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.