With less than a week to go until the second season of Australian Survivor premiere on Sunday 30 July, Inside Survivor’s Aussie correspondents got together to assess the castaways about to embark on the World’s Greatest Game.
Taking turns in a snake draft, Dylan Vidal, Alice Barelli and Austin Smith picked their winner candidates, big characters and personal favourites to assemble their teams. Read on for Part 2 of their first impressions, deeper thoughts and predictions for all twenty-four castaways…
DYLAN’S FIFTH PICK
LABOURER | 26 | SA | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: This guy is in way over his head, and he is setting himself up for failure.
Dig Deep! Henry is probably the biggest enigma going into the season. He has a lot going for him such as a sad back story that he can use to forge emotional bonds, a strong physique that will make him valuable pre-merge, and good looks that he can use to his advantage. However, he is making the game so difficult for himself by trying to pretend he is a yoga instructor. Also, his strategy to align with the weak people makes sense in theory, but nothing says “I’M A BIG TARGET” like being the strongest person in an alliance of weak players.
Why He’s Team Dylan: I decided to put Henry on my team because he is a big Survivor fan who knows how to play the game. Even though he is all over the place, I believe that if he can settle himself his strategy can take him far into the merge.
ALICE’S FIFTH PICK
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER | 51 | SA | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: Did Big Kev make it to the island?
Dig Deep! Kent is definitely a case of first impressions being deceptive. I thought Kent was a couch potato who jumped at the chance to appear on the show due to being a fan. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kent has a combo of brains (working as a CFO) and brawn (he swam the English Channel last year!). I think Kent is spot on about being an early target and this awareness alone could help him overcome it. He says his job gives him skills in reading other people, but this skill alone isn’t useful until you have shown you can use it to your advantage and I hope Kent can! That being said, working in an influential role may make working on an even keel with other players in the game a struggle for him.
Why He’s Team Alice: Kent struck me as somebody who will be incorrectly judged (I know I did!) and could really get far on the island if he can survive the early tribal councils. I’m not sure what kind of personality we’ll see from Kent, and early episodes could really help me get a good grasp on what could happen.
AUSTIN’S FIFTH PICK
FLIGHT ATTENDANT | 25 | VIC | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: Your exits are here, here and here. Please take your seats – it could be a bumpy ride.
Dig Deep! Jericho has a lot of things going for him. He is a huge Survivor fan with some solid strategic instincts (fuelling alpha egos to take the big kids down) and enthusiasm for the whole experience. He’s obtained his dream job through the kind of dedication and persistence that are valuable qualities in the game, and for somebody so young, he’ll have gained a lot of maturity through moving around while growing up to his flight attendant career. Even his preparation for the isolation of a 55-day game suggests he knows what he’s getting into.
However, Jericho wants to play hard, risky, and recklessly. He intends to lie about who he is – just because he can. He might not be going in with a lie as inane as a certain “yoga instructor,” but his cavalier attitude towards simple honesty could distract him from more important strategy. His over-eagerness to play an aggressive game could bring the walls a-tumbling down, and if he’s not careful, he’ll overplay himself straight out of the game he cares so much about.
Why He’s Team Austin: Jericho is going to make a splash – and whether he goes out first or wins, he’s not going to go down without a fight. He’s hungry to play this game – everything he says in his bio seethes with adrenalized enthusiasm. The only problem is that such high energy, if released too quickly, can have swift and deadly effects for one’s game. I would love to see someone like Jericho cut a swathe through this game, but even if his trajectory is more of a crash-and-burn scenario, he’s going to be great fun to watch – and I’d wager one of the bigger characters this season.
AUSTIN’S SIXTH PICK
ESCAPE ROOM OWNER | 29 | NSW | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: Escaping the room is one thing – escaping first boot is another.
Dig Deep! Joan is superb casting. Huge Survivor fan with an interesting (and awesome!) job inspired, in part, by her fandom. A compelling backstory as a tenacious teen mother making her own success in the face of adversity. A loud, unabashed and dynamic personality, willing to play the villain. You can hear the Internet chanting #YAAASSQueen already. There is no doubt in my mind that Joan is going to be a stand-out character.
Unfortunately, I get the sense we’re going to be left wanting more. Joan certainly understands Survivor and has been doing the physical and mental preparations to take the challenge head-on with the grit and determination needed. If Joan can play it cool and stay out of the crosshairs, she has many qualities of a successful Survivor player. Unfortunately, her admitted Achilles heel is a doozy. Loud and opinionated is a dangerous weakness in a game like this. Joan at least acknowledges that she’ll have to watch her tongue, but if she slips up once on that front, she might never get the chance to recover.
Why She’s Team Austin: Joan seems more likely to go out early than make it deep. Her say-it-like-it-is attitude could put her off-side, but she does have the ace in-the-hole when it comes to her puzzle aptitude. Of course, this skill is hardly a get-out-of-jail-free card, and if she were to put herself forward in a puzzle challenge only to blow it for the tribe, the blowback would be harsh. Joan has a lot of pitfalls she’ll have to avoid along the way, but whether she’s a first boot or a finalist, Joan is going to be a breakout character, and I want some of that energy on my team!
ALICE’S SIXTH PICK
PLUMBER | 23 | VIC | SAMATAU TRIBE
First Impression: Is this our bikini babe?
Dig Deep! Aimee is another star of early TV ads about Survivor, and I’m concerned she is already being set up as a blonde bikini bombshell. She’s a bit of a tomboy, and there’s been plenty made of her job as a plumber. Aimee talks about pushing herself which is a great characteristic in life, unlike in Survivor which I believe favours a bit more restraint and choosing the right moment to strike. That being said I think Aimee shows some maturity when she talks about wanting to teach teens financial responsibility! She’s going in with no game plan – a strategy I think is perfect for some castaways and a disaster for others. There’s a difference between a step-by-step game plan and having some ideas about how to navigate strategy, however. I’m not sure which side of the fence Aimee comes down on.
Why She’s Team Alice: Aimee is champing at the bit to prove what she’s made of and I hope that we see this tomboy not only rolling with the (strategic) punches but dealing some blows too. My big concern for her is getting lost in what’s hyped to be a competitive cast and being perceived as somebody an alliance can cut rather than someone that needs to be kept around.
DYLAN’S SIXTH PICK
INTERNATIONAL POKER PLAYER | 40 | QLD | SAMATAU TRIBE
First Impression: I need Adam to take it down a level – preferably several levels.
Dig Deep! There is so much going on in Adam’s profile it’s hard to tell what Adam will actually bring to the table. I’m going to ignore the fact that he said that he doesn’t want to win the game as long as he makes big moves because surely nobody is that stupid. He is clearly a fan of the show and a strategist at heart, so he is at risk of playing way too hard too fast.
Why He’s Team Dylan: I think Adam is a wildcard that has the potential to play a good game if he can keep his cards close to his chest. If Adam is dealt a good hand in the game, then he could be dangerous, but the odds seem to be against him. I predict that Adam will play really aggressively and isolate himself early on making him a pre-merge boot.
First Impression: Casual fans will love her, mothers will want to be her, but fans will likely despise her.
Dig Deep! Odette is every Survivor fan’s worst nightmare. It’s hard to get to know Odette as a player when her entire profile consists of stories from her sad life. But that’s precisely the point, Odette has no interest in playing the game and only sees Survivor as another challenge to overcome. She values strength in challenges, integrity and her family. But it’s for that reason that I think she will do well.
Why She’s Team Dylan: At this point, we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel. I hope her family is happy and supportive of the game that she plays because I know that the fans sure as hell won’t be. Her infuriating style of honest gameplay will take her far, so you can bet her and Mark W. will get along like a house on fire.
ALICE’S SEVENTH PICK
FAST FOOD ATTENDANT | 20 | WA | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: Sideshow Ben?
Dig Deep! From interviews and bios, there is not a whole lot of love for Ben. Meagre life experience? Check. Poor social skills? Check. Nil mental preparation? Check. There’s really not a whole lot to say for Ben except that I hope he has fun. This is my real curiosity – what is it about this boy that has got him cast as a twenty-year-old? From what I’ve read about casting, they favour older people with a little more life experience to do well in and out of the game. Is it the hair? Is he hiding a wicked sense of humour? Whatever it is Ben is carrying the hopes of young Survivor castaway wannabes on his shoulders.
Why He’s Team Alice: Ben is a super fan which never goes astray in a competitive cast. Many internet commentators are saying that a poor showing from Ben will curb any future young castaways being cast and for this reason alone I picked Ben with hopes that he will bring enough to the table to keep the casting door open.
AUSTIN’S SEVENTH PICK
WEDDING CELEBRANT | 50 | NSW | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: Kylie, Craig & Lee hybrid? Sounds about right.
Dig Deep! Jacqui seems like one bubbly glass of champagne. Headstrong, determined and probably fitter than half the cast, she’s certainly no slouch. She comes across like an engaging, enthusiastic personality who is used to being the life of the party, and that kind of positive, fun energy could help her carve out a niche in the game. She certainly seems like that fun-loving aunt in every family, and that could endear her to her tribe.
However, it’s hard to pin down what her game will look like. With one of the shortest bios of the cast, we know very little about Jacqui, but all signs point to someone unlikely to make a significant impact on the game. She points to people like Kylie and Lee from last season as players she could emulate – specifically, their physical and mental toughness. In a season populated with many more strategic thinkers, overvaluing the physical game could see Jacqui left in the dust. It’s also concerning that her primary motivation for playing Survivor appears to be proving a point that “life doesn’t end at 30” for women. Regardless of the message, Survivor isn’t the place for making a statement – and if she gets caught up in trying to be a role model, it could curtail her ability to play this selfish game for herself.
Why She’s Team Austin: I’m not incredibly high on Jacqui, but that’s largely because I feel like I know very little about her. I know she’s super-fit, fun at parties, strong-willed and… that’s kind of it? Although I am worried that she won’t necessarily have the drive to play a successful strategic game, her physical game and resolute attitude could get her to the merge – but maybe not much further than that. In fact, I could see her game pan out very similarly to Kylie’s last season. That said, I would love to be surprised by Jacqui – and that’s why she’s my penultimate pick. I’d love to see her dominate this game and put me in my place for underestimating her. If that’s the case, next round of champers is on me.
AUSTIN’S FINAL PICK
BARREL RACER | 32 | QLD | SAMATAU TRIBE
First Impression: I’ve got to go with the obvious here… It’s Fan Favourite Tara Pitt!! #FFTP
Dig Deep! Now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about our very own “friggin’” barrel racer who wants to prove she’s “more than just a stay-at-home mum.” She wants to build friendships only to stab her BFF in the back. Tara is going to be the one to bring “entertainment and drama” to the beaches of Samoa. Do they use flags in barrel racing? This bio is raising so many red ones.
Honestly, I struggle to get a good read on Tara. I want to like some of what she says. She’s certainly got an admirable spirit, confidence, and strength, and I like some of her strategic intentions, like trying to play to expected under-estimation. But then she goes and says she wants to turn on her allies and stir up drama? Her approach to the game reads as incredibly scattered, and there seems to be a chip on her shoulder that I find a little disconcerting. Tara seems like a very strong personality, and I’m not sure if she’ll be able to contain her ego if the social dynamics of her tribe demand she swallow her pride.
Why She’s Team Austin: I really can’t put my finger on it, but I’m worried about Tara. I get the sense that she could get over-confident only to be promptly blindsided or could get so hell-bent on trying to prove herself that she loses sight of what she needs to do to win. Nevertheless, she’s clearly a strong woman who’s not going to back down easily, and I’d like nothing more than for her to come out swinging, make smart moves and maneuver her way through the game. I want my team to be full of eager, memorable players, so whether or not my predictions for Tara’s game align with the reality, I know she is going to play with gusto every day she’s out there. As we reach the end of the draft, that’s what I’m looking for to round out my team.
ALICE’S FINAL PICK
MINING TECHNICIAN | 30 | WA | ASAGA TRIBE
First Impression: Going on a holiday? What?
Dig Deep! Can I just say that I picked Luke BEFORE we saw the ghastly “smiling assassin” previews. There are some likeable things about Luke – he was the first profile I read that mentioned the words “social game.” He says he takes reality television seriously. He’s a joker which might help endear himself to his tribemates. On his commercial spot though Luke comes across as more of a cocky bastard rather than an undercover strategist. I think Luke is likely to bro-down with Henry and Mark W. but if he’s larrikin-ing about any of his fellow tribemates might find it hard to take him seriously.
Why He’s Team Alice: I had four women already on my draft team, and I wanted an even number of men and women. That’s seriously the main reason.
DYLAN’S FINAL PICK
FINANCIAL EXECUTIVE | 47 | VIC | SAMATAU TRIBE
First Impressions: Kate is as boring and vanilla as they come. In fact, she isn’t even vanilla; she is unsweetened fat-free Greek yoghurt.
Dig Deep: If Kate thinks camping for one night in Sweden after spraining her ankle is her idea of being a Survivor, then I am genuinely concerned for her in this game. I found it very fitting that Kate stated that she was a fan of El in her profile because that’s exactly what I expect from her.
Why Team Dylan: Kate is on my team because nobody else wanted her. I predict that Kate will bring absolutely nothing to this season and her elimination will be forgotten amongst the big moves and blindsides that this season promises. I hope nine days is enough time for her to create inspirational memories for her kids because I don’t think she will get much more time than that in the game.
Are you Team Dylan, Team Alice or Team Austin? Who are your winner picks or pre-season favourites? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out Alice, Austin & Dylan’s recaps and reviews after every episode right here on Inside Survivor!
Australian Survivor begins Sunday 30 July at 7.30pm AEST on TEN, continuing Monday and Tuesday nights also at 7.30pm.