|Oh dear lord, Phillip is wearing his pink undies again!|
Of course, this could all change in a minute after the first episode; after all, it's one thing to see these people talk about themselves before the game and another to see what they'll be like when actually in the game, so I'm taking these predictions for what they are, and that's very preliminary.
Let's break it down, shall we?
- Erik Reichenbach [Micronesia]: I'm so excited he's back! He looks older (well, it has been a few years) and hopefully he's a bit wiser. He was a strong contender in Micronesia if not for that massive blunder -- I mean, he was the last remaining male!! AND a fan, a.k.a. first-time player! -- and if he makes the right alliances, I think he could go far. I'm not giving him a big Star endorsement, but I've got hopes.
- Corinne Kaplan [Gabon]: Corinne is the only returning player this season that I'm not familiar with. She definitely seems shrewd, and I can tell why she got as far as she did in Gabon, but I'm not confident she's going to do well this season. In her intro video, she says that she wouldn't change anything about how she played (when she clearly didn't win that time around) and she's going to give the audience exactly what they expect, as though she were playing for us rather than for herself in the game. That's not a winning strategy, and I think her self-stated bitchiness and illusions of power will be her demise.
- Brenda Lowe [Nicaragua]*: Here's another one I'm pumped to see back, and another really strong contender that was a favorite for me until she lost her footing. I think she knows what she did wrong in Nicaragua and could definitely be a force to be reckoned with this season. She's getting my first Confidence Star.
- Francesca Hogi [Redemption Island]: Franny! You're back! I bet people are wondering why she's back when she was the first voted out in her season, but I don't think it's completely outrageous. I might be biased because I've met her and know how charismatic she is in life, so I do believe she could be an amazing player if given the chance. She definitely needs to play her cards right and do everything she mentioned in her interview. If she stands out too much straight upon arrival or tries to make big moves too soon, she might suffer the same fate she did in her first season, particularly because her tribe might not take her seriously as the most 'inexperienced' returning player, as she put it.
- Phillip Sheppard [Redemption Island]: Ha, I can't wait to see Franny's reaction when she sees her favorite Redemption Island co-contestant return this season and on her tribe. I have to say, I am glad he's back -- for entertainment purposes only. I don't think there's a chance in hell that he'll win, though he might make it to the end again because he's such a perfect person to take along.
- Andrea Boehlke [Redemption Island]: I should start by saying that I really did believe in her potential on Redemption Island. I always said it was a shame she played with the players she did, because she could have done better otherwise. That said, I'm not super confident in her after watching her video. I think she considers herself a big 'Favorite' now, and she's still got to earn her brownie points in my book. I definitely do believe she'll play that flirty card -- and it might work, but she'll have to follow up with some strong moves to get beyond the winks and cuddles.
- Brandon Hantz [South Pacific]: Ugh. That is all. Ok, fine I'll elaborate a bit more... I have very low hopes for Brandon. He's clearly over-confident (and for no good reason) and I think he'll either stay for the ride because people want to sit next to him at the end to beat him, or he'll get voted out early on because he won't have the same religious support system/bonding crew that he had in South Pacific and will just be unlikeable and stupid.
- John Cochran [South Pacific]*: Happy Birthday Cochran! At least, it'll still be your birthday if I post this in the next 55 minutes. I'm really excited to see Cochran back. He's so charismatic, and seriously, what you see on screen is not fabricated. I'm lucky enough to have hung out with him a few times in Boston and New York, and he really is that quick and also self-deprecating. I'm hoping his self-awareness will get him as far as I think he'll go. He does have a fan-base behind him, and I'm really rooting for him. I also think it'd make a GREAT finale to have him there. To prove my confidence, I'm giving him my second Confidence Star.
- Dawn Meehan [South Pacific]: Aww, Dawn. She's so great, isn't she? I remember being so impressed by her when she knocked it out of the ballpark in challenges and exceeded my expectations all around. Let me say it to you now: you did earn your returning slot, Dawn! Now, I'm excited she's getting another shot and I think she's a good pick for a Favorite, but I don't think she'll win. She might, and she could... I just think there are stronger players right now that have a better chance.
- Malcolm Freberg [Philippines]*: Malcolm, oh Malcolm, am I happy you're back. I'll try to keep this professional and will just write my predictions based on what I've seen and know and not how awesome it was when the camera just kept filming your abs during that balancing challenge (which you lost...). I'm giving Malcolm my Confidence Star, because he does have the whole package: strategy, strength and likeability. BUT, I'm worried that he won't make it as far because hey, he just came back. It's hard to have that endurance especially when he had a really hard time on Matsing and even throughout the whole season last season. He does have the advantage of returning immediately so having the experience without the exposure to the other contestants, who don't quite know just how much of a threat he is. I'm hoping it's his game this time around.
- Eddie Fox: I'm not very confident in Eddie. He's a firefighter from Jersey, and that's great, but what ticked me off the most was how he described himself and why he was there. He basically made it sound like he was just there for the adventure and to have fun. I hope he does, but I don't think he'll win. It doesn't seem like he has the strategy, and it just makes me wonder: is he even a Fan??
- Allie Pohevitz: She seems cool and tough, which I like, though it took her about half her interview to get there (which is really no big deal at all). She's among the slew of new contestants who think they're "people persons" and it'll be interesting to see how social and likeable they are when they're hungry and without comfort. I did see a fighter in her, and I liked that she said this was the only opportunity you could get to have one shot in 16 (well, 20 this time) to win a million dollars. That screams logic to me, and I think if she keeps her head on straight, she could do well.
- Hope Driskill: This one's the Miss Missouri chick. She's definitely beautiful, which might get her some points with the guys, and she's aiming to play the 'underestimated' card. I'm going to reserve full judgement on her until the first episode, but I can also see her leaving quickly.
- Matt Bischoff: The guy with the beard and a tender loving side seems to think he has the complete package, and that "good things just happen" to him. Well that may very well be true, but in order for good things to happen to you on Survivor, you need to make them happen. I have my doubts about Matt, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
- Michael Snow: When I heard his name, I had high hopes -- but that may just be because I'm reading A Game Of Thrones and Jon Snow is an awesome character. Then I listened to him talk and was left unimpressed. He's not very well-spoken and he's probably my least favorite new player with Eddie. He also claims to have a "nice, well-rounded strategy" and newsflash: that never works. You've got to be flexible.
- Laura Alexander*: Laura gets my first Fan Confidence Star because she's clearly smart and has the advantage of being experienced in politics, which I think will be a huge asset. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders too and here's one who knows you need to be flexible. It'll all depend on "the cards [she's] given." That's right! Hope you manage them well, lady!
- Julia Landauer*: And there goes my next Confidence Star! This awesome-looking racecar driver looks super cool, and I'd even venture to say she's my early favorite on the Fans tribe. I obviously don't know how well she'll actually play, but hey, I'd like to know that chick. I like her attitude and if she is, in fact, good at turning things on and off (aggression, competition, etc.), then I think there's a great future for her this season!
- Sherri Biethman: Is it just me or does Sherri remind you all of Sandra Bullock, too? That might be why I automatically felt warm towards her... I'm not giving her a star, but I do think that if she can pull through the first couple of votes, she could be very successful this season. She also needs to keep it together when it comes to her family, which clearly means a lot to her. I'm rooting for her.
- Shamar Thomas: The "army brat" seems like he'll be a strong player -- but by strong I just mean physically. Yes, he'll have the survival part down, but Survivor is so much more than that! He does seem personable, so if he can avoid the 'leader' trap, he could do okay. Though someone should tell him that "destroying everybody" is not the most thought-out strategy...
- Reynold Toepfer*: Now here's another one I really like! Between Reynold and Julia, I have high hopes for the Fan tribe. He's another one who gets that you have to be "socially adaptable" and I even wrote in my notes how likeable and strong he seemed before he said it in his interview. I'm confident he will achieve his goals of being fun and easy to connect with. He gets my last Confidence Star.
Voilà! So, who are your favorites so far? You can check out the bios for all cast members on CBS's cast bios page and I've linked each name to their respective interviews on YouTube, so you have no excuse not to comment!