Last Wednesday, CBS officially revealed the cast for the upcoming Survivor: Kaôh Rōng – Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty which premieres on February 17. Amongst the new group of castaways is a former NBA Champion, a Big Brother contestant and a professional poker player. Two-time Survivor contestant Jeff Varner gave us his gut reactions on the new cast last week and today the Inside Survivor team bring you their’s.
On Saturday, the Inside Survivor team sat down to discuss the eighteen Kaôh Rōng castaways and our first impressions and early predictions. Our opinions are based simply off the CBS bios and short meet the cast videos, so if any cast member is reading this, please try to not take anything too personally. And if you do feel animosity towards us, feel free to direct all your hate mail to @JacobDerwin, @Brodeurr and @ShawnSwaney.
Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Cast Assessment – Brains Tribe
Martin: Okay team, let’s get this show on the road. We’ll start with the Brains tribe aka Chanloh. First up, Aubry Bracco, “leader of elves”.
Martin: Brown graduate, social media manager, seemingly taught from the Max Dawson school of astrology. Thoughts?
Rob: I love this girl. She’s the right combo of wacky and fun. Hopefully she doesn’t follow in Max’s footsteps… like in the pot.
Martin: Yeah, no washing warty feet in the cooking pot. I feel like that would be a bad move for her.
Rob: I think she’s aware enough to not be as off putting as Max was.
Jacob: She’s clearly very smart and I’m sure she’s a blast to geek out with.
Martin: Definitely. She seems quite aware of her quirkiness in her CBS video, so I imagine she’ll know when to dial it back.
Shawn: Oh I didn’t hate her as much as I thought I was going to. She seems to embrace her awkwardness which is good, but it will only work out for her if she finds someone as goofy.
Rob: I feel like she’s gonna get on good with Neal and Liz.
Shawn: Another plus for Aubry. She did more Harry Potter tributes in her video than self-proclaimed HP superfan Michele.
Jacob: Even if she can dial back the quirkiness a bit, I don’t know if her personality is going to blend well with the whole of her starting tribe. I think she’s gonna need an early swap.
Martin: You think? I think she will probably click with Neal, like Rob said. Plus there is a far quirkier person on that tribe that will take the early heat… *cough* Debbie.
Shawn: I agree. I easily see her + Neal being a good power duo.
Martin: Also she describes herself as the love child of Sophie and Cochran with the hair of Shambo. That’s like the perfect Survivor player right?
Shawn: Shambolicious baby!
Jacob: Could you imagine?
Shawn: If she’s the lovechild of those two though, is she planning to let strategy come to her rather than being the instigator?
Martin: That sounds like a smart way to play. Cochran and Sophie are both former winners.
Jacob: I just hope she isn’t constantly trying to be any of these referenced players throughout the season.
Martin: Season 30 already used up all the references to Survivor past.
Shawn: Seems like all of these players are doing the whole “I’m the next xxx (Parvati, Cochran, etc)” rather than trying to define their own unique style of play.
Martin: Predictions on where Aubry will place?
Jacob: Hate to say it but I think she’s an early boot.
Rob: I have a little more faith and I’m going with early jury. It all depends on if she meshes well with her tribe mates.
Shawn: Her welfare depends on how strong the Brains tribe is in the very beginning. I think she’ll squeak past the first tribe swap and go out right around the merge.
Rob: I think if she were on another tribe, she’d probably stick out like a sore thumb.
Martin: I’m also thinking she makes the merge but not much further after that.
Shawn: I feel like she might be afraid to get truly cutthroat and that might prevent her from making it deep.
Jacob: If she gets past the early game, then she’s capable of going deep. I just think that first hurdle is going to be her hardest one.
Martin: Okay, I guess we should move on to DEBBIE WANNER! The chemist plus everything else.
Rob: MUTHAF**KIN’ DEBBIE!
Martin: I know some women are still into tiger print as a fashion choice but Debbie takes it to a whole new level. I bet she went into the store and was like “No, not tiger print, I want an ENTIRE TIGER FACE on this swimsuit!”
Rob: I like to think she went to one of those airbrush booths at a fair and got it done.
Shawn: If there was a picture in the dictionary for the word “bats**t-crazy” it would be Debbie. Gotta love her swimsuit though. Lord knows she pulls it off a lot better than I could.
Jacob: Certainly going to be intimidating in challenges.
Martin: That is not an image I wanted Shawn.
Shawn: Trust me, I don’t have the gams for that one. I see the Brains tribe breaking down like this: Peter + Neal + Aubry + Liz and then Joe + Debbie (military ties). If they go down early, she’s in trouble. If they can win a few challenges and make a swap, she becomes super valuable as a flipper.
Martin: I also could envision that foursome, with Neal + Aubry and Liz + Peter being duos within that 4.
Rob: I think she is going to have a tough time to be honest.
Shawn: Could be a great goat though.
Rob: She says she’s like Coach, and while I can appreciate the ridiculousness that is The Coach Experience, I hate him for his self righteousness.
Jacob: She’s not exactly the most personable, and I think she’d work better with certain players on other tribes.
Martin: Agreed. I’m not sure she clicks with most of these fellow Brains.
Rob: Possibly Joe…
Shawn: Coach got to be so “coachy” because of his crazy stories and bigger than life personality. She seems like she’s just odd and does a couple of things. Having a diverse set of interests doesn’t mean you’re like Coach and that’s how I think she’s incorrectly labeling herself.
Martin: Shawn, she’s a member of Reading Juggler’s club for gods sake!
Shawn: Wait that’s a thing?
Martin: It is now.
Shawn: Google is a magical place. As is that club.
Martin: I don’t think Debbie is long for this game but I have a feeling she will provide tons of entertainment for however long she’s there.
Rob: Yeah definitely.
Jacob: If she can resist the temptation to tell everyone everything about her constantly, she might be more all right than we think. It’ll come down to how much she annoys people at the beginning.
Shawn: She needs to be just a bit more social than Wendy Jo (Survivor: Nicaragua) in order to survive early, aka actually talk for more than one word.
Martin: Predictions on placement for Debbie?
Rob: I think she’s not gonna have trouble being social, it’ll just be a matter of if her tribe members want to be social with her. I’m saying pre-merge for her.
Shawn: I think other tribes will struggle more than the Brains (*cough* Beauty) in early challenges so she’ll go out during the first Brains tribal council pre-merge.
Jacob: Know what? I’m gonna say early post-merge. I think she could be a helpful asset to a mixed tribe-alliance if she gets there.
Martin: Jacob is fully on board the Debbie train. I unfortunately also think she’ll be a pre-merge boot.
Jacob: CHOO CHOO!
Shawn: If only I was good with Photoshop that would be a great image.
Martin: Do it!
Rob: ♩ I‘m going off the rails on a Crazy train. ♩
Jacob: She’s not my winner pick, I’ll tell ya that!
Martin: But what a glorious winner she would be.
Shawn: They would just cancel the show if she won. Could never top that.
Martin: Haha. Okay, shall we talk Joseph Del Campo? The former FBI agent and now private investigator.
Martin: That dude is, pardon the expression, built like a brick s**thouse! I want to look like Joseph when I’m 72 years old.
Shawn: Seriously. I want to look like that when I’m in my 70s.
Martin: In fact, I want to look like that now!
Jacob: But really! The man looks great.
Rob: Joe aka Buff Rudy.
Jacob: I like that he compared himself to Tom Westman. That excites me because I can actually see it and not just because of the hair.
Martin: He is definitely rocking the Westman hair.
Shawn: Westman is a great comparison. Except I don’t know if Joe will be able to have the early social game that helped Tom so much.
Rob: Yeah, I think he’ll be a fish out of water with the younger people on his tribe
Shawn: Palau started with 20. His tribe starts with 6. Nowhere to hide.
Martin: That is a good point. That’s when the 6 person tribe really hurts someone like Joe.
Rob: He’s gonna need a strong ally if he doesn’t wanna just get picked off.
Jacob: I’m just concerned that his bio seemed pretty focused on survival skills and fitness, which is great, but you know the rest of the tribe is gonna scatter off into the woods the second they get there. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for that.
Martin: Didn’t you see his CBS video? Joe will be in his spyshack watching them scatter into the woods!
Jacob: Watching again now. Maybe that’s why I wrote “Tony in 30 years” in my notes! Haha.
Martin: I really hope Joe does well. He’s done a lot of impressive things in his life and I genuinely do think he’ll be an asset in camp life.
Rob: Yeah definitely. And that’s a big factor in people staying around early.
Shawn: He’ll definitely go longer than Debbie if they have to go to tribal early. He’s strong and will contribute around camp.
Jacob: I don’t think he’ll be leading any votes, but I think he can stay on the right side of the vote for a decent amount of time.
Rob: For sure.
Jacob: Just noticed that he wants to have a copy of The Art of War on the island. China reference?
Martin: Yes! Loved that. Or it could just be because of his military background. Predictions for Joe’s placement?
Rob: He’ll probably last a while. Maybe voted out late in the game for being a jury threat.
Shawn: Early-Mid merge.
Jacob: I think the late pre-merge is gonna be his biggest test, but if he gets through there, Top 5, baby.
Martin: Yes, I also think late pre-merge will be tough for him, but I’m going to say he makes the merge. Then hopefully he’ll go on to beat Joe Anglim’s individual immunity streak. Give Probst a new Joe to gush over.
Rob: Hopefully he’ll be a Joe I can root for.
Shawn: If he can get in tight with an alliance he’ll go really far but will be a jury threat.
Martin: Right, let’s talk the card-counter, Elisabeth “Liz” Markham.
Martin: Who wants to explain what a Quantitative Strategist is?
Martin: I think Liz is SUPER smart… but is she TOO smart?
Rob: Yeah I think so.
Jacob: Liz might have a rough time. One of her peeves is “People who refuse to learn from evidence and won’t listen to logical arguments.” She’s holding herself pretty highly and I don’t think anyone’s gonna enjoy that.
Rob: And if she makes it known that she’s smart it might be a problem.
Shawn: She’s obviously brilliant but book smarts doesn’t always translate well to social skills. Your IQ might be higher, but that doesn’t mean you can keep an alliance together.
Martin: Also, I dont think she quite understands what pet peeves are. She said “Racism, sexism and homophobia.” She might as well of said murder.
Shawn: “All bad things done by bad people.”
Martin: But yeah, I wonder if she’ll have trouble hiding how smart she is. She’s already on the Brains tribe which doesn’t help with that! She is also the first person to compare themselves to Parvati. Take a shot!
Jacob: I ended up getting a kind of “try-hard” vibe from her, and it doesn’t help that she’s another Parvati wannabe.
Rob: I liked her reasoning for saying Parv though. It wasn’t just “because she’s a flirt and she’s pretty and amazing” like they usually say.
Jacob: She does mention “concealing her intelligence.”
Martin: Yeah, to be fair all the Parv wannabes gave valid reasons. It’s just become such a running joke at this point.
Jacob: There have been other smart, attractive women on Survivor, people!
Rob: Like Shambo!
Jacob: LIKE SHAMBO, exactly.
Shawn: Shambo = Bae.
Martin: Poor Shambo.
Shawn: She’d be better to be a Natalie Bolton. Lie SUPER low and then emerge when you can definitely get a group together. Parv’s fast play in Fans vs. Faves (necessary because she was being targeted) won’t work for Liz.
Martin: Natalie Bolton style would be a great way for her to play! I could also see her being able to manipulate someone into giving her their immunity necklace. She looks crafty like that.
Martin: I think Liz will be fun to watch. She will either succeed in concealing her intelligence and then emerge as a power player later on… or she’ll crash and burn early and that will also be fun.
Shawn: So this exists now…
Jacob: AH! hahaha.
Martin: Yes! My life is now complete! I feel we can’t top that. We should have done Debbie last.
Jacob: Peaked too early.
Martin: Which could actually be a good comparison to Liz. Peaking too early could very well be her game!
Shawn: So true.
Martin: She talked about wanting pen and paper so that she could leave false clues to hidden immunity idols for people to find. So I think she’ll be a blast to watch. But not sure she’ll make it far.
Shawn: Homegirl must have the neatest handwriting to even consider that.
Martin: She needs Colby Donaldson handwriting to pull that off.
Jacob: She wants to play hard and that’s great, but as I said, I feel like she’s gonna end up trying way too hard, too fast. You just end up looking suspicious.
Martin: Predictions on placement for Liz?
Jacob: Late pre-merge.
Rob: I concur.
Shawn: Could easily make Final Tribal Council though if she plays her cards right…
Martin: Just had to get that cards pun in, didn’t you?
Shawn: Too easy.
Martin: Who likes ice cream?!
Jacob: Not Neal!
Shawn: Not Neal.
Martin: Ah, Neal Gottlieb, the ice cream business owner who hates ice cream. What a dude.
Rob: I really like Neal from all his pregame stuff.
Shawn: Same here. Plus he’s an actual applicant which always is +1.
Martin: Agreed. Again, has a quirkiness to him but also self aware.
Rob: Yes! His self awareness is huge.
Martin: As we said, I think he’ll click with the leader of elves Aubry Bracco.
Shawn: Neal + Aubry is a great combo. I don’t know how physical he can be though. He says that he is a secret threat but stuff like that always has to be proven.
Martin: True. Out of the guys on his tribe he appears to be the least fit. And one of them is 72.
Rob: I think he’ll do okay, he probably won’t be leading the charge in the physical challenges. But he’s definitely smart.
Jacob: I think he can hang in there with the rest of them, and he’s definitely a self-aware, smart fan.
Shawn: Being self aware is so much bigger than being smart. We can thank J’Tia for that lesson.
Martin: One of his hobbies is “one-upmanship” though. Needs to be careful there.
Jacob: I’m slightly concerned that he and Aubry are gonna pull a Max & Shirin and focus too much on the long-term game in the beginning phases.
Martin: Hopefully they will have seen how that didn’t work out too well. They would have seen the first half of Worlds Apart before they flew to Cambodia to film. They’re so lucky that they missed the second half.
Shawn: Very possible. Maybe they’re smart enough to pull in someone like Debbie as a buffer.
Martin: If they want buffer… Joseph is your man! Give me that rimshot!
Martin: Neal also wanted “fake printed clues on convincing paper to fool fellow contestants into thinking that they have immunity.” It’ll be just him and Liz leaving fake clues everywhere.
Rob: Him and Liz compared notes?
Jacob: This is an island of LIES.
Shawn: I can’t wait for the time where Liz and Neal find each others’ fake clues and then nobody finds the idol.
Martin: Meanwhile Debbie has two idols. Hidden in her tiger swimsuit.
Jacob: Oh I hope so!
Martin: Prediction on Neal’s placement?
Rob: Mid-merge I think.
Shawn: Mid-merge with a possible for more.
Jacob: Yeah, I’m thinking top 8 or something like that.
Martin: I’m also thinking he’ll have a good run. Top 8 sounds good.
Martin: Okay, last of the Brains, Dr Peter Baggenstos.
Martin: Are the Obama jokes old yet?
Rob: Yeah I’m done with them.
Jacob: We all know one of the first scenes of the first episode is gonna be about his looks.
Martin: Peter is certainly done with them.
Shawn: It’s a conversation starter at least. Could be the ice breaker that is needed.
Martin: True. That’s what Jeff Varner said in his assessment. Did you notice one of Peter’s pet peeves is “know-it-alls”? Not a RHAP fan then.
Jacob: Yeah I was about to comment on that!
Martin: Also he doesnt like “Bros” but then says the Survivor player he’s most like is Pete-Bro from Philippines…
Rob: I think he was just like “oh we have the same name, we’re obviously similar.” He seems too serious for his own good.
Jacob: I don’t think he’s gonna get along with some of his superfan tribemates.
Shawn: Seriously, Peter rubbed me the wrong way. He seems really egotistical and self serving.
Martin: I don’t know if he is serious or just has a dry sense of humour. We’ll have to wait on that, it was hard to tell from a two minute video.
Shawn: “I want to be a doctor so I can step up on a plane and be a hero.”
Jacob: “I can have a pointless conversation with someone and make them feel important.” I don’t like it at all. I think he’s overrating himself quite a bit.
Shawn: Totally overrating.
Martin: Yeesh. Not much love for the Doctor.
Shawn: At least he loves himself enough for the rest of us.
Martin: You think he’ll be an early target?
Shawn: He won’t go early. He’s strong and will likely be the vocal leader of the Brains.
Jacob: Could be the new Garrett, or could just slide to the merge and get taken out.
Rob: He could go early. But I have another candidate for the Garrett award. That’ll come later.
Martin: I’m more confident in Peter than you guys. I actually think he could do pretty well. I think amongst the quirkiness of his tribe he might offer some balance and normality.
Shawn: I think he’ll do really well. Just don’t like his personality.
Shawn: He’ll be a huge target if he lands on the wrong side of the numbers on a pre-merge tribe swap.
Jacob: I guess we’ll see! He’s definitely capable, but this cast has quite a few big egos that are gonna compete early.
Martin: True. I still think it’s likely for him, Neal, Aubry and Liz to join up and leave the two older tribemates on the outs. Until Debbie plays her two idols of course.
Shawn: Double idol Debbie FTW!
Jacob: Definitely possible.
Martin: Predictions on Peter’s placement?
Jacob: I’m gonna say early merge.
Rob: Yeah I agree.
Martin: I’m saying he makes the merge for sure and then it just depends if he’s going in with the numbers or not. Mid-merge I’ll say.