XfinityTV.com sent me deep into the wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of “Survivor” stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.
Well, “Survivor” host and talk-show superstar Jeff Probst had his say as to who he thought would run away with this season of “Survivor.” Now I get my turn…
Quick Note: These rankings were done before the filming of the first episode, although a few minor things that took place in the premiere were sprinkled in later. Enjoy.
Another Note: As always, betting on my official “Survivor” pre-game rankings probably isn’t illegal, but it is frowned upon.
|Read Malcom’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Denise’s Pre-Game Interview|
|1. Malcolm: Poor Malcolm is the recipient of my traditional pre-game curse. Why’d I curse Malcolm? He’s the player I’d create if I could make one in a lab. He’s good-looking, but not too good-looking. He’s fit, but not too fit. He knows how people view him. He’s a smartass, but knows when to be serious. Anywho, enjoy your early exit from the game, Malcolm.||2. Denise: I love that Denise is a sex therapist. There’s something about that occupation that seems perfect for “Survivor.” You have to deal with a wide variety of interesting folks, you can’t judge, you have to be able to keep your mouth shut. Add that to a genuinely nice person who can hold her own in challenges and you have a real contender.|
|Read Michael’s Pre-Game Interivew||Read RC’s Pre-Game Interview|
|3. Michael: Maybe this is wishful thinking from a “Survivor” fanboy, but I think Skup’s got a shot at taking this. I imagine he’s been watching every episode of this show for the past decade, breaking down every move and figuring out what he would’ve done in that situation. Also, if he’s going to fall into the dad role again, he has two fit kids (RC and Pete) and a confidant his age (Lisa).||4. RC: From our one-on-one chat, I found RC to be delightful. She’s quite the charmer. She also has a background as a competitive swimmer. Lucky for her, she was cast on the first season since ‘Fans vs. Favorites’ to have water challenges. I look for big things from her. She could end up with a big novelty “Survivor” check next to her hoop-rolling trophy.
|Read Dawson’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Carter’s Pre-Game Interview|
|5. Dawson: Here’s one pick where Jeff Probst and I disagree. He thinks Dawson’s an early boot because she’s going to annoy Penner. I think Kalabaw is headed for an early power struggle and she’s going to be sure to side with the winner. And besides, if she can survive nearly being given a concussion during a pre-game interview, 39 days on an island will be a piece of cake.||6. Carter: I like to think of Carter as the faux Fabio. With Fabio, what you saw was absolutely what you got. He was just a fun-loving kid who had a good time and kind of stumbled into a chance to win a million dollars. Anyone who sees Carter the same way might find themselves on the next 70-hour plane ride home.
|Read Lisa’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Pete’s Pre-Game Interview|
|7. Lisa: (Let’s see if I can write this blurb without a ‘Facts of Life’ pun.) Lisa’s tribe is such an a-team when it comes to challenges that Tandang may have a full house when they get to the merge. From there, if Lisa is bosom buddies with her alliance, she could win and join Tina Wesson and the rest of the sole surviving golden girls. However, one thing that could hurt her is if others are concerned that her kids were born with silver spoons in their mouths. (Success!)||8. Pete: You’re probably wondering why I have so many Tandangers so high in the rankings. It’s because they seem like a challenge juggernaut. You’ve got Michael, Peter, and Artis who are all jacked. And you’ve got RC who’s probably the best swimmer on this season. However, Pete has said he wants to make some big moves. Hopefully he’ll be smart enough to realize those moves aren’t always necessary. (See: Clarke, Sophie)|
|Read Dana’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Abi-Maria’s Pre-Game Interview
|9. Dana: Dana’s a bit of a wild card for me. She seems like she’s got the laid-back thing down, which is perfect for flying under the radar. However, she also said she’s just there for a vacation. Sometimes that leads to big things (See: Crowley, Bob) but usually it leads to an early exit. Here’s hoping she’s up for the game.||10. Abi-Maria: I like Abi-Maria a lot. She’s a ton of fun. She also has the advantage of being in her thirties, but looking like she’s in her mid twenties. Mix that with her accent and people could underestimate her quite a bit.|
|Read Zane’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Denise’s Pre-Game Interview|
|11. Zane: My buddy Zane’s first day on the island is going to be huge. Either people are going to accept him and enjoy him as the funny, personable guy he is, or they’re going to avoid him due to his appearance. Of course, it’s also possible he might start playing too aggressively. If he can keep his cool and find the right alliance he could make a serious run.||12. Russell: If ever there has been a tribe of misfit toys, it’s Matsing. Russell is going into this swearing up and down that he isn’t going to be a leader, but what if he has no choice? Denise is the second-best pick, but she’s probably smart enough to pass it off. Either way, as long as the dude stays hydrated, I’ll be happy.|
|Read Katie’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Roxy’s Pre-Game Interview|
|13. Katie: If this was a ranking of people I’d like to go to Delaware Park Casino with, Katie would be an easy number one. However, for her “Survivor” game I have some concerns. First, she wasn’t quick on her feet when I presented her with some game scenarios. And second, she didn’t have a problem calling out Angie early in the game. And, early in the game is the best time to keep your mouth shut. Just ask Francesca Hogi from “Redemption Island.”||14. Roxy: Religion has been a huge part of “Survivor recently with Coach Wade and his Upolu tribe and Matt Elrod. This topic can be quite the lightning rod. Lisa seems to be on the right track of being mindful of what she says and who she says it to. Some people will receive it well, others won’t. Roxy doesn’t seem to have that same concern. She should be wary of how those things can be viewed in a post-“South Pacific” season.|
|Read Jeff’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Penner’s Pre-Game Interview|
|15. Jeff: Why do I have a former professional athlete and probable challenge horse so low in the rankings? Because I truly believe that there will be an immediate power struggle in the Kalabaw tribe with Jeff Kent on one side and Jonathan Penner on the other. If Kent can win friends an influence people he could be on his way with a nice little alliance. If not…he’s out.||16. Penner: It kills me, KILLS ME to put Penner this low in the rankings. But like I said with Jeff Kent, I really think there is going to be a power struggle early at Kalabaw and one of them is going to be the first to go. Based on everyone’s appreciation that returning players have an advantage, Penner’s reputation as a strategist, and the fact that Penner doesn’t bring as much to the table physically as Kent means that he might be the first person in a red buff who is sent packing.
|Read Angie’s Pre-Game Interview||Read Artis’s Pre-Game Interview|
|17. Angie: Angie was easily the most talked about person before the game started. Although, with her looks and…uh…figure…she certainly does stand out. Malcolm, Katie, and others had already made assumptions about her intelligence before she even had a chance to speak. She’s a sweet girl, but she might not have enough life experience to overcome that disadvantage. Although, if she gets in with the right group, she could surprise us.||18. Artis: What can I say about Artis? He’s a nice guy. He’s an absolute inspiration for the way he defeated stage-four cancer. But, right now I see him as the first member of Tandang tribe to go home. I think his social game is really going to be his weak point. He doesn’t seem to be very good at reading other people, which is huge in a game like “Survivor.”|
Don’t miss the premiere of “Survivor: Philippines” on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET.