Ranking the Survivor Kellys

If you’re like us- and given the self-selecting nature on the internet of finding opinions that match your own, you probably are- you were mildly amused by the fact that this season featured two women of the same name. This of course lead to two incredibly important questions: why are there so many Survivor Kellys and how do they rate? I’m sure my attempt to answer these pressing inquiries will be completely definitive and beyond dispute. There may be room for only one Kelley on the island, but there’s room for several on this list. Perhaps even more than you realized.

survivor_kellys1. Kelly Wiglesworth – Borneo, Cambodia: Second Chance
S31_Kelly_Wiglesworth

Yes, still. Sure she was a Purple-est Kelly dud in her second go round, but the O.G. Kelly is still the first runner-up in the history of the show, back when Survivor was a big-ass deal. She came within one vote (perhaps a few digits of guessing a number… but probably not) of not only winning, but perhaps changing the entire direction of the series (probably for the worse, but still). She even coined the phrase “I’m not here to make friends”, a major contribution to the entire genre of reality TV. Even if she hadn’t come back for this season (and some of the footage suggests she hadn’t), she’d still be number one.

At least for now…

2. Kelley Wentworth – San Juan del SurCambodia: Second Chance

S31_Kelley_Wentworth

As author to two of the most entertaining moments so far this season, K***** W******** is definitely rising up the ranks of Kelly/Kelleys with each passing week. Originally a pretty, but fairly forgettable blonde (remember that description for later) in San Juan del Sur, Kelley used her fandom and internet savvy to stay in the public consciousness and get another crack at the show. Now, she’s knocking on the door for the title of “Best Survivor Kelly (Kelley) of all-time”, a title almost as cool as Sole Survivor. If she wins this season, we may have to retitle this Ranking the Survivor Kelleys in her honor.

3. Kelly Goldsmith – Africa

S3_Kelly_Goldsmith

If they were to do another Second Chance season, Kelly Goldsmith should get a crack at it. I worry that her season isn’t beloved enough for it to matter (see: Cooper, T-Bird), but she was fun enough in a classic season to warrant another look. Plus, she deserves a chance to regain her top two Kelly position that Wentworth has snatched from her.

4. Reed Kelly – San Juan del Sur

S29_Reed_Kelly

Ha, ha! Curve ball! Bet you didn’t see that coming, if you scroll through things very carefully and slowly! I’m pretty ambivalent on Mr. Kelly: he was a bit too much of a spaz and his final jury performance was a bit too much for me, but he did have his moments post-merge. That’s enough to make him a shining star on this list. Plus, he might be the prettiest Kelly in the history of the show.

Halftime Kelly Break!

5. Kelly Remington – Worlds Apart

S30_Kelly_Remington

This is probably a recency thing, because Kelly has all the hallmarks of someone who will fade into obscurity: wasn’t featured much in the edit, was an incidental boot at the merge, did not make the jury, is named Kelly. But for now, we remember who she is. Mostly.

6. Kelly Bruno – Nicaragua

S21_Kelly_Bruno

Hey, remember that time when a truly awful person bullied a disabled person and then suffered absolutely no karmic retribution for her actions and instead got to basically decide who won their season? That was awesome. I’m totally coming around on Nicaragua, guys.

7. Kelly Shinn – Nicaragua

S21_Kelly_Shinn

You’d be forgiven if you assumed that this was the bottom of the list. After all, the original Purple Kelly HAS to be last, right? I mean, she’s FAMOUS for being invisible! 29 days on the worst season in the history of the show without ever being established as a person on the show. That should be good for last place on any list.

Except… she’s FAMOUS for being invisible. Ask any non-casual Survivor fan about “Purple Kelly”, and they will know what you’re talking about. They might not know who. They might not remember what she looks like. But they know Purple Kelly. It is an enduring meme. This makes her a much more significant figure in the history of the show than these other anonymous Survivor Kellys I’m about to get to. Truth be told, it makes her more significant than the other Kelly from her season that I just ranked above her. But seriously, Bruno had to put up with NaOnka. Let’s give her this dignity.

8. Kelly Sharbaugh – Samoa

S19_Kelly_Sharbaugh

Was a non-Russell person on Survivor: Russell Hantz who became the first (but not only) Survivor Kelly to be idoled out of the game. Had white-girl dreads. These are things I remember because A) the trivia aspect of the idol and B) I’m looking at photo of her. Things actually about her? I remember none of them. Seriously, how has this show had so many people of no consequence with the same name in its history? This includes the top two names on the list who are 50/50 in terms of seasons that they made an impression in. We may make fun of Purple Kelly, but in truth, besides Goldsmith, they are all Purple Kelly.

9. Kelly Czarnecki – Gabon

S17_Kelly_Czarnecki

I have no recollection of this person. Seriously, she could be working in my office right now and I wouldn’t know that she was somebody from a show that I’ve watched every episode of for over 15 years and now podcast and blog about.

Honourable Mention:
Kel Gleason – The Australian Outback

Kel_Gleason_1

My relatively lazy research has been unable to discern what Kel is short for, if anything. So, sadly, no top ten list. He’d be top five for sure.

Andy
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Andy

Co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast and the Canadian of the group, Andy has been watching Survivor continuously since the very beginning and likes to treat that as some kind of virtue to lord over others.

Favourite seasons: Heroes vs Villains, Cook Islands, Palau, The Amazon, Cagayan
Favourite players: Boston Rob, Kim Spradlin, Tony Vlachos, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Rob Cesternino
Andy
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  • Purple Rock Emma

    Same, re: Kelly Czarnecki.

    • sharculese

      I was about to be like, ‘yeah, but that has to be the second person out or something, right?’ and then I looked it up and no, she made it 18 days. Huh.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I literally only know she exists because I only just listened to that Chapter of the Evolution of Strategy.

        • sharculese

          I listened to that whole chapter AND I’ve seen Gabon within the past year, and I still don’t remember her.

          • andythesaint

            This will shock you, but I’ve gotten push back on another site about ranking Czarnecki so low. Like “this is an actual crime” push back. I love Survivor fans.

          • Kemper Boyd

            WOW. I think I only remember because they talked about Kellys and how forgettable she is. I’ll be frank, I knew the name Kelly Czarnacki, if you’d given me a pile of pictures I’d never have picked her out.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        My thoughts exactly.

  • Other Scott

    Haven’t seen Africa or Gabon yet, so my personal Kelly ranking:

    1. Kelly Wiglesworth – Obvious
    2. Kelley Wentworth – Based on SJDS she would not be high, but really having a good season
    3. Kelly Bruno – Kelly Bruno seemed sort of awesome. Of course, since her season was Nicaragua, that awesomeness was immediately targeted because that sort of stuff cannot be tolerated. (One correction Andy: NaOnka wasn’t on the tribe that voted out Kelly B. Also, her vote out is also known as the single dumbest vote split in the history of vote splits. And these were the “strategists” on the season who pulled this off.)
    4. Kelly Remington – Also awesome, but slightly underedited and nonsensically idoled out. Did not belong in the zero percent club. 🙂
    5. Kelly Shinn – Just for the unintentional humour.
    6. Reed Kelly – The Kelly I like the least. They underedited him a while because all Kelly’s must be underedited at some point. Then he became the major villain post merge.
    7. Kelly Sharbaugh – Kelly Sharrrrr-baaawwwwggghhhh. I think for the most part, despite the amount of confessionals Russell got, most of the people on Samoa were not underedited. Kelly is the significant exception. She’s almost as invisible as purple Kelly without the unintentional humour.

    • andythesaint

      I’ve edited the Kelly Bruno entry because you pointed it out. But I want it on record that you were right and I was mistaken.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Words cannot express how much I love Woody’s stupid Kelly song.

    • purplerockpodcast

      One word can: Kelly.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Touché, sir!

  • indescribable hat

    Survivor Robs vs. Johns vs. Kellys vs. Kims? Reed can balance R.C.’s presence on the Robs tribe.

    • Kemper Boyd

      It would be Robs + Kellys vs Johns +Kims. Does So Kim, make the Kims if Reed Kelly makes the Kellys?

      • Other Scott

        Yes. And the great Liz Kim.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Well if we can only have one surname Kim to balance out Reed Kelly it should be Liz.

    • Barbara Anderson

      I can’t wait for the rankings of the Robs, Johns, and Kims. Would Kimmi count in the Kim rankings?

      • andythesaint

        Yes.
        And you know, we do have our own Survivor John on this site.

        • Barbara Anderson

          Of course!

          • purplerockpodcast

            I’m very tempted by the prospect of ranking the Survivor Johns.

          • Barbara Anderson

            You should! There are so many to work with if you use all Johns, Jons, and Jonathans.

  • gouis

    I watched Samoa less than a year ago and the only thing I remember about Kelly Sharbaugh is that she felt like a shitty/boring blonde Monica Padilla.

  • Kemper Boyd

    I will reiterate that I have ALWAYS thought Kelly Sharbaugh was Purple Kelly, because I mean she’s totally got a Purple edit and her name is Kelly. But that shows how utterly I had forgotten Purple Kelly.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      And Galu did have purple buffs! But I think people forget that Purple Kelly was an in-game nickname first, because the season had two Kellys and she had purple in her hair.

      • andythesaint

        You keep passing up the opportunity to bust out your Sharblah joke. Take the shot when it’s open!

        • Purple Rock Emma

          I mentioned it in comments last week. It feels passe for me to do so now.

          • andythesaint

            Never looking backwards. Always forwards. Always pushing.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

          • Violina23

            Abortions for some…. Miniature American flags for others!

      • Kemper Boyd

        YES! Purple buffs, maybe it’s that I have never ever rewatched Nicaragua because why would I? so Samoa Kelly is the one I picture.

  • Kemper Boyd

    I can’t stop looking at how awkward Kelly Remington’s hands look!

    • Barbara Anderson

      I think she was told to put her hands on her hips for the first time in her life.

      • sweaterfan

        Yes! And that made me go through and look at all the other women’s hand positions. Do you think they force all female survivor contestants to put their hands on their hips in their bikini shots, or does it just occur as a natural impulse in that extremely awkward situation?

        • Barbara Anderson

          I definitely think so. Don’t the majority of the men have the arms crossed to highlight their biceps?

        • Kemper Boyd

          I too am now obsessed with the hand positioning in Survivor promo shots.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I know, this is a tough cop lady and I will bet that like me if she has to stand she always has her hands in her pockets and I bet she wasn’t allowed.

        • Barbara Anderson

          Interesting point.

  • Kemper Boyd

    Hi Guys, after discussion down thread, I’d like to float a guest article I write. It’s the Top Ten Awkward Promo Shot Hands. Nothing more, I will study all 2 million survivor players* and pick out the 10 most awkward hands in promo shots and rank them.

    • andythesaint

      I’d publish it.

      • Kemper Boyd

        On it boss! I’ve not got much work to do today. I also imagine this may well be an off season type post so I’ve got some time to nail it down.

    • purplerockpodcast

      I think you should remove the word “hands” and just go with top ten awkward promo shots. But either one works for me.

      • andythesaint

        I do like the specificity. Also, I look forward to the flame wars that will entail on that other site.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Can I? REALLY? You guys I’ll get working on it now!

        • purplerockpodcast

          I wasn’t kidding. Just make it hilarious. No pressure.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Oh, well, I guess someone else can write it…

          • Kemper Boyd

            Also, I underestimated how many Survivor contestants there are and how easy it is to scroll through them all.

          • purplerockpodcast

            So you’re saying you volunteered to write something, then almost immediately regretted it once you realized it would be a lot more work than you thought? Are you sure you aren’t already a Purple Rock staffer?