Archive for September, 2014

‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur’ Power Rankings – ‘Ladies First?’ Edition

September 30, 2014

'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Keith is voted out this week, Spencer will receive 13 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Spencer’s Score = 0

Any questions for Spencer? Drop him a line on Twitter: @SpencerBGM

  Gordon’s Score = 0

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Josh – Josh not only found himself in the majority, but decided which faction of the Coyopa tribe would constitute the majority in the first vote. He recovered from a poisonous plant run-in that made his eyes water and navigated the swing vote with grace that would make Sarah Lacina’s mouth water. His position, on the other hand, is fairly cut and dry – he’s the president right now. Josh’s approachability has put him in a great spot, so let’s just hope Baylor isn’t on the warpath after he voted for her (why, Josh? WHY?!).
  1. Jeremy – Who had a better first episode than Jeremy? He won fire and whatnot for his tribe. He sent his wife to Exile in a manner that set himself up with a potential alliance member. And, he’s holding the numbers in a tribe that currently holds the numbers. He’s on fire, man. (Boy, I hate  myself for that one.)
 2. Jon – Our quintessential “Survivor” bro has more depth than we thought, and although no one labeled Jon a slouch physically, he’s surpassed already high expectations. Next stop: a Jon vs. John immunity challenge in episode two. Hope stays strong for a Rocker meltdown after getting trounced in a physical challenge, as the two go at it next week like bona-fide sumo wrestlers. In the meantime, Jon should try and get in good with…   2. Natalie – OK, so your Twinnie is gone. That’s sucks. But, the good news is that losing your loved one worked out for people the last time they did the Blood vs. Water twist. Now people see you as a potential partner for a final three. Add that to how well Natalie did in the challenge and her place in the dominant alliance and you have a twin that’s set to win.
 3. Jeremy – …The power broker of Hunahpu. Prediction: Jeremy’s going to be the first person in a while to make this aggressive role work. Normally there’s no surer sign of doom than a player making alliances with everything that moves and breathes (see Knight, Zane). However, I think Jeremy has actually set himself up well with Kelley, Natalie, Missy, and Keith. He may just have made enough sparks to form a dominant alliance, but not so many that he’ll have fires to put out when people talk.
  3. John – Yeah, yeah…I’m not happy about this either. So, Mr. Rocker was awesome in the last challenge. He was a force to be reckoned with when it came to getting his tribe up that tower. And, he’s a solid member of the bro-liance. He isn’t going anywhere anytime soon unless he says something really stupid. Oh…wait…is it too late to change this ranking?

 4. Kelley – Kelley remains as steady as they come. The daughter of legendary fire-starter Dale has aligned with savvy fire-stopper Jeremy, and should remain inconspicuous. Her tribe just has bigger personalities, bigger fish to fry, and absolutely no reason to vote Kelley out this early. Keith could pulverize the flint. Natalie could panic upon seeing her twinnie eliminated. Drew could get an urgent modeling contract. The possibilities are endless, and few of them entail Kelley going home.
  4. MissyI…uh…don’t have a ton to say about you, Missy. You are a person. You are playing the game of “Survivor.” You didn’t do much this episode, but you’re in the big Hunahpu alliance, so I’m thinking you’re safe.
 5. Alec – If Kelley is the head of the ‘under the radar’ club, Alec is senior vice president. While that may not give him the legs he needs to win, he’s a safe bet to stick around another week. He’s fit to contribute in both challenges and camp life, he voted in the majority last week and he seems approachable. When Wes realized who John Rocker was last week, he went to Alec as his first sanity check. Alec might just be a better-disguised Josh – someone people want to approach.
 5. Kelley – See Missy.
  6. John – He still isn’t winning, but this is about risk of going home, and John is a hulking behemoth who isn’t going anywhere. So far he’s miraculously remained inoffensive, and predictably been helpful physically. Having proven his ability as a human ladder/mountain to be climbed, Coyopa has every reason to keep him. Best of all, the only person who has recognized him (Wes) also happens to be the only person with a positive view of him, idolizing Rocker as “the man.”
 6. Keith – You and Val certainly wasted a lot of time on Exile Island. Why weren’t you setting up some kind of alliance? Why else would they have Jeremy send someone from his own tribe? It really feels like that whole outing was a wasted opportunity. Anywho, I wouldn’t be too upset about it, you ended up on Jeremy’s side anyways.
  7. Drew – Don’t be too quick to judge the second coming of J’Tia Taylor – shelter-builder extraordinaire Drew. Yes, Julie calls him a “young, dumb guy” and no, I don’t think he has a shot to win. Even so, he’s the prototype of someone a tribe wants around – strategically unintimidating and physically valuable. And if you look closely, there really isn’t that much evidence of him being this supposed young, dumb guy either; all he really did was make a few goofy comments while building a shelter. Time will tell for Drew, but I think he still has way more going for him than against him.
 7. Josh – You did one thing right and one thing weird. The right thing was the way you weren’t too wishy-washy when you were the swing vote. You picked your side and stuck with it. You didn’t give anyone a chance to doubt your loyalty. But, for some reason you voted for poor Baylor. What was the point of that? She’s dying to be your Edna Ma.
  8. Natalie – As tragic as the twinnies’ split may be, the sad truth is that Nadiya’s departure probably bodes well for Natalie. In the first Blood vs. Water, those whose loved ones went home early excelled into the endgame, likely because they were no longer a threat to join an inseparable alliance of two. Natalie is now an unintimidating free agent, and it also only helps that she’s in the mix of early Hunahpu alliance formation.
 8. Dale – Thumbs up for Dale this week. It looked like he was going to be the odd man out on a young tribe. (Old man out?) He managed to turn things around with his clever fire trick and by manufacturing a reason to get rid of Nadiya. Now that he has the numbers and isn’t a threat, he should be able to coast for a while. However, if Coyopond starts dropping too many challenges, he’s going to have to watch himself.
  9. Julie – Julie’s stock may not have gone up much, but it can’t have gone down. She completed the premiere’s immunity challenge puzzle impressively fast, and has come off nothing but competent and sharp in confessionals.
  9. Alec – According to Nadiya, you’re the one who blew the puzzle for your tribe. I wouldn’t sweat it too much though, you were on the right side of the vote and can probably rest comfortably for a while.
  10. Missy – Missy says that after three divorces she’s learned to trust her gut, and so far it’s lead her straight into the fold of Hunahpu’s majority. She gets all the benefits of being theoretically “in” right off the bat, but hasn’t had to put her neck on the line to make that happen; she’s let alliances come to her. As long as she maintains solid challenge performance, there’s no good reason for anyone to target her.
  10. Baylor – Kudos to Baylor for not letting herself get sucked into a men vs. women battle where the women were already outnumbered. But, I’m still wondering about Josh voting for her. She should try to get to the bottom of that.
  11. Baylor – So far, Baylor has proven herself socially adaptable and well integrated. She successfully floated between alliances to land herself in the majority, but I am concerned that more could be at play in Coyopa social politics. I’m still bewildered as to why Josh voted for her, and given she swung between groups last week, I worry that while Baylor has a lot of allies on her tribe, few of those allies are close ones.
  11. Wes – So, Rocker knows you know who he is. Hooray, you figured it out. Now a guy who doesn’t have a great track record of thinking out his decisions has a reason to target you. You’re probably safe for a bit while the guys target the women, but you’d better hope for a tribe swap.
  12. Dale – I love Dale. Here’s a guy who knows his weaknesses – he lives on a farm and isn’t comfortable in big groups – but is so passionate about playing “Survivor” that he’ll sacrifice his vision to start a fire and win his tribe’s admiration. I’m rooting for him to keep scraping by, but I worry for him for the same reasons as before. The age disconnect is just so vast, and worse, the tribe has flint now. As others improve their survival and fire-making skills, Dale becomes more expendable by the day.
  12. Reed – Spider-Man, Spider-Man, swings under the radar like a spider can… What were you up to last week? I mean, besides not working your way into the dominant alliance? The game is already off and running and you’re hanging out at the starter’s line.
  13. Keith – Curiosity may have killed the cat, but lack of curiosity certainly did Keith no favors. Dude, didn’t you wonder a little bit what Val’s note said at exile? Keith is an absolute sound bite machine, from breaking the flint to John Rocker being an ass to Wes having the mental strength of a Rock. He just doesn’t seem that game-savvy, though, and all his eggs are in one basket – the whims of Jeremy bringing him into the fold. 
  13. Jon – Jon and Reed are in the same boat. They aren’t in the main alliance, but they’re harmless. They’ll be here next week.
  14. Reed – Reed has begun “Survivor” brimming with enthusiasm, and while he seems to have all the tools to succeed, we haven’t seen him putting them to use. If he does turn out to be on the outside of Jeremy’s newly formed power alliance, those tools for success could appear threatening and be his undoing. 
  14. Drew – Was anybody surprised when Drew was rubbing people the wrong way? The man whose claim to fame is his ability to “pull off the unthinkable with ease” doesn’t seem to have a ton of humility. And unfortunately for him, the thought of him being the first Hunahputian to go home isn’t unthinkable.
  15. Wes – Wes has been relatively quiet thus far, and aside from struggling to spell “Rocker” there isn’t much to criticize. Sometimes it only takes one thing, though: There was no good reason for Wes to approach Rocker the way he did about his baseball stardom. He could have at least chatted up the tribe’s resident hulk for a longer time and connected over baseball. Yet all Wes did was give up the exclusive information he had and foster distrust. He did vote in the majority in week one, but if the tide turns on Coyopa, it could result in Wes drowning pretty quickly.
  15. Val – Oh, Val…I really don’t think anyone had a worse episode than you. You lost the first challenge which wasn’t a big deal, but then you didn’t share the Exile clue with potential alliance-mate Keith. Keith and your husband had already kind of bonded. He could’ve found the idol with Jeremy. And, it would have set you up to have Wes as your buddy when you finally got to camp. Once you did get to camp, you partnered with the side that was down in the numbers. And you’re hinting at an idol that you don’t have. You’re in bad shape.
  16. Val – While a lot went right for her husband in the premiere, everything went wrong for Val. She missed two critical days of forming relationships while stuck at Exile Island, failed to spearhead an all-girls alliance and spent tribal bluffing about having an idol for no apparent reason. Now she’s in the minority alliance of a losing tribe, and is dangerously close to ending the blue blood hot streak on CBS reality TV.
  16. Julie – You’re getting credit for completing last week’s puzzle which is good. But missing out on joining the main alliance hurts you. Keith knows who John Rocker is, and I’m sure he’s been talking. Everybody saw him dominate the challenge and they probably don’t like the idea of him having a partner around.
  17. Jaclyn – Jaclyn is in the same boat as Val, and she doesn’t even have an idol clue to show for it. With Nadiya’s boot, “one of the girls” may be a thing of the past not only for Josh, but for the actual females as well. There’s a real risk here that Nadiya’s friends meet the same fate she did, and former Miss Michigan is in as precarious a position as anyone.     17. Jaclyn – Here’s how I see Jaclyn going home this week. If Coyopa loses, the men will continue to target the women. Baylor will be safe due to her affiliation with Josh. Val will be safe because they’re worried she might have an idol. And, poor Jaclyn will be sent pack-lyn.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” on Your Computer

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‘Amazing Race’s’ Lisa and Michelle: ‘We Lost Over a Cab Ride’

September 29, 2014

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. Every Monday after an elimination leg, we’ll have an interview with the team that was sent packing and the full episode. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

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What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

You reap what you sow…

Turnabout is fair play…

However you word it, Boston firefighters Michael and Scott didn’t feel bad about not letting Lisa and Michelle into their cab after the Miami realtors swiped a pen out of their hands.

I spoke with Lisa and Michelle after their elimination and had a chance to ask them about marker possession, shovel substitutes, and taxi affection interruption etiquette…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, tell me about the marker incident. My understanding is that people were trying to sign up for a flight and there was some confusion as to who had legal possession of the marker.
Lisa Thomson: It was the firefighters who claimed that we took the marker from them. Michelle and I were at the board too, so Mike grabbed the pen and then I grabbed the pen out of his hand because we were there first, which means that we should have been on the next plane. And we didn’t want to be on the last plane because we thought that was the pit stop. So, at that point we’d do anything to not be on the last plane.
Gordon: So you confess to pen theft.
Lisa: We took the pen from them, but we were there first.

Watch the Premiere of ‘The Amazing Race’

Gordon: How long were you guys out there for the digging challenge?
Lisa: Probably about four hours. It was a long time. It felt like ten hours. We were out there digging and digging. If you’ve ever used a shovel, it’s extremely difficult. My hands, I couldn’t even feel them. They were raw. They were bleeding. And unfortunately we still didn’t get the treasure.
Gordon: Keith was doing it too. He’s this muscular giant and he was having a hard time.
Michelle Thomson: Lisa can hold her own with the boys, let me tell you. She dug as hard as them.
Lisa: I was out there with Keith who is super tall.
Michelle: He’s a Survivor!
Lisa: I held my own. I wasn’t the one who wanted to give up. I wasn’t the one who wanted the penalty. I would have stayed out there for a week.
Gordon: He’s used to starving on a beach for a month and here he is wiped out.
Lisa: (Laughs) Poor Keith. I love Keith and Whitney, they’re great people.

Gordon: When you watched the episode and they showed where the chest actually was…that had to be heartbreaking.
Lisa: It was because of all the effort we put into trying to find it. We would have done anything.
Gordon: I’d rather not know where it was.
Lisa: (Laughs) At some point we wondered if it even existed. We were getting the same spot over and over.
Michelle: There was only like a foot-length distance every time it was measured. You had to measure it with the shovel and it was complicated to drag that heavy shovel.
Gordon: I was wondering if there was some way you could have used a shoelace or something lighter.
Lisa: We did.
Michelle: Lisa actually broke a branch, because it was lighter than the shovel. She used that for a while, but it ended up taking her to the same spot.

Gordon: Keith and Whitney made the call to forfeit the challenge. Walk me through what all goes into making that decision.
Lisa: Well, I was still digging and I think Whitney and Michelle spoke. Is that correct?
Michelle: Yeah, I couldn’t help Lisa, so I wanted to see how the other teams were doing. I saw that Scott and Keith were struggling. So, it got to the point where we’re watching them dig to China. And Whitney saw that Keith was really drained, so they decided to take the penalty. And they said the firefighters were going to take the penalty too. At that point, we knew if we didn’t find the chest before the penalty was up, that we’d be the last team. So, we had nothing to lose.

Gordon: So, it all came down to the cabs.
Michelle: It was a 3-2-1-go kind of thing. Keith is a freaking…he’s a little runner. He was the first one. Then it was Lisa, then it was me, Whitney…and Scott was last. We fought over the one taxi and we lost. And at that point the other cabs had taken off and we were waiting for our cab driver to turn on his cab.
Gordon: He wouldn’t turn on his cab?
Lisa: Yeah, cause there were only two real cabs and the other was like some weird cab on the side. Our driver…I don’t even know what planet he was on. (Laughs) We knew when it took him five minutes to get in the car that we’d lost our shot.
Michelle: It was like the cab driver and his girlfriend. I don’t think they were even there to drive a cab. They were annoyed with the fact that we were in their cab to begin with.
Lisa: (Laughs) Yeah, I think they were hooking up when we jumped in. They weren’t excited at all.

Gordon: Alright, let’s try some word association. We’ll start with Misty and Jim.
Lisa: Teeth, sparkle teeth. (Laughs)
Gordon: Tim and Te Jay?
Michelle: They’re fun. They’re high energy.
Gordon: Brooke and Robbie?
Michelle: They’re a riot. They’re goofy.
Lisa: They’re fun to watch.
Gordon: Adam and Bethany:
Lisa: They’re invincible.
Gordon: Amy and Maya.
Michelle: Smart. Geniuses. Nobody got to see Amy with the compass. She was quick with it.
Gordon: Shelly and Nici?
Michelle: They’re high energy.
Lisa: Very argumentative. (Laughs)
Michelle: We get along with them.
Gordon: Michael and Scott?
Michelle: Boston strong.
Lisa: They’re great guys.
Michelle: They’re clowns.

Gordon: You’re first out, and that sucks…
Lisa: What are you talking about, it’s great. (Laughs)
Gordon: That’s the right attitude.
Lisa: No, it does suck.
Michelle: We would have rather lost over something other than a cab. That was frustrating.
Lisa: Like if we had lost because we couldn’t find the treasure, that’d be OK. That’s why it was so hard to swallow.
Gordon: I literally had this conversation on Friday where I said my worst “Amazing Race” fear would be losing because of something out of my control like a bad cab or a delayed flight.
Michelle: You know why we look like sore losers? Because Lisa and I really prepared a lot for the race. I didn’t want to work out as much as I did, but I thought it’d pay off. And we lost over a cab ride. And we have so much more to prove. It was really hard to take in.
Lisa: We weren’t sore losers, we were just disappointed that we couldn’t finish. We’re just disappointed in ourselves.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Special Offer for XFINITY Subscribers Who Order ‘Boxtrolls’ Tickets on Fandango

September 25, 2014

'The Boxtrolls' (Focus Features)

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‘Survivor’ Castaway Nadiya on Rocker: ‘I Had No Idea Who That Fool Was’

September 25, 2014

'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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Conspiracy Theory: Last night’s “Survivor” results were some kind of Emmy revenge.

Think about it; “The Amazing Race” has been scooping up Emmy wins for years and the folks at “Survivor” felt the need to put them in their place. Natalie had better watch her back.

Or, a tribe of generally likable people didn’t have an obvious reason to boot anyone, so Dale fabricated a reason based on what he knew of Nadiya’s past. Either way, when the votes were read, Nadiya was the first one eliminated from a CBS reality show…again.

I spoke to the unfortunate Twinny (Twinnie?) the morning after her blindside and had a chance to ask her about my conspiracy theory, Rocker’s attitude around camp, and what Natalie should do now that she’s gone…

Gordon Holmes: First one voted out? Tell me this isn’t some weird revenge the “Survivor” crew was pulling on “The Amazing Race.”
Nadiya Anderson: Oh yes, I believe it. I cosign. I think Phil (Keoghan) got on the phone, and Phil and Jeff (Probst) had it out, and then they were like, “Get that bitch off.” (Laughs)
Holmes: It’s awful that you were stuck in the middle of it.
Anderson: It was! (Laughs)

Watch the Premiere of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur”

Holmes: Did you know your tribe was targeting you at all?
Anderson: It was a total blindside. I overlooked that. We had a tribe full of numb nuts. I figured with so many fools on my tribe that I’d be safe at least for the first voting.
Holmes: What kind of numb nuts behavior was going on around camp?
Anderson: Alec did our puzzle. Alec and Jaclyn…I knew we were doomed. And the fact that I was one of the strongest people in our camp, not just among the girls, I did so much more work than all the girls. I’m stronger physically and mentally, but that’s not saying much because I was voted off the damn island. But seeing who the competition was on my tribe, I figured they wouldn’t get rid of me.

Holmes: One of the things that was pointed out last night was you referring to Josh as one of the girls. Was that actually a big deal?
Anderson: It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t say he is a girl. I needed him for the numbers of the girl alliance. That’s the only reason I categorized him with the girls. I didn’t know Josh felt some kind of way about that. If I did I would have laid off. Me and Josh, he came up to me, we were good friends around camp. He was the one I had the most in common with.
Holmes: Any idea why Josh would vote for Baylor when it seemed like she was in his pocket?
Anderson: I think it was a mistake. I had no idea he was going to vote for the guys instead of us.

Holmes: It was odd to me that Val admitted to looking for things on Exile Island. Was Val trying to lead you guys to believe that she had an idol?
Anderson: She told me she had a clue and she showed me the clue. I knew when Val came back that we needed her. I told her as a tribe we weren’t going to vote her out because there’s a huge divide between the girls and the guys. I told her, “We need you. We’re going to keep you around.” But, we didn’t have time to look for the idol.

Holmes: Did you recognize John Rocker.
Anderson: No, I had no idea who that fool was. I watch cricket, not baseball. So, I had no idea who he was. That wouldn’t have deterred me from liking him or working with him. I probably would have tried to work with him more if I knew who he was.
Holmes: Was he doing foolish things around camp?
Anderson: He was so bros before hoes. He was not giving the time of day to talk to me. I remember I said, “John, let’s take this log back to camp.” And he was like, “No, Nadiya. I’m waiting for the guys to take the log back.” And I said, “Dude, I can carry this log with you, trust me.” He was aloof with the girls. And he loved the attention he was getting from the younger guys.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Josh.
Anderson: Queen. (Laughs)
Holmes: Val?
Anderson: Tricky.
Holmes: Jaclyn?
Anderson: Air head.
Holmes: Dale?
Anderson: Annoying.
Holmes: John Rocker?
Anderson: Fool.
Holmes: Alec?
Anderson: A pothead. (Laughs)
Holmes: Baylor?
Anderson: Thirsty.
Holmes: People who call you Natalie?
Anderson: Everybody. That’s fine, I don’t care.
Holmes: Wes?
Anderson: Corny, a redneck.
Holmes: And let’s finish with Natalie.
Anderson: Bestest Twinnie ever!

Holmes: What has the reaction been like from the “Amazing Race” community to you guys being on the show?
Anderson: We’re the first crossovers from “Amazing Race” to “Survivor.” People have been supportive, but people like Dale are like, “How come those bitches got the chance to be on ‘Survivor’?” (Laughs) It’s mixed, I think. And I think me getting kicked off first; some people are like, “Haha, Twinnies!” But, Natalie is still in it, so she gets to kick ass, while I did not.
Holmes: I hope Probst’s conspiracy doesn’t take her out as well.
Anderson: (Laughs) We’ll see. I think me getting kicked off is going to be the best thing to happen to her game. I hope she forgets about the million and she just goes for blood. She’s going to be going balls to the wall now.

Holmes: Now that you’ve done “Survivor” and “Amazing Race,” are you prepared to say that “Survivor” is way better.
Anderson: It’s definitely way harder. And if I had to choose between them, I’d want to do “Survivor” again.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur’ Episode 1 Recap: How Do You Spell Relief?

September 24, 2014

'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

[xfinity-record-button id=”6034085997813089112″ program_type=”series”]

And…we’re off.

Things kick off with everyone’s favorite host, Jeffrey Montgomery Probst in a sweet chopper high above San Juan del Sur.  The pairs of new contestants are below him trying to figure out how flint works. Quick thought; if you go on this show without knowing how flint works, you probably should have signed up for “Utopia.”

More like “U-dope-ia.” Am I right?

(Crickets)

Jaclyn is worried that everyone is going to hate her and Jon because they seem perfect. So that’s why everyone hates me…

Controversial MLB pitcher John Rocker lets us know that people call him a homophobic bigot. Well, he says he isn’t a bigot. Oh, but he doesn’t dispute “homophobic”?!

Reed and Josh manage to catch some crabs right off the bat. Josh says the Reed gave him flint as a gift. See, someone gets it.

The Twinnies Nadiya and not-Nadiya say a quick prayer, then they get to work not making fire.

Keith and Wes immediately lose the striker for their flint. Sounds about right.

Finally, Jeff says something about…

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

We start off with the duos arriving at Redemption Island a random arena.

Everyone has a good laugh as Keith and Wes admit that they lost their striker. Everyone also makes a mental note not to let them near the machete.

The tribes split up and take sides. Here’s what we’re working with…

The Hunahpu (wearing blue)

Drew – 25, Sales Rep
Jeremy – 36, Firefighter
Jon – 26, Financial Assistant
Julie – 34, Owner of Spray Tan Business
Keith – 53, Fire Captain

Kelley – 28, Marketing Manager
Missy – 47, Owner of Cheerleading Gym
Natalie – 28, Crossfit Coach
Reed – 31, Broadway Performer

The Coyopa (wearing yellow)

Alec – 22, Student
Baylor – 20, Student
Dale – 55, Farmer
Jaclyn – 25, Media Buyer
John – 39, Former MLB Pitcher
Josh – 32, Actor
Nadiya – 28, Crossfit Coach
Val – 35, Police Officer
Wes – 23, Firefighter

Fun Fact: I hate the word Hunahpu sooooooo much.

John Rocker says it’s like the Civil War, brother vs. brother. Hmmm…I wonder if Johnny would be a confederate or a union soldier. Keith recognizes Rocker and hopes he isn’t an “ass” anymore.

Reward Challenge Time: One person from each tribe will race through a wooden box and untangle a rope. They’ll then unhook a ring. They’ll use the ring to lasso a platform. They’ll do this process twice. First person to retrieve both platforms wins flint and beans. The loser of the challenge will be sent to Exile Island.

The blue tribe wins a rock/paper/scissors to decide who they will have compete. They pick Jeremy. Unfortunately, that means he has to square off against his wife.

The challenge starts off and there isn’t much to describe except for two people climbing around a box. Jeremy wins it easily. Someone just earned some time sleeping on the couch time when he gets home.

Jeremy gets to send someone from his own tribe to keep Val company. He chooses Keith…you know…the dude who was part of the team that lost their striker. I’m now questioning Jeremy’s intelligence.

We meet up with the blue crew at Hunahpupu Beach and Jeremy feels terrible about beating his wife in a challenge. It’s a challenge, dude. A game. I beat my girlfriend in Yahtzee and you didn’t see me crying about it…much.

Later, Jeremy, not-Nadiya, Missy, and Kelley decide to form an alliance. Missy says as someone who’s been divorced three times, that you have to trust your gut. What was your gut telling you the first three times?

Over at Copacabana, actual-Nadiya points out that they have a young tribe. Might not be good news for Dale.

When Dale’s getting water, he notices a weird emblem on the lid. It isn’t an idol, but he keeps it in case he’s in one of those old Sierra games like “King’s Quest” where you’re supposed to pick up everything that isn’t nailed down.

Coyopa has two crews working on fire. You’ve got the young-uns doing the old scrubbing technique, and Dale alone with his glasses. He breaks the glasses in half so he can use two lens at once. Sure enough, it works. Go Dale.

Over at Exile, Val and Keith both have to pick an urn. Val’s urn has an immunity clue inside, while Keith’s note is blank. She doesn’t share the clue with him, telling him it’s just generic stuff about camp. He doesn’t seem too concerned about it.

That feels like a mistake. Why wouldn’t you try to start something with Keith? You could then have an ally in Wes when you get back to camp.

Quick Aside: Couples should have a safe word they can use when they have a secret. Like if Val got back to camp and said, “Wes, we should align. Keith told me to tell you “Apricot.”

Later, they bond over the fact that Jeremy, Keith, and Wes are all firefighters. That’s not fair. If I’m on “Survivor” what are the odds I’m out there with Dalton Ross and Dru Moorhouse?

Back at Hunahpu, Drew is really playing the martyr over the work he’s putting into the shelter. Settle down, dude.

Julie doesn’t like the fact that Drew thinks he’s in charge. She says that she’s used to it because Rocker is type-A as well. In other news, “Duh.”

Over with the yellow fellows, Wes outs Rocker as a former MLB relief pitcher. John tries deny it, but it doesn’t hold. He asks Wes to keep it to himself. Rocker says that that he might target Wes because he knows his secret.

Also, Wes thinks there are five letters in “Rocker.” He swallowed the flint striker, didn’t he?

The next morning, Josh is having some kind of issue with his eye. C’mon, if military tough guy Shamar can live with an eye issue, so can you! Oh wait, Shamar quit over a grain of sand.

Next up, Jon tells us about his father, a “Survivor” fan who has an inoperable brain tumor. That’s terrible, buddy. I hope he’s on his couch watching you right now.

Immunity Challenge Time: Teams will race to the top of a giant tower. They’ll use a rope to scale the first part, pegs to scale the second, and imagination to scale the third. On top they’ll find a puzzle. First tribe to complete the puzzle wins immunity and flint.

The Survivors are ready, and they go. Things are pretty even during the early going. John has rope duty for Coyote, while Keith will throw for Hapapupu. John gets it first and yellow has a  lead. Drew takes over with the rope and finally hooks it for the blue crew.

The yellow crew has no problem with the pegs portion, but the blue team is starting to catch up.

For the final level, Rocker literally lets people climb him like a ladder to get to the top. Finally he leaps up himself. Impressive.

Yellow starts work on the puzzle with blue only a few people behind. They eventually reach the top of the tower.

With Julie leading the way, the blue team figures out the puzzle and wins immunity.

It’s all hugs and high fives back at casa de blue. Keith’s very impressed with how well the camp came together in his absence. Jeremy brings him aside and tries to start up a firemen alliance. Here’s hoping for a better name than “Fireman R Us.”

At Coyopa, Val immediately starts looking for the immunity idol.

Meanwhile, Dale calls actual-Nadiya, “Natalie.” Who the hell is Natalie? Actually, I think I’m going to retire that joke because it’s confusing me.

Wes, Dale, and Josh all want to target Nadiya because they’ve seen her backstab people on “Amazing Race.”

Later, Nadiya tries to make an alliance with Josh. She also calls him a girl. He doesn’t like that.

Val, Jaclyn, Nadiya, and Baylor realize they need one guy to jump. Nadiya is sure that Josh is with them. They decide to target Dale because they’ll get flint at Tribal.

Baylor doesn’t care who she votes for as long as she votes with Josh.

That night at Tribal Council, fire equals life. Seriously.

Rocker is bummed that they’re at Tribal. He doesn’t think there’s an obvious obnoxious person to vote out. Is that like poker where if you can’t tell who the mark is, it’s you?

Nadiya isn’t ready to make the decision and she’s going to vote based on attitudes and what they’re bringing to the team.

She also says that “Survivor” is so different from “Amazing Race” because “Survivor” doesn’t give you a map and tell you what to do. Also, “Survivor” is totally awesome.

Val thinks it’s stressful because she hasn’t had time to form relationships. She then says that she had time to find things at Exile. Uh…that probably wasn’t smart.

Jaclyn thinks there’s a bro-lliance.

Dale points out that he sacrificed his glasses to start fire.

Wes thinks that Josh is the most liked member of the tribe.

Nadiya says that she thinks Josh is one of the girls. Probst asks if it’s because he’s gay. Nadiya says she’d never have a straight guy be her “girlfriend.” Is that reverse homophobic? heterophobic? I’m lost. Let’s move on.

Voting Time: Rocker votes for Nadiya, Nadiya votes for Dale, and the rest are sooper secret.

J-Pro leaves and shows us that he still has mad tallying skills even twenty nine season later. We’ve got one vote for Nadiya, one vote for Dale, one vote for Baylor, one vote for Dale, one vote for Nadiya, one vote for Dale, one vote for Nadiya, one vote for Nadiya, and the first person to be eliminated from “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” is…Nadiya.

Verdict: THANK GOODNESS! I was scared to death of having to recap after the merge with Nadiya and Natalie wearing the same color buffs. Bullet dodged.

Otherwise, first episodes tend to be a lot of getting to know eighteen people at once. Can’t wait to see where it goes.

Also, why would Josh vote for Baylor? What’d we miss?

Who’s Going to Win? My pre-season pick Jeremy’s got a solid alliance. I’m sticking with him.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

‘Big Brother’ Star Jeff Schroeder to Host Two CBS Reality TV Recaps

September 24, 2014

Jeff Schroeder and Jordan Lloyd (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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OK, “Big Brother” is ending tonight and “Survivor” is beginning. Also, this Friday marks the premiere of “The Amazing Race.”

Wait, “Amazing Race” isn’t on Sunday anymore? And why are “The Amazing Race’s” Twinnies on “Survivor”? And why are “Survivor’s” Keith and Whitney on “The Amazing Race”?

So confusing. Fortunately, CBS’s new reality maven (although he doesn’t like that title) Jeff Schroeder will be able to clear up all of these mysteries and more when he takes the reins of CBS.com’s “Survivor Live” and the new show “CBS Reality Remix.”

I spoke with the former “Big Brother” and “Amazing Race” contestant shortly after the announcement of the new shows and had a chance to ask him about his new gig, his hosting style, and what the “Big Brother” house really smells like…

Gordon Holmes: Now what’s this I hear about you having a big announcement today?
Jeff Schroeder: Well, I have two big announcements, actually. I’m going to be doing two shows on CBS.com, one the “Survivor Live” show which is awesome because I’m a huge fan. And then, we’re going to be doing, kind of like a best-of thing for “Survivor” and “Amazing Race,” kind of like what’s viral for that week and the hot topics. I couldn’t be more excited.
Holmes: “Survivor” Hall of Famer Parvati Shallow was the previous host of “Survivor Live,” so you’re stepping into some pretty big shoes. What new things do you bring to the table?
Schroeder: I’m definitely not trying to fill any shoes. She was a master of the game, one of the best to play ever. And she brings a different angle than I do. I’m bringing more of a fan’s perspective. I’m a fan of the show; I’ve never played that game. I have an interesting perspective having played “Big Brother” and “The Amazing Race.” I think the questions that I have are going to be closer to the fans’ questions as opposed to being inside the game. I’m going to be more of a fan, which is great because we want interaction with the fans.

Holmes: What’re your early thoughts on the return of the “Blood vs. Water” twist?
Schroeder: The first thought that goes in is the layers to the voting. I’m a recent fan to “Survivor.” I watched the last five or six seasons and “Blood vs. Water” one with Hayden (Moss) from “Big Brother” was one of them. And I was a huge fan. But the voting process from “Blood vs. Water” to regular “Survivor,” it’s a lot different to have your loved one there. I could relate to that, because every reality show I’ve done with CBS, I’ve had my loved one there. I can relate to the thinking process.
Holmes: Say you’re out there with your new fiancee Jordan…you think you could vote her out?
Schroeder: (Laughs) No matter what happens she’d make it further than me. I don’t know if I could vote her out.
Holmes: Who do you like from the new cast?
Schroeder: I was a big fan of John Rocker. I’m an older guy, so I want to see his antics. That’s the big thing I’m looking forward to. I’m hoping he stays in the game a little bit longer and gets crazy like John Rocker does.
Holmes: As a Cardinals fan, you won’t catch me supporting John Rocker.
Schroeder: (Laughs) It’s reality TV! You want to see the outbursts. And I think John Rocker is going to bring those moments. And a younger audience, who may not know who John Rocker is, hopefully this gives them a bit of a surprise.

Holmes: Now speaking of Jordan, not everyone gets to propose on national television. What was that process like?
Schroeder: It was a couple of months coming. We had this idea floating around for a while. And working with CBS, and Fly on the Wall, “Big Brother,” and CBS.com, it was a team effort for sure. We finally whittled it down to a date and that last week was just craziness. It was a total surprise. Jordan thought we were going to host a competition. I had her family fly in, my family fly in, I was juggling all that. People are texting me, it was a super stressful day. And Jordan had no clue. I had no idea how she didn’t find out. Then the day of was just amazing. The yard looked awesome. She was totally shocked. Everyone did a great job. Then we had Brett Eldredge come in and sing that song. It was just a perfect song. It was the perfect day. We’ve watched it 100 times at least. The way it happened, we were so blown away that we almost missed the moment.
Holmes: I’m picturing the biggest day of your life. You’re very nervous. You enter the house for your special moment…and you come face to face with that smell.
Schroeder: (Laughs)
Holmes: Did that almost ruin the mood?
Schroeder: They’d just made lunch and they’d been in there a long time. The smell was a combination of sandwiches and feet. I’d been in there twice, I feel their pain. Other people have told me, “When you guys leave, it stinks in there.” I was giving them a hard time. Cody was mortified. But, it lightened the mood.
Holmes: This is perfect for you. “Survivor” players are used to smelling bad.
Schroeder: Exactly! The more I grow, the more I learn.

Holmes: Alright, break out your crystal ball. “Big Brother” finale tonight. What’s going to happen?
Schroeder: Derrick’s going to win that final HOH challenge. And I don’t think he’s going to take his boy Cody. He’s going to take Victoria and they’re going to be the final two. Cody is going to be bitter, but Derrick is going to reveal his inner workings in the house. He’s going to reveal that he’s a police officer. I don’t think Victoria has a chance against Derrick…or even Cody. So, I think Derrick wins the money. Cody will be upset that he takes third. Victoria will take second. And Donny takes home America’s Favorite.
Holmes: When it’s all said and done, where do you think Derrick will rank amongst the all-time champs?
Schroeder: In my eyes, in getting to know the game and watching him play. His moves were so calculated.  He’d walk into a room and someone would be thinking one thing, and he’d make them think what he wanted them think. I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe the closest is Dan or Dr. Will. So, I’d put Derrick definitely in the top five of game players of all time.

Holmes: So, now that you’re the go-to guy for CBS reality, do you get an official title? Like a reality maven?
Schroeder: (Laughs) Just Jeff works for me. I’m a regular guy and I think that’s why I can relate to these shows and the people who watch these shows are like me. I can speak for them and ask the questions they want to ask. And with social media I can get their exact questions. And if the people have any questions for the “Survivor” castaways they can use the hashtag “#survivorlive.”

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” and the 90-minute finale of “Big Brother” starting on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

Official ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur’ Pre-Season Rankings

September 24, 2014

'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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The first “Blood vs. Water” season was like nothing we’d ever seen before. The crazytown rules made for some impossible to anticipate results. Who ever thought they’d vote out someone in an attempt to make their loved one take their place at Redemption Island? Who ever thought having a loved one would be a liability? Who ever thought someone would quit in an effort to stop their loved one from taking their place?

The mind boggles.

And here we are, preparing for a second “Blood vs. Water” that has no Redemption Island, no returnees, and more men than women due to a last-second medical evacuation.

Fortunately, as last season’s 17th place finisher Spencer Bledsoe and 18th place finisher Tony Vlachos will tell you, I don’t have a high standards to live up to with my pre-game rankings. So by all means, take the following statements with a truckload of salt.

Note: Betting on XFINITY “Survivor” Pre-Game Rankings is frowned upon.

  1. Jeremy – Firemen are the new beauty queens! We’ve got a team on “The Amazing Race” and three (count ’em!) on this season. Hook and ladder alliance for the win! Seriously though, Jeremy gets my pre-season jinx this year because he’s old enough to hang with the oldies, but young enough to get along with the kids. He’s deceptively athletic. He’s laid back. And best of all, I loved the way he deferred to his wife during his TVGN interview. That’s the kind of person who can blend and go far.
  2. Val – The Foxboro duo are probably the most formidable Blood vs. Water pair ever. They both bring a ton of good qualities to the table. Val’s fit, she’s smart, and she’s got that special cop sixth-sense. She can read when people are lying. And, as a mother, she has to be patient. I expect good things from these two.
 3. Reed – Listen up, Reed. I saw “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” on Broadway. I saw the Green Goblin and the rest of the Sinister Six sing “A Freak Like Me Needs Company.” I’m not happy about it. But, I’m not going to hold it against you. I know you just swung over my head, you didn’t produce, write, or direct it. So, why are you so high on this list? Well, as an aerialist, I’m thinking you perform well under pressure. You clearly know a thing or two about the game. And, I think your tribe is going to do well in challenges before the swap. You should have tons of options.
  4. Kelley – Oh man, if you were to feed every “Survivor” bio since the beginning of time into a machine and had it pick out the perfect average one, it’d probably be Kelley’s. Pretty, blonde, athletic, in her 20s, hates lazy people, thinks she’s the next Parvati, claims to be “competitive” on three separate occasions. Don’t get me wrong, she not a bad pick to win this thing because she doesn’t have any obvious flaws, but…zzz…
 5. Missy – I actually like Missy a lot. She’s going to be on a young tribe, but she deals with young people all the time. If she can turn off the coach part of her personality and relate to her tribemates as a peer, she should do well.   6. Dale – So, Dale is a hard worker who spends most of his time by himself. Sounds like a “Survivor” social disaster waiting to happen, right? Not necessarily. He isn’t going to be leading any alliances, but if he can keep his head down and get in with some movers and shakers he could be sticking around to the end.
 7. Nadiya – Were Jet and Cord busy? Were the Globetrotters on tour? I kid, I kid…the Twinnies are fine, they just wouldn’t have been my “Amazing Race” first choices. OK, one of the things I don’t think anyone is talking about is the fact that their “Race” experience could serve them well in Nicaragua. They won’t be stressed out or overwhelmed by all the cameras surrounding them at all times. They’ll be used it. And, they’ve been competing in stressful competitions for years.
  8. Natalie – I just thought of this; what if both of the Twinnies make it to the merge and then pull off some challenge switcharoo stuff like the twins in the movie “Moving”? What if they end up on opposite alliances, and then pretend to be the other twin to get intel? That’s it. Next time, cast an all-twin “Blood vs. Water.”

 9. Julie – Johnny Rocker is a big dude with some big opinions. I’d imagine the woman who spends her life with him must know a thing or two about dealing with egos. I think a lot of people are going to underestimate Julie, and that makes her dangerous.
  10. WesOh…where do I start with you? You say you’re going to have women under your wing like Russell Hantz. Well, there’s only one Russell Hantz, kid, and it ain’t you. You seem like a nice guy and Russell’s strategy depended on him being a not-nice guy. Russell’s a cult leader. That requires a certain level of gravitas. You’re a little young for that. Your best bet is to play second fiddle to someone with a little more charisma.
 11. Josh – Hmmm…Reed doesn’t think Josh has a very good poker face. That might not be a big deal, seeing as they spend so much time together and Reed has had time to learn the intricacies of Josh’s face. But it is troublesome. He’s also on a tribe with John Rocker and some other people who don’t strike me as Broadway fans. That’s equally troublesome.
 12. Jon – Jon seems like a nice, athletic guy who will do well in challenges and make some friends and probably be the first one gone after the merge. Especially if Jaclyn starts pushing the “We need to win so we can start a family” narrative. Nobody wants to stand up against that at the final Tribal, so they’ll be gone long before then.
  13. Alec – Just having Drew around is going to be good for Alec’s game. Alec seems like a less-threatening, less-arrogant version of his brother. So, as long as Drew is around, Alec should be safe. I don’t think he has the killer instinct to take this whole thing, but this Mini Me should do better than his Doctor Evil.
 14. John – It’s easy to write John Rocker off because of his controversial comments. But honestly, most of the players will probably judge him based on how he presents himself in the game. Now, if he hasn’t grown a filter over the years and spews the same garbage, he might not last long. But, like him or not, the guy’s a world-class athlete and has experience performing in stressful situations. Does that mean I think he has a chance of winning? Well…honestly, I don’t. He doesn’t seem that psyched about being on the show. He doesn’t seem to give himself much of a chance of winning. So, why should I?
  15. Drew – I can’t quite figure out who’s going to lead Drew’s tribe. I see Keith on the outs early, Reed, Kelley, Jeremy, and Missy are too smart to be the leader, Jon and Natalie are a little too goofy, and Julie is going to overcompensate for being John Rocker’s girlfriend by being super nice. So does Drew, the man who can “pull off the unthinkable with ease” step up? And does it drive everyone crazy? I’m thinking yes.
 16. Baylor – I think the only young person I’ve ever picked to do well in this game was Sophie Clarke, and that’s because she’s an old soul. I think Baylor clearly has the athletic chops to do well in this game, but I don’t think she has enough life experience to top her older competition in the social game.
  17. Jaclyn – The “Survivor” contestant Jaclyn thinks she’s most like is Jefra from “Survivor: Cagayan.” Let that one sink in for a minute. There have been over 400 Survivors to play this game, and she chose the one who had next to no impact on her season. That’s like saying the holiday you’re most like is Arbor Day. Or the Peanuts character you’re most like is Frieda. Or the pizza topping you’re most like is extra sauce.
 18. Keith – Lookit that mustache! That’s a beaut! Not since the days of Rick Nelson have we seen something like that saunter into the game. Seriously though, I like him a lot more than I like Wes, but I worry that he’s only here because his son wanted to be on “Survivor.” Add that to the fact that’s he’s the oldest member of a young tribe and you have a recipe for an early dismissal. Of course, with my track record, Keith will probably win the whole thing.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

Eleven Things I Love About ‘Big Brother’ (And One Thing I’d Change)

September 23, 2014

'Big Brother' (CBS)

It isn’t exactly breaking news to admit that I’m a “Survivor” guy through and through. I’ve been to the set of “Survivor” on several occasions, I have Malcolm Freberg’s personal number in my phone (sorry, ladies), and I have a tattoo of Jeff Probst’s face on my left ankle.

OK, that last one is a lie.

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But my love for “Survivor” is true. And for that reason, I thought I could never be a “Big Brother” guy. With the crazy sets, the confusing rules, the weird competitions, and the yelling during confessionals? No way.

Then Rachel Reilly and CBS challenged me to the “Big Brother” Power Rankings and I was forced to watch every episode. I had to look beyond the silliness and try to devise strategies and figure out individual motivations. And at some point when Zach was screaming at a camera or when Victoria was arrogantly tilting her head or when Caleb said “Daggum” for the hundredth time I realized I was starting to care about these people.

So, apparently Derrick is my Richard Hatch, Nicole is my Colleen Haskell, and I’m kind of hooked on “Big Brother.”

In an effort to explain this unexpected phenomenon, I’ve put together a list of the things that turned the tide and the one thing I’d I change about the show if I had the Power of Veto…

Watch Full Episodes of ‘Big Brother’ on Your Computer!

1.    Alliance Names – OK, I’d like to preface this by saying “The Hitmen” is a pretty stupid team name. But, the fact that these names exist and are embraced is hilarious. Listening to Caleb beam with pride as he says “I created the Bomb Squad” never failed to crack me up. I expect to see that on his resume someday.

2.    Ridiculous Punishments – Nicole in her Germitard and Caleb and Victoria tethered together were pretty funny. But watching Cody stalk around in his dinosaur costume was priceless.

3.    No Host (Most of the Time) – “Survivor: One World,” featured a few challenges without host Jeff Probst. It was way awkward. Fortunately it didn’t survive the season. However, when “Big Brother” has a houseguest dress up and host a challenge, it tends to be adorable.

4.    No “Winner’s Edit” – Savvy viewers of “Survivor” have learned that if a person isn’t getting much screen time, they’re probably not going to win. With “Big Brother” this isn’t a problem because nobody knows who is going to take the top prize.

5.    Zingbot! – Before I accepted this challenge from CBS, Zingbot was the only “Big Brother” thing I was particularly fond of. And I’m happy to say that he (she?) did not disappoint this season. Ziiiiiing!

6.    Gameplay – I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet that Derrick is going to be $500,000 richer on Wednesday night. The show has done a great job showing us all of the big and not-so-big moves that should land him that fat check. Seriously, I wanted to high five my TV when he knew he had to get rid of Nicole after she complimented his game.

7.    Blood on Your Hands – In “Survivor” a person can be sent packing and never know who was responsible for their exit. The Head of Household angle lets the evictee know exactly who  put them on the chopping block.

8.    Brittany – What? Don’t judge me…

9. Taunts in the Opening – Wrestling video games always have a special button that will let your character do their signature taunt. Hulk Hogan cups his hand to his ear, John Cena waves his hand in front of his face, and the Undertaker kneels and thrusts his palm to the sky. I like to think that’s what the “Big Brother” contestants are doing in the opening.

10. Team America – I didn’t care for this concept at first. But, the stolen goods challenge caused the house turning against Zach when they thought he was the saboteur. And, the pretend rat challenge led to Cody spending the evening standing on a chair. Awesome.

11.    TVGN’s “Big Brother After Dark” – Like I said above, I’ve been on location to “Survivor” on several occasions. While we’re there, we get to visit the tribe camps. It’s usually pretty boring, but at the same time it’s kind of fascinating. This feeling is perfectly recreated with “Big Brother After Dark.” I might not have learned much about the game, but I learned a ton about the players and how they interact with each other. You’ll never get me to admit how much time I spent watching them play pool this summer. But, let’s just say I’ve seen more ads for “The Sorrentinos” than any human should have to endure.

And the one thing I’d change…

1.    Make the Reigning HOH Eligible for All HOH Competitions – One of the best parts of “Survivor” is the fact that even if you’re down seven votes to one, you can still save yourself with an immunity win. That isn’t true on “Big Brother.” If you’re the reigning HOH and you aren’t put on the block and you aren’t picked to compete in the POV competition, you can be voted out with ever having a chance to save yourself.

It’s a minor change, but I think it’s one worth implementing. But either way, I’ll be watching next summer.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Don’t miss the 90-minute finale of “Big Brother” this Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Watch Full Episodes of ‘Big Brother’ on Your Computer!

‘Big Brother’ Power Rankings – And-the-Winner-Is… Edition

September 23, 2014

'Big Brother' (CBS)

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Victoria is voted out this week, Rachel will receive 3 points and Team XFINITY will receive 2 points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Big Brother” Power Rankings Challenge Champion!

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Last Week: Gordon and Rachel both had Frankie in spot five. So, the current score is Team Rachel 117, Team Gordon 111.

However, Gordon has decided to admit defeat, seeing as there is no way to top Rachel’s score. So, the 2014 XFINITY “Big Brother” Power Rankings Champion is Rachel Reilly!

Let’s check in with the new champ…

Gordon Holmes: You’ve dominated this whole season. I’m throwing in the towel. I’m tapping out. Do you want to be known as the XFINITY “Big Brother” Power Rankings Champion or the XFINITY “Big Brother” Power Rankings Beast Mode Cowgirl?
Rachel Reilly: I think I clearly have to be known as XFINITY’s Beast Mode Cowgirl. And Gordon, don’t you know “NOBODY COMES BETWEEN ME AND MY XFINITY DOMINATION SKILLS!” Plus you can’t take on a “Big Brother: champ, everyone that does gets evicted. 😉

Holmes: Fair enough. I’ve enjoyed this season a lot. But, it’s really my first rodeo. As someone who’s an expert, where does this season rank among the previous seasons? (With the season you won being first, of course.)
Reilly: I really like this season, it’s one of my favorites in a long time. The cast was amazing, it was hard to root for someone to go home, every week I wanted them to both stay. The cast was entertaining, even people that argue that there was no gameplay have to give it up for the personalities. There was gameplay, Derrick took control early on and people liked him and trusted him. Frankie played his lil’ heart out and we saw him killing comps and up to his eviction he was playing the game. Caleb was amazing at comps also even if he was Derrick’s pawn he stayed loyal to a fault, I think we will see Cody stay loyal to Derrick til’ the end also. I think this season will always be talked about as one of the best.

Holmes: Speaking of Derrick, do you think there was any point where someone could have stepped up and challenged his dominance?
Reilly: I think if the girls alliance would have made a move earlier in the game and actually done something they could have taken Derrick out, however NO ONE wanted too. Also to do this they would have had to have Nicole, Amber, Brittany, Christine and maybe pulled a few guys to their side. The girls just didn’t want to make a move against the boys. They were very trusting of them and assumed the boys wouldn’t go after all the girls. This wasn’t a smart game move. There was also a chance that Frankie, Zach, and Caleb could have gone up against Derrick, Cody, and Victoria and they would have taken them out most likely but Frankie didn’t feel comfortable working with Zach and Caleb never really trusted Frankie after the Amber thing. Even if this all would have played out I think we would still see Derrick in the final three, he’s just likeable and a smart gamer.

Holmes: What’s next on your agenda now that you have a Power Rankings championship under your belt?
Reilly: Well now that I am the Power Rankings champ…I plan to take over the Power Rankings world! (hehe) If only there were a Power Rankings $500k prize! 🙂
Holmes: I’ll work on that for next season.

Watch Full Episodes of ‘Big Brother’ on Your Computer!

Quick Note: “Big Brother” is always going on. These Rankings were handed in Monday.

Rachel’s Score = 117

Any advice for Rachel? Drop her a line on Twitter: @RachelEReilly and follow her on Instagram: @RachelEReillyVillegas

Team XFINITY’s Score = 111

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Derrick – Derrick will win “Big Brother 16.” He’s really earned his place amongst the winners and I think he will be talked about as one of the best winners in “Big Brother” history. I don’t know that anyone would ever doubt his game play or his BB skills.
  1. Derrick – It’s like I said in my piece about why I’m now a “Big Brother” fan; Derrick is this season’s Richard Hatch. In Richard Hatch’s final competition, it didn’t matter who won because he was going to be taken to the end and he was going to win. The only way that doesn’t happen is if Cody realizes how much the jury loves Derrick. But, if he can’t see that while the jury is in the house, he’s not going to see it when they’re out.
 2. Cody – Cody MOST likely will be #2 and the winner of a brand new 50k! And I am OK with that! I would be disappointed if Victoria won 2nd but if Cody’s the runner up I can handle that. I thought that there was a chance that Victoria would be taken to final two and that the boys would be dumb not to take her but with Cody and Derrick in the final three I think that Cody knows Derrick will win and is OK with that. He’s loyal to the end. If Cody won the final HOH and took Victoria then he would deserve the 500k because that would be the biggest move of the season
  2. Victoria – I think Victoria has a 2/3rds chance of making it to the final two. Either she’ll become the final HOH (stop laughing), or Derrick will win and take her along. I know it’s bad form to stab your fellow Hitman in the back, but taking Victoria is a guaranteed win.
 3. Victoria – Victoria, well…I’ll actually be happy to see her go home third! This is a third placer that I wouldn’t be disappointed in going. It’s like in season 13 when Adam went home third. He didn’t play the game really all season so you only wanted him to go to the final two if the winner needed a guaranteed win. Victoria has done LESS then Adam!
  3. Cody – Like I said above, there is only one path that has Cody accepting a $500K check, and it involves sending Derrick packing. I don’t think Cody will do this because I don’t think he appreciates how much the jury likes and respects Derrick. It’s going to be a rough night for Cody, he’s gonna lose out on big bucks, and he’s going to have to avoid Christine’s husband.

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‘Survivor’ Fave Spencer Bledsoe’s ‘San Juan del Sur’ Pre-Season Rankings

September 19, 2014

Spencer Bledsoe (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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Predicting “Survivor” is not a perfect art. You try to line up people who you think have the attributes necessary to make a run at the million, but there are just too many variables to account for everything.

Sometimes the honorable, potential challenge stud tries to sneak beef jerky into the game and is promptly shown the door.

Sometimes the school teacher who just wanted a CBS-funded vacation goes on a challenge streak.

And sometimes someone like Spencer Bledsoe, a person that “Survivor” host and executive producer Jeff Probst thought had a 0% chance of doing well in the game, dominates and almost wins the whole thing.

(Not that I’m making fun of Mr. Probst, I had the chess champ ranked 17th out of 18.)

So, it only seems fair that since Mr. Bledsoe proved us wrong during last season that we give him an opportunity to show us how it’s done…

  1. Jeremy – “This is a show about people from different walks of life.” Jeff Probst likes saying that more than “you’ve gotta dig deep.” He likes saying that more than he likes criticizing contestants’ challenge performances. He likes it more than screaming the last name of his newest chiseled man-crush (now taking bets on whether it’s “MISCH!” or “ROCKER!” this season). The point is that walk of life is key, and Jeremy is in an ideal walk of life to excel in “Survivor.” He is 36 years old. What’s the average age of his tribe? 34.2. He played arena football, so he will benefit from an athletic history, but now he’s a firefighter – someone stereotypically fit, community-oriented, and non-threatening. I would suspect he was engineered in a lab to be the perfect “Survivor” player if it weren’t for his completely organic likability. Maybe it’s just because I was in an alliance with someone named Jeremy, but this young lad is already aboard the bandwagon.
  2. Kelley – Nothing about Kelley jumps off the page. She’s a sociable, attractive marketing manager who’s transitioned from small farm town to big city and joins the ever-growing club of players who list Parvati as the “Survivor” they’re most like. Yet, Kelley is as well rounded as reality contestants come, and I am high on her based on a simple tenet – “Survivor” casts a lot of nut jobs. Any given season, there are enough extreme personalities that only a handful of feasible winners remain. Kelley, in my opinion, is guaranteed to be one of them: I’d bet the farm that she turns out as balanced, even-keeled and personable as her interviews suggest. I don’t necessarily think we’re going to watch episode one and realize Kelley is the second coming of Kim Spradlin, but we’re also not going to watch episode one and realize Kelley is crazy. In “Survivor,” not being crazy is more than half the battle.
 3. Val – You’ll notice a theme on my list: Pairs tend to land near the same ranking, particularly in strong “water” relationships like a decade-long marriage. Val probably informs a lot of Jeremy’s personality and approach to the game, and vice-versa. She comes off every bit as authentic and likable as her husband, and seems like someone anybody could feasibly relate to. In my eyes, Val is set up to be a ‘good-cop’ version of Tony Vlachos. One of Tony’s biggest strengths is that he sneaks up on you; he’s a loud, brash Jersey-talking personality, and it’s easy to write him off without realizing just how cunning he is underneath. (Absolutely necessary note: Gordon had Tony last in his Cagayan preseason Power Rankings). Val could be similarly underestimated. She isn’t an imposing physical force and her self-described squeaky voice won’t intimidate. But by season’s end, Val could prove herself a wolf in sheep clothing.
  4. Reed – I can see it now: John Rocker’s lips quivering as he turns to face his tribe, his eyes glistening as he fights to be strong, to quell the salty, teary streams cascading down his cheeks and to escape the image of Reed manhandling him in a physical challenge – an image now seared into his mind. What’s so tantalizing is that this could very well happen; Reed is a gay New Yorker and former Broadway “Spider-Man” physically fit enough to best anyone in a challenge, even John Rocker. He’ll be indispensable to his tribe’s challenge efforts early on, and should be able to coast to the merge without hassle. Beyond fitness, I love his energy, I love that he’s a “Survivor” diehard and I’d love to see him win.
 5. Natalie – There’s something to Nadiya and her sister. They’re more than just good television, they deserve to be taken seriously, and I think they could make a real run at “Survivor.” They might just enjoy the best of both worlds within the Blood vs. Water twist: They can call on superpowers of connectedness if and when they pair up, but also benefit from playing individually in the beginning. When Natalie says their blood runs thicker than others’, I believe her, and in an endgame situation the sisters are a lock to stay unified. Yet, they’ll get to play the early tribal phase of the game without the baggage of being attached at the hip. Split up, they promise to be both less threatening and less annoying than if they started together. Welcome to the season of the twinnies.   6. Nadiya – At first I was hard-pressed to choose one twinnie over the other, but then I realized Natalie has far more Twitter followers. Since Twitter follower count has nearly perfect correlation with “Survivor” skill, Nadiya takes the backseat to her sister.
 7. Jaclyn – What I love about this couple is their purpose. Jon and Jaclyn have a compelling reason for playing “Survivor”: The money could make a tangible, meaningful impact on their potential plans of surrogacy. Most contestants vaguely say they’re playing “for the adventure/experience/competition/to find themselves,” but Jaclyn is concrete. She’s playing for the money, and she knows what she wants to do with the money. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s better equipped to play than others, but I believe it does mean I can trust her to play for first. When others might play conservatively and let windows of opportunity come and go, I trust Jaclyn to go for broke and take her shots. It may not ever be a good idea to imbibe the principles of Reese Bobby from “Talladega Nights,” but in “Survivor,” it’s true that “if you ain’t first, you’re last.”
  8. Jon – If you combined the three amigos from “Survivor: Caramoan,” I think the result would look a lot like Jon. He brims with positive, unassuming energy like Eddie Fox. His eyes shine with golden retriever puppy eagerness reminiscent of Reynold Toepfer. He even seems to bring the tact of former Power-Ranker Malcolm Freberg to the table, talking at length in his pregame interviews about the possibility of forming a couple’s alliance. Jon’s main hurdle could be that he seems too polished; people will fear him, both for his potential to team up with Jaclyn and for his physical and mental savvy. My unfortunate prediction is that despite having all the tools to win, Jon will quickly run out of allies willing to bro down with him post-merge.

 9. Missy – Missy strikes me as an extremely youthful 47. She’s an ‘older’ woman who spends every day with 150 to 200 little monsters in a competitive cheerleading gym, and who I’m guessing is adept at interacting with people of all ages. She seems to have accomplished a lot in opening the gym and “being ‘on’ 24/7” to run it, as she puts it. I could imagine that experience segueing perfectly into “Survivor,” another environment that calls for being ‘on’ 24/7, and for that reason Missy is a favorite of mine.
  10. JoshI’ll preface this by saying I have no good reason for ranking Josh this low. None. But I have some bad reasons: The only thing worse than saying the “Survivor” you’re most like is Russell, Boston Rob, or Parvati is saying “there hasn’t been any one like me.” 424 people have played “Survivor” before you! Pick one!!! Despite this bio pet peeve, Josh earns forgiveness for playing Settlers of Catan, and should have a good mind for the game as the first member of his family to earn a master’s degree. His biggest weakness, ironically, could be the strength of his partner. I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh were ultimately voted out in an attempt to cut the legs out from under a threatening Reed, Baskauskas brothers style.
 
 11. Alec – What strikes me in the Christy brothers’ pregame interviews is that Drew seems to dictate the conversation. The admittedly brief clips of video we have show Alec adopting a more eased, stereotypical younger brother role. He allows Drew to interject opinions and second-guess him while articulating himself calmly throughout. That isn’t to say Alec isn’t aggressive; he defends himself and owns his strengths. With so many type-A personalities on “Survivor,” however, Alec’s ability to restrain himself and listen more than he speaks could prove invaluable, and make him a dark horse with more social backbone than your typical 22-year-old.
 12. Dale – A dogmatic advocate of hard work, I expect Dale to bring strong opinions to “Survivor”. He’s not in it for Twitter and Instagram; he seems to be playing for his relationship with his daughter, for a paycheck, and because he genuinely likes the show. You have to love a guy who goes back over a decade and references Big Tom as the player he’s most like. Dale is far older than the rest of his tribe, though, and he seems to be very no-nonsense and task-oriented. My fear is that he’ll march to the beat of his own vintage drum, and his tribe will be playing EDM. Dale’s upside is being a more likable Rupert who can provide outdoorsman skill and build a shelter that actually functions. His downside is being too set in his ways to enjoy that shelter for long.
  13. Baylor – My people. This season has few near-college-aged players and few young, hot girls. While on another season Baylor might have more company in this respect, in San Juan Del Sur she’ll have to carry her demographical torches alone, and that’s my biggest knock against her. She may just have enough life experience from living through three divorces and following her musical passions to hit the ground running and keep up anyway. Baylor’s success, though, could depend on her being aggressive enough to rally those who are nearer her walk of life – Alec, Wes, Jaclyn, and Nadiya – and get an alliance started quickly.
 14. Julie – This is a game about decision-making, and Julie is a woman who decided to date John Rocker. Being tethered to captain “speak English” can’t help her, but even so, if her cast mates give her a fair shot to integrate, I think Julie goes from thoroughly tanned dark horse to underestimated threat to win. She gets my kudos for her willingness to vote out her boyfriend; the precedent of the first Blood vs. Water suggests this is a game format much easier played individually. Add that Julie has a talent for reading people and making them feel comfortable in running her small business, and I think there’s a chance, albeit slim, that we’re looking at a breakout player.
  15. Drew – “Really what’s at stake is there’s no surf boards here. And uh… I’m missing out on some surfing and some partying back in Florida, or New York, or wherever else I’d be. What’s at stake is really nothing.” Despite being the ultimate hypocrite and knocking the guy for his pregame interview, I do like Drew. I’ll be rooting for him to figure out that there are at least one million things at stake before he finds himself searching for waves at ponderosa.
 16. Keith – Louisiana outdoorsman. Elder of the Hunahpu tribe. Long shot. I hope I’m wrong, but I get the sense this is an adventure Wes dragged his dad along for, and not one Keith has thought much about. He seems primed for a healthy father-son competition, and could be an early asset to his tribe (he mentions hunting and fishing a combined six times in his bio). Ultimately, though, I don’t envision him spearheading any strong alliances. None of his tribe mates are similar to him in age, love of cigars, or region of the country.
  17. Wes – Like his dad, Wes is a hunter, fisher, and beer drinker with a colorful personality and a knack for humorous, southern accented sound bites. There’s a lot to like about Wes, and he’s a big “Survivor” fan to boot. But then there’s his bio answer to ‘”Survivor” Contestant You Are Most Like’: “Ozzy and Russell Hantz because I’ll dominate challenges and have girls under my wings making them think I will take them to the end.” Strike one, strike two, strike three and you’re out. This line shattered my faith that Wes will be skilled at the social game. On the other hand, it ignited my faith that he’ll be Zane Knight 2.0 – an entertaining early boot and fantastic “Survivor” character.
 18. John – When ranking someone last, one must ask the critical question: Will this player be worse at “Survivor” than Kassandra McQuillen? I believe this is the man who could pull it off. But even if he can’t, John Rocker will have to overcome Rocker-sized obstacles if he wants to pull off a win. He’ll have to convince a jury to award $1 million to a former professional athlete – one whose public image puts any “Survivor” villain to non-shame. To top it all off, Rocker doesn’t even seem excited to play, calling a hypothetical win a “feather in the cap.” Now it’s time to take Jeff Probst’s words and pay it forward like Mike Skupin would: John Rocker has zero chance of winning this game.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.


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