Jeff Breaks Down the Cast:
STEVE – Another football player? Yes, it’s true: another former Pro football player. Not sure it’s that much different from another pharmaceutical rep, or another bartender, or any of the other “types” we have on the show. I will however grant you that it is odd that we’ve had so many football players but we haven’t had any professional basketball players.. oh wait, we have one of those this season too! (Ashley) As well as another former football player (Grant.) Back to Steve – he’s a big fella and a likable fella. Just based on physical size it appears he will be a force in a lot of challenges and his strength should come in handy at camp as well. I had a very good feeling about Steve from the moment I met him. His biggest obstacle will be people viewing him as a threat.
JULIE – Firefighter. Tough. Legs like tree trunks. This woman can hack it with anybody. Julie has a drive to win that comes from being a single mom with a home facing foreclosure who wants to be able to provide for her family. That kind of drive will take her a long way in the game. Her biggest obstacle might be that people feel she is a “charity case” and they don’t want her around for fear that her “need” will compel people to vote for her.
DAVID – I think David tested higher on the IQ test than any previous contestant. He’s a defense attorney. He’s cocky and pretty well-versed in the art of debate. David’s biggest strength will be his ability to persuade. I really wanted him to be on the show but he wasn’t a shoo-in. It took the network a bit of time to warm to him. If he has that same affect on the rest of his tribe, he’s in trouble. If he can get in a good solid alliance, he could be a key strategist and go deep. Not sure he’s likable enough to win, it remains to be seen.
ANDREA – Don’t judge this book by her cover. She’s a player in all aspects. Grew up on a farm. She will surprise people who underestimate her. I think young women are going to like Andrea a lot. If given a chance she should be strong in challenges and help out around camp. Although she’s aware of her looks, I don’t think she’s the type to try to use them to gain favor. What she gets she will earn. She will come in and go out fighting. Let her get to the end and I think she could win it.
ASHLEY – She was a shoo-in. From the moment she walked in, told us about her pageant and professional basketball player background, she was on the show. She has so many qualities that make for a good contestant. She will be a physical contributor, no doubt. She can play the mental game, no doubt. The key for Ashley will happen in the first few days. Can she land with the right group of people who will utilize her skills. She’s another one that if given a shot late in the game could win enough challenges to earn herself a spot in the final.
NATALIE – Our youngest Survivor ever. When we first met Natalie we weren’t sure she was ready for Survivor. She’s so young. Survivor is an ASS KICKER. Survivor fans know that our show is no joke. It will destroy you on every level. The concern was she didn’t have enough life experience to prepare her for dealing with people like Russell. We took a chance on her and I’m so glad we did. First out or in it at the end, she will compel you to root for her because she believes in herself. Young girls will adore Natalie. Can she win? It’s possible and it would be awesome.
MATT – Don’t confuse Matt with Fabio. Yes they have the same hair but that’s where the comparison ends. Matt is a very solid, Christian with none of the surfer boy tendencies of the ever-charming Fabio. Matt has a faith that guides him in his daily life and it will guide him during his time on Survivor as well. He’s trusting and that could be his downfall, but put him in a competitive environment and he will be tough to beat. Matt could definitely win this game.
MIKE – Captain America. Just look at him. Square jaw, dark hair, athletic. He’s also extremely polite – every damn thing he says he says with respect. This kid was raised well. Mike will do extremely well at challenges, he’s very likable and should go a long way in this game. His biggest obstacle will be staying in tight with his alliance and not getting on the outside of it because he is seen as a threat. That happens often to guys like Mike. He needs to stay in control. Mike could win.
KRISTINA – I liked Kristina the minute we met her in casting. She’s already lived a full life and she is ready for yet another new adventure. I love that she had tattoos on both arms and then decided she didn’t want them anymore so she’s having them removed. She’s a no-bullshit chick. She will knock you upside your head if you give her attitude and she will fight to win this game at any cost. Her chance of winning is not as strong as some of the others because of the edge she carries. But it’s that edge that could get her deep into the game, where anything can happen.
KRISTA – Krista is a dark horse. She’s going to have to establish early on that she is strong enough to hang because people are going to judge her based on physical appearance. Krista is very sharp and is very good with people. As happens so often in this game, her success will be based on those first few days. Krista will never be in charge of an alliance, she just isn’t outspoken enough, so she needs to attach to someone strong and reliable who will take her to the end.
RALPH – The quintessential Survivor contestant. He has a bit of “Big Tom” in him with his own unique look. He has a way of speaking that is so rural that we’ll need to subtitle much of what he says. He has two full-time jobs, he can build a house from the ground up, he is always working and truly seems to enjoy his life. I loved Ralph the moment I saw his casting tape. You will definitely remember him no matter how far he goes in the game and if we have any luck this season he’ll be around for a long, long time. Could he win? It’s quite possible.
GRANT – How can you root against a former Pro football player turned yogi instructor? I liked Grant instantly. Big time athlete. Will be very tough to beat in challenges. Very likable too. Grant’s biggest obstacle is that he is a bonafide threat to win the game. He must form a strong and loyal alliance or he will be sent to Redemption Island very soon. If he lasts past the merge, he could win it all.
STEPHANIE – We need at least one Stephanie every season. A woman who is not afraid to speak her mind on any topic at any time. Initially, I was uncertain about Stephanie but she showed me on day one that she has the attitude to go far in the game. Her odds of winning are very slim though because unlike Grant she is not instantly likable. Don’t get me wrong, I like her, because I love candid conversation and real opinions. But generally speaking she is going to rub people the wrong way because she has long since turned off her PC filter.
RUSSELL – Enough has been said about Russell. I love him on the show, but I don’t ever want him to know where I live. He doesn’t believe me when I say that to him, but it’s true. I do not trust him. The man is an amazing manipulator but he has his hands FULL this season. Everybody is now gunning for him. It’s almost like there is a bounty on his head and everybody in the game wants to be the one to say “I took out Russell Hanz!” If he can make it deep again, there is no denying his legend in the Hall of Fame. Fortunately for Russell, if or when he is voted out, there is Redemption Island…where he could last for a very long time.
BOSTON ROB – He went from villain to hero in one season. More people stop me to say they “love Boston Rob” than any other Survivor. Yes this includes Rupert and Ozzy and even Parvati. He is a blue-collar work horse. He’s a MASTER manipulator and he’s almost unstoppable at challenges. If Rob can find people who will trust him and not try to take him out, he could go all the way to the end. His biggest obstacle is the fact that he can win this game and everybody knows it. If Rob is taken out early again, I would imagine that will be the end of his Survivor career. This story feels like the “old-timer” coming back for one last shot.
PHILLIP – To all the Survivor angels looking over our show, I’d like to take a moment to personally acknowledge you and thank you for once again blessing us with one of the GREATEST CONTESTANTS OF ALL TIME! If you loved Coach, you are going to fall out of your chair for Phillip. Phillip is so good and so unique I do not think I can describe him other than to say that he’s one of a kind in the greatest possible way and that I would sacrifice two episodes of WEEDS if it meant I could ensure he lasted to the end. He’s that good, cause trust me… I love me some Mary Louise Parker.
FRANCESCA – Francesca has a smile that lights up a room. She’s very bright and could be one of those players that forms a strong alliance and works it to the end. She looks like she should do well physically but I don’t think that is what will move her through the game. If she gets sent to Redemption Island she may surprise people.
SARITA – I liked Sarita in casting quite a bit. On the island I think her biggest challenge is going to be embracing the experience. Not saying she can’t do just that, but I do think it will take some work. Survivor living is very different from “real life” living where you can grab a cup of tea and some cheese anytime you want it. Survivor will kick your ass. Once Sarita gets over the shock she’s smart enough to align herself with people who could take her deep into the game.http://www.jeffprobst.com/survivor/musings-from-the-host/