After 24 seasons of "Survivor," new contestants should know that they have to walk in with a solid strategy. During the premiere of "Survivor: Philippines," though, a million-dollar hopeful committed one of the stupidest blunders in the show's history. The veteran players also weren't immune from rookie mistakes that could cost them in later episodes.
Season 25 contains new twists, including three tribes and multiple immunity idols. Former celebrities and veteran "Survivor" players also are part of each tribe, but in the premiere, no contestant has emerged as the standout.
Star power on "Survivor 25"Lisa Whelchel, former star of "The Mickey Mouse Club" and "The Facts of Life," was fairly successful in hiding her identity from the younger players. Michael Skupin, a veteran of "Survivor: Australian Outback," recognized her immediately, though. Whelchel seemed a little off-put when Skupin talked privately about her celebrity past.
Skupin, like returning player Russell Swan, seems to be trying too hard. Skupin fell hands-first into a fire in Australia. In the Philippines, he has become quite accident prone, as well. Within the first three days, Skupin received cuts on his head and feet. When opening a coconut, he sliced into his finger.
Veteran players typically are coveted for their experience, but Jonathan Penner is alienating his tribe by aggressively searching for an immunity idol. In pre-game remarks, Penner said he sees himself as the sole survivor, but his attitude may cost him the million dollars.
Russell Swan put himself in danger by barking orders and stepping into what he called "dictator mode" during the immunity challenge. In a private moment with the camera, Swan criticized players who took on a leadership role, but he fell into that same trap.
Former professional baseball player Jeff Kent is the one celebrity getting off on the right foot. Kent's low-key manner and Texas roots endeared him to cosmetologist Dana Lambert. Sarah Dawson, on the other hand, recognized the professional athlete and plans to use that information later in the game.
Zane Knight too clever for his own goodTire salesman Zane Knight oversold himself to the Matsing Tribe. Losing the first immunity challenge, Knight and his teammates were heading to the first Tribal Council. The salesman threw himself on the chopping block as a diversion, blaming himself for their loss. He was hoping his likability would allow him to stay while the other players sent Russell home.
In "Survivor," though, saying you want to go home pretty much guarantees a one-way ticket off the island. During the first season in 2000, B.B. Andersen said he wouldn't mind going home, and his team obliged. Knight's self-sacrificing attitude combined with his massive ego also led to his early exit. As he left Tribal Council, he summed up his failure with one loud expletive.
Lisa Whelchel's swan song?"Survivor" is a game of strategy, but Lisa Whelchel's plan to be nice and friendly to her tribe may backfire. This reality show has always been cutthroat and only rarely does a truly nice contestant make it to the end. Whelchel alienated her team simply by being herself. She could be the next player to leave the game.
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