Posts Tagged ‘michael skupin’

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings – Finale Edition!

May 10, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Finale Rules: The two combatants will rank the players based on how they think they will finish the game. Each correct placement is worth five points. 

Note: There is no weighting for the two finalists who don’t win. They are considered tied no matter how many jury votes they receive.

Last Time: Michael Skupin had Brenda in spot five while Gordon’s clean-up hitter Michael Skupin Jr. had her in spot three. So, the current score is Team Skupin 141, Team Lightning Punch 153.

Before we kick off our final rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: That was some rough business last episode. Any words for poor Brenda?
Michael Skupin: The world’s heart went out to you.  The ultimate sacrifice of love went not only unrewarded but penalized to a depth that you may not recover emotionally for years.  You put the pedal to the medal when you needed to and we began seeing the gamer that we knew you always were.  Your dad said, be humble and you played with humbled magnificence.  Remember, this is not a life-lesson, this is “Survivor,” a game you played very well.

Holmes: Family visits always get to me. As we saw last season, yours certainly got to you.
Skupin: The family visit, Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted that this was the best TV out there.  There is no love from contestants, production, or Probst for over a month and we’re served up love and it is more emotional than anytime we can remember.
Holmes: Well, that’s the first half. The other half is maybe one of the cruelest twists I’ve ever seen.
Skupin: The twist tortured Brenda and Dawn to a depth never seen before and allowed them to watch all the love and a full belly that Brenda had just passed up. Winning the family visit challenge may be the kiss of death, but I’d never recommend that one for your game. In any event, the goose bumps that may have lasted til the finale were immediately gone when the bone-chilling votes were read.  Likeability vs. liability as the once challenge beast quipped, turns out Brenda was both. An odd ironic thought: both Dawn and Brenda long outlasted all the other contestants in the last immunity challenge yet were the only ones that were robbed of the love-fest and love-feast. Only on “Survivor.”

Holmes: As we head into the finale, how has this season held up for you?
Skupin: A season that started out so slow, finished suspensefully as it most often does. One regret is Allie going home so soon. Arguably one of the fans strongest assets was removed way too early. That and Shamar and that grain of sand. Maybe we’d have been treated to a fan tribe that wasn’t at the mercy of the favorites the entire season.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 141

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 153

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

 Winner – Dawn: In order for you to win, I believe you need to get rid of Cochran and Brenda. You’d have had to betray every alliance you created from day one to do that.  You called many of the shots out there.  You took chances.  You’ll be remembered as one of the best to play this game.
  Winner – Cochran:I absolutely want to play again. My only fear is the reputation I have. I’ve proven myself to be weak, worthless in challenges, apparently I’m annoying, and I’m a traitor. I don’t think all of those are true, but I’m afraid I’d go into the game and there’d be no reason why people would want to keep me. People would be calling me Sugar 2.0. So, I want to do it, I just need major image rehabilitation.” John Cochran – December 8, 2011

The image rehabilitation worked. And if Brenda is to be believed, you’re the last threat in the game. This jury will respect that and reward you accordingly.

 Finalist – Cochran: Turns out your mother may have been your best alliance when she told you that Brenda was going to win this game.  You learned so much from the first time you played and were able to stay just far enough below the radar while playing the game hard.  You deserve it as much as Dawn does.
  Finalist – Erik: I think the voting block from last episode (Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri) is the game’s last alliance. So, if Erik is going to get to the end he’s going to need to win that final-four immunity. If it’s a big maze challenge or something physical, it’s all his. If it’s balancing on a floating dog house while reciting bread recipes, I think he’s done for. And even if he can get to the end, I think a jury that features Brenda, Malcolm, Andrea, Phillip, and Sherri is going to reward strategy over niceness. It also isn’t helping him that I gave him my pre-game curse.
 Finalist – Sherri: You played it safe, but I believe you will make it to final three and that is a big deal. 

 Finalist – Dawn: This Dawn thing has really stuck with me. Why does everyone hate on her for getting rid of Brenda, while other people are celebrated for their cutthroat moves? Is it that different from when Andrea was voted out? Andrea targeted Dawn, she went home. Brenda targeted Cochran, she went home. Would Dawn get a pass if Brenda hadn’t cried when she was eliminated? Is it because of the retainer? The bonding? The crying? I don’t have any answers. But, I’d imagine Dawn is in for a rough final Tribal Council.

  4. Erik: I’ll never forget one of your last quotes… “There’s nothing left to be said, there’s nothing left to be done.”  Although at final six, there’s an entire endgame to play.  Emotionally, that’s either your demise or your wake-up call.
 4. Sherri: Sherri is someone who played this game. She probably said some things, but very little of that footage was aired on CBS television. If Erik wins final-four immunity, she’ll finish in fourth place. If he doesn’t she’ll finish in third place. Either way, she’s getting scary skinny. I hope she spends some serious time at her Jimmy John’s and Wetzel Pretzels franchises when this whole thing is over.

  5. Eddie: Well done! You outlasted some of the best players in this game.  Call it dumb luck, beginner’s luck, under-the-radar, or whatever you’d like.  You survived your Bromigos getting voted out, your showmance getting blindsided and even quit immunity challenges and your torch hardly ever wavered.  No one will ever likely write a book about your gameplay but you accomplished what few people ever do.  One of your final comments sums up your game, “I’m forever grateful to everyone for continuing to keep me.”
 5. Eddie: Apparently nice guys finish fifth.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Skupin vs. Skupin Edition!

May 7, 2013

Michael Skupin and Michael Skupin Jr. (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon’s team 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 Brenda is voted out this week, Michael will receive 5 points and Gordon’s team will receive 3 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael had Reynold in eighth place and Andrea in sixth place for fourteen points. I had Reynold in eighth and Andrea in third for eleven points So, the current score is Team Skupin 136, Team Lightning Punch 150.

This Week:
In honor of the upcoming family-visit episode of “Survivor,” we’ve invited Michael Skupin Jr. to step in and show his Dad how it’s done.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

NOTE: You may remember Michael Skupin Jr. from his appearance during the family visit on “Survivor: Philippines.”  He was selected by Malcolm, who had won the challenge, to spend the night on the island with his dad after Michael Sr. urged host Jeff Probst to allow another family member. And as you may recall, he bled just as much as his dad did…it definitely runs in the family.

Michael Skupin Jr.: I thought they voted out Malcolm last week, it seems like we saw more of Malcolm at the two Tribal Councils than any other player?
Michael Skupin: “Survivor” definitely gave the viewers what they wanted this week. Not tough challenges, not inclement weather, not iconic rewards, not drama, not blindsides, not big moves but… Malcolm.  Even though he was taken out by the power alliance last week I lost count at 15 cameos on the first Tribal Council and an equal amount at the second, so with 30 camera appearances, he may yet be a factor in this game. At times he appeared to be the only member of the jury when I’m sure there are at least four others there.

Skupin Jr.: When I was out there last season, you were in a final-six scenario. Now that the self-proclaimed winner of the rest of the challenges Reynold and the always strategizing Andrea are at Ponderosa, it’s a final six again and a reminder that the family visit is upon us.  I remember how many strategic scenarios we tossed around that day. Do you think it’s still anyone’s game?
Skupin: Final seven is one of the biggest votes of the game.  Erik had a chance to make a big move and completely change this game while at the same time earning the respect of the jury. All he had to do was tell Andrea about the alliance’s plan to blindside her, secure Eddie, and they get to send home whomever they want because the power alliance split the votes.  Then instead of being at the bottom, he’s at the top now. An epic failure if he’s playing to win.

Skupin Jr.: When I was out there in the Philippines, we won the meal after the reward challenge. Malcolm and Miles, Lisa and Justice, and you and I won all that food.  Homeless people look better fed than you guys did at that point in the game, I hardly recognized you. The “loved ones” sacrificed our share and went without because we saw how badly you needed it.  I noticed they’ve done three immunity challenges in a row without a reward. That has to be taking a toll on them.
Skupin: Traditionally Survivor’s lose a pound a day out there.  They appear to be losing weight faster this season and are desperate enough that over 1/3 of them even quit immunity challenges for hot dogs and donuts (Cochran, Eddie, and Erik). I can’t even imagine what’s going through their heads.  On Season 25: Philippines, we had food gatherers; myself, Penner and to a lesser degree Malcolm.  On this season, I haven’t seen a fish, a clam, a scallop, a stingray, a crab…etc.  As bad off as we were, we supplemented with at least a small amount of protein every day.  There are no hunters or gatherers this season and I agree it’s showing.

Skupin Jr.: Dad, with our size-13 feet, I was so glad when one of those balancing, small-foothold challenges didn’t show up on your season. As I see it, that virtually took any shot that Reynold or Eddie could have stayed in that game.  We’ve talked about this…don’t the smaller people have a significant advantage in those challenges?
Skupin: Definitely…I love the challenge idea but (Challenge Producer) Kirhoffer and Probst have to figure out a better way to even that up for the bigger-footed bros.  As I’ve seen it, women have way better balance than men too, so I do like the fact that the females get a bit of an advantage for a change, but just increase the size of the footholds. They go to great lengths to “fair” it up on the weight-holding endurance challenges by changing up the weight you have to hold based on your pre-game body weight. I wonder why they don’t do this here also?

Skupin Jr. So long, Andrea. Those pretty blue eyes and incredibly strategic play couldn’t finish the big move and it backfired. You snatched the idol that Erik found right out of his hand in one of the most brilliant, quick-thinking moves I’ve ever seen on “Survivor.” Probst seemed to drop a lot of hints as he often does at your Tribal Council, but you seemed so sure you were safe. You claimed if you felt a little paranoid, you’d play it, I can’t imagine feeling that safe at final seven. You were also right when you think you have your ducks in a row, that’s when the big wave comes rolling in. Hindsight sure is a witch. If I ever got the chance to play, I’d take a lot from your game and the way you played.   
Skupin: Two great players squared off; Andrea and Cochran, and Andrea lost.  She played so hard but made the same mistake Corinne did by getting too close to Michael and the same mistake Matt (Beard) did by getting too close to Michael…hmmmm…trend here? It appears you saw a final three with you, Eddie and Erik or you Erik and Sherri and in all those cases, you had a great shot at the big prize.  I believe you made the same mistake many have this season and you underestimated how close Dawn and Cochran are. You join the ranks of Malcolm and James by going home with an idol,  good thing you like jewelry!

Skupin Jr.: Adios, Reynold. So much for rattling off five consecutive immunity wins. If only that arrogance translated to challenge wins, your bank account would be bursting. After only one win, it appeared to be a lot of bark and not as much bite. Although I must admit, I love the porn-star mustache (not that I would know what that means) and now you and Malcolm “The Mane” (horse’s mane or ethnic “hey man”) can spend your remaining days lounging at Ponderosa, sipping mimosas, and fighting over who has better hair.
Skupin: BroStache…they had no choice but to get rid of you. I’ve been tough on you this season because your strategy never matched your arrogance but 8th place after being on the wrong end of every vote but one is a feat few have accomplished.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 136

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Michael Jr.’s Current Score: 150

Any advice for Michael Jr.? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mls07

 1. Cochran: If you’re a Harvard nerd, you may be a rich one, and I think mom would still be proud of you. You only lasted 15 minutes into an almost 4-hour challenge but as I saw it, you really didn’t need immunity and the protein from the hotdogs may have been the brain food to take you to the end.  Your challenge run may be over but final three is way more enviable.  You are one big move from the finish line as everyone sees you as a final-three threat.  You’ll be thanking Dawn for her loyalty someday.
 1. Cochran: Andrea carefully articulated her big move to Cochran to feel him out and get him to turn on the power alliance possibly one Tribal Council too soon. What does he do? Goes and tells everybody on the island of her plan, essentially sealing her fate. The self-proclaimed “challenge monster” who came in last place on the second challenge, chose hot dogs and Coke over immunity. It appears his streak is over, but entertaining while it lasted.  It seems like he has everybody under his control without any of them realizing it.  Watch your back, Harvard man, someone may catch on.
 2. Dawn: They keep underestimating you, that’s no accident. Your sweet motherly way is your biggest asset, people trust you.
  2. Dawn: Andrea briefly had Dawn in her sights but Cochran wasn’t having any part of that.  Good for you to lock up Cochran as an ally so early. This game appears to really take a toll on you emotionally. Keep that in check and you have a shot!
 3. Sherri: It’s nothing shy of brilliant how you’ve adapted to this game. I believe you’ll not only be the last fan standing but you still have a shot to win this game.
 3. Brenda: Totally turned around Andrea’s plan to blindside her (with a lot of help from Cochran). You being a physical threat is gaining more and more notice as a potential winner of the game. It’s like the ostrich that finally took its head outta that hole and sees the prize.

  4. Erik: Since when is no strategy, good strategy? It may get you deep into this game but don’t they make you swear that you’re there to win?  Good news: You found the IDOL!! Bad news : You let Andrea snatch it out of your hands. The Erik Idol curse lives on.  No one has any idea how to play you in this game, keep ‘em guessing.  Michigan has two final threes under its belt (myself and Keith Famie from Season Two). I’m hoping you make it a trilogy!
 4. Erik: We waited a long time but you totally dominated Immunity for the first time this season making Michigan proud! You may have come into this game a bit too slender as it appears the lack of food is taking the biggest toll on you. Looks like you’re going to go to great lengths to satisfy your hunger, I hope the cost isn’t too high (coconut tree…pun intended).  You could have made a big move by aligning with Andrea and shaking up the game, but you earned yourself another easy three days by sticking with the Cochran Crew. Your opportunities to play both sides are dwindling.

  5. Brenda: You’ve taken a brilliant game and destroyed it by being a challenge threat. Although, I think you’ll last another week.
 5. Sherri: You’re either going to slide into the final three unnoticed and play to get as far as you can but have no chance of winning or you, Eddie ,and Erik team and one of you wins immunity, one finds immunity, and you play to win.  Neither option guarantees you more sunrises on the island.
 6. Eddie: I thought it was policemen that loved donuts, I guess now I can add firemen.  You gave up possibly a chance to win the game for a donut? You may have made it farther than the other two amigos but you lost my respect as a player.  And I bet you were at the top of the Phillip hater club when he passed on a challenge, you did the same thing.  The smart move may likely be to keep you around for one more vote but with your biggest ally (Andrea) gone, there’s no one left to save you. Go plead your case to Cochran and Dawn if you want any chance of pleading your case to the jury at final three.
 6. Eddie: He’s at everyone’s mercy out there. A potential swing vote if there’s a faction, he needs to start playing harder if he wants to survive or the only title he’ll end up with is being the last Bromigo.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Double Jeopardy Edition

April 30, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Brenda is voted out this week, Michael will receive 3 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael and Gordon both called it by having Malcolm in spot nine. So, the current score is Team Skupin 122, Team Lightning Punch 139.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: So I guess Malcolm isn’t so tough when he doesn’t have forty idols.
Michael Skupin: I’m not an expert at “Survivor” trivia but it seems like it’s raining idols.  On S25, there were only three total idols in play.  There are five now. It almost seems like it’s raining idols.
Holmes: We’re starting to get down to the nitty-gritty. How does the game change from a physical aspect after you’ve been out there for a month?
Skupin: Food is becoming a factor.  Keep an eye on who wins reward challenges as they’ll have a distinct advantage in the immunity challenges both physically and mentally. And speaking of challenges, where are the puzzles?  We saw so many on S25, maybe a record number?  It appears the opposite is true on this season.
Holmes: My understanding is that “Entertainment Weekly’s” Dalton Ross has been pushing for less puzzles for years. I won’t give him grief, though. I’ve been pushing for more “Eat Gross Things” challenges and I finally got my wish a few weeks ago.

Skupin: Were you thinking that Malcolm should have tried to cut a deal with Andrea when she confronted him digging in the sandbox for what she cleverly guessed was an idol?  If he would have tried, they would have shown it and Andrea would have coyly listened.  
Holmes: Absolutely. Anything other than the old fake idol trick.
Skupin: The back-to-back seasons may be too much for even a beast like Malcolm to maneuver.

Holmes: Speaking of your former Tandang buddy, any parting words for Malcolm?
Skupin: Goodbye, Malcolm… Ughhhh, early jury, 9th place… not the spot anyone picked you to finish.  If this were an NCAA Final Four bracket, you’d have wrecked all our chances of placing.  I was thinking there’s no way for you to crawl out of the hole you dug yourself into but “Survivor” often offers a twist. You were handed not only a twist but a familiar twist: THE FOOD AUCTION!!  What an advantage you have, you played this game just a few weeks ago on S25 and watched Abi buy a game-saving clue.  No one else there saw the S25 food auction except you.  This is your time to shine.  All you have to do is save ALL your money and buy the advantage in the next immunity challenge and you’re virtually guaranteed another three days.  You can still win this season!  Whoops, you spent $20 before Probst could say “less filling” on a bottle of beer.  Somehow, as if forgetting the game was afoot, the remaining contestants with $500 still let you by it.  Crud, you guessed wrong and bought the information NOT the advantage. Wrong clue.  The game threw in a twist that we didn’t see on S25, we were both surprised.  After you made the big move at the merge to go against your alliance with the favorites and align with the fans your guessing instincts began to fail you.  You guessed wrong that Corinne had more power than she did, you guessed wrong that Dawn was at the bottom of her alliance, you guessed wrong that Phillip was the head of the snake, and lastly you guessed wrong that you “had Sherri.” Heck, even Eddie ended up voting against you?  One wrong guess can cause a flame to flicker, five wrong guesses cause the flame to be extinguished and we saw Probst do just that.  Regardless of what anyone says, luck is a factor in this game and it was not on your side this time.  The part that confuses me a little is that it appears that you gave up looking for the idol and that goes against everything I learned about you in the 38 days I played with you or there’s another part of me that says you did find that idol and thought your move with Sherri and Erik to overthrow the favorites was going to work and you went home with it.  In either case, you’re leaving as a player we’ll remember for bold gameplay. Now you get to have that drink you said you needed on the way out, as many as you’d like.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 122

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 139

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

 1. Cochran: Although it may have an asterisk* attached to it, you pulled out another immunity win.  Hats off to the challenge underdog and this was even a physical one! The win came with a bravado that we’ve not seen before. Your coy sarcasm was endearing, let’s hope your boastful bravado stays in the confessionals.  You still are sitting in the front of the bus.
 1. Dawn: The biggest threat to a Cochran win is also his closest ally. If Dawn is doing her Power Ranking exercises out there (I like to imagine her drawing a list in the sand) she knows that Cochran probably has more votes on the jury. The question is, is Dawn 2.0 cutthroat enough to send her bestest buddy home?
 2. Dawn: Now this is a twist that was refreshing; you comforting Brenda when she broke down. If that’s not evidence on how tough this game is.  In their defense, we’ve all felt like that.  Everyone’s out to get you. This new Dawn/Brenda love may have a serious outcome on this game in short order.
  2. Cochran: Strategic thinker, master storyteller, and now challenge terror! Is there anything John Cochran can’t do? He’s like Ozzy Lusth in a sweater vest. He’s like “Boston” Rob Mariano with a law degree. His biggest concern now is to make sure that it isn’t super obvious that he’s going to be the toughest person to beat in front of the jury.
 3. Brenda: This game can take anyone down to such a raw emotional state. Many can hide it but often it bursts.  You were there for Dawn two weeks ago and it looks like she returned the favor.  Bonding over tears, a game few if any men can play. I’m not suggesting it’s strategy, it’s actually beautiful in its sadness.  Although the food auction threw the non-pork eating cheerleader a freshly scooped skull of pig brains, it ended with peanut butter and you even got to keep your suit on.
 3. Andrea: Notice anything awesome about the top three people on my list? All three are former competitors in the XFINITY “Survivor” Power Rankings Challenge. If Andrea, Cochran, and Dawn are our final three, they, along with Coach, will prove that participating in the Power Rankings makes you a lock to get to the end of the game. I should start taking bribes from future players to let them compete.

  4. Sherri: I didn’t think you’d fall for Malcolm’s last attempt and admission of you being his ‘only’ option left.  $500 in round one of the food auction and it wasn’t even up for bid, BRILLIANT!! As a first-time player to call out Probst like that is ballsy! Carbs, protein, taste, volume; the pizza had it all.  You’re recharged nutritionally.  The food auction saved me on S25, it may have saved you too! I think it’s premature to say (in your best Troyzan) that this is “your island” but you’re definitely gaining again.
 4. Brenda: Eddie and Reynold’s days are numbered. Nobody wants to keep those two challenge threats. But then what? Sherri seems like an obvious boot because she was a late add to the alliance. Then we’re down to five…and that probably puts Brenda and Erik on the wrong side of the numbers. (Heh… “Brenda and Erik were the popular steadies and the king and the queen of the prom…”) It’s time for those two to make a move.

  5. Erik: Somehow you still think there’s a “bro” alliance and the “bros” are leaving one-by-one. The floater strategy is working for you but I don’t think it will win the game.  I’d love to know why you voted for Phillip and if that will become a factor as this game gets tighter.  You look as fit as you were your first time out but your challenge performance isn’t likely to offer you the “win out” option to get into the final three. So, if you want to be a millionaire you’re going to have to create it.
 5. Erik: Erik was my day-one pick, but I was basing that on his ability to blend and my belief that people would forget that he was a challenge machine toward the end of Micronesia. Well, the first part has played out well, but where’s the challenge prowess? Is he downplaying it? That’s not a bad strategy, but what about his jury management? Phillip and Malcolm probably don’t think highly of his game and will cast their votes elsewhere.
 6. Andrea: “I love the smell of fresh dirt.”  You’re as adorable as a newborn.  You’re camping adventure on the tree stump, assuring Malcolm’s information to a hidden clue was wasted was priceless.  “Same time tomorrow morning?” was not only the quote of the season but may be the quote of the entire game, all seasons. You get this game like few others.  If you make it to final three you’re a serious threat to win it all.
 6. Sherri:  Is Sherri playing a good game? I dunno. We don’t get to see much of her. But, I do know she’s in some serious trouble this week. Now, let’s assume that the first person going home is going to be either Eddie or Reynold (depending on who wins immunity.) After that, what if Eddie or Reynold wins immunity? Then Stealth R Us Too (or whatever they prefer to be called these days) has to turn on each other a week early. As the last person brought in during Phillip’s recruitment drive, the target will be on Sherri’s back.
 7. Eddie: You either forgot all the previous seasons you watched or need some Ginko. Remember the food auction offers advantages in this game which you so desperately need. This one offered two!!!  You had all $500 left when the advantages presented themselves.  Drooling over Andrea, I mean pizza, may have been your downfall.  I believe you’ll last three more days than Reynold. 
  7. Eddie: OK, pop quiz; you and your bromigos are way down in the numbers. An auction takes place where you can win an advantage in the next immunity challenge. The advantage comes up and you still have all of your money. Every penny of it. There’s no possible way you can be outbid. What do you do? Alright, pop quiz over…everyone who’s playing to win BIDS FOR THE ADVANTAGE!
 8. Reynold: If the head of the snake is Cochran, you weren’t able to eliminate it but you sure offended it.  “I don’t trust you, Cochran” was certainly not an alliance strengthening or value added proposition.  At Tribal, you all but gave away your last stab at staying in the game when you answered Probst and alerted the other players to exactly what your remaining strategy was “Jeff, I don’t believe it’s 6-3 anymore.”  You may get by in life with smooth talk and good looks but “Survivor” is an in-depth, strategic game that only by playing or watching a lot can you truly develop a strategy that will carry you far into this game.  Your athleticism and entertainment were excellent.  Your game play, not as much. Watch all 26 seasons, develop a strategy and you’re a gamer.
 8. Reynold: Cochran gives you advice on a stupid guessing game and you call him out by saying you don’t trust him? Why? What was the point? It’s hard to get through this game without rubbing some people the wrong way, but if you have to do it, make sure it helps your game. What did that do for you except annoy the most powerful dude in the dominant alliance?

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Amigos or Amigone? Edition

April 23, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 5 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael Skupin had Phillip in spot eight, Gordon had him in spot five. So, the current score is Team Skupin 113, Team Lightning Punch 130.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Michael Skupin: Let’s take a deep look at Malcolm’s big move at tribal last week.  Brilliant TV!
Gordon Holmes: Agreed!
Skupin: Maybe not-so-brilliant “Survivor” strategy.
Holmes: Also agreed.
Skupin: At first glance it seemed like the perfect move but let’s consider all possibilities.  It’s obvious Malcolm had guessed wrong the last two Tribal Councils and is sitting in a very precarious position…much different than the last game he played where he only scrambled once. The big question is; should he have played the hidden immunity idol when he did at the beginning of Tribal Council and grandstanded it like he did or would it have been better strategy to wait until after the votes were cast and used the shock or blindside moment to his advantage?  This strategy may have also enabled him to keep one of the idols which he’ll desperately need in the future.
Holmes: I liked the mid-Tribal play because I can’t imagine Andrea loved hearing her name tossed around by her buddies. However, I agree that keeping one of those idols would’ve been ideal.
Skupin: Lastly, consider that he outwardly took credit for both hidden immunity idols.  This tells the remaining contestants that he’s had one all along and hid it from everyone and also draws a very deep line in the sand that he’s no longer willing to play ball with the favorites.  A thought occurred to me that he could have let Eddie bring it to Tribal Council as if he’s had it all along, putting the bull’s-eye on Eddie thus leaving a crack that Malcolm could still possibly edge his way back in the favorites alliance until numbers thin out a bit.  He may also have planted the other idol and literally steered Eddie into finding it, then he could never have been accused of hiding it all along.
Holmes: Oh, I like that. It also keeps Reynold from knowing that Malcolm was keeping an idol a secret two weeks ago.
Skupin: Understand, there is never a right or a wrong way to play this game…these are thoughts from my Barco lounger as I watch.

Holmes: Words of farewell for the Specialist?
Skupin: Goodbye, Phillip…you had a very unique way of playing this game, a way we won’t soon forget.  I have a suspicion we’ll be making up nicknames and referring back to Stealth-R (or aren’t)-Us for many seasons to come at least in jest if nothing else.  By choice, you sat out your final immunity challenge as if to throw the towel in.  I’m not here to judge you but final three and winning were within your grasp. You’ve overcome a lot bigger hurdles than that in your storied career on and off “Survivor.”  There is no doubt that you understand this game and know there is no right or wrong way to play.  I commend you for playing (so many never do).  I commend you on having a plan and going with it.  I commend you on being in the “over 50 club” and kicking butt in challenges…at least until the merge.  Lastly, I won’t swim in your toilet so please don’t pee in my pool!

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 113

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 130

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

 1. Cochran: Close call!  Even the best laid plans can change with the twists the game and the island bring.  You’re rolling well. 
 1. Cochran: It’s tough to know exactly whose names were bounced about after Malcolm’s Tribal Council bombshell, but I don’t remember hearing anyone say, “Cochran.” They probably should’ve, because he’s in a fantastic position to take the rest of this game. Especially if all of the immunity challenges going forward involve Beatles trivia.
 2. Dawn: You gotta really sink your teeth into these challenges to win…oops, bad joke.  How can you sink your teeth into a challenge when they’re at the bottom of the lagoon?  Lisa…I mean Dawn…I mean Lisa…I mean Dawn…you cried, you recovered…didn’t I say that last week?  Teeth or no teeth, you’re in this to win.
 2. Sherri: First you lost your fake Phillip, then you lost your real Phillip! It’s cool though, nobody sees you as a threat. You’re not going anywhere anytime soon. The Amigos will probably try to bring you on board, but that’d be a mistake. By making a jump, you’ll have stabbed a majority of the jury in the back. It’s best to let this play out.
 3. Brenda: You made a friend in Dawn last week and she’s likely to honor that favor as close to the end game as she possibly can. Chick bonds can be very tight (One World). I’m still wondering if you’re playing to win or not and I’m enjoying trying to figure you out.
 3. Brenda: Nice Brenda selflessly dives in the water to retrieve Dawn’s missing retainer. Evil Brenda would’ve retrieved the retainer and held it for ransom. I kid, Brenda’s less aggressive tactics have worked wonderfully in this hyper-aggressive season. And unless the Amigos pull off a miracle, she’s set for the final six. The question now is, how does he go further than that? Can she call out that Dawn and Cochran are the only power couple remaining and try to break them up?

  4. Sherri: You were quiet again, but I feel a storm is brewing.  You’ve successfully removed yourself from the crossfire and now all you have to do is earn it to get the votes at the end.
 4. Erik: I assume the greatest in-game joy is winning an individual immunity challenge when you know your head is on the chopping block. A close second has to be seeing someone who drives you crazy make that long, lonely walk away from Tribal Council. So for that, congrats Erik. The question now is, do you stay with the remnants of Stealth R Us, or do you become the fourth Amigo? I’m leaning toward staying put. Erik can dominate challenges once they’re down to a final six without Malcolm and Co.

  5. Erik: In spite of Phillip losing all his pool etiquette, you kept yours and then some.  “Forgive us, we’re starving” were Erik’s humble words before he consumed food like a POW. Wouldn’t you want to take him home to your mom? Erik actually had a brilliant add to his alliance during Tribal Council.  He reminded his forgetful tribe that just because Malcolm flashed three idols in his alliance at the start of Tribal Council, didn’t mean he had to play them that night thus assuring if Malcolm had any intention of keeping one of the idols in his pocket he’d definitely not now. And he even politely asked Probst for permission first!
 5. Dawn: Last week was tough to watch. It was heartbreaking to see one of the most positive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing have a complete meltdown. I get it, too. I’m not sure I’d be much better with weeks and weeks of non-stop deception and paranoia.  Hopefully the worst is behind her and she can appreciate that she is in a prime position to get to the end of this game. Even better, with Phillip gone it’ll be easy to pull Andrea over as your third person.
 6. Andrea: I’m afraid show-mances may be your Achilles heel out here.  Is Eddie or Malcolm your new Matt?  Listen, I certainly can’t blame a girl for falling for bearded coconut choppers but you’re soooo close to the end here.  You can still win this game.
 6. Andrea:  Because of last week’s preview, everyone seems to think Sherri is the obvious choice to make the jump to the Amigos, but what about Andrea? Sherri has a bad past with Reynold and Eddie. Andrea seems to get along with them quite well. The important point for Andrea is; she needs to make her choice clearly and quickly. If she’s staying Stealth, she needs to cut off all communications with the Bro-Squad to keep her alliance from whispering.
 7. Eddie: Remember the movie ‘No Way Out’? You may be there.  You’re quickly running out of options.
  7. Eddie: Eddie had quite a Tribal last week. He went from being the obvious boot to being third most threatening on the Amigos depth chart. Reynold wins the challenges, Malcolm pulls idols out of thin air, but you’re just a harmless bro going about his business.
 8. Reynold: Denise went to every single Tribal Council.  Your record, while not as impressive, is you’ve been surprised at every Tribal Council.  Not once has the name you’ve written been the person that left the game, yet you still stand.  You’re definitely one of the best challenge beasts this game has ever seen but man cannot live on that alone. 
 8. Reynold: I just finished up a rewatch of “Survivor: Exile Island” and it got me thinking that Reynold could totally Dietz his way to the end. He’s got that kind of challenge prowess. That, and the fact that Malcolm seems like a much bigger threat to win right now could buy him some wiggle room.
 9. Malcolm: You did that reward challenge in Season 25.  On Carter’s idea, Penner neatly laid out all the bags for the rest of your team.  You were on that team.  You creamed us.  You ran out of gas this time. I watched you licking your chops as you could almost taste that reward and the nutrition would have definitely helped come immunity challenge time.  As the newest returning player with your game a big question mark, you got close to the wrong people and they stayed tight.
 9. Malcolm: Legendary, buddy. I haven’t had a chance to do the math yet, but that might be on my list of the Top 5 Best Tribal Councils of All Time. Would it have been a better move to save yourself and keep a secret idol? Maybe, probably, who knows? I’m reminded of when Russell Hantz was able to use a three-person alliance to turn the Villains alliance on its head. The question is, can you find your Coach and Jerri? If not, I’m afraid you and your gorgeous hair will be sent packing.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: A Tale of Two Dawns Edition

April 17, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 1 point and Gordon will receive 8 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Skupin and Gordon both had Michael in spot ten. So, the current score is Team Skupin 105, Team Lightning Punch 125.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: Well, last week’s episode was certainly eventful.
Michael Skupin: In what I think is a “Survivor” first; Malcolm, on-the-fly, convinced Reynold to give up the idol as Reynold  “feeling ultra-threatened” walked towards Probst.  I still can’t tell if it was predetermined based on the Probst inquisition at Tribal or if Malcolm was strategically trying to flush an idol so many people knew about.  I wonder if Reynold will stay in the dark or realize that the same guy who asked him for his idol was the same person who voted for him and had an idol of his own.  Malcolm’s going to have to trust someone out there and the pickings are as slim as toothpaste at this point.

Holmes: Any parting words for the other Michael?
Skupin: Goodbye, Michael…all the baskets you put your eggs in seemed to disappear.  First Matt, then Corinne.  Your friendliness and clingy personality, while attractive in life, are the kiss of death on “Survivor.” Strategically, you understood a lot about the game, but you stayed loyal to the wrong people.  A big move may have saved you but most people are afraid to make them. Welcome to that club.  We all enjoyed you out there.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 105

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 125

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

 1. Dawn: Her gameplay is so ultra impressive that as a viewer I’m beginning to wonder if the crying and emotion is part of her strategy. Ha! Not likely, but it’s fun to speculate.  Viewers have no idea how hard this game is ethically to play.  You are forced to make decisions daily, often hourly that you’d never consider “off the island” and it wears on your psyche in ways you’ve never been tested before.  The past three contestants credited you for their departure and that streak is likely to continue.
 1. Cochran: Right now Cochran is the least hated person in the dominant alliance. That’s a great position to be in…as long as everyone else isn’t paying attention. So, right now is not the time for my dawg, Cochran the Man, to just kick back, pop a brew, and chillax. (Turning off the bro speak…) Now might be a good time for Cochran to pick a fight with someone who likely won’t sway many votes once they’re on the jury. Sherri might be a good candidate, but that depends on how well her and Phillip are getting along.
 2. Cochran: The wizard of wit should be thanking the stars that Dawn is in his alliance.  Everyone trusts Dawn and she trusts you.  Sticking like glue to her and out-stealthing the Stealth is your best weapon.  Your “man-ing up with Da Boys” has us highly entertained.
 2. Sherri: I’m expecting major fallout after last week’s Tribal Council shocker. Malcolm knows that Dawn can’t be trusted, Stealth R Us Too knows that Malcolm is close enough to Reynold to get an idol, and Andrea now knows definitively that she’s a major target. Now’s the perfect time for Tenacity to sit back and let the sparks fly.
 3. Andrea: AMAZING that it was your idea not to vote off Malcolm. You stood your ground and single-handedly saved the game for your alliance.  People are really beginning to trust you.  The only mistake I see is at Tribal Council your letting Probst take you out of your game.  Since your name came up several times at the first vote, you’ve played an impeccable game.  Remember what personalities are leading the charge. Play that game and make your break when it works to your benefit. And don’t fall for a man in a uniform.
 3. Brenda: Congrats on winning immunity last week. Maybe not the smartest move for someone who’s playing such a solid under-the-radar game, but with your knee injury it’s probably not the end of the world. What I’d like to know right now is; what is your end game? Surely you and Erik aren’t just sitting around waiting for Andrea, Phillip, Dawn, and Cochran to put this game in lockdown, are you?

  4. Brenda: Your under-the-radar (UTR) game in a Carter-like fashion became over-the-radar (OTR) last week when you bested some pretty incredibly burly guys to win that immunity challenge. As I see it, an UTR game needs to stay UTR in ALL areas.  You’ve now become an outright challenge threat and that will surely be a factor in votes. Pick one game, you can’t play both.
 4. Erik: Ahem…are you?

  5. Sherri: In the beginning brilliant strategically, Shamar was your “Phillip” and since Shamar was medi-vacced you’ve had no Phillip. Since the merge, you’ve quietly become Phillip’s Julia and he’s become your Phillip.  So what I’m trying to say is Phillip is now your Phillip and he’s being played as Phillip for the second season in a row and you’re the only fan to see that open door.  I mistakenly thought your “quiet” was a confidence issue but instead it’s appearing to be the best fan strategy out there.
 5. Phillip: Phillip has a grand plan for winning “Survivor.” He wants to be the goofy leader of Stealth R Us Too with the pink panties and the deep blue shoes. He wants to ride those gimmicks to the final Tribal Council, where he’ll reveal that all of that silliness is by design and that he’s really a nice guy. Well, Phillip really is a nice guy. But, the jury won’t care. They’re going to award the million to one of the two people he’s sitting with.
 6. Erik: I’m pretty sure he’s still there. If you keep asking, they’ll keep pointing.  Thank goodness for flags.
 6. Malcolm: Wow…just wow. Your little stratagem at last week’s Tribal might be the Best/Worst move in “Survivor” history. Best, because you voted for Reynold so you could have plausible deniability if Andrea went home. Worst, because you outted yourself as being in an alliance with Reynold when you asked for the idol. And best again because you got a dude to give you an idol when you already had one. Again…wow.
 7. Eddie: Now that Reynold’s idol is flushed you appear way less of a threat than your bearded twin.  Buddying up to Andrea was great strategy, but pushing her for info at the end wrecked your showmance.  You can try all you want but you can’t outplay a crafty fox like Andrea.
  7. Andrea: Everybody thought Dre was being paranoid when she made them target Michael instead of splitting the vote. Who’s paranoid now? Not only that, but now she appreciates that nobody is afraid of Phillip. Of the ten people left in the game, Phillip is probably the only one who can’t win. That makes him everyone’s dream final three buddy. Andrea’s best bet now is to stick tight to Phillip and try to get to the end with the other unpopular member of her alliance…
 8. Phillip: Sherri will not be your new Julia. She’s way more crafty. Plus, she prefers something more exotic than vanilla.  You’ve never wavered from your game which concerns me a little. Predictability and lit torches don’t stay partners very long.
 8. Dawn: It looks like Dawn’s in for a rough week. But, that’s to be expected. When a group of people put their trust in you and you defy them, you’re going to have to take some heat. Dawn’s deception puts a huge target on her back and probably turned one definite and three potential jury members against her. She needs to do some serious damage control if she’s going to win at a final Tribal.
 9. Reynold: You kept your impeccable record intact, and another Tribal Council where the votes were a big shocker for you.  You came to this episode with a fresh new attitude, formed a bro-down alliance, however adding your biggest threat (Cochran) to a man-up alliance was not the best strategy…but it was strategy nonetheless.  Your “muscle” alliance sold to a non-muscle guy may have been your biggest blunder yet which is why you’re down here this week.  I think you are going to be joining the “new kids on the block” soon but that block is named Ponderosa Lane.
 9. Eddie: My first instinct when last week’s drama happened was, “Eddie blew it. He let Andrea know she was in trouble and she put an end to the vote splitting.” However, that’s probably not accurate. Andrea would’ve heard about Malcolm’s plan from Dawn. So, the good news for Eddie is that him helping Andrea may have bought him some time. The bad news is Andrea can’t save him forever.
 10. Malcolm: That may have been the first post-merge reward that you were not a part of in your storied “Survivor” career.  It appears you’re making the same mistake Corinne did and assumed that Dawn was on the bottom of the alliance and I don’t blame you. I imagine Dawn pretty convincingly is playing that trump card. Who wouldn’t believe that Cochran would betray her again?  Who woulda thought that Dawn would be this new amazing strategic brilliance?  She claims you’re not “dialed in,” but you’ll have to wait all 39 days because they won’t have phones at Ponderosa either where I think you are headed next.
  10. Reynold: I think Reynold is 2/3rds of a great “Survivor” player. He’s a charismatic guy and he’s a challenge machine, but he doesn’t have the strategy down just yet. Don’t get me wrong, as I’m rewatching “Exile Island” and screaming at the TV every time Terry doesn’t use the idol to save one of his alliance mates, I can appreciate Reynold trying to rescue Malcolm. But intimidation is the wrong way to play someone like Dawn. She has forty kids, you can’t intimidate her.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Malcolm Cardboard Cutout Edition

April 10, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 3 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael and Gordon both called it. They both had Corinne in spot twelve. So, the current score is Team Skupin 95, Team Lightning Punch 115.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: We had a wild one last week. What was your take on the post-merge fiasco?
Michael Skupin: I’ve said this before but understand on “Survivor” every vote is a blindside.  Regardless of what you may read or hear in post-game interviews; the ultra-protective quote “I knew I was going home.” If that was the case, we’d see many, many, many more big moves. Even Franny thought it was going to be Phillip or Andrea at the first Tribal Council.  Good advice is; it’s never safe to feel safe.

Holmes: I’ve been harassing Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer to bring back gross eating challenges for years. And, last week did not disappoint.
Skupin: I’m soooooooooooooooo happy to see the “local tucker” eating challenge.  It’s about time.  What fans fail to realize is that at this point in the game, the contestants are so hungry that we’d eat anything and then ask for seconds. My favorite eating challenge was when they made the family members do it on Season 5 in Thailand.

Holmes: Any parting words for my beloved Corinne?
Skupin: Goodbye, Corinne…impressed you played so hard, you trusted one person too many.  You had six, but needed one more and you opened the wrong door.  A door with baggage and haunting memories of her (Dawn) last season when she didn’t make that big move. I can sit her at my computer and tell you that a more obvious choice would have been someone else (Sherri) because Dawn may be more loyal at times than strategic, but hindsight makes every armchair “Survivor” fan a winner. You played too hard to keep the fans against a highly stacked favorite’s team. That made you an easy choice.  The crabs will have to find different curls to frolic in tonight.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 95

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 115

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

 1. Cochran: As the newly crowned “King of the Confessional” keeps us highly entertained, Cochran skyrockets all the way to #1 in my rankings this week. I hope he’s thanking the night rats that invade their shelter every night that Dawn trusts him.  His game could have been one conversation short of a very predictable boot but instead he helped orchestrate a big move that needed to be made.
 1. Brenda: All of the favorites were afraid of Brenda going into this mess, and with good reason. She was one of the stronger strategists in her previous season. Now, you only see her when she’s dancing or goofing off. But, this Purple Brenda act is just a facade. She’s capable of turning this game on its head if she needs to.
 2. Dawn: I’m so impressed that she had the ability in between the rain from the skies and the rain from her eyes to learn a lesson from her first time out there and make a BIG move. Down the road she might seem like a threat and if Corinne had made the jury, she certainly would not have gotten her vote but at this stage Dawn is playing the best strategic game out there by far. She single-handedly altered the game this week for almost everyone out there.
 2. Cochran: You know why everyone was so happy for Cochran when he won immunity? Because they’re not afraid of him. “Survivor” pushed the “lovable dork” narrative and everyone bought into it. But, Cochran is running the show at this point, just like he dreamt of doing when he was wearing buffs around his high school.
 3. Brenda: It looks like you’ll be a challenge threat no more with your twisted knee.  I’ve loved your game thus far, but it’s time to start tightening up an alliance or two with key people out there if you’re playing to win. A jury will not give you the million bucks if you don’t earn it.
 3. Dawn: Dawn’s playing a tough game right now. People don’t get upset when they’re stabbed in the back by people who are just playing the game. They get upset when they’re stabbed in the back by people they have a deeper connection with. Dawn is a ridiculously likable person, and the future jury members are likely to feel more betrayed by her than by someone like Phillip or Andrea.

  4. Andrea: Looks like you’re settling into your alliance nicely. Ride that wave and you can make a break when you need to.  How can you possibly resist a man in a uniform? Looks like you get to sleep with the rats another three days.
 4. Erik: So, Malcolm thought you were in the bag. Obviously, you weren’t. Where do your loyalties lie? You’d better solidify yourself somewhere and quick, because while picking off Malcolm’s buddies is going to be the order of the day, they won’t last forever. You’ll find yourself the challenge threat on a seven-person alliance.

  5. Erik: You’ve been tagged as the “float.” A newly coined “Survivor” strategy that’s a bit different than ‘under-the-radar” strategy. Unlike under-the-radar, floaters are visible, don’t say much…never engage in battles or strategy and no one ever knows how you’re going to vote. You never have a good alliance, yet your name never seems to come up when discussions are involving torch-snuffing. It’s a strategy that can work or backfire depending on who’s actually making decisions out there. Fortunately you guessed right this time and I believe you get to keep floating. You’re quote “I just wish I knew what I was doing” was very telling. PS: The “just tell me who to vote for” strategy will likely never get you a seven-figure check.  And, technically you weren’t the swing vote, there has to be an odd number of voters for that to happen.
 5. Andrea: Two things went in Andrea’s favor last week. She got rid of Corinne and Corinne didn’t make the jury. Now she’s got to start figuring out how she’s going to get to the end with Phillip and Sherri by her side. She also has to know better than to fall for Eddie’s flirtatious ways.
 6. Sherri: You got quiet since the tribe swap and even quieter since the merge.  Where did all your fire go?  You went from the strategist to, in Malcolm’s words, the weird one. Your fire didn’t go out, you just need to get it started again.  Don’t play the “as long as it’s not me” game. We love big moves!
 6. Sherri: What happened to Sherri? She went from strategic genius in the early days to Debbie Downer. The game isn’t even close to being over for her. She has a ton of wiggle room. Here’s hoping she’s able to get her groove back.
 7. Eddie: Eating gross foods may affect your love life, not eating them may affect your bank account. Weight it out, buddy. I’ll never forget my favorite quote from this season from you at the food challenge… “I bit the beak.” Eddie, Eddie, Eddie…beak is a delicacy in many countries ;).   I wouldn’t blame you for the “hit” on Andrea if it was strategy but sadly, it’s likely for another notch on the fireman’s pole. She’s way too crafty, bro. Be careful.
  7. Malcolm: “You lost today, kid. But it doesn’t mean you have to like it.” – “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 

It breaks my heart to have my boy so low on the list, but the game is far from over for him. He still has an alliance with two idols and a roster of guys capable of winning some challenges.

 8. Phillip: I like that you’re really playing this game hard. You’ve actually created fear among the favorites and fear on “Survivor” is often the root of where decisions are made (Russell Hantz did that better than anyone). Reel it in just a bit and you may even have a shot.  PS: Your challenge throwing ability is becoming legendary. Maybe next time think about including your tribe in that decision.
 8. Reynold: Reynold and Eddie just can’t catch a break. Have they been on the right side of a single Tribal Council? It’s time for him to play his idol at a time that matters. If they get lucky they can start to chip away at Stealth R Us Too.
 9. Reynold: I continue to be highly entertained by your naivety in this game.  You definitely are no stranger to competition or “games people play” but “Survivor” is very different and you are getting an education on the fly. Right before the food-eating challenge you said you’re not used to eating gross things. Hmmmm, that describes about all seven billion people that walk this planet.   I loved your confessional, “I don’t think tonight’s going to be a big shocker” …hasn’t every Tribal Council you’ve attended so far been a big shocker for you?  It hasn’t gone your way once yet.  A lesson I hope you learn before it’s too late. All Tribal Councils are shockers for someone.
 9. Phillip: The good news is that your crew pulled off the win last week. The bad news is that your opponents have a pair of idols and you don’t have the numbers to properly split the vote.
 10. Michael: You didn’t have much of a choice but to go with Corinne. In “Survivor”-like fashion, they’ll forever hold you accountable for that choice.  I think you will last a few more votes because of your likeability but no one will ever trust you. A really big move is your only chance and that’s as slim as a day-39 contestant.
  10. Michael: Your BFF was sent packing, and the remnants of your alliance aren’t that close to you. Maybe there’s some magic to be worked with your old buddy Sherri? But that ship may have already sailed.
 11. Malcolm: After a failed Rooster Alliance and a failed rebellion against the favorites it looks like the Golden Boy put all his eggs in one basket.  Ironically, for a guy who two weeks ago thought he was in control of the entire game.  We haven’t seen anyone go home in a while with the hidden immunity idol in their pocket in James-like fashion, could it be this week?  It looks like Madeline may get a tribe named after her and maybe another immunity idol for her mantle. (When Malcolm had two idols on S25, instead of giving one to Denise and protecting his alliance at final five, he chose to take it home as a gift to Madeline, his mother.)
  11. Eddie: You know what will make a girl forget that you ate bugs on national TV? A million dollars. I think Andrea’s too smart to fall for your last-minute move and I think Reynold and Malcolm are going to be ready to play their idols. Nobody needs an immunity win more than you do.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Dragon Slayer Edition!

March 26, 2013

Benjamin "Coach" Wade vs. Michael Skupin (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Special Guest Star Alert: Pinch hitting for Gordon Holmes this week is three-time “Survivor” star and Power Rankings favorite Benjamin “Coach” Wade!

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon (or his designated pinch hitter) 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 Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 8 points and Gordon’s team will receive 6 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael had Matt in spot six while Gordon had him in spot eleven. So, the current score is Team Skupin 71, Team Lightning Punch 92.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: Mr. Wade. Thanks a ton for pinch hitting this week. What’ve you been up to?
Ben “Coach” Wade: I have a new book out that I wrote called “No Turning Back, the South American Expedition of a Dragon Slayer.” Pass the word because if it sells well then I have a deal to publish the Amazon adventure, and I know that’s what everyone wants to hear.
Holmes: Nice, everybody buy this book.

Holmes: Do you guys have any parting words for our buddy Matt the Beard?
Michael Skupin: So long, Matt… the “as long as it’s not me” strategy may work for a few days but will likely never get you to end game. As Cochran put it, your game of likeability got read as a game that reeked of desperation. As one of the most likable characters out there, I’m saddened to see you leave the game. I misjudged you at first and had you going deep into the game; sans the painted-egg twist, you just may have.  I could almost hear a groan across the country when your torch was snuffed for the last time.
Wade: He kept it real. I loved his genuine attitude towards the game and life, but the tribe swap mucked him up like it does so many. He was playing a great game until then.
Skupin: Once again, a castaway falls greatly due to the fact that in his naivety of playing the game he found comfort after the swap in hanging out with Michael instead of having any real plan.  Although most people get into one or more of them, an alliance is the most threatening position to be in. Maybe the t-shirts Michael and Matt should have been wearing is “I’m with him” with the arrow pointing at the other guy.

Holmes: Neither of you guys really had to deal with major tribe swaps. What strategy would you utilize if faced with that twist?
Wade: Scramble.
Holmes: Well played. Skup?
Skupin: On S25 Philippines, we were prepared for a swap or merge any day and we knew exactly what we were going to do in the event that happened.
Holmes: That’s very smart. It never hurts to have a plan to cover any possibility. Especially one that’s been done in the past.
Skupin: The “fans” were down in numbers and were so caught off guard by the swap. Tribal swaps are not new to “Survivor” and seem to be becoming more commonplace as we’ve now seen a trifecta of them on the last three seasons. If I was on the power-side of the swap (Bikal) as it appeared I was on S25 Philippines, it’s critical not to play your hand too early.  It was there that I began my stalk of Malcolm but ever so slightly because we were winning; there was no reason to cement anything until the merge. If I was on the losing side (Gota), I’d become the hardest worker around camp, become necessary in challenges, and wouldn’t start any wars.

Holmes: Alright, you gentlemen have both played with some of the current castaways. What are your mid-season grades for them?
Wade: Dawn and Cochran both get a B+. Cochran’s weakness coming into the game was his physical strength and awkward sallies towards other contestants. He seems to have strengthened both. Dawn’s weakness was her emotional discharge every other day. She is stronger and more focused.
Skupin: My mid-season grade for fellow castaway, turned tribemate then alliance Malcolm is also a B+. He is smart and so likable and has done so many things right. I’m just afraid the physical and emotional toll of back-to-back seasons could certainly cloud his judgment.
Holmes: Excellent, a round of B pluses. Sounds like they’re all doing well with some room for improvement.

Skupin: Because the newly swapped Bikal team is at such a disadvantage both physically and mentally (puzzles, strategies, etc.), I’m predicting that Gota will not lose another challenge. So my Power Rankings will reflect all Bikal members at the bottom, not necessarily based on their gameplay or strategy thus far but based on the fact that they will be the only ones to meet Probst at the now infamous torch-snuffing ceremony.
Holmes: Risk taker, I like it. Alright gentlemen, you know the rules…

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 71

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Team Lightning Punch’s Current Score: 92

Any advice for Coach? Drop him a line on Twitter: @the_real_coach

 1. Brenda: If Brenda was at the Wonka Factory, she’d go down the “good” egg chute. Her mistake-free game continues.
 1. Cochran: A smooth operator who is leading his tribe through meditation and DS rules.
 2. Malcolm: Malcolm joins Reynold out there as the man with a bulge and it appears the bulging brothers are forming an alliance that may be the end of the game for both of them. Signs of Malcolm being out in the Philippines for way too long are appearing as he confessed on national TV his expertise at lying to women. As the runner up for fan favorite last season, I’m betting he lost a few female votes with that comment.
 2. Reynold: Idol after idol he has found, days in the game for him abound.
 3. Andrea: Andrea drew the right colored egg last week. Her “dream” that Malcolm had the idol may actually have been strategy as I believe she has seen Malcolm’s bulging wrist and she may have been offering him a chance to “fess up.”  3. Malcolm: Not taking the lead in the game might decrease his female popularity fame.

  4. Erik: We are left to guess at what your game is out there while it doesn’t appear you’re doing much. At this point you don’t really have to and your relationship with Brenda and Andrea only gets stronger.
 4. Andrea: Much more aware of the game this time, you are becoming a player in some people’s minds.

  5. Sherri: I’m surprised there seemed to be no strategy whatsoever in Sherri “spilling the beans” to what could end up as the “Victoria’s Secret Alliance” of Sherri, Brenda, and Andrea.  I still believe she has game left in her and fortunately for her, Reynold and Eddie will likely “used-car salesman” themselves out of what appears to be a second chance for them.
 5. Phillip: Much to the audience chagrin, Phillip is here this time to win.
 6. Eddie: Good thing you’re on the “good-looking tribe,” Eddie! That matters so much out there. I think Eddie needs to make a break from Reynold and form other bonds as well. Putting all your eggs in one basket only works once out there.
 6. Dawn: Middle of the road most of the time, once the merge hits I think she will then shine.
 7. Reynold: Teaming up with Malcolm was a smart move, but be very careful, you may be shocked that he lies to men too! You’ll be a force in individual immunity challenges, so fortunately you’ll have no problem making it to the merge. Drawing an orange egg is eggs-actly what your game needed to give you hope but it seems like you’re forgetting that the “favorites” have played this game before.
  7. BrendaQuiet and shy her heart must be elsewhere, hang in there though there’s much more to bear.
 8. Dawn: She better pay her dues into Stealth-R-Us as her only hope of making the merge now is winning and Phillip not Hantz’ing.*

*Hantz’ing is now an accepted reality-TV term describing extremely erratic behavior.

 8. Eddie: I think he’ll be first to go once the tribes merge, better scramble fast when you have the urge.
 9. Cochran: His under-the-radar game may have to shift a bit as it looks like he’s going to become a regular at Tribal Council much sooner than he anticipated. Since winning could be a long shot, he has to adjust his game. Fortunately, he’s smart enough. Funny, Tarzan from S24 One World said the game is afoot, Cochran chose the game is anew…since when did a knowledge of Shakespeare become a prerequisite for island living?
 9. Sherri: Tried to exude too much control, now your power is slipping your ship is near the shoal.
 10. Phillip: I’m in the minority but when you’re on the down tribe, making new alliances and securing flippers is critical. A+ Phillip!  Your bullies-R-us strategy is great for early and mid-game but will fall on rocky soil come the merge and end game…if you make it that far. Phillip’s name problems continue. It began with “Franchesqua,” continued with “Aun-dreah” and now he refers to Julia as “the girl.”
  10. Michael: Once strong and smart the swap has you on the run, but you are astute beyond the game and a ton of fun.
 11. Michael: His biggest mistake was the same as Matt’s, he was just less believable in regards to the Hidden-Immunity-Idol lie which the answer should always be the same unless your name is Abi, Reynold, Peter, and Penner.  You seemed to be the only fan with a strategy! Last week you described camp-life as a “long strand of hell”…you have no idea my brother, things just got worse.
  11. Julia: Riding coattails will only get you so far, time to pick things up if you want to rise above par.
 12. Julia: Julia barely escaped elimination…fortunately for her, she didn’t have an alliance and didn’t seem as much of a threat as Matt did. As odd as it appears, not having an alliance and not really playing hard is an advantage to her now as her torch will stay lit for another three days, and although we haven’t seen it yet, for whatever it’s worth, Phillip thinks you are “extra-ordinary.”
  12. Erik: A challenge warrior you may be, your head needs to be more game savvy.
 13. Corinne: I think you picked a fight with the wrong favorite (Phillip), and it may cost you a spot. Your support of Michael will likely be seen as flipping and a new trust issue has been born.
  13. Corinne: Although the B word comes to mind, look for an idol for hope to find.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Tribe Swap Edition

March 20, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Clearly Michael and Gordon are both psychic. How else could they have predicted that it was Brandon’s time to go home? They both had him in the bottom spot. The current score is Team Skupin 65, Team Lightning Punch 81.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: Well, last week was certainly…interesting.
Micheal Skupin: I’ve watched, read, blogged, listened, watched again, listened again, slept on it, discussed it, podcasted it, mulled it over, and I still can’t decide if that was good TV or if “Survivor” went too “Jersey Shore” on us.

Holmes: Any parting words for Mr. Hantz?
Skupin: Goodbye, B. Hantz. You may have not shed a single tear out there but your uncle Russell did when he was finally eliminated on his 3rd season. There’s no shame in loving this game that much.  Phillip found Brandon’s buttons and very strategically never stopped pushing them. I do see what CBS sees in Brandon as a player. He’s good in challenges, well spoken, entertaining, unpredictable, and isn’t afraid to stir the pot. Being on such a small island confined to a 10 X 10 shelter (the size of the tarp), you need some pretty thick skin at times.  The ability to “let go” is a huge weapon out there which Brandon never learned how to fire.
Holmes: Well, Brandon did let the rice and beans go all over the beach.
Skupin: I realize as much as anyone how different “Survivor” is from real life and it seems like the Achilles heel of so many fallen comrades is the fact the they don’t realize this until it’s too late. But, what is it about Brandon and Phillip’s real life that offers them the ability to speak of themselves in the 3rd person so often? Brandon’s mockery of Phillip’s nicknames ended so ironically as he mistakenly called out the name “exterior” as one of them. A few hours later, that became his view of the game as he was removed.

Skupin: I wonder if Brandon joins the fraternity of those that “quit” the game or does the proclamation of being the “author of his own fate” put him in a category of its own?
Holmes: I was thinking about that. I think he’s somewhere in between. His fate authoring didn’t take place until he knew Phillip was going to throw the challenge to get rid of him. It was a preemptive strike.
Skupin: Both Probst and Malcolm brought up three-time player Russell Hantz as if he had anything to do with what’s happening out there. His game is very, very different and he’d never walk from this game.
Holmes: No, he certainly wouldn’t.

Holmes: Will this give the fans a new lease on life?
Skupin: The favorites experience and advantage (sitting three at the challenge) gets clearer by the day as they covered their fire so they can cook in the rain. These tribes better swap or merge soon or it’s going to seem like another all-star season very quickly.  The fans are really struggling in challenges, and no matter how many challenge-challenged fans they get rid of, it’s not getting better.  I question their strategies and who they put in what positions, ie. Michael and Matt were put in the strength position in the reward challenge. (Where is “Shut up,” I mean Shamar when you need him?) I waited for Matt to wrap his beard around the rope when Probst wasn’t looking.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 65

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 81

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

 1. Brenda: Aside from the not-so-dynamic duo (Brandon & Phillip for those too busy watching “Cupcake Wars”), we really didn’t see much of anyone on the favorites team.  I believe the pros of Brandon leaving equal the cons and since the vote was unanimous, the favorites are still in the exact same position from a “power perspective.” Brenda stays at number one.
 1. Malcolm: OK, Swaptown is just ahead. This is bad news. Bad news for the players and bad news for Power Rankers who have to try to make sense of so many different variables. Fortunately for my boy Malcolm, he has a few things working in his favor. First, his tribe is going into the swap up numbers so he’s likely to have some friendly faces wherever he ends up. Second, he’s got an idol that only Corinne knows about.
 2. Dawn: The mom tears surface once again as she choked out Brandon’s name during the game’s first-ever verbal Tribal Council voting.  She has endurance and came to play. I like her chances of keeping it all together.
 2. Reynold: You’d better thank the “Survivor” gods that you found that idol, because tribe swaps are bad news for challenge studs on tribes that are down numbers.
 3. Cochran: His ultra non-confrontational approach seems to be working well for him.  3. Cochran: Why is it smart to be nice to people who aren’t in your alliance? Because those people become swing votes when you get to a tribe swap. Fortunately for Team Dawchran, it seems like that haven’t been rubbing anyone the wrong way.

  4. Malcolm: Although it appears he’s still a member of the good ol’ boys club, a flaw in his game has emerged and that’s his alliance with the blue-eyed vixen (not the reindeer). Corinne’s game is slowly unraveling as it appears Brandon may have thrown her game off.  Malcolm diversifying is his only chance.
 4. Dawn: What’d I say about “no more tears,” Dawn? It’s OK. I’ll give you a pass every time someone freaks out and sabotages your food supply. Hantzes gotta Hantz.

  5. Michael: Although he describes camp-life as a “long strand of hell,” he seems to be keeping it all together and not ruffling any feathers.  The fans thought highly enough of his strength that they put him in the driver’s seat of the strength challenge and he was the last fan standing.
 5. Andrea:  Oh boy, I bet you were wishing on every unicorn in Care-A-Lot that Brandon wasn’t going to out your plan to get rid of Corinne. Fortunately for you, it seems like he didn’t. As someone who’s good at challenges and manages to stay out of trouble, you should have plenty of time to figure out a way to get to the merge and back to your Stealth R Us Too buddies.
 6. Matt “The Beard”: Beard actually sarcastically cried out for his “mommy” when his wet feet endured a few days of rain…try sixteen, brother!  Most of us on S25 ended up losing more toenails than we had left by the time it was over.  If you’re in this for the long haul (and I believe you are) get used to a lot more torture where that came from. I hear there’s a pretty pissed-off whale shark out there that I head-butted and rumor has it he may go “Hantz” on you.
 6. Erik: Kudos to Erik and Brenda for making the best of a bad situation with their time on the Favorites tribe. You see Brandon, that’s why you don’t burn your camp down. You never know when Probst is going to wander out with fresh new buffs for everyone.
 7. Sherri: Still strategically a threat as I believe she understands this game as well as anyone out there. She made a tactical error in allowing one of her closest allies (Laura) to go home last week. If she can keep from treating anyone like a 16-year-old Cinnabon snot (her words, not mine), she still can win this game.
  7. BrendaSee Erik.
 8. Phillip: Being a challenge beast will buy him a few extra days out there. Strategically, he’s making the same mistakes RC did on S25…always playing and always playing too hard.  A mix of social vs. gameplay may be the best recipe to go deep in this game.  He’s the first contestant to ever out-commentate Probst during a challenge. His unprecedented references to African-American embattled feature films provided Phillip with an inner strength to press on. His references included “Kunta Kinte” (Roots), “Django” (movie), “Miss Jane Pittman” (movie), “Mammy” (movie), “Amistad” (movie), and a “Ya Mon” for good measure at the end.
 8. Sherri: It’s time to stop being bummed about the loss of Shamar and Laura. With the swap coming, you have a chance to reinvent yourself. The challenge threats are going to be in immediate danger, so you’ll have a chance to weigh your options and hopefully create a new alliance.
 9. Erik: I give Erik credit as he actually tried to take on Brandon as he littered the beach with camp rice and beans. He became the first contestant to actually encounter the other tribe when he hand delivered the immunity idol during Brandon’s non-torch snuffing eviction.
 9. Julia: Holy cow, Julia…if you’d be quiet for one second people could get to know you. If you keep running your mouth with your new tribe, they’re going to send you packing immediately.
 10. Reynold: This episode could have been named “Reynold has another bulge.” This is the first time he breaks into my top 10 simply because he found the hidden immunity idol without a clue once again. When he found it I yelled at the TV, “You learned your lesson, don’t tell anyone!” Yet he did.  Then when he told Eddie, I yelled again, “Don’t fist-bump, it can be seen across the island and it only means one thing!” After 13 days he says in a confessional “I’m still not going to trust anyone fully.” It only took him 12 years, 25 seasons, countless blindsides, and 13 days out there to realize this.
  10. Michael: Yup, Brandon spilled the beans literally and figuratively last week. The fans know a lot of the favorites’ business. But, it won’t take long after the swap for Eddie and Reynold to let the faves know what was going on at Gota. Did they appreciate that you and Matt were the ones with the power? Could be trouble.
 11. Andrea: Andrea was outted as telling Brandon about Phillip’s plan to throw the challenge. That caused an unprecedented upheaval at camp but a not-so-unprecedented betrayal of trust. It may appear Phillip is targeting Corinne to go home but I think Andrea is next on his radar.
  11. Matt: See Michael.
 12. Eddie: Eddie caught a break at Brandon’s expense. Thirteen days in and now he wants to try and see how that “flint-thing” works?! He’s forgetting the “Survivor” fire building tie-breaker. Make fire as often as you can, people. It all matters so much.
  12. Phillip: It was a rough week for The Specialist. In his defense, it looked like he was being very diplomatic at Bikal beach. He didn’t seem to lose his cool until the challenge. However, his back and forth with the Conqueror is going to make it tough for him to get in good with any fans.
 13. Corinne: I thought her interruption of Brandon when he was removing himself from the game was unnecessary.  Her speech to throw the challenge was potentially costly.  It marked her with the favorites and the fans. It looks like now you’re Phillip’s next target.  It appears your game from the last time you played is emerging and they all know how to play against that.
  13. Corinne: Oh man, what’s going on in this week’s preview? You were doing such a good job of acting like you didn’t want to stab Phillip in the face. What happened? Here’s hoping you two don’t end up on the same tribe.
 14. Julia: I think she’s still there. Without a real alliance and seen as possibly a liability in challenges, I think she has seen her last sunset from the beach.
  14. Eddie: Like I said, tribe swaps are bad news for challenge studs that are down numbers and don’t have immunity idols. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?!) Sadly, Eddie…that’s you.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Round Three

March 5, 2013

The XFINITY TV 'Survivor' Power Rankings Alliance (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Cochran is voted out this week, Michael will receive 5 points and Gordon will receive 2 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael had Hope in spot thirteen, Gordon had her in spot seventeen. That brings our current score to Team Skupin: 21, Team Lighting Punch: 36

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: We were definitely treated to “The Gota Show” last week.
Michael Skupin: Back to one challenge for the second week in a row, how Season 25 of them :(. We were spared Phillip’s nickname game, we were “treated” to his new island workout routine. I’m not confident we’ll begin seeing “buns of steel” developing out there as energy conservation will become a necessity shortly.

Holmes: Any parting words of advice for lovely Hope?
Skupin: Goodbye, Hope. Is it fair to say now that the CKLTA (Cool Kids Lunch Table Alliance) is now as extinct as minty fresh breath out there? Shamar served you up your seven-figure safety net but you said you wanted to play the game with integrity…yet you participated in trying to blindside Shamar in week one. Note to fans: there’s no honor in honor on “Survivor,” especially when on day one, you’ve already dishonored your honor. I applaud your attempt to stay in the game by throwing Shamar under the bus…you went out fighting!

Skupin: Why are so many so afraid to make big moves in this game? Fear is an amazing motivator.
Holmes: It’s that. Some people aren’t that strategic. Some people can’t see past the next few rounds.

Holmes: We can’t talk about last week’s episode without talking about Shamar.
Skupin: I realize there’s a “get rid of Shamar” fan club out there but remember the game he’s playing. Weakening your tribe this early is strategically questionable and keeping Shamar keeps the heat off some other type As out there (Sherri). If Reynold could only see what an easy path he could have to the merge, but like our famous returning player hater Jeff Kent, he’s forgetting that while he’s busy sparring with Shamar, there’s a game going on that he’s missing out on.

Holmes: Looks like this next episode is going to be a wild one.   
Skupin: In scenes from our next show, they showed everyone freaking out when the rats arrived in the shelter, and all I can think about is they’re getting served breakfast in bed.  What a treat!

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 21

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

 Gordon’s Current Score: 36

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

 1. Brenda: Can’t say enough about how impressed I am with her evolved game. She knew how she would be perceived and she’s so far under the radar, she’s in submarine territory.  She definitely is here to win this game.  In the challenges, she’s an asset and still found the energy to work out on the beach.  Her ability to avoid the drama is extraordinary. Don’t be fooled, she’s playing really hard!
 1. Malcolm: Hidden immunity idols are attracted to Malcolm like lovely ladies are attracted to Malcolm. Now, some people may think that finding it with Corinne wasn’t his ideal situation, but Corinne has proven to be very loyal in the past.
 2. Malcolm: In Russell Hantz-like fashion, Mr. Hidden Immunity Idol finder has success two seasons in a row without a clue (but Malcolm really does have one).  Although he was beat by Reynold again in the carnival game portion of the challenge, he’s still a positive factor in the challenges. I’m worried that he said “game-set-match” when he found the idol, isn’t that what he said last time? I hope he realizes it can help you but it certainly guarantees nothing. Spending too much time with his favorite female out there (Corinne) has the other favorites worried now. I’m smelling a blindside at Corrine’s expense if the Favorites lose and Malcolm goes along with it.
 2. Cochran: Andrea hatches a plan to do some restructuring within Stealth R Us Too and who does she go to? Our good buddy Cochran. Cochran’s everyone’s BFF. Nobody’s worried about good ol’ Cochran. Which is exactly what he wants. Nothing to see here...
 3. Dawn: We saw a quiet week from Dawn but a strong underwater performance from the 42-year-old mom. No tribe will get rid of her as a challenge weakness. “Survivor’s” favorite mom is in a good place once again.  3. Michael: Man, the Fans are just a mess. Everybody has a reason that someone could target them. Eddie and Reynold are the remnants of the non-dominant alliance. It’s obvious that Sherri is protecting Shamar. Julia has health issues, Laura is a challenge liability, Matt hasn’t been able to stay out of fights. And Shamar is…well…Shamar. Everyone has a target except for Michael. Well played, sir.

  4. Sherri: Dropped four spots only because we saw Eddie finally get to her in the scenes from episode four. Her brilliant strategy saw a crack as her type A+ personality is finally let out. Also, Hope was one strategic move away from disrupting all her plans. I love your looks at Tribal Council each week as your plans unfold perfectly and talking Shamar off the “quit” ledge shows you really understand the game.
 4. Erik: Brandon, you could learn a lesson from your new buddy Erik. The reason you don’t burn down the shelter when things aren’t going your way is because you never know when things are going to be shaken up. You never know when there’s going to be a tribe swap or when an alliance is going to turn on itself. Sometimes it’s best to wait for some cracks to appear and then make a move. And if all else fails, then you urinate in the rice.
  5. Cochran: Living his Wednesday night at 8pm may be a first ever reference to CBS by a castaway and this actually being a show. I’m not sure how him being around beautiful girls is a Freudian picnic (I even Googled it) but it was funny nonetheless.  He’s still positioned perfectly strategically. 
 5. Dawn:  Alright, Dawn. From here on out you’re like a bottle of baby shampoo…no more tears. Cracks are forming in Stealth R Us Too, but Dawchran seems like they’ll be fine no matter which way the pieces fall. Slow and steady, guys. Slow and steady.
 6. Michael: They haven’t shown any real relationship or alliance with Sherri but I see one brewing here. He moved up two spots because it appears he’s beginning to follow the power in his tribe.
 6. Matt: I’ve got to hand it to the Bearded Wonder, he has a lot more strategic fire than I had anticipated. My only question is; how good is he at hiding it? Eddie and Reynold already know that he can be shifty. It might have been best just to side with Team Sherri without pretending to be with the Cool Kids. However, this is all just nit picking at this point. Matt’s in good shape with his current alliance.
 7. Andrea: Many have questioned the strategic logic of her going to Brandon with her plan but it’s a proven “Survivor” method; go the person on the bottom of another alliance to gain traction. She’s also made sure that the budding showmance of Malcolm/Corinne has been noted by all. She’s playing this game as hard as anyone strategically. The reason she’s not ranked higher is too many people know how hard she’s playing and I haven’t forgotten all those votes in episode one.
  7. Sherri: A lot of people think Sherri is playing a perfect game over on Gota beach, but the world’s hottest Cardinals fan Hope said that everyone knows that Sherri is protecting Shamar. That’s not good. In the same way showmance couples are quickly disposed of, the new trend could be to get rid of any Boston Rob/Phillip dynamics.
 8. Corinne: She dropped a few spots because she’s broadcasting her alliance with Malcolm in front of very strategic players, yet has the distinct disadvantage in that pair of having her game seen before. If one of them has to go, it’ll be her first.  She believes Malcolm would share the idol if she was in trouble but we all saw that Malcolm had two idols last season and wouldn’t give one to Denise, which cost him the seven-figure payout. I’m not sure a two-person alliance with the newbie on the Favorite’s team is her best game play.
 8. Phillip: I’m interested to see how he feels about Andrea going into business for herself with that little recruiting mission. Phillip has made it clear that Brandon isn’t worthy of a slick nickname and a stylin’ red Power Rankings graphic just yet.
 9. Matt: Matt dropped three spots as he again decided to pick a fight after Tribal Council with Shamar. Aside from his verbal head-butting with Shamar, he’s playing a pretty solid game. Picking a fight with Shamar is a strategic blunder.  Shamar may not understand the game the best, but he’s smart enough to expose parts of your game the others may not see.
 9. Andrea: Is Andrea playing the game too hard, too early? Time will tell. I’ll give her this though; there isn’t a duo I’d rather take to the final three than Phillip and Brandon. However, keeping those two in line is probably harder than pushing smoke into a Coke bottle with a baseball bat. (Special thanks to Dr. Peter Venkman for that analogy.)
 10. Erik: The only thing we saw on Erik was his rear end during the challenge and there was only one of them. It appears his alliance with Brandon and Brenda won’t stay a threesome in the long haul.  His best bet is to stay buddied up with Brenda and let Phillip continue to think he’s the CEO of coconut land.   10. Corinne: Buh. I hate to see a target on your back for something as innocent as buddying up with Malcolm. But, that’s the game we’re playing these days. Anything that looks like a showmance or an over-aggressive strategy is going to raise eyebrows. That, or maybe Andrea doesn’t like that you’re not acting like a pain-in-the-ass like everyone was probably expecting.
 11. Phillip: I doubt Phillip’s coconut bench-pressing work-out will ever make it to retail and if getting “all-air” (which means missing the basket completely) is now a good thing in basketball…I’m watching the wrong channels (or was the all-air comment about his nicknames and corporation?) …And this has what to do with “Survivor”?  Unfortunately, this is what we’re subjected to when there’s only one challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I find Phillip entertaining; I just want my Wednesday nights at 8pm to be filled with “Survivor.”
  11. Eddie: I’m pretty sure you and Reynold are safe. At this point there is no way Gota can afford to lose any challenge strength.
 12. Laura: I’m still trying to decide if she’s playing a good game or not but I do like the fact that she is playing. After threatening to defect with the Reynold-Eddie-Hope group, she stuck with her original alliance. That would have put her on the bottom of a five-person alliance instead of near the top of a six-person alliance.  When she said there was a fun part to Shamar, it leads me to believe there is a fun side to Shamar that we’re not seeing. Her swimming weakness was exposed as a factor and made her a potential liability, but I did chuckle when I saw a person who can’t swim try an advanced stroke like the back-stroke…butterfly would have been a much better option.
  12. Reynold: It’s time for you and Eddie to wheel and deal. Promise to play nice with Shamar. Remind them that they’re dead in the water if they go against the Favorites down in the numbers. Then do your best to get to the merge or the tribe shuffle. (C’mon, we all know a tribe shuffle is coming, right?)
 13. Brandon: Although it sounds like an oxymoron, we actually saw a calm Brandon for an entire episode. Watch out when they lose a challenge and Phillip goes on a rant, I bet we see the Mad Urinator resurface. Although he’s a beast physically in every challenge, his torch will only remain hot if his temper doesn’t.
  13. Laura: Laura is playing a very smart game. However, she is a challenge liability on a team that is being beaten badly. The Fans have lost three out of the four challenges and the one they did win was extremely close. If they lose again, loyalty is going to take a backseat to challenge strength.
 14. Eddie: Eddie finally ruffled the feathers of the kingpin or queenpin (Sherri) during the scenes from episode four. His cocky has turned to funny and he’s now less of a threat than his bro-mance (Reynold). We’re potentially seeing a strategic side to him and if he can turn on Reynold quickly, he can make it to the merge and create an entirely new game.   14. Brandon: “Survivor” is a funny game. Just when you’re about to unleash a yellow flood of vengeance on those who have wronged you, a blonde angel from America’s Dairyland descends from the heavens on a winged unicorn and offers you a lifeline. Even if that doesn’t pan out, the very fact that Andrea approached you with a deal could be enough to break Stealth R Us Too wide open.
 15. Julia: The burns are healed and we’re seeing the Julia that casting saw emerge slightly… Although strategically, she’s not in a good place, if she can just get to the merge, she may make it to at least mid-game. Fear of a big move may hold her back.   15. Julia: Julia is in the same boat as Laura. Julia is probably better at challenges, but she’s had some health issues with her severe sunburn. While she may be over it now, things like that can linger with people who are scrambling and looking for a reason for someone else to go home.
 16. Eddie: It’s been since season two (“The Australian Outback”) that we saw someone go back for a contestant with sub-par swimming skills (Rodger Bingham and he made it to 5th place.) But, Reynold’s temperament and Shamar-bashing is getting him in hot water. Even the idol isn’t going to save this guy. “Survivor” is a social game and making friends is paramount.
  16. Brenda: Brenda is still this low in the rankings because I’m not convinced that Andrea’s plan to get rid of Corinne was set in stone. If Bikal loses and Brandon hasn’t had his Hantz-brand meltdown, Brenda will stick out as the most strategically threatening member of Stealth Rn’t Us.
 17. Shamar: I believe the entertainment we’ve enjoyed from Shamar may end soon. It seems no-one but Sherri understands him so it’s gotta be pretty lonely out there.  His demands for calories and water have to be 3-4 times that of the rest of his tribe and it’s going to take a toll on him physically and emotionally.  Sans fishing kit, the fans are weakening by the minute and when they lose Shamar a Pagonging is in their future. The “no-talk” list will be talked about for seasons to come.   17. Shamar: Alright, Shamar. If all of this is an act, if you’re just trying to upset everyone so they’ll quit, then you need to clue us in during a confessional because America is hating you. As far as the game goes, you’re getting to be too much of a liability for Sherri to keep around. Eventually they’re going to have to pull together as a tribe and start winning challenges.

Michael Skupin Accepts the ‘Survivor’ Power Rankings Challenge

February 19, 2013

Michael Skupin (CBS)

The Good News? “Survivor” legend Michael Skupin has accepted this season’s Power Rankings challenge! This fits perfectly with the season’s theme as Gordon is a huge “Survivor” fan and Michael is definitely one of his favorites.

The Bad News? Michael has a history of falling into the fire in Australia and smashing goggles over his face in the Philippines. Gordon has a history of being attacked by leeches in Africa, receiving a lump over his eye in Samoa, and getting into a boating accident in the Caramoan Islands. So, it is entirely possible that this is the first Power Rankings where both competitors don’t make it to the end in one piece.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Cochran is voted out this week, Michael will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Before we get started, let’s check in with this season’s competitor…

Gordon Holmes: Hey Michael, how’d you feel about last Wednesday’s premiere?
Michael Skupin: I must first say how painful it is to watch and not “be there” playing.  It had been so long since I played, I’d forgotten how much I love playing over watching. That said, I LOVED the fact that “Survivor” went back to two challenges per episode, it’s truly what we live for out there. The fact that the game opened up with one was iconic! If the first episode was any indication, the physical is back, and we love that! And we did get a sense of where the raw strength is…Bikal (returnees).

Holmes: The time for talking is over. The time for ranking is finally upon us. What strategy are you taking in this first week?
Skupin: My Power Rankings are based on where the contestants stand as they walk back to camp after Tribal Council.  There is an obvious lean towards the returning players as I know what an almost unfair advantage it truly can be (as long as you don’t play the exact same character from your previous seasons). There’s something about “coming back” that makes you a gamer even if you weren’t necessarily before.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 0

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 0

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

 1. Dawn: Smart as a fox, playing hard without anyone realizing it which translates as playing hard with the right people. She has the mental and physical toughness to go deep. She orchestrated her and Cochran as swing votes which haunted me post-merge so we’ll see if it’s a trend. If she continues to play the sweet mom, who wants to vote their mom out?  1. Malcolm: My biggest fear for Malcolm headed into the season was that his tribe would automatically turn on him because he was an unknown quantity. Fortunately, he was able to show his skills (among other things) at the first reward challenge. So, that should keep him safe until the merge or the tribe swap that I would bet is coming.
 2. Malcolm: Challenge beast in the first challenge, challenge goat in the second one. I kept thinking clay pot, clay pots but Malcolm was put in or chose that spot again. Although extremely physical, the fine motor skills may not be his forte’.  If he can create a good story on why he’s there ie. early injury, he can go deep.  If he spills too much, he’ll likely make the merge but it’ll be up a creek after that. Don’t forget how almost unbeatable he was at puzzles. I liked his moxy out there but am concerned if he has the durability after only four weeks rest between seasons.
 2. Andrea: Whew…that was a rough first episode for Andrea. I didn’t hate the move. It’s safe to assume that the fans are wary of Phillip and Corinne based on their previous seasons, so Phillip’s crew is a smart group to be aligned with. And, of the four that weren’t in the alliance, Francesca was probably the least useful at challenges (although she did well in the reward battle). Like the move or not, you can’t argue with the results. Phillip now fully trusts Andrea and she’s safely in the middle of the majority alliance.
 3. Corinne: Surprise, surprise, Corinne does have a sweet side.  An almost Jerri Manthey Season 2, 8, and 20-type of turnaround. She went so far out of her way to be likable; I actually liked her and wanted her to stay.  Her ridiculous good looks now could easily sway many of the younger men out there (Cochran, Brandon, Erik, Malcolm). So far, she’s playing amazingly well.  3. Corinne: Everybody expected Corinne to be stealing people’s lunch money. Instead she’s helping soothe Cochran’s five-alarm sunburn. I can’t wait for the deleted scene where she helps rescue kittens from trees.

  4. Cochran: JC got a boatload of airtime. He was funny, non-threatening, smart, playful, and is letting everyone else play hard. As much as he tried to be the new “burn guy” on “Survivor” and as unlikely as it is he’ll be a factor in any challenge, his name never came up.  He even let Dawn lead the charge in their newly formed fragile (yet necessary) alliance. Maybe in the “Celebrity Survivor” Probst is shooting for, Cochran could play Woody Alle… OK, I won’t go there. 
 4. Erik: Yeah, Erik isn’t in the Stealth R Us Too Alliance. Yeah, Erik doesn’t have a sweet nickname. But he’s still the most valuable member of the minority alliance. People forget that Erik was killing challenges in Micronesia. And, if he’s smart, he’s not letting Phillip know that he hates his guts.

  5. Brenda: Funny, gorgeous, strategic, and smart, she’s just flat out built for this game. She knows what her reputation is and she seems to be working a different angle (the only way she could go deep in the game).  She strikes me as a person in life who gets what she wants. When it didn’t go her way last time, she threw the towel in. I bet she won’t this time. 
 5. Dawn:  Yup, everyone wants to work with Dawn. The dues she paid in “South Pacific” are paying dividends now. (Is that how dues work?) Everyone thinks they can trust her. Her challenge will be finding the right combination of alliance members to get her deep into the game. Then she needs to play against type and betray them. If she doesn’t she’s playing for the jury because nobody will want to go to the end with her.
 6. Reynold: Although he is a founding member of the Cool Kid Lunch Table Alliance (CKLTA) (which I believe will haunt him more than help him) he needs numbers and he just drew a line in the sand against the other six (who likely aren’t smart enough yet to jump on this gift of an opportunity). Here’s where newbies fail, A.) They telegraph their alliances (KOD=kiss of death in many cases) and B.) Newbie’s fail to seize the moments that usually come in small doses on “Survivor.” So Reynold is safe for now. As he pounds his chest caveman style at his new conquest, he fails to realize that all two-person show-mances are one castaway too big in size, one has to go…the other forever labeled (unless your name is Malcolm). I’d like to be a fly on the wall as Reynold watches this with his wife.
 6. Cochran: I’ve been trying to think of something more embarrassing than being evacuated from “Survivor” due to sunburn. Hang nail? Ice cream headache? All kidding aside, that had to suck. And credit where credit is due, Cochran tore his way up that tower in the immunity challenge. I was impressed. Right now, Cochran has a ton of options and everyone seems to like him. If Bikal can stay out of a prolonged losing streak, Cochran’s going to make a run for this.
 7. Phillip: Wow! Right out of the gates. Senior Specialist, please don’t try to be Boston Rob and come out of the chute so headstrong.  Be Phillip, it worked well last time. Although he didn’t get a single vote, his name was mentioned often (although mostly by the first boot). I like Phillip, he’s entertaining and he’s for real. I’m impressed he’s playing and playing hard…all respect for the challenge beast! BR Rule #4 … don’t copy BR Rules unless you’re BR.
  7. Phillip: Is Phillip really in change of the Caramoan branch of Stealth R Us? Probably not. The fact is, now that Francesca is gone the others don’t need to keep Phillip around to have a majority. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have Phillip along to take to the end, but if his quirky ways get to be a little too much, it isn’t the end of the world to cut him loose.
 8. Allie: By allowing her rear end to be the next test model for the new Charmin commercials, Allie made a huge mistake, putting herself to be a candidate for the first parental discretion warning since I fell into the fire on season 2. It wasn’t so much the PDA as it was the moaning that stuck out.  This will literally be her KOD or kiss of death.  She won’t be seen as the biggest threat in the (CKLTA) but she’ll always be attached to it. Jumping into an alliance with an alpha male is smart, telegraphing it is dumb.
 8. Michael: It’s still too early to have a clear picture of what’s going on over at Gota. I’m thinking you’ve got the cool kids’ alliance at one table, the less popular girls at another, and Shamar is…well I have no idea what Shamar is doing. Then you’ve got Michael and Matt. A pair of misfit free agent Gary and Wyatts who are about to find themselves as the most popular kids in school.
 9. Sherri: At 41, she is smart enough to see she’s obviously odd-man out in the kiddie pool of the under-25 females on her team. She was strangely quiet which is a sign that she understands the game and isn’t going to play her hand too soon. She was given the Monica Culpepper shot at being team mom because in Dawn’s females, there is only one under 25. She looks fit and is used to being the leader in life.  That won’t sit well with the alpha males if she tries to exercise control. She can quietly play an amazing game if she could see it as easily as we can.
 9. Reynold: Two big rookie mistakes from Reynold in episode one. First, being obvious about your showmance? That’s just a dumb move in a post Team Mariano world. And second, four people can’t dominate a ten-person tribe. Fortunately for you, your tribe will keep you because of your challenge prowess. It might work out so well for poor Allie though…
 10. Shamar: A leader in life, a leader in the tribe, but military leadership dictates respect, “Survivor” leadership dictates a long lonely walk to a nice meal and a hot shower. To my knowledge, Shamar is one of only three people in the history of the game to start a fire without the assistance of anything (Boston Rob on “Heroes vs. Villains” and Russell Swan/Malcolm on “Philippines”), although impressive, it won’t get him any votes.  His social game is on a thin thread here. As potentially a challenge beast and a survivalist, they may keep him to keep numbers strong but the CKLTA may be too cocky to care which breaks many “Survivor” rules of strategy.   10. Eddie: See Reynold.
 11. Hope: She could come out of this season as a new favorite, and I’m not normally this generous in early rankings to the young guns. As a founding member of the CKLTA, I’m hoping (pun intended) that she diversifies. At least she was smart enough to escape the late-night follies.     11. Shamar: C’mon, Shamar. Starting fights after being on the beach for 15 whole minutes? That’s not even “Survivor” 101, that’s more like Intro to “Survivor.” But, good on you for mending fences with Matt after the blow up. There are already fractures in Gota, it’s up to you figure out which side works best for you.
 12. Eddie: Swinging for the fences way too fast, very clever and a survivalist of sorts but c-o-c-k-y on steroids. Cocky doesn’t translate to late-game finishes. He’s athletic and scrappy but his ego will prevent him from advancing far. He’s most likely to experience an epic blindside by his own alliance. He’ll have to start a new club CKAP…Cool Kids at Ponderosa.   12. Matt: Nice to see Matt and Michael buddying up, but getting into an early fight with Shamar is a pretty big red flag as far as Matt’s social game goes. Hopefully their burying of the hatchet was legitimate and they’ll be able to move on.
 13. Michael: Seems nice enough, smart enough, likeable enough but doesn’t seem to understand the game. “Thinking” about forming alliances with a guy (Matt) that is obviously not in one isn’t a bad strategy if you have others already. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that way.   13. Sherri: We didn’t get to see much from Sherri, Julia, and Laura this past week, but we do know they’re aligned against the cool kids. Since Shamar has admitted that he likes the ladies, it shouldn’t be too hard to get him on board. Then it’s going to come down to Matt and Michael as the swing votes.
 14. Brandon: It’s so hard to put him any higher than this after seeing “scenes from our next episode.” There’s Russell Hantz “save yourself with strategic play” at any cost and there’s Willie Hantz (“Big Brother”) “when in doubt, go out memorable.” Brandon made it far and could have even won had he not made one of the top five blunders ever in the game by giving away his immunity necklace. Because of the Hantz name, a carefully crafted pre-strategy strategy was in order. If the “scenes” are any indication, I believe the fame and experience Brandon experienced on his last appearance will cause more tornados than strategic maneuvers.   14. Julia: There is someone on this show named Julia.
 15. Erik: He’ll always be a challenge threat and likely makes the merge because of it. His young, innocent looks could buy him additional time but (unlike Corinne who went from villain to hero) he’s gone from sweet to a developed callousness since his last appearance in “Fans vs Favorites,” or he just doesn’t like Phillip that much. I like his story, once a fan, now a favorite. He’s throwing Phillip under the bus maybe a bit too early. As owner of arguably the dumbest move ever on “Survivor,” he’s likely to make another blunder before the seasons over, costing him the seven figures once again.   15. Laura: Really? Making out with Reynold on day one? That’s like “Survivor” suicide these days. Oh wait…that was Allie? Yikes…can’t tell these two apart. Here’s hoping they receive some kind of distinctive swimwear in the next episode. Honestly, I’m hoping for nametags.
 16. Julia: Although at 21, she’s at a huge disadvantage from a life experience perspective, her Danica Patrick race-car career may give her more experience than we see. She’s possibly the least social in an over-the-top social game.  Making alliances with the right people is the only thing that can save her from the early Ponderosa adventure.   16. Brandon: Here’s a fun fact; when Brandon’s uncle (a guy named Russell) used to wreak havoc around camp, he didn’t tell anybody. He just went about his business and socks were burnt and machetes vanished. From the previews, it’s clear that Brandon tells Cochran what he’s up to. That’s probably going to be a problem for Lil Hantz.
 17. Laura: I had to go back and look up who she was as she was virtually invisible (and pretty blondes don’t get that treatment often), no significant moves (or they would have showed them), no alliances formed (repeat), insignificant in challenges (repeat). If under the radar is her strategy…she played brilliantly but it doesn’t appear that way. I hope she latches onto someone quickly.   17. Brenda: Oof…I hate to see Brenda in such a bad position so early in the game. From everything we’ve seen, it looks like she just ended up on the wrong side of the numbers. And if the faves lose again they probably won’t be able to get rid of two solid challenge performers like Erik and Brandon.
 18. Andrea: Although I like her a lot and am not picking her to go home early, she was one vote away from a purple rock and starring at trees for 36 days.  She played too hard, too early with the wrong people.  Rules here A, (you wrote some of them) …align yourself with people that are as good as or better than you. You didn’t follow that rule like you did last time with Matt and Boston Rob.  I bet she wiggles her way back in, who can resist those eyes, but it’s costly nonetheless. Andrea will never go down without a fight.   18. Hope: There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules on “Survivor,” but they always make sure the prettiest girl is aligned with the most handsome guy. That’s why they put them on the same tribe.
 19. Matt: Rule #1: Don’t get in a fight on the first day.  Rule #2: Don’t get into a fight with the potential leader of your tribe.  Rule #3: Don’t get in a fight with the biggest player out there. Rule #4: All rules get broken eventually.  The Rumplestiltskin look works for you appearance-wise but play smart, bro. Mike asked you into an alliance and you said “wait.” Huh? What? Really? …How Penner-esque of you. 
  19. Allie: Of all the fans, I had the highest hopes for Allie. But, that night-one groping session is probably going to come back to haunt her. Just ask poor Elyse Umemoto. Her relationship with Ozzy Lusth was platonic and the others still felt the need to send her packing.

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