the actual vote. Woo was able to save himself in these rankings by beating out Joey Amazing to win his tribe some extra rice, but Woo really needs to get his mental game together.

12 (tie) Ciera Eastin, Kimmi Kappenberg, & Monica Padilla

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 15

Are these people playing? Sure, Bayon got immunity so no one had to scramble, but are they legitimately doing anything? Come on, Ciera! I have such high hopes for you. Moving on.

11) Kass McQuillen

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 16

Kass didn’t do much this week, but that’s actually perfect for her game right now. So many people targeted her going into the season due to her penchant for drumming up chaos and no one would’ve been surprised to see her get the first boot. Kass found a way to get past that and honestly looks like she might be making the merge. She’s playing like she’s completely changed her game (though her confessionals reveal that they definitely haven’t) and people actually seem to believe it! If she keeps this up, Chaos Kass could be dangerous once again.

10) Andrew Savage

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17

Savage is one of three alpha males on Bayon and that had potential to be disastrous considering he’s also the oldest. Fortunately, the Bayon Boys decided it would be better to get together and run their tribe. That’s great news for Savage who is so infatuated with Joey Amazing that he could barely contain himself. However, something tells me that Savage might be the first alpha male Bayon cuts off in a week or two. Call it a hunch.

9) Peih-Gee Law

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17

Peih-Gee had a very good start to her Survivor experience. She’s on the right side of the vote and seemingly was a key player in bringing Varner over from the “Old School” side. That’s a subtle, but potentially game-changing move because now there’s so much focus on Varner being a player the Old School wants to target. I can’t rate her too high because she wasn’t splashy, but I thought Peih-Gee played a sneaky good game this week.

8) Stephen Fishbach

Strategy: 4   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 9   Total: 18

Fishbach did not have a good week, regardless of what his score might tell you. He truly was a “Fishbach out of water”, finding himself on a tribe full of macho, manly men. Fishbach’s strategy seemed to be, “look super weak and also go for the Idol ASAP”. I can’t say I can get behind that. That said, no one’s edit made me laugh half as much as Fishbach’s, so he gets something of a pass this week.

7) Tasha Fox

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 7   Total: 18

Tasha had a pretty average week to start us off, but does find herself as the only female member of the Macho Man alliance. Outside of that, her only notable addition to the program was talking about Joe’s body, which at this point I’m surprised that’s not just the whole show.

6) Jeremy Collins

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 18

Jeremy impressed strategically this week. He went out and got the alpha males (plus Tasha) on board with an early game alliance, getting himself Joe as the meatiest of meat shields in the process. Then he buried the hatchet with Keith and brought him in as a sub-alliance which Jeremy probably only uses to get information. Things are looked very solid for the firefighter early on.

5) Shirin Oskooi

Strategy: 9   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 20

It’s hard to say exactly who was behind the Vytas vote, but it was definitely someone in the Shirin, Kelley, and Spencer trio. Shirin and Kelley obviously wanted Vytas out and Spencer is smart enough to know this was an opportunity to get a big threat out. I’m giving Shirin the most credit out of the three, but they all made a great move in week one.

4) Jeff Varner

Strategy: 8   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 10   Total: 23

Varner said he was coming ready to play and he was not joking around. He turned on his pre-gram alliance with Deitz and Wiglesworth and helped get out a huge target in the process. Of course, that potentially puts a huge target on his back and could come back to bite him in big way if he can’t probably scramble. For week one, Varner was must-watch TV, I just don’t know how long we’ll get to watch him.

3) Joe Anglim

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 9   Entertainment: 7   Total: 23

As we’ve come to expect, Joey Amazing killed it this week’s challenge. After Keith failed hard in lighting torches during the first part of the challenge, Joe put the team on the back and came back on Wiglesworth to save Bayon from Tribal. Joe also joined the Macho Man alliance and potentially some protection in the early game. Joe is still the biggest threat of the season and I can’t see him getting too far past the merge, but for now, it sure is great to have him back on our screens.

2) Spencer Bledsoe

Strategy: 8   Challenge: 8   Entertainment: 7   Total: 23

Spencer continues to impress as a strategic threat. He was, at least partially, behind getting the tribe to flip on Vytas and he secured himself a solid six early in the game with people that should protect him for the next few weeks. Plus, Spencer is showing some real growth socially by actually talking to people! He really struggled to make connections in his first season, but looks to have flipped that around completely. Spencer looks like an early frontrunner and he didn’t have to be flashy to get there.

1) Kelley Wentworth

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 7   Entertainment: 9   Total: 23

There was not a better moment on the premiere than seeing Wentworth struggle with the decision to go after the Idol during the first Immunity Challenge. That was incredible TV and all praise Dalton Ross for coming up with the idea. Wentworth was also waaaay more interesting in her first week on Second Chance than she was in four or five episodes of her original season. She has a week one Idol and on the right side of her tribe. It’s hard to look much better.

Survivor Second Chance – Get Strapped In

Survivor

Survivor got started with a bang this week, as the first Tribal Council of the season took place immediately following the Immunity Challenge. With no time to scramble, it was sure to be an exciting finish to the show’s premiere episode.

It certainly sounded like Abi-Marie was going to be the first person out; however, a small blindside occurred, sending Vytas packing. It was a relatively big move this early in the game and probably the right one.

Let’s be honest, Abi is someone you can send home at any point. She’s never getting deeply entrenched in any alliance and, even if she does, she’s so polarizing that you’re going to be able to round up the votes to get her out. Thus, a vote for Abi would have been wasting a golden opportunity to make a big, early game move.

If I were a betting man, I’d put Vytas’ blood on Shirin and Spencer’s hands. A lot of people are high on Jeff’s game right now, but I feel like he’s still in his scrambling phase. Shirin and Spencer already have that part of the game figured out and neither seemed too pleased to see Vytas’ junk swinging in their faces while he was “teaching” yoga. Further, Spencer knew that, without time for anyone to drum up some votes or learn anyone’s plan, this was a great chance to get out a threat. Spencer is one of the stronger strategic players in this game, and last night has his name written all over it.

If Ta Keo find themselves back at Tribal next week, then things get interesting. Abi is still the easy option, but I would be surprised to see the New Schoolers make such a passive move. They probably need to keep Deitz and Woo around for tribe immunity challenges, so the next target could be Wigglesworth. She seems like she really wants to “prove herself”, but is not a challenge threat, making her a real liability in this game.

All in all, a very exciting Tribal Council and a great way to start the season.

Other Highlights:

Seeing Kelley’s pained face while trying to decide if she wanted to go for the Hidden Idol or not was one better shots of the night. What a great way to twist an old standby for this new season.

Joe couldn’t even make it through one challenge without showing off what makes him the Survivor “Golden Boy”. At this point, he just has to own it. There’s no convincing anyone (certainly not Savage’s daughters) that he isn’t God’s gift to Cambodia.

As a huge Jeremy fan, I’m a little concerned that he’s playing too hard, too fast, but that could just be me coming out of three months of Big Brother. Survivor is a much quicker game and this strategy could (hopefully will) pay off. I liked seeing him bury the hatchet with Keith because that’s someone Jeremy can easily control going forward. And the power couple of Joe and Jeremy surely has young girls the world over drooling.

Fishbach playing up his “I can’t do anything” persona was pretty hilarious to watch. I don’t know if it’s going to get him very far, but he does have three alpha males and Keith on his team, so maybe he’ll be able to sneak through to the merge and do some damage.

And, in what was the unlikeliest event of the night for me, Kass wasn’t immediately hated! Maybe she’s just getting a nice edit or maybe she’s actually succeeding in lying low for the time being. I still fully expect her to be gone before the merge, but she impressed me in week 1. We’ll see if it continues.

Survivor: Second Chance Pre-Show Tier List

Survivor

With Survivor starting tomorrow night, I thought I’d put together a pre-show tier list of competitors that examines and discusses their chances of winning the game. I’m going with five tiers with tier five being the worst and tier one being the best. It’ll be interesting to see how well the people I’m pegging as favorites actually perform. Anyways, on to the list.

Tier 5 – “Sorry Chaos Kass”

Kass McQuillen – Bayon – Pre-show, everyone already seems to want her out because she is so unpredictable. This could easily help bring her to the merge if someone uses her as a classic “bigger target”, but likely means she won’t be winning this game without an unlikely string of immunity wins.

Tier 4 – “Could Surprise, but Don’t Hold Your Breathe”

Keith Nale – Bayon – Not a strategic threat, as seen in his first season. Unless he ruffles someone’s feathers, it’s highly unlikely that Keith goes home before the merge, but that’s as far as he goes. Simply not good enough to win in such a talented field.

Jeff Varner – Ta Keo – Older, but doesn’t look like the physical threat Andrew seems to be. Seems likeable enough to make the merge, but may not have enough challenge/strategic skill to make it to the end. You could easily see Jeff and Terry enter into an early alliance given their age and experience. That could turn into something if they can last to the merge.

Woo Hwang – Ta Keo – Woo probably cost himself a million bucks on Cagayan by bringing along Tony instead of Chaos Kass to the Final. And even without that boneheaded mistake, Woo was not a strategic or mental threat in his original season. Woo will likely get relatively far on likeability and his physical skill; however, he should not be viewed as favorite on a cast full of quality competition.

Terry Deitz – Ta Keo – Given his military background and advanced age, Terry seems like a prime candidate to be the Survivor who’s taken care of until the merge and then systematically voted out ASAP. Terry was a comp beast the last time he played Survivor. Unfortunately, that was in 2006, so he could have a much tougher time navigating this game.

Tier 3 – “Unkowns and Past Outcasts”

Abi-Maria Gomes – Ta Keo – Emotional, maybe too much of a wildcard following her first season. There’s potential that she learned from her mistakes and could be more focused and less of a “bully”. Could struggle to connect with people like Vytas, Spencer, Woo, and Shirin.

Kimmi Kappenberg – Bayon – Kimmi was loud and often annoying during her first season, but she’s had time to grow up and become a more focused competitor. However, if her old ways creep up, it won’t be long before her tribemates show her the door.

Kelly Wiglesworth – Ta Keo – Was a very strong competitor in her first season, but it’s been 15 years and 30 seasons since she last played. Can she keep up with how much the game has changed and will her old strategies still work. Kelly is certainly a player to watch, but it’s too early to tell which way she’ll go.

Shirin Oskooi – Ta Keo –Shirin came across as annoying on her original season and that could hurt her here. She may be seen as an early “easy out”, who no one will be very upset to see walk out. That said, if she places herself properly, she could make a deep run riding on someone’s coattails. Not a challenge threat. She may not win it, but could be someone’s goat.

Kelley Wentworth – Ta Keo – Didn’t get a real opportunity to show off her game during her first season, as she was stuck trying to help her dad stay in the game. Now that she’s on her own, we’ll get to see what she can do. One of the more unknown players in the pool so has the potential to go either way. Looks like a solid competitor.

Vytas Baskauskas – Ta Keo – Vytas certainly flashed potential in his first season and should be viewed as a moderate threat to win. That said, he is no Aras and, even though he’s playing a strictly single game this time around, he’s yet to consistently demonstrate that he has what it takes to become Sole Survivor.

Tasha Fox – Bayon – Tasha was put in a very unenviable position during her first season of Survivor. She was placed on the terrible Brains tribe and, post-merge, was forced to win Immunity over-and-over again to stay in the game. That means we have yet to really see how strong her strategy is. Given another shot, Tasha has some potential for a win, but is still one of the bigger unknowns of the season.

Tier 2 – “One Flaw Away”

Andrew Savage – Bayon – Potential alliances with both Kass (lawyers) and Shirin (work at Yahoo). Old, but seems fit. Andrew is good friends with Jeff Probst, which might be a help or a hindrance. Owned his tribe during his first season and could come off as too arrogant. Might play too hard from the jump and hurt him long-term. That said, a legitimate threat.

Joe Anglim – Bayon – A challenge beast and known Survivor “golden boy”, Joe will have his work cut out for him to pull out a victory. He’ll need to ally himself with two or three strong players out of the gate to keep himself safe and will likely need to win a decent number of immunity challenges to make it to the end. Though, if he does, he would probably have a great chance at winning.

Stephen Fishbach – Bayon – Stephen is well-known as a strategic threat and that could work against him during his Second Chance. He’ll have to play a careful game early and not make too many big moves before the merge. From there, he can really open up and use what he learned in his first season to make a push for the victory. In a dream scenario, Stephen and Spencer would both make the merge and wage a mental war against each other that culminates in one of the better tribal councils in recent memory.

Monica Padilla – Bayon – Monica has the looks to be a legitimate social threat in this game. I could easily see her trying to use that to bring in someone like Joe or Stephen early in the game and riding their coattails until the late game. She also seems like a decent mental threat, so if she makes it deep into the game, I could see her pulling out a win. She’s not a favorite, but a victory wouldn’t be surprising.

Tier 1 – “The Favorites”

Spencer Bledsoe – Ta Keo – Spencer is one of the better Survivor minds we’ve seen in the last few years and has to be viewed as a big threat to win this game. However, with this being a returning player season, he could be voted out early because his abilities are so well known. An early alliance is key and, if Spencer can make it past the merge, he has a decent shot to win the game.

Ciera Eastin – Bayon – Has more stones than just about anyone in Survivor history. Should be viewed as massive threat given her willingness to do whatever it takes to win in Blood vs. Water. Would not be surprised to see her form a power alliance with Joe and potentially Jeremy while in Bayon.

Jeremy Collins – Bayon – Jeremy had the look of a legitimate threat to win San Juan del Sur before his alliance flipped on him mostly due to Jon being scared of Jeremy knowing about his Idol. If Jeremy is able play his cards just a little better, he could be one of the favorites for this season of Survivor. Could see him allying with either Joe and Ciera or maybe Keith based on both being a firefighter.

Peih-Gee Law – Ta Keo – Peih-Gee is certainly intelligent enough to win this game. I don’t think she will be viewed as big of a strategic threat as someone like Stephen or Spencer, but she’s right there with them mentally. In fact, I would wager that she has a better chance of winning than those two because she will be able to remain under the radar for longer. If Peih-Gee learns from her past mistakes and actually makes a good alliance, she has an excellent chance at winning. I would consider her the odds-on favorite to win this season.

Big Brother 17 – A Half Million Dollar Mistake?

Big Brother

Well, I had to skip the past week of Big Brother strategy due to a cross-country trip that saw me driving in a car for 10 days, but now I’m back. A lot happened while I was away, but, in an interesting turn of events, Vanessa is right back in power and will have a huge hand in deciding who goes home this week. For a refresher, Vanessa evicted Meg last week and then Liz followed that up by getting James out in the Double Eviction. From there, the Scamper Squad stayed in power, with Steve picking up the victory. Unfortunately for the Austwins, Steve just couldn’t afford to keep their trio in the house and, in one of her only bad moves of the season, Vanessa elected keep Liz over Julia. Vanessa had the power to get out this season’s power couple as the swing vote, and elected to not pull the trigger. It’s an interesting move for the poker shark and could simply be her trying to keep the jury happy, as it was made clear to Vanessa that the Twins wanted Liz to stay over Julia.

All this culminated in a Vanessa victory at the Final 5 HoH. Obviously, Vanessa knows she’s a gigantic target and probably had to win here to stay safe; however, now she can’t play in the Final 4 HoH and is leaving her life in the game up to her alliance members. Will it work out? It looks like we’ll figure it out Monday. CBS had to compress their schedule due to Thursday Night Football starting this week, so we already know that Steve and John are the Nominees with J-Mac as the apparent target. With that information dump in mind, let’s take a look at what each person needs to do to insure they’re in the best position possible to make it to Final 3.

Austin and Liz:

Austin and Liz are likely in the best position out of anyone this week. They weren’t nominated (which seems like a mistake to me, but I’m also not a huge fan of having unbreakable loyalty to someone you’re not dating in the house), can play for the next HoH, and seem to have near complete control over who goes home this week. Really, unless J-Mac wins the Veto, these two seem safe. And the only way either of them go home is if John wins the Veto, uses it on himself, votes for whichever Austwin goes up, and then Vanessa splits the vote as HoH to send home an Austwin because she sees Steve as a better ally.

However, if that were that case, you would think she wouldn’t have put him up in the first place. All that to say, Austin and Liz are almost assuredly getting to Final 4. There, they have a 66% chance of winning the HoH and, if they’re smart, they send Vanessa home and keep either John or Steve. But, if the entire season leading up to this is any indication, Vanessa won’t go home if either of them wins HoH unless Steve/John wins the Final 4 Veto.

John:

There have been rumblings of John actually throwing the Veto and trying to use that as a motive for Austin and Liz to keep him over Steve. I know Liz has some beef with Steve and this Final 5 has actually proven to usually do what they say they’re going to, but I just can’t see why John would do this. He’s putting his entire game into the hands of two people who continue to ignore how gigantic of a threat Vanessa is and are seemingly perfectly fine with coming in second and third place in this competition.

For the first time in awhile, it would be nice to see John take his game into his own hands and show off some of that Veto dominance he had early in the season. If he doesn’t, he’s probably going home. If, by some miracle, J-Mac gets to stay this week, his options seem limited. I can’t see him being comfortable taking the Austwins to the finish, so, unless he and Steve both stay safe this week (a miracle on top of a miracle), he has to keep Vanessa. Thus, a J-Mac Final 4 HoH means a Final 3 of John, Vanessa, and one Austwin. I’d guess he’d elect to keep Liz because she’s easier to beat, but I could see Austin convincing John to keep the guys together and try to take this thing to Final 2. Either way, things aren’t looking good for John.

Steve:

Steve’s chances of winning Big Brother are only slightly better than J-Mac’s. It’s unlikely that he goes home this week, but after that, he only has a 33% chance of beating the Austwins for Final 4 HoH. He would go up against Vanessa if he doesn’t win and would likely be the target, giving him a 75% chance of going home at Final 4 (Veto comp). If he does win next week, he would almost have to target the Austwins regardless of how he feels about his chances of beating Vanessa.

He’d have to follow that up with a HoH win at Final 3 because it’s hard to see anyone outside of John taking him to Final 2. Vanessa might do it, but her game has been so predicated on loyalty that it seems more likely that she would go with an Austwin. It’ll be tough sledding for Steve, but at least he has a shot, unlike J-Mac who is just playing for America’s Favorite at this point..

Vanessa:

Vanessa isn’t in quite as good of a position as Austin and Liz are right now, but she’s very close. Vanessa elected to not go against the Austwins, which near guarantees a slot in the Final 3, but could harm her chances of actually winning this whole thing. Obviously, getting out either Austin or Liz would’ve made this game much more wide open and potentially a dangerous minefield for Vanessa to navigate. That said, Vanessa has shown that she can manipulate people for her betterment and that skill would’ve come in handy in a more wide-open house.

If she’d given herself that opportunity, Vanessa might’ve been able to cut some better deals to secure herself a more rock-solid Final 2. As it stands, Vanessa has a very high chance of getting to Final 3, but her chances of getting to Final 2 go down dramatically from there. She has the 33% of winning the Final 3 HoH, but if she loses, she’s probably going home. If she gets to F3 with the Austwins, then she has to win to stay. If she goes with Steve and an Austwin then she has a much better shot. However, even that isn’t a sure thing because either of them could realize how likely she is to win and elect to evict here and take their chances with the jury. Vanessa probably should win this thing, but, without a Final 3 HoH win, it’s hard to see it happening.