Posts Tagged ‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains’

‘Survivor H.V.V.’ Episode 12 Recap: Is That an Idol In Your Pocket?

May 6, 2010

Last Week: Danielle threw down, Colby let his tribe down, and Amanda’s bid to stay in the game was voted down.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The (We’ve got immunity idols out the) Yin Yang Tribe

Rupert Boneham – 45
Colby Donaldson – 35
Candice Woodcock – 27
Sandra Diaz-Twine – 34
Danielle DiLorenzo – 28
Russell Hantz – 37
Jerri Manthey – 38
Parvati Shallow – 27

We meet up with the Yin Yangers after tribal council. Rupert feels like he and Colby are the last Heroes standing now that Candice has sided with the Legion of Troll.

The following morning, Russell tells Sandra that Colby and Rupert don’t trust him.

Ahem… Doy.

Rupert proves Russell’s theory correct by saying that Russell is worse than Jon “Jonny Fairplay” Dalton.


Rupert later calls Russell out for swearing on his kids’ lives. Russell does his trademark job of sweet talking the jury members by telling Rupert that he doesn’t care what he thinks.

Russell then breaks into a pretty weak Rupert impersonation by saying he’s, “The good guy, the second coming of Christ.” We’ve come a long way from Australia’s Keith Famie being a villain for being bossy around the campfire.

Immunity Challenge Numero Uno: All of the players will be standing on a wooden perch. They’ll have one hand in the air. That hand will be tethered to a bucket of colored water. When the arm drops, the water will dump on them, and they’ll be eliminated. Probst also promises a twist after the challenge. Maybe the twist will be that the colored water is actually Hi-C!

Gross Fact: Seeing everyone with their arms raised and sporting 30 days worth of stubble is making me regret purchasing an HDTV.

J-Pro decides to tempt the players with food, but before he can announce what it is, Russell and Sandra both agree to step out. Jeff unveils the food, and they’re both happy to discover a plate of cookies instead of a bowl of sea water.

A few minutes later, Jeff shows up with a plate of donuts. Colby agrees to leave the game for the donuts.

Really, Colby?! Dude has checked out.

Thirty five minutes into the challenge, Probst shows up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bowl of candy. Danielle, Jerri, and Candice take him up on it.

As Danielle gets doused, her bikini bottoms slip off. What is it with peanut butter and nudity on this show?!

An hour and ten minutes into the challenge, Rupert loses his footing and accidentally eliminates himself. Parvati wins immunity.

After the challenge, Probst reveals the twist which is another immunity idol clue. Instead of just handing it to Russell, he reads it out loud.

Another immunity idol…awesome…

Once everyone returns to camp, an idol-hunting free-for-all breaks out. Miraculously, Sandra manages to find it. She smartly decides not to tell anyone.

Rupert hatches a plan to make everyone think he has located the idol. He finds a large rock and puts it in his pocket. Go, Rupert. That’s the best thing he’s done since selling the shoes in the Pearl Islands.

Russell falls for it, telling Sandra that they’ll have to split the votes. She doesn’t let him know that she really has it.

During strategy talk, Jerri tells the others that she’d rather vote out Candice over Colby. Aww…Australia represent.

Rupert and Colby get wind of this strategy and decide to vote for Candice as well.

Quick Aside: Again, very impressed with Rupert.

That night at tribal, Colby and Rupert have it out with Candice over her decision to jump on board the S.S. Villain.

Russell has her back telling J-Pro that the jump was the smartest thing she’s done in the game.

Voting Time: Colby votes for Candice, Candice votes for Rupert, and the rest of the votes are secret.

Jeff asks if anyone would like to play an idol. Rupert decides not to play his rock.

J-Pro reads the votes; three votes for Rupert, four votes for Candice, and the thirteenth person voted out and the fifth member of the jury is…Candice.

The tribe has spoken.

Back at the beach we get an awesome animal metaphor as we’re shown a shot of a crab being picked apart by ants. Very subtle, “Survivor” crew. Emmys are in the mail.

Russell thinks the girls made a horrible decision by letting their hatred for Candice get in the way of their team strategy. He’s also a bit uneasy with the amount of pull Parvati has in the alliance.

Immunity Challenge Numero Dos: Each player will race to dig up a peg. Once they have their peg they’ll have to maneuver it around a maze puzzle. The first five people to complete the maze will advance. From there they’ll use four pegs to reach the top of a climbing wall. The first three people to reach the top of the wall will advance. From there they’ll have to complete a sliding puzzle. First person to complete their puzzle wins immunity.

Rupert, Sandra, Russell, Parvati, and Danielle complete the maze portion first and advance to the climbing wall portion.

In the next round, Russell scales the wall like a ring-tailed lemur! Parvati and Rupert are up next. They’ll all advance to the final round.

Not much to describe during the slide puzzle portion except for some heated puzzle sliding. Russell completes it first, winning immunity.

Back at camp, Parvati lets us know that it’s time for Rupert to go home.

However, Russell seems very annoyed that Parvati and Danielle are so close.

He tells Danielle that it might be time to send Parvati home. Danielle disagrees, but tells Russell that she trusts him 110%.

Bahaha! Danielle is like the 40th person on this show to talk about how much they trust Russell.

In the very next shot, Russell tells Parvati that Danielle just told him that she wants to boot Parvati when they get to the final five or six.

Parvati wants to talk to Danielle about it, but Russell tries to talk her out of it…

…And he isn’t successful. Danielle and Parvati share notes and decide that Russell has been lying to them.

Russell realizes he’s in trouble, so he talks to Colby and Rupert about voting out Danielle. Surely Rupert wouldn’t work with the man he considers to be the most vile villain of all time, right?

Wrong. Rupert’s all for it. They even bumped fists.

“Survivor” is the best.

Now that the gentlemen are on board, Russell makes a move for Jerri’s vote. It’s masterful. He convinces her that if Danielle doesn’t go tonight that they’ll be gunning for her next.

That night at tribal, J-Pro asks who’s running the show. Rupert thinks it’s between Parvati and Russell. Danielle thinks all of the Villains are working together and making decisions.

Really, Danielle?

The Parvati vs. Danielle debate is brought up with Russell sticking to his story. Except, now he claims that it was his way of testing Danielle’s loyalty.  This actually causes Danielle to break down in tears.

From the jury box, Courtney says, “Boo hoo.”

Most entertaining juror ever.

In trying to make peace, Danielle stumbles and says she’s closer to Parvati than Russell thinks.

Can open…worms everywhere.

Russell mouths to Jerri to vote for Danielle.

Voting Time: Parvati votes for Rupert, Russell votes for Danielle, Jerri casts a mystery vote that will “Seal her fate,” the rest of the votes aren’t shown.

Time to read the votes; three votes for Rupert, three votes for Danielle, and the fourteenth person voted out of the game, and the sixth member of the jury is…Danielle.

The tribe has spoken…again.

Verdict: Wow. I thought Colby and Rupert were dead in the water. Shows what I know. Another awesome episode. The post-Boston Rob lull is officially over.

Who’s Going to Win? That immunity idol makes Sandra extremely dangerous. But, I don’t think the jury will vote for a past winner. So, I’m sticking with my Jerri vote.

Power Rankings Update:
Stephen Fishbach had Candice in spot eight and Danielle in spot six for a total of fourteen points while I had Candice in spot five and Danielle in spot two for seven points. The current score is now All Stars 105, Team Gordon 118.

That lead is probably too much for the All Stars to overcome, which is good because the final challenger is none other than the Probsty Award-winning, defending Power Rankings champion Tamara “Taj” George.

What Do You Think?
Was Russell foolish for turning on Danielle? Do you think less of Rupert for siding with Russell? Which player has surprised/impressed you the most this season?

‘Survivor’ Power Rankings: Tocantins Finalist Stephen Fishbach

May 4, 2010

The Rules: Each week a member of our “Survivor” All-Star team and your beloved “Survivor” recapper Gordon “Truth Seeker” Holmes 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 combatants will earn. For example, if Jerri is voted out this week, Fancast’s “Survivor” All-Star Team will receive 5 points and Gordon will receive 3 points. At the end of the season, the person (or team) with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Samoa’s Ashley Trainer won one for the All Stars as she had Amanda in spot six while I had her in spot three. The current score is All Stars 91, Team Gordon 111.

Alright, before the man Coach dubbed “The Wizard” squares off against the man Coach dubbed “The Truth Seeker,” let’s take a minute to check in with the “Survivor: Tocantins” runner up Stephen Fishbach…

Gordon Holmes: What’ve you been up to since coming back from the Brazilian Highlands?
Stephen Fishbach:
Since I’ve come back from Brazil, my biggest achievement has been returning to a normal physical condition. I also have a small media consulting company, and I do corporate speechwriting as well. My interests include candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and watching “Survivor.” Check out my blog about “Survivor” strategy at

Gordon: Are you enjoying ‘Heroes Vs. Villains’ so far?
Yes! This may be my favorite season ever. It’s been a wonderful mix of genius moves and mind-blowing idiocy. I think I’m enjoying the spectacular flame-outs even more than the blindsides or idol play.

Gordon: Russell Hantz has been partly responsible for getting some of your favorite people booted out of the game. What do you think of him? How would you have handled him?
I can’t hate on Russell for knocking out JT and Courtney. After all, he sent them both to Ponderosa where they formed the Dragonz. If I were out there, I would have found 19 hidden immunity idols and given one to everybody but him. You’ve gotta fight fire with fire.

Gordon: Where do you stand on the great “JT giving Russell the idol” debate? Was it a stupid move, a risky gamble, or something else?
Definitely a risky gamble. I would much rather have gone out in a blaze of glory than fizzled out like Amanda. Which is worse – making a big move trying to put yourself in a prime position to win, or laying down and dying? JT ends up looking bad because it’s easier to point to a move than a non-move and say “that was a mistake.” Look at someone like Danielle – she’s riding coattails and will probably get to the endgame, but she can never win. You have to play to win, and sometimes that takes you out early.

Stephen Fishbach’s Picks
All-Star Team’s Current Score: 91

parvati #1 Parvati: Parvati has an amazing ability to form friendships with the people she’s eliminating. If given a choice between her and Russell, undoubtedly the jury will vote for her. Her problem now may just be overconfidence. Hiding the idol from Russell may have secured Danielle as an ally, but it also antagonized the puppetmaster.
russell(2) #2 Russell: Russell is actually in a better strategic position than Parvati. He has his alliance with Danielle and Parv – but Jerri is more loyal to him, and now he has a side deal with Candice. Even if things go sour, he’s guaranteed to find enough hidden immunity idols to at least make the finale. The only reason he’s my number two is that I don’t think Russell can win. Too many people just hate him.
sandra #3 Sandra: Sandra is like a “Survivor” freedom fighter running an insurgency against Russell. She strikes from the hills and then disappears into the night. Her poker face at tribal council and ability to swallow her long-term goals for short-term necessity are truly impressive.
rupert #4 Rupert: It’s been a rough season for Rupert – but since the merge, Golden Age Rupert has returned! The Hero who talked too much about the Women’s Alliance now is bluffing Probst in Tribal. The problem for Rupert is that his awakening may have come too late.
jerri #5 Jerri: Could Jerri Manthey actually win “Survivor?” If the iconic villainess made it to the end against two dislikable players, she might just get some jury votes. Jerri’s challenge will be explaining what moves she made herself.
danielle #6 Danielle: Danielle’s probably safe for a few more votes and could make it to the final tribal. But I think Danielle has the least chance to win of anybody. In a season of superheroes, she’s just a sidekick.
colby #7 Colby: Colby showed last week that his heart’s just not in the game anymore. The only reason he may stick around is that he isn’t a threat.
candice #8 Candice: There’s a difference between jumping alliances and flip-flopping. By trying to navigate between two groups, Candice has pissed off both of them. Now the Heroes will want nothing to do with her, and Russell doesn’t need her anymore.

Gordon Holmes’s Picks
Gordon’s Current Score: 111

russell(2) #1 Russell: I think Russell has reached the point where keeping him around as a possible jury opponent is valuable. He may rule the (We’ve got immunity idols coming out the) Yin Yang tribe now, but I can’t see the jury voting to give him the million dollars he’d like and the “Sole Survivor” title he needs.
danielle #2 Danielle: Did you see Danielle snap when Amanda swiped her immunity clue? She’s got some fight in her. I doubt people like her or respect her game enough to vote for her, but she’s definitely in this for the long haul.
jerri #3 Jerri: Flying under the radar in the dominant alliance is a sweet place to be. If she can get to the finals the million-dollar check is as good as hers. That is, unless the other players recognize that and boot her beforehand.
parvati #4 Parvati: Could the Queen of Samoa go all the way? I think people are starting to realize that she’s going to be tough to beat in front of a jury. Anyone who witnessed her double-idol maneuver has to be impressed by her game play.
candice #5 Candice: Candice jumped from the sinking Heroes ship, but she didn’t do it in a manner that would impress her new Villain buddies. She still has time to maneuver, but the clock is ticking.
rupert #6 Rupert: I can almost see Russell preparing his victory speech where he tells the world how he got rid of “Survivor” legends like Rupert, Boston Rob, and Colby. I assume he’ll say something like, “I’d like to thank my Dumb A## Girls Alliance, myself, and the dozens of hidden immunity idols that made this moment possible.”
colby #7 Colby: I’m pretty sure Colby has checked out of the game at this point. I know he’s the all-American good guy, but he gave Danielle the clue over his alliance-mate Amanda for no good reason. It’s like he just wanted them to be quiet so he could watch the rest of the movie.
sandra #8 Sandra: Now that Candice is on board with the Villains, Sandra’s days are probably numbered. If she hadn’t let her Russell hatred get in the way of her “Anyone but me” strategy, she could have made it to the end.

More “Survivor” Fun: Check out my Exit Interview with Amanda Kimmel and find out Who Former Survivors Picked as the Worst Villain of All Time.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Amanda Kimmel

April 30, 2010

The Case: DiLorenzo Vs. Kimmel

The Facts: Danielle DiLorenzo finds an immunity idol clue in a bowl of popcorn. She fishes it out, then hides it on the floor. Amanda Kimmel, sensing something is up, starts sniffing around Danielle’s side of the bed. Amanda finds the dropped clue and tries to run off with it.

The Confrontation: The two bikini-clad young lovelies fight over the coveted clue as if they were on “Jerry Springer” instead of “Survivor.”

The Verdict: Colby Donaldson, ignoring the landmark ruling of “Finders Keepers Vs. Losers Weepers” rules that the clue should be returned to Ms. DiLorenzo.

The Result: Danielle and the rest of the Villains score yet another immunity idol, while Amanda is sent to the jury.

I spoke with Amanda the day after Judge Colby’s proclamation to get her take on that volatile situation, why she was chosen to go home over Colby or Rupert, and her relationship with the Queen of Samoa Parvati Shallow.

Gordon Holmes: I thought of something that could have saved you some trouble during last night’s episode.
Amanda Kimmel:
Oh really? What was that?
Gordon: You turn to Colby and you say “Hey, possession is nine-tenths of the law.”
Amanda: (Laughs) That didn’t pop into my head, that’s for sure.
Gordon: Now Jeff Probst has said that there is no kind of “Survivor” rule that determines who had the legal right to that clue and that you could have kept it.
Amanda: I didn’t even know.

Gordon: So what’s the worse move, Colby giving Danielle the clue or JT giving Russell the idol?
Giving Russell the idol was what started everything. We were in a good position until then. We were tying everything up, things were good. I didn’t agree with giving the idol from the beginning, but when you don’t have it there’s only so much you can say. But that’s what started that huge ball rolling down the hill.

Gordon: What was the reaction around camp when you told the rest of the Heroes that Colby had made you cough up the clue?
There was a lot of disappointment because of the fact that we won the challenge to get the clue was a godsend. I kind of blame myself because I didn’t find the clue. I was looking for it the whole time. It was all that was on my mind. And, I was the one who gave the bowl of popcorn to Danielle.

Gordon: Did the alliance that you and Parvati had been working toward come to an end after her ninja double-immunity-idol maneuver?
We didn’t trust each other. Both of us, in a way, wanted to work with each other, but there were a lot of things that happened. There were things that I told her that I found out that she had told somebody else.

Gordon: You said you had made a lot of mistakes. What could you have done differently?
I should have just taken the clue, ran to the bathroom, locked the door, read it, and flushed it down the toilet.
Gordon: (Laughs)
Amanda: (Laughs) That’s exactly what I wanted to do.
Gordon: Now how upset would the people at Robert Louis Stevenson’s home have been if you’re clogging up their toilets with immunity idol parchments?
Amanda: I know! They probably would have kicked me off the show. (Laughs)

Gordon: You’ve been on “Survivor” for over 100 days. Do you ever get used to the outdoor conditions?
To be honest, the only thing that I have a really hard time with is when it rains at night and it’s cold. But we didn’t really have a problem with that this time because our shelter was perfect.

Gordon: Why do you think they chose to boot you over Rupert or Colby?
Because I tried to get the clue from Danielle.
Gordon: Really? That was it?
Amanda: To be honest here…
Gordon: How dare you be honest? Don’t you watch “Survivor?”
Amanda: (Laughs) I know! I love Colby and Rupert to death, but it’s really hard to play with them. They weren’t strategic and I’m used to playing with people like Todd (Herzog – Winner of “Survivor: China”) and Parvati. I kinda had to take everything into my own hands. I couldn’t plan it with anyone. That was the frustrating thing about Colby, he was just laying there enjoying the popcorn, he wasn’t helping me find the idol at all.
Gordon: He was more interested in watching “Treasure Island” than in watching two pretty girls in bikinis wrestle.
Amanda: I know! And I’m sorry, but the movie was awful. (Laughs)
Gordon: Man, you’re just digging yourself deeper and deeper with Robert Louis Stevenson.
Amanda: I’m never going to be allowed back into Samoa.

Gordon: You mentioned that you were used to playing with Todd and Parvati, and most people would consider those two to be Villains. Do you think they may have put you on the wrong team?
I’ve done a lot of dishonest things in “Survivor.” I think everybody has. But in the end I feel like I chose to be loyal each time. It kind of depends; I could have been either probably. I think almost everybody could be either.

Gordon: OK, word association time…
Are we going to play a game? That’s cool.
Gordon: We are going to play a game. Let’s start with Parvati.
Amanda: Villainess.
Gordon: Russell?
Amanda: Horrible.
Gordon: Danielle?
Amanda: Blank.
Gordon: James?
Amanda: Loyal.
Gordon: JT?
Amanda: Goofy.
Gordon: Colby?
Amanda: Statuesque.
Gordon: Sandra?
Amanda: Loud.
Gordon: The ridiculous amount of hidden immunity idols?
Amanda: Annoying.

Gordon: And finally, if there were no in-game rules against it, who would win in a straight-up fight between you and Danielle?
Oh, come on!
Gordon: I know the answer, but I have to ask.
Amanda: I would! There’s no question.

‘Survivor H.V.V.’ Episode 11 Recap: Girl Fight!

April 29, 2010

Last Week: Russell the King tried to convince the Heroes that he was on their side, Parvati the Queen shocked everyone by playing two immunity idols at the same time, while JT didn’t get Jack.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The Yin Yang Tribe (wearing black)

Rupert Boneham – 45
Colby Donaldson – 35
Amanda Kimmel – 24
Candice Woodcock – 27
Sandra Diaz-Twine – 34
Danielle DiLorenzo – 28
Russell Hantz – 37
Jerri Manthey – 38
Parvati Shallow – 27

Before we get started, I was told that “Survivor” is the number one show in Canada. Is this true? If you’re a Canadian reader, say “Hello” in the comments below.

We meet up with the Yin Yang tribe and Russell is not pleased that his “Dumb-a—“ girl alliance might be smarter than he thought.

He asks Sandra if she knew Parvati had a second idol. Sandra tells him she didn’t even know Parvati had the first idol. Russell then confronts Parvati about what happened. She laughs it off and tells him to chill out. Chilling out is not what Russell is known for.

Meanwhile, Amanda and Rupert are trying to figure out a way to break up the Villain alliance. I’d recommend giving them idols. Didn’t that work for JT?

The following morning Candice is speaking with Russell. He tells her that the S.S. Heroes is sinking and one of the Heroes needs to jump. Maybe he’s accepting applications for Parvati 2.0?

Reward Challenge: It’s “Survivor” shuffle board, baby!  There will be three teams of three. Players will slide discs across a board toward an X. The team with the disc closest to the X wins. The winning tribe will receive a trip to Robert Louis Stevenson’s home for a screening of “Treasure Island.”

Too bad Jon Favreau’s home isn’t on Samoa, they could be checking out “Iron Man 2!”

The teams are; Jerri, Parvati, and Candice on the black team, Rupert, Russell, and Sandra on the blue team, and Colby, Amanda, and Danielle on the blue team.

Quick Aside: The shuffle board…board is a map of the world with the “Survivor” logos on it. Very cool.

Not a whole lot to describe here (except for Sandra being terrible at sliding pucks across a board) but Colby does come through, placing the last shot right on top of the X. Blue team wins.

We meet up with the blue team at Robert Louis Stevenson’s house and Amanda is prepared to tear apart this literary legend’s home just to find the next immunity idol clue.

However, she hasn’t been paying attention to this season’s hide-the-clue-in-the-food trend. During the viewing of “Treasure Island” Danielle finds a little buried treasure of her own in the popcorn bowl. However, this time instead of placing the clue in her cleavage, she tosses it under the bed.

Amanda senses something is up and starts searching around Danielle. Meanwhile, CBS executives are disappointed that she wasn’t searching in Danielle’s usual hiding spot.

Amanda eventually finds it and…no lie…a cat fight breaks out. Nevermind what I said earlier, the CBS execs are pleased.

Colby settles the dispute, saying it’s Danielle’s clue because she found it. Hero to the end, that guy.

Amanda is livid that Colby didn’t have her back.

Once Danielle returns to camp the Villains start looking for the idol. Russell finds it quickly, and manages to squirrel it away before the ladies in his alliance notice. There hasn’t been this much dissension between a king and a queen since “Hamlet.”

Who says my recaps are all poop jokes?

Afterward, Russell uses his newfound idol to prove to Candice that he trusts her.

Later on we meet up with Colby and Sandra discussing strategy. Sandra seems fully prepared to flip. The question is, do they go for Parvati or Russell?

Russell puts the kibosh on that plan later, telling Sandra that they have the votes to boot her if she flips on the Villains.

Immunity Challenge: It looks like we’re revisiting Gabon’s tile-stacking challenge. The players will try to build a house of cards using the tiles. The person with the highest structure when time runs out wins immunity.

Again, not much to describe here, just a lot of tile stacking. Although, I will say I giggled like a five year old each time someone’s stack would collapse. Good times.

In the end, it came down to Jerri and Russell with Jerri winning at the last second. Jerri is giddy, letting us know that this is her first-ever individual immunity victory.

Not-So-Quick Aside: I don’t know if it’s possible to have a character arc over the ten-year run of a reality series, but Jerri Manthey has been fascinating to watch. From the over confident pain in a— in “Australia,” to the not-quite-sure-how-to-take-America-hating-her defiance of “All-Stars” to the comfortable-in-her-own-skin cougar (Parvati’s word, not mine) we’re seeing now. She’s becoming one of my favorites.

Back at camp, Russell tells Candice that it’s time for Amanda to go home. Meanwhile, the Heroes and Sandra will be gunning for Russell.

Candice tells Russell that his head is on the chopping block. Russell, in true Russell form, storms out and confronts Sandra about it. Hey, there’s Russell not chilling out again.

The big question seems to be, who’s flipping; Sandra or Candice?

That night at tribal council, Coach shows up wearing a hat that has writing on it. Unfortunately after several pausing attempts, I can’t make out what it says. I have failed you. You can’t vote me out though, I buy my idols wholesale.

During the conversatin’ portion of tribal, Sandra tells Jeff that it’s best to stay with your original alliance.

Russell admits that he wants Sandra around because she’s weak at challenges. He then tells us why the members of his tribe are so valuable. He mentions everyone’s name except for Sandra.

Colby lets us know that he’s absolutely convinced Danielle has the immunity idol. Wasn’t JT absolutely convinced that there was a female alliance?

Voting Time: Russell votes for Amanda, Amanda votes for Parvati, and the rest are all in Probsty’s hands.

Jeff asks if anyone wants to play an idol. Sure enough, Russell stands up and plays the idol for himself. Remember when that was shocking?

Tallying Time: Two votes for Amanda, two votes for Parvati, two votes for Amanda, one vote for Parvati, and the twelfth person voted out and the fourth member of the jury is…Amanda.

Looks like Candice is the latest addition to the royal family.

Afterward, Parvati rolls her eyes as she’s annoyed that Russell wasted an idol.

Verdict: OK, I’m officially joining the “There are too many idols” alliance. It adds strategy to the game, but seems to take away from the social aspect. I’m still loving this season though.

Who’s Going to Win? It’s gotta be Jerri, right? She’s flying under the radar in the game’s most powerful alliance.

Power Rankings Update: Samoa’s Ashley Trainer won one for the All Stars as she had Amanda in spot six while I had her in spot three. The current score is All Stars 91, Team Gordon 111.

What Do You Think? Will Parvati and Russell turn on each other? Are there too many idols in the game? Who should have been allowed to keep the clue; Amanda or Danielle?

‘Survivor’ Power Rankings: Samoa Alumnus Ashley Trainer

April 27, 2010

The Rules: Each week a member of our “Survivor” All-Star team and your beloved “Survivor” recapper Gordon “Truth Seeker” Holmes 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 combatants will earn. For example, if Jerri is voted out this week, Fancast’s “Survivor” All-Star Team will receive 5 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. At the end of the season, the person (or team) with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Debra Beebe predicted the demise of her Tocantins buddy JT by placing him in the tenth spot. I had him in spot eight. The current score is now All Stars: 85, Team Gordon: 108.

Alright, before we step into the Power Rankings ring, let’s take a minute to check in with Ashley Trainer…

Gordon Holmes: Thanks for taking part in the Power Rankings. What’ve you been up to since coming back from the Samoan wilderness?
Ashley Trainer:
Since coming home I have been working at Target Corp in downtown Minneapolis. I also just moved into a brand new loft that I purchased.  I love living downtown and walking to work. I am also writing a blog each week about my thoughts of this season of “Survivor.” It’s on and it’s called Trainer’s Tips!

Gordon: How are you enjoying ‘Heroes Vs. Villains’ so far?
I think this is by far the best season! Even better than watching myself on TV. (Laughs) There have been so many twists and turns this season, I love it. Being a fan of the show makes it even better because I have watched everyone play the game before.

Gordon: We constantly get comments from readers who detest Russell Hantz. Can you give us an idea what the real Russell is like and why people are drawn to him?
Russell is a very charming person in an odd way. He has this thing about him that you trust him and believe him. I don’t think anyone can understand it unless they actually know him as a person. He makes you trust him and he will do anything to make sure that doesn’t stop. The real Russell is a nice guy, he is super funny and fun to be around.

Gordon: And finally, and most importantly, are you annoyed that there hasn’t been a ‘Survivor Smoothie’ challenge yet this year?
I am so annoyed! I got so much slack about that challenge and I wish they would have another one! I honestly don’t think they will though because they did last season.

Ashley Trainer’s Picks
All-Star Team’s Current Score: 85

parvati #1 Parvati: With all the idols she has been playing I think she will make it far. She is getting people on her side by helping them and making them personally indebted to her.
danielle #2 Danielle: She has a strong alliance with Parv and I think this will get her far in the game. Parv seems more loyal to her then to Russ.
sandra #3 Sandra: I think she is so smart and finally realizing who Russell is and how he is playing the game. I think she will convince the other women to vote him off then they will get rid of her.
russell(2) #4 Russell: People are catching onto him and realizing the game he is playing and I think this will end up getting him voted off…
jerri #5 Jerri: She has an alliance with the Villains which should take her to the final five.  She appears, however, on the outside of that alliance and will get voted off before the core alliance.
amanda #6 Amanda: I think Parv will keep her as long as possible but I do think the Villains are going to stick together and that leaves her leaving.
rupert #7 Rupert: I think he will get on Russell’s bad side and BAM he will be voted off. He is smart and catching onto Russell and the second that happens and he voices it, that means trouble.
candice #8 Candice: She is a Hero and I think they will peck them off one by one.
colby #9 Colby: Man, he has to start putting some effort into the challenges! He isn’t physically strong so he isn’t doing much for everyone. Therefore I think he has a big target on his back.

Gordon Holmes’s Picks
Gordon’s Current Score: 108

sandra #1 Sandra: It may look like the Villains have taken control of this game, but I’m not so sure. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sandra became a swing vote. Now that Parvati is out of immunity idols anything could happen.
danielle #2 Danielle: No matter who comes out on top after this episode, I’m sure Danielle will be safe. Being the third member of the power alliance means you won’t be the first target if things go south.
amanda #3 Amanda: Could the Villains be looking to add a fifth vote? They can’t trust Sandra. Amanda might be a decent choice to fill that role.
jerri #4 Jerri: I’m putting Jerri in the same boat as Danielle. They’re both solid with the power alliance and will be able to coast for a while.
candice #5 Candice: The game isn’t going Candice’s way. But there is a bright side; she’ll be one of the last Heroes sent home, so she’ll have some room to try to find an angle.
parvati #6 Parvati: What? Why is Parvati so low in the rankings? She pulled off the move of the season last week…but it may have cost her Russell’s trust. And you know how Russell gets when he thinks he can’t trust someone.
russell(2) #7 Russell: As long as Sandra is still in the game, Russell is not safe. It would be very easy for her to team up with the Heroes.
colby #8 Colby: Russell must love love love the idea of being able to boot one of the most famous good guys in “Survivor” history. In fact, the only thing he would love more than that is…
rupert #9 Rupert: As I was saying, the only thing Russell would love more than that is being able to boot THE biggest good guy in “Survivor” history. Buh bye, Rupert.

More “Survivor” Fun: Check out my Exit Interview with James ‘JT’ Thomas Jr. and find out Who Former Survivors Picked as the Worst Villain of All Time.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: James ‘JT’ Thomas Jr.

April 26, 2010

If the CBS editing team is to be believed, Tocantins champion James “JT” Thomas Jr. is responsible for the stupidest move in “Survivor” history. When he bundled up his immunity idol with a love note and handed it to Russell Hantz, he sealed his own fate.  Three days later Russell was laughing and JT was on his way to the “Survivor” Hall of Shame.

I spoke with JT recently to get his take on this heart-breaking turn of events, how Amanda’s bad acting buried the Heroes team, and how I’ve become a bit of a JT apologist.

Gordon Holmes: I assume you’ve been getting a lot of grief over giving the immunity idol to Russell. Some have even called it the stupidest move in “Survivor” history. I disagree with that. I think it was more of a crazy gamble.
James ‘JT’ Thomas Jr.:
(Laughs) I appreciate that.
Gordon: So, last week when you’re watching the previews and they say “There have been a lot of dumb moves in ‘Survivor,’ and this might be the dumbest,” what’s going through your mind?
JT: It was jaw dropping. I was like, “Oh man, is it really that bad?” That was definitely the first time when my stomach got queasy.

Gordon: They only really showed you pitching the idea of giving Russell the idol. Did the other Heroes buy in immediately, or did you have some selling to do?
It wasn’t immediately Russell. I started thinking, even when Coach was still in the game, for a way to make a move. I thought there was a women’s alliance, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. When I found the idol, Candice was definitely gunning for me with the idol. So, I thought when we merged they’d say “He has the idol, why don’t we get rid of him?” I felt like it wasn’t going to help me get where I wanted to go. When I thought of the idea, Amanda thought for five minutes, she was like, “I don’t know. Let’s talk about it.” And then finally she thought it might work. But, everyone went along with it. Colby was excited, Rupert was excited.

Gordon: Amanda and Parvati seem to be working together again. Did Amanda tell you that Parvati claimed to have an immunity idol?
I don’t think Amanda told us that Parvati had an idol. I think she told us that she thought she did. She never really came clean. But, Amanda was rocky through the merge. I think she was scared because Parvati wouldn’t open up to her. She felt that they had a solid plan. So Amanda would have done pretty much anything out there. She told Parvati to play her idol, but that was some bad acting. I think Amanda hurt us more than she helped us on that deal.

Gordon: Can you take us back to when Parvati pulled out that second idol? What’s going through your mind at that point?
I knew I was going as soon as the second idol came out. I knew there was a possibility, but the Villains played it up good. When she played the first one I thought, “Yes! She gave it to Sandra, we guessed right.” We had picked the right person, and nobody had tipped her off. But then when she pulled out the second idol I was like, “Surely they’re not going to give it to Jerri.” But I knew I was gone the second she gave it to Jerri.

Gordon: How would you compare playing a regular season like Tocantins vs. playing in an all-star season?
JT: The game wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be with the hard-caliber of players I was playing against. It could have been worse. I expected it to be. I thought I was going to be first or second out.
Gordon: As a former champion, were there any concerns that there would be a big target on your back? We saw that a lot during “Survivor: All Stars.”
JT: I was definitely worried, because I was the last winner that anyone had seen. I won hands down. I got all the votes. And everyone figured they didn’t want to face someone like that in the finals. They don’t want any nice guys like me around. But I played it pretty straight up in Tocantins, so everyone knows they can trust me.

Gordon: Speaking of that, there’s been a lot of talk this season about Heroes acting like Villains and Villains acting like Heroes. And your name was brought up a few times in that regard, especially earlier in the game with Tom and Colby. Did you worry about hurting your reputation as a good guy?
I went in with a whatever-it-takes-to-win attitude. I didn’t feel like there’d be anybody taking it lightly. But at some point of the game you get fed up and you think, “You know what? I’m just going to do what I think is right.” Even though you try to play nice. That was like with Colby, I knew I’d rather have Colby for a lot of reasons. So I had to go against all of the numbers. And then I tried to get back to my strategy.
Gordon: Why did you stick with James and Amanda?
JT: Amanda, James, myself, and Rupert had a four-way alliance that was pretty tight. But as the game went on, Tom and Colby were guys that I really looked up to. I think that in different circumstances it would have been me, Tom and Colby all the way. The way the numbers worked out I had to stay with my original numbers.

Gordon: Alright, word association time, let’s start with Russell.
Gordon: Coach?
JT: (Laughs) Rico suave.
Gordon: James?
JT: Big.
Gordon: Amanda?
JT: Bad actress.
Gordon: Sandra?
JT: Sneaky.
Gordon: Candice?
JT: Klepto
Gordon: OK, I’ve got to follow up on that one. Candice the klepto?
JT: All the tree mail and the fruit, she’d like hide it from everybody.
Gordon: Rupert?
JT: Boastful.
Gordon: Parvati?
JT: Snake.

Gordon: How do you respond to all the people saying you made the dumbest move in “Survivor” history?
I don’t really know. I’ve been trying to figure that out. (Laughs) I just try to tell everyone that you have to make big moves to win the game. And one different move in that tribal council and things would’ve turned out different. I stand by my decision.

‘Survivor H.V.V.’ Episode 10 Recap: Idols Give Back

April 22, 2010

Last Week: JT gave Russell an idol, Parvati discovered an idol, and Courtney will spend the rest of this season idle.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

The Hero Tribe (wearing noble blue)

Rupert Boneham – 45
Colby Donaldson – 35
Amanda Kimmel – 24
James “JT” Thomas Jr. – 25
Candice Woodcock – 27

The Villain Tribe (wearing devilish red)

Sandra Diaz-Twine – 34
Danielle DiLorenzo – 28
Russell Hantz – 37
Jerri Manthey – 38
Parvati Shallow – 27

We start off on Hero Beach and the Heroic Five are hoping that Russell was able to make it through tribal council. Yeah, I think he’ll be fine.

Tree mail arrives at both camps with the promise of a merge. The Heroes are given a large chest (no, you’re not getting a Danielle joke) while the Villains are given a key.

Russell and his lady alliance decide to tell the Heroes that the reason Parvati is still around is because she played an immunity idol of her own. I don’t think the Heroes are stupid enough to fall for that.

The Villains arrive at the Heroes’ camp, and the Heroes are not happy to see Parvati. JT lets us know that Parvati must’ve played an idol of her own.

In other news, JT just traded the Hereos’ cow for a handful of magic beans.

The chest is opened, and new buffs are revealed (a sharp black/midnight blue combo). After the merge feast, the teams debate a new tribe name. My vote is for “Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters.”

Five “Survivor” points to whoever gets that reference.

Back at the shelter, Russell is telling his fabricated double-idol story to JT and Rupert. Russell swears on his kids that he’s on the Heroes’ side. Meanwhile, a couple of kids in Texas live in constant fear of lightning bolts.

Later, Sandra tells Rupert the truth. It seems like he might actually believe her.

The following morning there’s a bit of a controversy over Parvati and Danielle eating the tribe’s bananas. Uh-oh, breach of banana etiquette! They’re gonna get the James treatment.

Later, while the Heroes are discussing strategy, Rupert finally says the thing I was screaming at my TV last week in regards to Russell, “He’s on the Villains side for a reason.”

Thank you, Rupert!  It took you three seasons, but you’ve finally won me over, big guy.

The Heroes agree to tell Russell that they’re voting for Parvati, and then actually vote for someone else. They figure this will be a good way to prove that Russell is honest.

Later, Parvati and Amanda sneak off together. They decide do a Micronesian alliance reunion tour. Parvati proves her trust in Amanda by admitting that she has her own hidden immunity idol.

That move doesn’t seem smart. If Russell finds out she has a secret idol, there could be trouble.

It’s not all questionable strategy though. When the time for giving up valuable information is over, apparently it’s time for the secret Micronesian handshake.  I approve.

Fun Fact: Pro wrestlers also have a secret handshake.

Immunity Challenge: Before the challenge begins, Jeff asks if they’ve come up with a tribe name. Russell tells him they’re “Yin Yang” because it means good and evil. The yoga expert on the couch next to me assures me it actually means, “Opposites need to work together to strike a balance.”

Close enough.

For this challenge, each contestant will climb up a pole. The last person to fall off of the pole wins immunity.

JT, Candice, and Parvati have all previously competed in this challenge.

Colby and Sandra aren’t doing well early. They both agree to drop off at the same time.

Russell and Rupert are the next to go a few minutes later. Meanwhile, Parvati, Candice, and Danielle seem very comfortable on their poles.

Oh, grow up.

Amanda steps out of the challenge about twenty minutes into it.

JT lasts an impressive forty minutes before finally giving in.

Jerri hits the one hour, thirty-minute mark before finally calling it a day. Candice decides to drop out shortly afterward. But not before J-Pro tries to guilt her into staying.

That was weird.

Parvati and Danielle debate who should win, with both agreeing that Parvati should drop out because she already has the hidden idol. Danielle wins immunity.

Rupert finds it odd that Parvati would give up the immunity challenge so easily. He thinks she might have an idol of her own.

Go Rupert. Two for two.

Back at camp, JT tells us they’re going to let Russell vote for Parvati while they vote for Jerri.

Colby and JT talk, and Colby would rather see Sandra go home.   Aww… Australian Outback represent.

Later in the woods, Russell hands Parvati his immunity idol for the second time this season. Parvati rewards him with a hug.  Seems fair.

Before tribal council, Amanda tells Parvati she had better play her idol just in case. However, Parvati doesn’t buy it.

Quick Aside: Parvati gets a lot of grief for getting by on her looks, but she is uber perceptive.

That night at tribal council, Coach and Courtney make the scene in stylish, matching outfits (as Courtney had promised during out interview last week).

Bananas (or plantains) are a hot topic yet again as Rupert doesn’t like Danielle picking at his food before it has a chance to ripen.

Russell is less interested in food and more interested in playing the game. He tells Jeff that tonight’s vote will dictate the rest of the game.

JT is worried that he might get a few votes, as the Villains haven’t been talking to him.

Fun Fact: Candice has “I Love John” written up both of her arms. I’m going to assume she misspelled “Gordon.”

Parvati tells us that she feels like a leper because nobody will talk to her. Probst lays down some tribal smack, asking her if she’s just not used to that because she gets so much attention in her everyday life.

Zing! Point Probst.

Voting Time: Russell votes for JT, Parvati votes for JT, Jerri votes for JT, Amanda votes for Jerri, Rupert votes for Jerri, Candice votes for Jerri, and the rest are lost to the magic of editing.

Before J-Pro reads the votes, he asks if anyone wants to play an idol. Parvati gives an adorable little speech and then hands one of the idols to Sandra. Then, she hands a second idol to Jerri.


The Heroes know their geese are cooked.

J-Pro reads the votes; five votes for Jerri, two votes for JT, and the eleventh person voted out and the third member of the jury is…JT

Russell tells Parvati that she has some explaining to do. He didn’t seem upset about it though.

Verdict: Holy cow. This season is an emotional rollercoaster. I feel like I need a nap.

Who’s Going to Win? Who even knows anymore? I don’t think the Villains have it totally made because I don’t trust Sandra. I’m thinking of reverting back to my classic Jerri pick.

Power Rankings Update: Debra Beebe predicted the demise of her Tocantins buddy JT by placing him in the tenth spot. I had him in spot eight. The current score is now All Stars: 85, Team Gordon: 108.

What Do You Think? Will the second idol cause trouble between Parvati and Russell? Will Sandra come back to bite the Villains? Is a secret handshake still a secret after you broadcast it on CBS?

‘Survivor’ Power Rankings: Tocantins’ Favorite Debra Beebe

April 20, 2010

The Rules: Each week a member of our “Survivor” All-Star team and your beloved “Survivor” recapper Gordon “Truth Seeker” Holmes 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 combatants will earn. For example, if Jerri is voted out this week, Fancast’s “Survivor” All-Star Team will receive 8 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. At the end of the season, the person (or team) with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Eliza Orlins won one for the All-Star squad as she had Courtney in spot ten while I had her in spot nine. The current score is now All Stars: 75, Team Gordon: 100.

Before we sound the bell on this Power Rankings battle, let’s take a minute to check in with Debra Beebe…

Gordon Holmes: It’s been less than a year since we saw you on “Survivor: Tocantins.” Has being on the show changed your everyday life at all?
Debra Beebe:
Yes! Being on “Survivor” changed my life in so many ways. As a Principal, I now know what it is like for a child to come to school starving and being asked to perform. I also know how they feel when they have nothing and lose something. It has also taught me how kids feel when there are cliques, groups and feel like an outsider. Having to learn how to deal with people from various backgrounds, beliefs and values is extremely difficult, our kids go through this daily. The bullying not only exists in “Survivor” but also in Middle School. I have a new respect for the “little things” that we take for granted daily. In my season, we had nothing. I am really jealous seeing all of the clothes and hats this season. Ha. “Survivor” showed me I am a stronger person than I knew. I went through a very public divorce a year ago and the strength I gained from my experiences on “Survivor,” my new Tocantins family, my new-found confidence helped me through the difficult situation. I am back to being a Principal, mother and daughter. I feel truly blessed that “Survivor” came into my life and changed me forever.  It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done mentally and physically but also the most rewarding. “Survivor” will always be a part of my life.

Gordon: Your former cast mate, the lovely and talented Tamara “Taj” George is a former Power Rankings champion. Does that put a little extra pressure on you, knowing you have to uphold Tocantins’ proud tradition of Power Rankings victories?
Ha…heck, not sure if I can beat Taj at anything, but maybe dancing! I have begged her to let me be a back-up dancer for her group but she has yet to take me up on it… Yes! The pressure is on, the Tocantins cast has to continue to rule! Since I did not win, I need the Power Ranking victory badly!
Gordon: Don’t feel too bad, I’ve been trying to get Taj to let me sing back-up for SWV for months.

Gordon: Another former cast mate of yours, JT, made a very bold move last week by giving his immunity idol to Russell. How do you think that move is going to turn out for him?
Well, I had to rank him 10th for that move. I was screaming at the TV, “NO, JT! DON’T DO IT!”  I know he is going to get a ton of crap for that one.  For some reason he is playing a different game this season, he is scrambling much more than in Tocantins. However, I still love this guy and will always have his back, even though the butt voted me out!

Gordon: This last question is a bit more important than the bold game play we’ve seen this season: what do you think of the sweet robes Coach wore to the last tribal council?
Coach and his attire…where do I start? The first time I actually saw Coach was in casting in LA. I was in the glass elevator going to my room and I saw this figure coming out of breakfast (yes! a public breakfast in a hotel) he had on a long RED silk Samurai-looking robe with socks and sandals and his hair in a knot to round out the look. He actually made movements to make the robe “fly” from his sides. I had never seen anything like it in my life! I died laughing…little did I know he would be in my life forever. When I realized not only was this guy chosen for the show, but we were on the same tribe, I laughed out loud! Believe it or not, I was the one tying feathers to his ears in our season for Tribal. Tyson and I warned him not to accessorize this season with feathers in his ears and hair, obviously he did not listen. We did become forever friends on the show and I now have learned to accept his “quirkiness.”

Debra Beebe’s Picks
All-Star Team’s Current Score: 75

parvati #1 Parvati: She knows this game as well as anyone and has 100 days playing to prove it. Her sweet disposition and smile are deceiving…she has already proven that she can deceive her closest ally, Russell.
russell(2) #2 Russell: He has changed the game of “Survivor.” We have never seen a player find idols, manipulate people and stay in the game like this guy. Heck, my beloved JT even GAVE HIM ONE!
danielle #3 Danielle: Danielle was with Parvati when she found the idol. This is going to work to her advantage. Parvati and Russell are united and if Parvati crosses Danielle, she will tell Russell about Parvati’s idol and deception.
sandra #4 Sandra: I think Sandra is going to surprise everyone. She is playing a great game. I loved how she convinced Russell that Coach was out to get him. Sandra also knows this game and it does not matter how you perform in challenges this season. I love her and how she bluntly speaks her mind to the cameras but is quietly sly in the game.
amanda #5 Amanda: Again, she knows the game. She seems to be laying low, not causing issues with anyone and is waiting to make a move. She also has played “Survivor” 100 days…
rupert #6 Rupert: Oh my gosh, did you see him come out of the mud? He looked like the creature on Pirates of the Caribbean! Everyone thinks Rupert is sweet and kind, he is, but he will eventually have to go because too many people like him and he will be a threat if he makes it to final Tribal.
candice #7 Candice: She states her mind and I think Russell will be out to get her soon. She also performs too well in the challenges.
jerri #8 Jerri: She does not have any solid alliances, this will eventually get her. Jerri can lose it and let her mouth run. I don’t see her meshing too well with Russell and Parvati.
colby #9 Colby: He will be a big threat to Russell when they merge. Colby is likable and is a physical threat at this point in the game. Russell can’t risk him winning immunity idols. Plus, all of the girls think he is hot and Russell will be jealous.
jt #10 JT: My saddest pick.  I love this guy and consider him family. I think giving Russell the idol and the note will result in elimination immediately when they merge. Parvati knows that he wanted her voted off so she will turn the tables…I am sorry, brother!

Gordon Holmes’s Picks
Gordon’s Current Score: 100

russell(2) #1 Russell: I’m not sure what Russell’s luxury item was, but I’m going to assume it was a rabbit foot wearing a horse shoe. Without JT’s generous gift, Sandra could have become a real problem for Russell’s alliance, but I think Russell and his crew will be enjoying the Samoan wilderness for a while.
danielle #2 Danielle: Parvati trusts her, Russell needs her vote, and she’s probably last on Sandra’s Villains hate list. Danielle looks to be in good shape for the time being.
candice #3 Candice: We’re headed to merge-ville and, shock of shocks, Candice is still alive and kicking. I had her last in the Heroes tribe for a while. Now that she’s made the merge, I think she could coast for a while. Or even better, she could replace wishy-washy Jerri in Russell’s alliance.
parvati #4 Parvati: Why don’t I have Parvati higher? Because I’m worried about how Russell will react if he finds out about her immunity idol.
rupert #5 Rupert: Rupert said he was the strongest person remaining in the game. He may have a point there. He’s going to need to rattle off some immunity wins to stick around. On a side note, what is the merge tribe’s name? The Hillains? The Veroes? My vote? Nobag.
jerri #6 Jerri: Russell admitted last week that he trusts Jerri. I’m not sure why, considering how back-and-forth she’s been. But it should keep her safe for a while.
amanda #7 Amanda: I’m thinking Amanda is very high on Russell’s boot list. Everyone this season has been afraid of a post-merge Micronesian alliance. Now that the merge is here, he’s going to want Parvati to prove that she’s on his side.
jt #8 JT: Oh, JT. You’re going to get so much grief over making the “Dumbest Move In ‘Survivor’ History,” and I’m not sure that you deserve it. I’ll do my best to make people call it the “Craziest Gamble In ‘Survivor’ History.”
colby #9 Colby: Whether or not Colby stays in the game depends on two things; whether he’s able to win individual immunity and if Russell finds out that Sandra is ratting him out to the Heroes tribe.
sandra #10 Sandra: Frankly, I was shocked to see Sandra make a move toward the Heroes camp in the preview. Numbers-wise that doesn’t seem like the strongest move. It also seems to go against her “Anyone but me” strategy.

More “Survivor” Fun: Check out my Exit Interview with Courtney Yates and find out Who Former Survivors Picked as the Worst Villain of All Time.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Courtney Yates

April 19, 2010

We all have our reasons for watching “Survivor.” Some watch it for the strategic game of human chess. Others watch it for the devious, behind-the-back maneuvers. While others tune in for the opportunity to watch physically fit young people run around in skimpy swimwear.

Me? I watch it for the snarky testimonial comments.

That’s why I was decimated when villainess Courtney Yates and her razor-sharp wit were sent packing by Russell Hantz and his alliance of lovely ladies. I spoke with Courtney the morning after her dismissal to get her thoughts on her unique game play style, JT’s crazy gamble, and why Russell isn’t as bad as he’s made out to be.

Gordon Holmes: As part of the Villains tribe, your super villain power was your enhanced nonchalant attitude. It almost seemed like you weren’t playing the game.
Courtney Yates:
I think the game that I play is to take a really low-key approach. Like I’m not interested, or I’m not a threat. And then I do my best to build a really strong alliance of people who are going to insulate me from ever really being in trouble. Because once your name gets out there you’re painted with the loser brush and everyone is like, “We’ll just get her next.” I just try to keep my name out of there. And I try to come across as fun and part of the atmosphere. The best way to do that is to be like, “Well, whatever.” I try not to make waves or enemies. It’s not the same as Russell finding idols that fall out of trees and into his pocket.

Gordon: Parvati said she wanted to keep you around because you’d be more loyal to her. If Parvati had kept you around would you have stuck with her?
Parvati and I were always fine, we were always friends. So when it came down to me or Sandra I said to Parvati, “It’s much better to keep me. It won’t be good for Danielle or Russell to keep me, but it’ll be good for you.” I am a loyal player, and I gave my word. If I say I’m with you, I’m with you. They’re idiots to take Sandra over me, she’s much more scheming, she’s much more active.
Gordon: That was actually going to be my next question, do you have any idea why they chose Sandra over you?
Courtney: I have no idea. I think they thought people like me. They probably figured Sandra was more abrasive. I thought for sure they were going to keep me.

Gordon: I know you’re close with some of the Tocantins cast, did this cause any of the Villains to think you may have ties with JT?
Yeah, they did say that. It’s funny because that kept coming up. I told them I don’t know JT. I’ve only ever talked to JT twice. JT’s in Alabama. We don’t talk on the phone.
Gordon: Sure you don’t.
Courtney: Yeah, I know right? We talk about the cattle.
Gordon: (Laughs)
Courtney: Danielle, who’s never met any of us, was convinced (and Russell too) that JT and I were together, which we weren’t. The whole thing is so bogus, cause if JT and I were together he would have given me the idol. But no, he gave it to stupid Russell.

Gordon: Now that you’ve seen “Survivor: Samoa” and lived “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” give me your take on the full scope of the game play that we’ve seen from Mr. Russell Hantz. I mean the man burns socks, and hides machetes, and punches kittens, and kicks orphans…did you have any idea how low he was willing to stoop while you were out there?
He’s just playing a character and he’s being rewarded for it. If I got every single thing I wanted for doing bad stuff, I’d do bad stuff too. What it came down to was was I going to team up with awesome Boston Rob or weirdo Cajun dude? I chose awesome Boston Rob. Russell tried to talk to me once, and he said “Do you trust, Boston Rob?” And all I thought was, “Aw man, who is this weird troll who crawled out of the woods to harass me.” But other than that I was watching the show and I was proud to be a villain. Good job, Russell, that was great.

Gordon: We touched on this earlier, about JT handing the idol to Russell. Now, we haven’t seen how this is going to turn out, but I’m worried your phone buddy is going to come off looking like a moron.
Hey, back up the train. I don’t think he’ll come off as a moron. He was playing the game, he thought he was making a big move.
Gordon: OK, so you think it isn’t fair to say JT made a stupid move because the “Heroes Vs. Villains” cast hadn’t seen “Survivor: Samoa?”
Courtney: JT did what he thought was a good move. He was playing the game. He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to sit and wait to be picked off. He thought he was earning another vote. He didn’t know that it was evil Russell, and he’s the worst.
Gordon: Do you think JT could have been tipped off that the opposing tribe is wearing red buffs that say “Villains” on them?
Courtney: You know what? Coach is a villain, what did he ever do wrong? I’m a villain and I never burned anyone’s socks!
Gordon: In all fairness, you said you never did anything wrong. But in the last episode you impersonated Coach in a moment of pain. That’s horrible.
Courtney: (Laughs) I impersonated Coach in a moment of dramatic interpretation. And making fun of someone is hardly the same as burning someone’s possessions, so you can back up the train even more.
Gordon: Oh man, we’re back at the station.
Courtney: We’re back at the station, sir. You have a lot of work to do.

Gordon: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Russell.
Gordon: Randy?
Courtney: Old.
Gordon: Tyson?
Courtney: Hilarious!
Gordon: Boston Rob?
Courtney: Brazen.
Gordon: Danielle?
Courtney: Hometown girl. Like everyone I grew up with.
Gordon: Jerri?
Courtney: Spiritual.
Gordon: Coach?
Courtney: Also hilarious.

Gordon: During your farewell testimonial you mentioned that you were very excited that you’d get to clean yourself up and be the person in the jury that all of the women who were still in the game would be jealous of. Now, I noticed Coach had taken a similar technique, but his involved some super sweet samurai robes. Now my question for you is, did you pack anything that can begin to compete with Coach’s attire? Like a tribal council kimono?
I did not pack for the jury. I didn’t think that far ahead. I’m not as wise as Coach. But we’ve planned something very special for our first entrance together.

‘Survivor: H.V.V.’ Episode 9 Recap: The Dumbest Move Ever?

April 15, 2010

Last Week: JT discovered an idol, Sandra disrupted the dominant Villains alliance, and Russell dismissed Coach.

This Week: J-Pro has promised “History in the making.” We shall see.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

The Hero Tribe (wearing noble blue)

Rupert Boneham – 45
Colby Donaldson – 35
Amanda Kimmel – 24
James “JT” Thomas Jr. – 25
Candice Woodcock – 27

The Villain Tribe (wearing devilish red)

Sandra Diaz-Twine – 34
Danielle DiLorenzo – 28
Russell Hantz – 37
Jerri Manthey – 38
Parvati Shallow – 27
Courtney Yates – 28

We start off with the Villains returning to camp after Coach was sent to the showers. Jerri is understandably freaked out because she had no idea that Coach was going home. She confronts Russell about it, he claims that he had an idea it was going to happen but wasn’t sure. Lies.

Russell lets us know that he has an alliance with three women he trusts. The other two women, however, will be the next two to go.

The following morning, tree mail tells the Survivors to rank their players from strongest to weakest. Apparently they’ll be redoing the Tocantins immunity challenge where the players had to stand between two boards.

That particular challenge was very memorable due to Coach’s anguished warrior yell. For those of us who forgot about that moment, Courtney is kind enough to remind us with a dead-on impersonation of it.

Bashing Coach after you just booted him? That’s just mean. How does she fit so much snark into such a tiny frame?

Jerri comes up with the idea to sit Russell because women have smaller feet and the Hero men have big egos.

Over at the Heroes camp, Rupert proves Jerri right by bragging about how he’s the strongest player left in the game.

As the teams arrive at the challenge, JT immediately notes that Coach has been sent home. JT says he’d “Bet his life” that there was a female alliance.

Reward Challenge: The players will be matched up by their pre-challenge rankings. Each player will stand between two walls, holding themselves up on tiny footholds. As time passes, they’ll have to maneuver down to smaller footholds. The person to last the longest from each pairing earns a point for their team. The first team to score three points will win a feast from Outback Steakhouse.

Outback Steakhouse: Live Adventurous, Go Outback.

The pairings are: Danielle and Candice (hey, the people who shouldn’t have been cast), Courtney and Amanda, Parvati and JT, Jerri and Colby (hey, Australia rematch), and Rupert and Sandra (hey, Pearl Islands rematch).

Russell will sit out.

As the challenge starts, Jeff mentions that this is Amanda’s 100th day on “Survivor.” If she’s been out there that long, she has to be a millionaire, right? No?

Wait, is that the history Jeff was talking about?  Lame.

During the challenge, JT turns to Russell and tells him to “Hang in there.”

That’s amazing, he’s not even in their tribe! Those Russell seeds are like dandelions…floating across the air and wreaking havoc.

The Survivors move down to the final footholds after twenty minutes. Colby seems to be struggling, and sure enough he’s the first to drop. The Villains score the first point.

Rupert is the next to go after an unnecessary close-up of sweat dripping off of his beard. Two points for the Villains.

Amanda is the next one having a rough time. She holds on for as long as she can, but eventually drops. Probably not how she wanted to celebrate her 100-day milestone. The Villains win the reward.

Go, Jerri. Good strategy.

We meet up with the Villains after the challenge and they’re at a faux Outback Steakhouse franchise in the middle of nowhere. You still probably have to wait 20 minutes for a table.

During the meal, Parvati finds an immunity idol clue in her napkin. She quickly stashes it in her underwear before anyone sees it.

Owww….too many jokes rushing into my brain! It’s like an ice cream headache.

Parvati and Danielle leave to use the restroom. While they’re away, Parvati shares the clue with Danielle. Apparently Parvati doesn’t think her underwear is a very good hiding place (oww….). So, Danielle decides to hide the clue in her cleavage. (OWWWWWWWWWW!)

Parvati lets us know that she’s not ready to share her well-concealed secret with Russell at this point. Uh oh.

Back at casa de Heroes, JT unveils a daring plan: JT wants to give Russell his immunity idol so he can use it against the female alliance. JT says he’ll bet his life in the game on it.

Later on, we meet up with Parvati and Danielle as they search for the hidden immunity idol. And in true Hantzian fashion they manage to find it.

Meanwhile at the Villains camp, JT is penning a love letter to hand to Russell with the immunity idol. The best part is where he tells Russell how to properly use an immunity idol. That’s like telling me how to make an obvious joke.

There was a lot of talk before tonight’s episode about this being the stupidest move in “Survivor” history. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can’t imagine this turning out well for poor JT.

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Immunity Challenge: Both tribes will start on a floating platform. One at a time, each player will have to move a bag of puzzle pieces (always puzzle pieces) along a rope and through a series of obstacles. Once all of the bags are at the end, they’ll put together a totem pole with the pieces. The first tribe to complete the puzzle wins immunity.

The Villains decide to sit Sandra out.

Survivors are ready…and they go. Jerri and Rupert start off with Rupert building a bit of a lead. JT and Danielle are out next, with Danielle managing to regain some ground. Amanda and Parvati are next with Amanda staying ahead. Courtney and Candice take the course next.

While they’re racing, Colby clues Russell in to JT’s plan. The smile on Russell face isn’t priceless. But it’s probably worth a million bucks.

Eventually Colby and Russell get into the race, but at this point the Heroes’ lead is way too big. They complete their totem pole before Russell can even get half way through the course.

As the Heroes are congratulating each other, JT hands Russell the idol.

We meet up with Parvati and Russell back at the Villains camp and true to form, they’re giggling over JT’s note. It’s a good thing JT is already a millionaire, because I’m assuming he just kicked his TV.

Politicking around camp revolves around deciding between Courtney and Sandra. Not shocking. Parvati wants to keep Courtney around because she thinks Courtney will be more loyal to her than to Russell.

That night at tribal council, Coach arrives in some kind of samurai robe. Sigh…never change, Coach.

Danielle and Sandra have it out a bit. Danielle thinks that Sandra is good at planting false information. She also thinks that Sandra had something to do with Danielle not being welcome in Boston Rob’s alliance.

J-Pro asks Parvati if she’s the boss. She laughs and says, “Of course.”

Russell tells Jeff that his vote is based on who he trusts the most. He says he took an alliance of three through an alliance of six because they trusted each other.

Jerri claims to have never been a part of Boston Rob’s alliance, but Courtney calls her out on it because she’d voted against Russell’s team.

Voting Time: And…no votes are shown.  How rude.

Apparently, once the votes are read the decision is final. One vote for Jerri, three votes for Courtney, and the tenth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” and the second member of the jury is…Courtney.

Quick Aside: Coach sitting in the jury box, cross-legged, with his hands in a prayer position is five-star funny.

Verdict: OK, I don’t think that was the stupidest move in “Survivor” history. It was more of a crazy gamble. With that idol they could have won a 5-on-5 vote. But that could have been risky because the Villains could have had an idol of their own (which they do). The way JT did it, all of that messiness would have been taken care of and Russell could have just joined up with the remaining Heroes.

I mean, how was JT supposed to know he was handing the idol to the devil?

Oh wait, he’s on a tribe called THE VILLAINS!

OK, maybe that was pretty stupid.

Who’s Going to Win? Wow, Parvati’s looking really good right now. And yes, I was referring to the game. Not that she doesn’t look good in general, too.

Power Rankings Update: Eliza Orlins won one for the All-Star squad as she had Courtney in spot ten while I had her in spot nine. The current score is now All Stars: 75, Team Gordon: 100.

What Do You Think? Was JT’s gamble the stupidest move in “Survivor” history? Will Parvati’s immunity idol secret come back to bite her? Was Coach really wearing samurai robes, or did I just wish that?

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