The votes are in the urn, and no idols were necessary. After a mad dash across the Internet, the winners of round one of our Ultimate Survivior Bracket have advanced to the next level. And much like an ill-fated tribe swap, some of these match-ups might be a little unfair. Others are going to have to dig deep.
Here’s a preview of the battles to come:
OLD SCHOOL DIVISION
Prize Fight: Richard Hatch vs. Ethan Zohn
Previous round: Hatch (90%) over Rudy Boesch (10%); Ethan (67%) over Jenna Morasca (33%)
Out with the old, in with the nude. Original winner Richard Hatch beat America’s favorite homophobic SEAL Rudy to advance to the next round. Will he have enough money after paying back taxes to buy your love and pay overtime to the blurring team at the CBS effects department? Or will the smiling magnetism of soccer star and human charity Ethan Zohn—who beat out his one-time girlfriend and Hatchian jungle exhibitionist Jenna—be enough to overcome the reigning cultural icon?
Tina Wesson vs. Jerri Manthey
Previous round: Tina (85%) over Gervase Peterson (15%); Jerri (59%) over Colby Donaldson (41%)
We’re pretty sure Probst was changing his IP address to spam the vote for Colby, but it wasn’t enough to beat his fellow Australian Outback contestants, Sole Survivor Tina Wesson and Jerri Manthey. Round two will be the ultimate rumble down under as these two ladies compete in a battle of hope against snark.
Rob Cesternino vs. Kathy Vavrick O’Brien
Previous round: Rob (90%) over Mike Skupin (10%); Kathy (69%) over Vecepia Towery (31%)
Avoiding friendly fire (as well as actual fire), the “best player to never win” Rob Cesternino is moving on after a landslide victory over Mike Skupin. The strategist-turned-podcast-kingpin will go up against the “best person that should have won Marquesas“, Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien, who said “no thanks” to relieving the sting of her victory over Vecepia.
Brian Heidik vs. Lex Van den Berghe
Previous round: Heidik (62%) over Sue Hawk (38%); Lex (62%) over “Big Tom” Buchanan (38%)
Well this should be interesting. The most hated winner in Survivor history, Brian Heidik, will take a break from chilling in Hell while filming porn to go up against Africa‘s tense, tatted-up, two-time player Lex van den Berghe in a match-up you’d be more likely to see at a death metal concert than on a tropical beach. May the best worst man win.
SECOND GENERATION DIVISION
Prize Fight: Boston Rob vs. Stephanie LaGrossa
Previous round: Rob (78%) over Terry Deitz (22%); Stephenie (55%) over Amber Brkich (45%)
It’s a battle between one woman whose tribe was reduced to one through no fault of her own and a guy who picked off his whole tribe single-handedly to win…the fourth time around. “Boston” Rob Mariano beat Terry Deitz as hard as he beat Russell Hantz in Redemption Island, while Rob’s future wife Amber narrowly lost to the Princess of Palau. But that’s OK, Romber is already sitting on two million dollars (plus appearance fees on everything CBS). Give Steph the fighting chance Koror never did.
Tom Westman vs. Jon “Johnny Fairplay” Dalton
Previous round: Tom (73%) over Ian Rosenberger (27%); Jon (70%) over Rupert Boneham (30%)
Palau winner and the most dominant player the game has seen Tom Westman beat his padawan Ian to advance to the next round. And this time it didn’t even take 12 hours! The firefighting Obi Wan that is Tom will face off against Darth Fairplay, who beat the space pirate Rupert, a tye-dyed beast with a fierce roar, to try and restore order to the mid-range season bracket.
Sandra Diaz-Twine vs. Chris Daughtery
Previous round: Sandra (92%) over Andrew Savage (8%); Chris (55%) over Danni Boatwright (45%)
Oh come on, you know you’re going to give Sandra her second round win.
Cirie Fields vs. Aras Baskauskas
Previous round: Cirie (92%) over Rafe Judkins (8%); Aras (65%) over Ami Cusack (35%)
When Cirie started, she was scared of leaves. By the time she played a third game, everyone wanted her to leave. She got screwed in Micronesia by the surprise final-two so a win here would be vindication of her time on the show. Her competition, Aras, enjoys long walks on the beach, playing music, and doing yoga on mountaintops. Great OKCupid profile, but maybe not the most compelling Survivor winner.
AGE OF RETURNEES DIVISION
Prize Fight: Yul Kwon vs. Yau-Man Chan
Previous round: Yul (83%) over Bob Crowley (17%); Yau-Man (71%) over “Coach” Wade (29%)
This will be one of the toughest match-ups for strategy fans. Between Cook Islands and Fiji, everyone was too busy screaming “affirmative action” and “God Idol” to concede that Yul and Yau-Man both played excellent games. Yul was a physical and strategic threat that owned his season in the best and worst of times. Were there not cars involved, Yau-Man might actually have given Earl a run for his money.
Parvati Shallow vs. Amanda Kimmel
Previous round: Parvati (90%) over Candice Cody (10%); Amanda (64%) over Ozzy Lusth (36%)
Every recruit’s favorite Survivor, Parvati, will face off against perennial runner-up Amanda Kimmel, who (gasp) actually won something this time! Good thing this competition doesn’t require a jury speech…
James “JT” Thomas vs. Todd Herzog
Previous round: JT (57%) over Stephen Fishbach (43%); Todd (57%) over Courtney Yates (43%)
This isn’t a bad match-up, but I’d be lying if I said the results weren’t straightforward. Can’t Stephen Fishbach catch a break? Once again, JT had people tripping over themselves to vote for him. And Todd regrettably beat the real star player of China in round one: catty, caustic Courtney Yates.
Russell Hantz vs. Earl Cole
Previous round: Russell (55%) over Natalie White (45%); Earl (71%) over James Clement (29%)
Ugh. Let’s just chalk Russell’s win up to finding his 37th idol. He’ll need that 38th one against one of the more underrated winners in Survivor history, Earl Cole, who sent James packing with the 39th and 40th idols stashed in his biceps.
NEW SCHOOL DIVISION
Prize Fight: Tony Vlachos vs. Natalie Anderson
Previous round: Tony (74%) over Kass McQuillen (26%); Natalie (61%) over Spencer Bledsoe (39%)
Chaos and Mr. Survivor crowns couldn’t take down these winners. Idol magnet and insomniac victor Tony Vlachos beat (bleat?) the llama-like loser Kass, while Natalie emerged from the garbage piles of the Nicaraguan coastline to claim another victory. Young lad Spencer had yet another football pulled out from under him in a relatively close race. Now this match-up will see which new winner can play their idols correctly against recency bias and emerge victorious.
Kim Spradlin vs. Jonathan Penner
Previous round: Kim (81%) over Fabio Birza (-10,000%); Penner (58%) over Sophie Clarke (42%)
Is the meta storytelling master Jonathan Penner gifted enough to overcome Kim Spradlin’s dominance? I don’t know, I never finished One World. But you did (didn’t you?) and you’re voting. She beat Fabio 4-to-1, and I’m pretty sure half those voters thought they were voting for this guy:
Tyson Apostol vs. Denise Stapley
Previous round: Tyson (78%) over Ciera Eastin (22%); Denise (86%) over Vytas Baskauskas (14%)
Tyson voted himself out out of Heroes vs. Villains. He stole enough coconuts and picked the right tie-breaking rock to atone for that seven seasons later, but still. Denise Stapley beat the better Bauskauskas brother in the last round. She survived a horrid tribe, a swap, went to every single tribal council and still won her season. Do the right thing.
John Cochran vs. Malcolm Freberg
Previous round: Cochran (60%) over Andrea Boehlke (40%); Malcolm (83%) over Dawn Meehan (17%)
Slytherin vs. Griffindor. Ron vs. Harry. Potions Class vs. Quidditch. Who can drop more Harry Potter references into their confessionals? Malcolm, a guy who both has idols and is one himself, smoked his Caramoan competition, Dawn, who fought teeth and nail but couldn’t prevail. Cochran used his cerebellum to triumph over the bubbly-yet-vanilla Andrea once more. I’m pretty sure the internet is going to explode after this battle.
Mark has been watching Survivor since he was a young lad during season one…except for that time he bailed on the show after the first episode of Micronesia during college. (Bright idea, right?) Once he realized his error during season 25, he became obsessed all over again and got back up to speed, though he still hasn’t gotten through more than a couple episodes of Samoa, Nicaragua, or One World. He hopes you will forgive him and follow him on Twitter at @sylvisual.
Top 5, Baby: Cambodia, Cagayan, Heroes vs. Villains, Pearl Islands, and Palau.