Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Last Shall Be First: Daren Wins Survivor Micronesia

Credit Where Credit is Due
So, it is all over. Congratulations to Daren Blomquist for winning our second Survivor Pick 'em. Parvati stuck around and then pulled off the final vote (more on that later). Daren picked Parvati dead last. Daren actually was supposed to pick 12th, but he did not get his pick in, so he got bounced back. In the end, only Kathy and Parvati remained. Daren's wife Sarah emailed me that Daren's pick would be Kathy. I then posted all of the picks and gave my comments on them. I commented that I thought Daren should have picked Parvati instead of Kathy. Sarah then emailed me and said that she forgot how crazy Kathy was and asked if she could change the pick. We changed the pick and the rest is history.
So, the winner almost ended up being the only contestant not to be picked.
Just goes to show that you don't have to have a high pick to win this.
So, yes, I will take my lumps now. For many, many weeks I have been proclaiming that neither Parvati or Natalie could win the game. I was wrong. Parvati pulled it off. Now, let me say that I don't know if she would have pulled it off had it been a final 3 instead of a final 2 (more on this later also).

Runner-up. . .again
And Parvati won against the number 1 overall pick, Amanda (Andrea Moffat, who also picked Amanda last season). I really thought that not even Amanda could blow this one. She had Ozzy and James in her pocket, and she still found a way to lose it. Amazing. Amanda must be the worst closer in Survivor history. Let me say this, though. Last season she was awful at Final Tribal, but Todd was amazing. That combo resulted in Todd taking it. This time Parvati was not all that great. She kept asking, "Is that good enough?" after her answers. She was far from stellar at Final Tribal, but Amanda was bad. Not as bad as last season, but still bad. I feel kind of bad for her, making it so far twice and having nothing to show for it. Maybe she will win next season.

Third Place
Ah. So bummed. I don't know if she would have been able to pull it out, but I really wanted to see Cirie work it at Final Tribal. I can't believe they blindsided us with a Final Two. So bummed. I loved watching Cirie again. It makes me want to see her original season again. I was so stoked when she made it past the Natalie vote. I thought I was home-free. Then it became obvious that they were going to pull out one more challenge. Darn! Still proud of my girl.

Rounding it out
Congrats to Eric Wood for his fourth place finish with Natalie.
Okay, so what was with Natalie's question at Final Tribal. That had to be the strangest question in the history of Survivor. Did you see the look on Jeff's face? Classic.

What I Liked
1. The aforementioned look on Jeff's face when Natalie asked Parvati that awkward question.
2. James winning that special award again.
3. Erik being a good sport (brutal).
4. Alexis grabbing James' arm every chance she got.
5. Jeff blasting Fairplay for quitting.
6. Eliza saying that listening to Amanda made her want to kill herself.

What I Didn't Like
1. Of course, I didn't like my girl Cirie becoming the victim of the final twist. It was a really good surprise, though.
2. Amanda crying all the time.
3. Ozzy's ridiculous rant. I totally disliked him afterwards. I don't know if the "I hate Parvati" or the "I love Amanda" rant was worse. Both were pretty bad. It was all about him. He is lobbying for more fame. He wants to be the next Boston Rob. Maybe Ozzy and Amanda will show up on The Amazing Race now.

It's 11:15pm Pacific time. Somewhere in the world right now Amanda is crying.

So, this was fun. Thank you to each one of you. If anyone wants to volunteer to host next season, I am up for that. I don't know that I will host it again (although it was a lot of fun). So, I guess I am saying that anyone who thinks it would be fun to do what I did this season, it is fair game. You will not be stepping on my toes or anything.

Congrats to all.
Daren Blomquist: Winner (Parvati)
Andrea Moffat: Runner-up (Amanda, aka "choker")
Dan Franklin: Third Place (Cirie, aka "so close")
Eric Wood: Fourth Place (Natalie, aka "multi-layered")
Megan Wood: Fifth Place (Erik, aka "dunce cap")
Alison Gentry: Sixth Place (Alexis, aka "popular pick")
Kelly McAllister: Seventh Place (James, aka "analogy king")
Mirranda Meacham: Eighth Place (Jason, aka "not the brightest light bulb")
Angela Stump: Ninth Place (Ozzy, aka "dork")
Dan Stump: Tenth Place (Eliza, aka "wide-eyes")
Karina Franklin: Eleventh Place (Amy, aka "machete massacre")
Curtis Lillie: Twelfth Place (Tracy, aka "she got game")
Kathy (unpicked)
Greg Moffat: Fourteenth Place (Chet, aka "my foot hurts")
Dave McAllister: Fifteenth Place (Jonathan, aka "what could have been?")
Rich Stafford: Sixteenth Place (Joel, aka "still can't believe Chet beat me")
Sarah Blomquist: Seventeenth Place (Mikey, aka "overplayed his game")
Ruth King: Eighteenth Place (Yau Man, aka "can't fly under the radar again")
Ami McNay: Ninteenth Place (Mary, aka "guilt by association")

Great season. Thanks to all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Megan's Run Ends with the Dumbest Move in Survivor History

So, these past four episodes have to be the best run in the history of the show. First, Ozzy gets blindsided. Then, after watching Ozzy hold onto the hidden immunity idol, Jason holds onto it and gets voted out. Then Amanda plays the idol when she would have been voted out. But this one tops them all. Amazing.
Throughout the show, people kept talking about how naive Erik was. I thought they were just talking in terms of experiencing new things. When Amanda got him to take her on the reward and send Parv to exile, I thought, "Wow, Erik really isn't very bright." But the final move took the cake. UNBELIEVABLE! I could not stop laughing. I loved that they showed the votes of all four girls. I loved when Amanda just couldn't think of anything to say. I loved that every jury member saw exactly what was happening as soon as Erik gave up immunity. I love Jeff'w words: "That's what we like to call a life lesson." That was absolutely awesome. I also love that Erik's response afterwards was that those girls really pulled one over on him. His response, of course, should have been, "I am the bigger idiot in the history of Survivor."
That was great.
Sorry, Megan.
That was just stinking great, though. Awesome.

So, girls have pretty much ruled this season. I think it is appropriate that the Final Four is all women. And, as much as I have maligned Parv and Nat, I think these are the deserving four. They all ran circles around the guys. Impressive.

So, we lost one Wood. Eric wins the battle over Megan. I hope there is still harmony in the home.

The Final Four is Andrea Moffat, Eric Wood, Daren Blomquist, and Dan Franklin. Andrea picked first. I picked tenth. Eric picked 16th. Daren picked Parvati dead last, at 18th.

A note: Andrea and I are both in the Final Four the second straight season. More impressive, however, our picks are both in their second Final Four. My girl Cirie finished fourth when she was on Survivor Exile Island. There was a tie and she lost the fire-making contest. Amanda, of course, finished third last season. She did well, but then tanked the Final Tribal Council.

A woman will win Survivor this season. Men have won the last four seasons. It is time.

So, it seems most obvious that Natalie is on the hot seat. However, Amanda is probably the other one in trouble. She is the odds-on favorite if she makes it to the end. If she does not win immunity, Parv and Cirie might be wise to vote her out.
In my opinion, Parv is the only one who is certain to make it to the Final 3. I just don't see any reason why she would be voted out. However, if Natalie wins immunity, Amanda and Parv may stick together and vote of my girl Cirie. Hopefully not.

This has turned out to be one of my favorite seasons. Remember that the finale will be on Sunday night at 8:00pm. I wish we could all watch it together. Enjoy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

More Injuries, and a Successful Use of the H.I.I.

Well, farewell to Kelly McAllister and Alison Gentry this week. Kelly lost James to his finger injury. I was a little skeptical on it, but when he showed up at Tribal Council with an IV, I thought that pretty much validated the situation. Kelly joins her husband Dave, who lost Jonathan to his knee injury. Neither McAllister was voted out. Sorry guys. Tough luck. On the bright side, James was probably next to go anyway. I think he knew that, and that is why he wasn't too broken up over it.
The real champion of this week was, of course, Amanda. The curse of the Hidden Immunity Idol finally ends. She looked like she had a lot of fun with her acting. Pouting and complaining about Erik, and then whipping out the idol. It was great to see the instantaneous celebration of the jury and the horror on the faces of Erik, Alexis, and Natalie. Especially Alexis and Natalie as they waited to find out which one of them was going home.
Alexis was pick #2. So I like to think of this last episode as #1 vs. #2. It was the BSC Title game of Survivor. The top pick, Amanda, triumphed over the second pick, Alexis. And Alexis was a sought-after pick with several of us, myself included. She was my top choice. Thanks, Alison. I get to go at least one step further. But congrats on finishing in 6th place on your first go-round.
The other major winner of the week was Megan, with her #5 pick Erik. He won immunity again, and he may very well win out. Having the game shortened with James going out eliminates one more opportunity for the girls to get Erik out. He is in a pretty good position. He could even be a swing vote this next time, seeing as there are only five left.
Speaking of the final five, major props to the Wood family. Eric (Natalie) and Megan (Erik) have made the final 5. It seems unlikely that at least one of them won't make it to the final tribal council. Way to go. You are the top couple.

So, here is how I see things. I will rank the most likely to win at this point:
5. Parvati. It is not that I think she hasn't played well. She has been fine. I just don't see her having any jury votes. Eliza, Ozzy, and James are all ticked at her. Not much love with Jason or Alexis. I don't see who votes for her unless Amanda ends up on the jury (without being betrayed by Parv).
4. Natalie. The only reason I put her above Parvati is that there is one jury vote for Nat right now in Alexis. You know that Jason is not voting for her unless he has a MAJOR change of heart. I can't see who else would vote for her. Sorry, Eric, but I am going to stand by saying that neither Parv or Nat can win. But congrats to Daren and Eric. Daren picked Parv with the final 18th pick. Eric picked Natalie with pick #16. To make it this far is a big accomplishment. Congrats.
3. Cirie. I think it will be tough for Cirie to win this one. If she can go up against Parvati and Natalie, she may pull it off. Otherwise she will have a major uphill battle.
2. Erik. He probably needs to win out to make it, but he could end up with votes from just about everyone as long as he doesn't go up against Amanda. He has a great chance right now, but he has to find a way to get Amanda out.
1. Amanda. She has the inside track now. I don't even think another awful performance at final tribal could keep her from winning if she makes it to the end. Did you see the jury celebrate when she pulled with old "I'm rubber and you're glue, the votes bounce off of me and stick to you" move on Alexis. Amanda has Ozzy and James for sure. She also has a decent chance with Jason and Eliza. If Amanda can avoid getting voted out in the next two tribal councils, she will win.

So, are we finally done with the hidden immunity idol? I hope so. That said, though, the last three tribal councils have ruled!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mirranda's Lovable Dopey Goes Home

Well, you can't say that this hasn't been a fun season to watch. Two weeks in a row a player who has a hidden immunity idol is blindsided. Classic. I think all of us enjoyed that. All of us except for Mirranda Meacham, who finishes in 8th place on her first go-round in Survivor Pick 'em.
Jason has to be the most clueless contestant of all time. Poor guy. Just got abused by Natalie in that episode. He finds the REAL idol, but chooses not to play it. I think my favorite part was the reaction by James.

Interesting Happenings
1. So, anonymous Natalie had a coming out party. It turns out that she really likes the B word. She likes to apply it to herself and to guys. She also likes to use over-the-top analogies, such as, "I'm going to floss with his jugular." Hmmm. I think she just spent so much time doing absolutely nothing that she had to break out and go all the way with this play. Now, it was a good play for the team, but maybe a costly play for her. If she is one of the final three, and they are all girls, who is Jason going to hold responsible for his blindside? Clearly Natalie will not get that vote.
2. James is injured. We'll see what happens with that. More importantly, he has retained his Garden of Eden terminology. Calling Parvati an Apple Chewer was great stuff. Constantly talking about how they could all be naked and happy, but Parvati had to eat the apple.
3. I also love that all the fall-out of the Ozzy blindside is falling on Parvati. Cirie has options.
4. The two players who I have consistently said cannot win (Natalie and Parvati) are in good positions. I can't imagine that at least one of them will not be in the Final 3. Hmmm. I guess we'll see just how much I know. And Alexis was barely in that episode. Hmmm. Getting interesting.
5. I have to mention to opening recap when Probst said that Parvati blindsided Ozzy by recruiting Natalie, Alexis, and Cirie. Then they showed a scene of Parvati talking about her decision to turn on Ozzy. That scene, however, was after the conversation with the girls. And it was Cirie who initiated that conversation. Parvati still hadn't made up her mind until later on whether or not she would be in on it. I know I am biased, but those are the facts. I think they just emphasized Parv's role in it so that everyone would know why Amanda and James were so upset with her.

1. To the Final 7. Eric, Megan, Kelly, Daren, and Alison are first timers to get this far in the game. Andrea and I return for the second time.
2. Once again, congrats to the Wood family. Erik won immunity in a nail-biter with James. Natalie is still in, and seems to be in a good position.

I want to see at least one more major shift. I am not against it being an all-female final 5, but I want to see one more twist happen.

With 7 contestants left, I will go ahead and name who I see as the three most likely to be voted out.
3. Parvati. She could be in trouble and the Favs could turn on her. Real possibility. James, Erik, Amanda, and Cirie could get her out.
2. Erik. I think he is a bigger immunity threat than James, but we'll see.
1. James. Nothing that anyone else can't see. He seems to be the next natural one to go.

I have to say that I can also see a scenario in which Natalie or Alexis could go next week. Cirie could make a move on them, not wanting to go up against Fans in the finals.

The only two that I think are safe for sure next week are Cirie and Amanda. That certainly could change.

Does it make me a nerd to mention this?
Amanda has now played almost two full seasons of Survivor and she has never received a vote. Wow.

See you next week.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ang Suffers the Greatest Blindside Ever

Well, Ang Stump is the victim of, in my opinion, the greatest tribal council in the history of Survivor. Ozzy is voted off in 9th place, becoming the second member of the jury, and leaving with a hidden immunity idol in his possession.
So, I gotta say. . .

You know it's coming. . .

My girl rocks! Engineering the greatest surprise in Survivor history, I think Cirie may have just become the greatest schemer of all time. That was great. Karina and I were yelling as they read the votes. Dave McAllister called me right after it happened and said that he and Kelly were doing the same. Amazing.

So, sorry Ang. Dan and Ang, husband and wife, voted out back to back, and becoming the first two members of the jury.

Memorable parts of the episode:
Jason being mocked as making the dumbest move in Survivor history, and then Ozzy admitting that he made an incredibly dumb move.
Jason making that really, really dumb move.
The looks on the faces of Amanda, James, Erik, and especially Eliza when the vote went down. Priceless.
Alexis being super pissed when she went out of the challenge, but still did not get any food.
My girl Cirie rocking the house. Gotta love her.

Some congratulations:
1. To Mirranda for staying in when her Jason was the primary target on back to back weeks. Nice job.
2. To Eric and Megan Wood for being the last couple standing with Natalie and Erik.
3. To Daren Blomquist for making the final 8 when he picked Parvati dead last.

Now that we are down to only 8 people left, I will give the four safest, and the four most vulnerable:
4 Safest:
4. Alison. Alexis is probably okay, unless Amanda makes them vote her out as a good faith move.
3. Andrea. Amanda seems safe, even though she was blindsided.
2. Me. I hope. Cirie has an amazing ability to orchestrate amazing plays and then fade right back in.
1. E-Wood. Natalie is off the radar.
Most Vulnerable:
4. Daren. Parvati has the numbers, but she is seen as the biggest traitor. Could turn on her somehow.
3. Megan. Erik is certainly in danger, but not as much as numbers 1 and 2.
2. Mirranda. Even though Jason was on the right side on that twist, he is still the biggest immunity threat.
1. Kelly. James is the big bad stud, and has a target on him with Ozzy gone.

I actually think Erik and Jason are much bigger immunity threats than James is. He is great in the team challenges, but has yet to show himself great in the individual ones.

I still think Natalie and Parvati are the only two remaining players with no chance of winning. Natalie has done nothing impressive, and Parvati is not very liked. I will not put him on the list, but honorable mention goes out to Jason. He is not liked at all. I think his chances of winning are EXTREMELY slim. But if he makes it to the end (by rattling off immunities) he may win the default vote.

Great stuff. Woooooo!!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Check it Out

Special thanks to Ruth King for identifying a fun Survivor site:

On this site, two guys from Entertainment Weekly interview the latest cast-off, and they also sometimes do a quick parody of something that happened during the previous episode. Each interview is only 6-8 minutes, so you can check it out quick.

Suggested highlights:
The interview with Jonathan and Chet. Watch for Jonathan's physical reaction when he is called a crybaby (his hand in particular), and his head when Chet is explaining his injury.
The bit about Erik and Ozzy on the interview with Tracy.

Anyway, fun stuff.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dan Stump Heads up the Jury

Well, Eliza is out. It was fun to watch. Her conversation with Jason was classic. It shows just how amazing it was that Jason believed that he had the hidden immunity idol. Eliza didn't believe it for even a second. For a player as physically gifted as Jason is. . .wow, he is spacey. Funny stuff.
So, we are now in jury phase. Congrats to Dan for making the jury, especially when your pick was so late.
In fact, a recap of who is still left:
Pick #1: Andrea Moffat (Amanda)
Pick #2: Alison Gentry (Alexis)
Pick #4: Angela Stump (Ozzy)
Pick #5: Megan Wood (Erik)
Pick #6: Mirranda Meacham (Jason)
Pick #10: Dan Franklin (Cirie)
Pick #13: Kelly McAllister (James)
Pick #16: Eric Wood (Natalie)
Pick #18: Daren Blomquist (Parvati)
As you can see, we have a chunk of early picks, but also several late ones.

So, Jason's immunity victory was pretty impressive. In fact, I was WAY impressed with Jason, Ozzy, and James, and how long they stayed in it. Ozzy looked outright ticked when he didn't win. Jason not only beat Ozzy in a challenge, but he beat him in a challenge that seemed to be tailor-made for Ozzy.
Jason's victory allowed for the great fake idol moment. I loved that Eliza totally outed Ozzy right there. Nice job. Way to go out shooting.
Alexis had a busy episode. Lots of interviews, flirting with Ozzy, and, my favorite, referring to Eliza by saying, "She played well." I loved that Jeff called her on it. And then Alexis just said, "Oh. Sorry." That was really funny to me.
Amanda does not like Alexis. Now, is Amanda more upset that Alexis is hording in on her alliance or on her man? This could make it so much easier for Amanda to betray Ozzy.

I still think that Natalie and Parvati have no chance of winning it all (apologies to Daren and E-Wood). I see everyone as having a chance.
Jason may be able to dominate immunities that same way Ozzy did, if Ozzy ends up getting voted out.
James and Ozzy will have a conversation about playing hidden immunity idols.

Who's Out Next: 5 Most Likely
Since there are only 9 left, the top five becomes more and more of a possibility.
5. Parvati. I don't think this will happen, but Amanda is mad at her, and could end up ousting her. Almost zero chance, though.
4. Alexis. Still in a little danger, but Jason is now a bigger target.
3. Cirie. She is scheming again (more on this below). This could bite her if she is found out, or if Ozzy plays the idol and turns it on her.
2. Ozzy. Cirie may be looking to nail him. Bad episode for him this time. He lost an immunity challenge that was right up his ally. He flirted with Alexis and now Amanda is a woman scorned. Then he was outed for having the idol. Who knows?
1. Jason. Maybe he will be preserved, but he has one immunity victory, and no alliance.

See you all next week.

By the way, with the jury starting at 10th place, we are clearly in for another Final Three, as opposed to a Final Two.