Who will win ‘Survivor Vanuatu’?
Experts offer analysis and fearless predictions
By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Andy Dehnart
Updated: 11:14 p.m. ET Dec. 9, 2004This season of "Survivor" has been called exceptionally boring. Despite earthquakes and backstabbings, the drama has, for the most part, definitely been less intense than we've seen in previous seasons.
Still, in this first post-"All-Stars" edition, we saw a return to the basics, and the game play took center stage. And it made great television. First the old men targeted the young men. Then the women targeted the men, as the women stuck together longer than anyone thought they might. Along the way, bonds were broken, people were betrayed, and strategies were shifted.
You tell us: Who will win ‘Survivor Vanuatu’?
Early in the season, there were some surprising evictions, as the groups made unpredictable decisions and Mark Burnett used editing to lead us astray.
It's possible that the finale will offer another sort of twist, one that hits us from behind like the conclusion of "Survivor Australia" did. But although we probably won't be that surprised again, we haven't exactly seen the end game coming from a mile away. Thus, Sunday's two-hour finale could keep us guessing until the end, and for a show like "Survivor," that's exactly how it should be.
Monty Brinton / AP
Gael says: Chris is my pick to win it all. A few weeks back, it looked like the women were going to be picking off the remaining men one by one, working their way to an all-female final four. Chad, a dogged competitor, nice personality and possible sympathy-vote earner because of his missing leg, was taken down first. But then things started to change for Chris, and he didn't really have to do much more than stand back. The women's alliance started to implode, with Twila wising up and arranging a coup against the Ami/Julie/Leann alliance. Chris was the unwitting beneficiary. It's not that he hasn't played these last few weeks smartly, he has, but he also was no master manipulator à la Boston Rob. Suddenly Chris, who wasn't been able to keep his balance in an early challenge, is standing on firm ground.
Andy says: If Chris wins, or even makes it to the final two, it will be almost entirely by accident. He was the last man to go, but was spared as the women’s alliance toppled from within. He just stepped back, and as a result, has remained clear of the destruction. Oh, sure, he’s worked to form alliances and try to keep himself in the game. But in truth, up until this past week, his actions were mostly useless, and entirely dependent upon the others. If he makes it to the final two, he’ll be in the same situation, and his experience being without control might very well help him take the whole thing.
Monty Brinton / AP
Andy says:The youngest contestant has been targeted so often that she became an expert at packing her belongings. Yet here she is. Her decision to vote against Ami shifted the game, but she’s mostly been a pawn of others. They’ve used her despite the fact that she has managed to irritate nearly everyone. Her physical strength is her greatest asset at this point, and if she win challenges and dodges a vote or two, she might find herself sitting on a stump next to the one other remaining player.
Gael says: Eliza's the cat with nine lives almost as much as Chris is this season. She teetered on the block often, eventually being saved in part by a decision on Ami's part — she led her women's alliance to boot Chad and keep Eliza. Getting rid of Chad was probably smart — he would have been a tough competitor in a final two — but Ami no doubt expected Eliza to be gone well before she herself was booted. Still, Eliza's been smart enough to let her vote kind of blow with the wind, and for such a scrawny woman, she should not be underestimated. The question remaining: Will Ami's alliance on the jury hold together for her, or against her?
Monty Brinton / AP
Gael says:Boy, who saw this coming? At the beginning of the game, Scout would have been a good nominee for the next Sonja Christopher, Sonja of course being the older woman who made "Survivor" history by being the first-ever person to get her torch snuffed out. After that, older women and men were often good bets for being the first bootees. But Scout has defied the odds, perhaps by flying under the radar. Except for some well-publicized spats with Eliza, she has managed to stay away from major feuds. She's lesbian, and a cancer survivor, but those personal details have gone almost unnoticed. And although she often comes in last in physical challenges, her lack of ability has been less of an issue than with some older players. Maybe she's been truly living the meaning of her name, "one sent to gather information, a watchman." Unfortunately, if the physical challenges once again rear their heads, Scout could be out.
Andy says: With her disarming, folksy appearance and gentle nature, Scout seemed lovable at first. Then she turned evil, betraying her alliance partner Ami and going off on whoever got in her way. Before them, though, something in her eyes indicated there was more to her than we see. She seems to be overplaying the mental game to compensate for her weaker physical game, and the results aren’t all that attractive. Still, although she’s managed to survive challenges, she might not be able to survive a jury vote.
Monty Brinton / AP
Gael says: Twila's surprised me. The women picked on her early on because she didn't want to sit around and braid hair and pluck eyebrows with them, but she's seen most of the girly girls go while she remains. Ami tried her manipulative best to make something out of Twila's swearing loyalty on her son's life, then going back on her word. But come on! This is "Survivor"! As Twila pointed out: "I am not the only freakin' person that has lied in this game." That said, Twila's perhaps not as smart as she's been crowing that she is. Although she won the pole-hanging competition literally by the skin of her teeth, a physical challenge could also take her down — she lost to both Chris and Eliza on a recent race challenge. Still, if I were on the jury, I'd vote Twila over any of the rest of 'em.
Andy says: Twila is this season’s Rudy Boesch. She’s fun to watch and we just shake our heads and say “Twila!” when she talks. Heck, she held on to a pole during a challenge with her teeth, and has been more than candid during interviews about the contempt she holds for some of her fellow players. Her erratic game play, though, might come back to haunt her. She’s had the power to change the game multiple times, but has only exercised it once. More importantly, she’s managed to irritate nearly everyone along the way. Sometimes she seems like she’s brilliant and other times, well, “Twila!”
Gael says: What an unlikely final four. Whoever wins immunity, I see the final four as breaking into Twila-Scout and Chris-Eliza voting blocs. Twila might be easily convinced to jump sides, though, and vote out Scout, who won't be immune because at this point, she is so exhausted a good strong wind could knock her over.
That leaves Eliza, Twila and Chris. It's up to the next immunity winner to cast the vote, and right now I think Chris has the best shot at the final immunity. He's got to think: Would I rather go against Twila with the jury, or Eliza? Eliza could conceivably pull the votes of the younger women, but then again, they've been lying to her left and right. Twila can claim she's been a smart player, but she's also made a lot of enemies with Ami's clique. I'm guessing it'll be a touch decision, but that he'll end up booting Eliza and taking Twila to the final two.
Once there, Sarge, Chad, Eliza and Scout will vote for Chris. Julie's an either-or — while allegedly loyal to Ami, she has shown fondness for Chris (does she know he voted her out, and with an exclamation point, no less?). Ami and Leann might have voted for Eliza given the chance, but they're not going to vote for Twila. With a vote of either 5-2 or 4-3, Chris takes the million.
Andy says: Predicting the outcome of “Survivor” is like trying to predict which way a gaggle of kittens will run in a field. There are too many variables to deal with; plus, too many of the subjects have pea-sized brains. But here’s my best guess, although I’ll probably revise it 16 times during Sunday’s finale.
With Chris’ decision to stick with Twila and Scout, there’s now a weird dynamic. What could have been Twila and Scout vs. Chris and Eliza is now Twila, Scout, and Chris — and Eliza. If Eliza doesn’t win immunity during the next challenge, she’s out. Based upon past history, Scout has no chance of ever winning immunity, so if Eliza loses, Scout and Twila will undoubtedly vote for her.
But if Eliza wins and makes it to the final two, she’ll win, regardless of who she takes with her. Right now, the odds are stacked against her. Assuming an Eliza loss, there’s one final immunity challenge. Scout has no chance. So it’ll be Chris versus an injured Twila, and Chris will probably take it. So who does he take with him? Both Scout and Twila are hated, but the jury of two men and four women has at least two Twila-haters. Thus, Chris takes Twila, and gets both male votes (although Sarge had a friendship with Twila, he’ll probably vote for his buddy). With Eliza and Ami as the founding members of the Anti-Twila Club, Chris has the four votes he needs to be the sole survivor.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor.Andy Dehnart is a writer and teacher who publishes reality blurred, a daily summary of reality TV news.
article found here~http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6681731/looks like Chris would NOT be a surprise winner..puddin
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