‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame: ‘Survivor’ Press Names Their Top Tribal Councils

'Survivor' Hall of Fame Press Corps

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 “Survivor” Hall of Fame is proud to have the “Survivor” press corps as a part of the Executive Voting Committee. As members of this exclusive committee, these gentlemen (along with Host Jeff Probst and other “Survivor” luminaries) will nominate their three favorite Tribal Councils.

Then, from Monday, December 8, 2014 at 10 am ET through Friday December 12, 2014 at 5 pm ET, the top three Tribal Councils will be chosen by a fan vote.

NOTE: All of the nominations were requested at the same time, so some Tribal Councils may be nominated more than once.

Gordon Holmes – XFINITYTV.com

Gordon Holmes is a Managing Producer at Comcast and the lead “Survivor” know-it-all for XFINITY TV. He’s been hooked on “Survivor” from the moment he first saw Jeff Probst kick sixteen strangers off a boat and into the sea back in May of 2000. Gordon has visited the set of “Survivor” on five separate occasions (“Gabon,” “Nicaragua,” “South Pacific,”  “Philippines,” and “Blood vs. Water”) and boasts an Ozzy-esque 5-1 immunity challenge record.

“Survivor: Borneo” – Final Tribal Council: In my book, there’s only one MUST VOTE pick for this whole shebang, and it’s Sue Hawk’s classic “Snake vs. Rat” speech from the original “Survivor.” It’s an iconic TV moment, it helped shape reality TV, and it set a bar for jury venom that has only been approached (but not surpassed) by Corinne Kaplan.

NOTE: I know moments such as Erik coughing up his idol and Parvati’s double idol play are going to be nominated. So, my other two picks are going to be moments that I don’t think will win, but deserve some recognition…

“Survivor: Gabon – Episode 9 Tribal Council: “Payback’s a b—tch.” “You are a disgusting old, hot-headed, alcoholic.” “You need to grow up before you die alone.” “This vote is not strategic, it is strictly personal.” Those things were all said during the voting process BEFORE Crystal screamed “Forget you, go home, bye!” loud enough for everyone to hear it. That had all of the makings for a memorable Tribal Council before Randy was duped by Runaround Bob’s phony idol. I love me some Randy, but this entire Tribal was amazing.

“Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” – Episode 10 Tribal Council: They billed it as the “Craziest Tribal Council ever” and it didn’t disappoint. Malcolm wanted “Fun sponge” Phillip out of the game, and he made it happen despite his alliance being down in the numbers seven amigos to three. Idols were played, an alliance had to immediately turn on itself, and bros were held up. It was awesome.  

Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

Dalton Ross is an Editor at Large at Entertainment Weekly. He’s also the host of EW Morning Live on Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105). He may have written about this show once or twice over the past 14 years.

“Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs Favorites” – Episode 13 Tribal Council: “I wanna give individual immunity to Natalie.” And with those words, Erik Reichenbach entered “Survivor” immortality. Erik’s move was so shocking that producers did not even attempt to mask who was going home as a result — showing every single vote cast against him, and every single befuddled look from the jury along with it. “You’re crazy,” said Parvati while casting her vote. “You will officially go down as the dumbest Survivor ever in the history of “Survivor”…ever!” She’s not wrong.

“Survivor: Borneo” – Final Tribal Council: Over 54 million people watched the season 1 finale in which Richard Hatch faced off against Kelly Wigglesworth with a million dollars on the line. And 54 million mouths dropped wide open when Sue Hawk delivered her infamous “rat and snake” speech. And they dropped even wider when the show’s villain — Hatch — walked away with the loot.

“Survivor: Cook Islands” – Episode 15 Final Four Tribal Council (“We Didn’t Start the Fire”): With the votes deadlocked going down from 4 players to 3, Becky and Sundra went to a fire-making tiebreaker to see who would move on to the final 3 with Yul and Ozzy. Just one problem: Neither could make fire. After an hour of futility — and most of the jury falling asleep — Jeff Probst finally announced “We’re gonna go to matches.” But wait, it gets even better…which is to say, worse. Because then they STILL couldn’t make fire! After another 30 minutes, Sundra ran out of matches and Becky finally won. Ineptitude has never been more comical.

Tom Santilli – Examiner.com

Tom Santilli is the “Survivor Examiner,” having covered “Survivor” for Examiner.com and TheTVKing.com since 2009 and having been a rabid fan since the very beginning.  He is also a film critic and appears weekly on the syndicated TV show “Movie Show Plus.”  (follow him on Twitter, @tomsantilli and at TomSantilli.com).  He claims to own his own “Medallion of Power” that gives him a slight advantage in writing “Survivor” recaps.

I’m assuming everyone is going to put the final Tribal Council from Season 1 (Sue Hawk’s “rat and snake” speech) as well as Parvati’s double-idol play (from “Heroes vs Villains”)…those two should be Hall of Fame moments. But to liven things up a bit, here are three of my favorite OTHER Tribal Councils

“Survivor: Marquesas” – Episode 13 Final Four Tribal Council: Who can forget the bum deal Paschal English got when he drew the purple rock that sent him home? The final four players first competed in an immunity challenge right at Tribal Council. Then future All-Star Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien pleads with immunity holder Vecepia to force a tie vote…which indeed happened, with two votes for Kathy and two for Neleh. After they couldn’t come up with a unanimous vote, they were told to pull rocks and Paschal pulled the unlucky purple rock despite not having one single vote cast against him the entire game. It’s still controversial to this day and definitely needs to be in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame.

“Survivor: Pearl Islands” – Episode 7 Tribal Council: “Per your wishes, Go home.” Those were the parting words of Jeff Probst to Osten Taylor, the first person to ever quit the game. It was a big moment because nobody had ever quit on “Survivor” prior to this, and I remember watching it, screaming at my TV, “You can’t QUIT ‘Survivor!’” Other than medical emergencies, it was the first time someone had their torch snuffed at Tribal where the famous “the tribe has spoken” line wasn’t uttered.

“Survivor: Samoa” – Episode 9 Tribal Council: “I ain’t finished playin’ just yet.” You can hate on him all you want these days, but there was nothing in “Survivor” history like watching Russell Hantz go from interesting underdog to “Survivor” Legend. In one of many amazing Tribals, his “Legend” status was solidified when he played his second immunity idol of the season during this episode, completely blindsiding the wide-eyed Galu tribe, and sending Kelly home instead. It also put an exclamation point on the “always split your votes” strategy, used meticulously to this very day by every majority alliance. It was at this precise moment that real “Survivor” history was made, and it deserves strong consideration for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame.

Follow the “Survivor” Hall of Fame on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute updates and Tribal Council nominations.

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

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