But before the whopping two-hour premiere on March 8th, let’s take a look at the returning players. Maybe you will remember some of them!
The Mana Tribe
Aubry is back with a vengeance. Weeks after the finale of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Aubry is back out in Fiji for another season. But now, everyone knows her game and how big of a threat that she can be. She needs to have some tricks up her sleeve. This time she will be with a former castmate Caleb Reynolds. Although they have never been on the same tribe, they do have a connection based on their relationship with fellow Kaôh Rōng and Game Changers castaway Tai Trang.
Hometown: Hopkinsville, KY
Previously played on: Season 32: Brain Vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty, Medically Evacuated
Kaôh Rōng Prediction
It is going to be a quick deja vu for the former Big Brother 16 castaway. Last time in Kaôh Rōng, Caleb was medically evacuated due to a sudden heat stroke because of a digging challenge for just salt and pepper. Yes, just salt and pepper. Caleb has no idea what he is in for, he is basically a first-time player in a returnee season. He has never lost a challenge, been in a tribe swap, or even gone to tribal council. There even have been exit interviews that he did not even try to strategize. If I could even predict how he will react to this would be a “bitter bro”.
“She voted out her mom!” is the quote when it comes to Ciera Eastin. This will be Ciera’s third season in the last four years and I can’t understand how she can still do it. There was no chance that when CBS announced that this season would be called Survivor: Game Changers that Ciera would not be included in the cast. Now, when you look back at her previous game in Second Chances, she stated that people needed to wake up and play the game. Unfortunately for her this time, Ciera is going to be playing with some serious players. She needs to step up to the plate and do what she said she would.
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Previously played on: Season 30: White, Blue, No Collar, Finished 11th & Jury Member
As you may be reading this, you may be scratching your head over this pick to return. Hali was an average player who was outside the dominant alliance and made the jury. So why have her back? Likeability and potential. Since her jury finish, Hali is now a public defender and now is more ‘Merica than ever. Back in Worlds Apart, she would rattle off random facts about the United States Constitution and how Americans are best flippers since we “flipped” away from Great Britain. Hali is definitely one of the two unknowns, rather than the Millennials vs. Gen X castaways, that nobody knows why they are there. Hali is going to try to prove them wrong, but I just don’t think so.
Hometown: High Point, NC
Previously played on: Season 2: Australia, Finished 10th out of 16 & Non-Jury Season 31: Second Chances, Finished 17th
According to Jeff Probst, Jeff Varner was the very first person they wanted on this season once the idea was created. Varner is one of four to return twice and never make the jury, and then out of those four, he is the first to return for a third time. With that at hand, Varner needs to slow things down and try to take it easy at the beginning of the game. These are not the same people that he played Second Chances with. These players are going to try to win at all costs.
Malcolm is back for his third time, but one thing has changed for him. This will be the first time that he will play after seeing himself on TV and spotting the mistakes he made. When Malcolm went to play weeks after he played the first time in Caramoan, he had never seen himself on television before and that is a major key to players that go to play a second time. Now that he has seen himself lose twice, he has come back to change if up for a third time. As long as he tries the “meat shield” strategy which puts bigger alpha male threats in front of you, he could go really far in the game.
After a strong pre-merge showing last season, Michaela is back for another shot at the title. Michaela will be the 3rd/4th returning player along with fellow Millennial and Game Changer, Zeke Smith to play back-to-back without any part of their season air before the season begins filming. Most players that tend to play back-to-back tend to do very well. But this time, her fellow “Game Changers” are targeting her right away. The only real advantage to her situation is that she will be the first female to compete in this spot, giving the disadvantage to Zeke.
Royalty has hit the islands of Fiji! Queen Sandra is back to take another title. As the only two-time winner in Survivor history, Sandra is number one of the target board. The real challenge for Sandra is the early days of the season. Once she can make it past the first couple Tribal Councils, she will be able to make it far for another win. Who wouldn’t vote someone to win a third time?
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Previously played on: Season 28: Brawn Vs. Brains Vs. Beauty, Winner
Let’s take a trip over to the zoo and pick up the llama whisperer for another season. King Tony is back with another bag of tricks for his new friends. The real challenge for Tony this time is that everyone already knows his game. I would not be surprised that everyone on his beach is looking out for his “spyshacks.” Luckily for Tony, he already is trying to take his spyshacks underground. I just can’t wait to see what this guy has up his sleeves. Because if you know Tony, he will surely deliver.
Hometown: Miami, FL
Previously played on: Season 24: One World, Finished 8th & Jury Member
Troyzan is back to take back his island! This time, the tribes are not divided by gender and the tribes are on different beaches. Last time, Troyzan was really popular with most of his tribemates as he staked through the pre-merge. Once it came merge time, all hell let loose for Troyzan as he was in a rivalry with the eventual winner Kim Spradlin. Now that he is back, it is so easy just to think that he will just link up with some of the men and try to ride it out.
The Nuku Tribe
Hometown: New York, NY
Previously played on: Season 22: Redemption Island, Finished 5th & Jury Member Season 26: Caramoan, Finished 7th & Jury Member
It’s very hard to believe that Andrea is back on the island, again! Andrea is currently the host for the online show People Now and gave it up for six weeks for another shot at the million. This time around can either go two ways for Andrea, very far or targeted early as a strategic player. Andrea does also have a key piece of information that could help her. She does know the unknown player (to the cast) Zeke who she played in a Youtube series of Survivor, Survivor: Brooklyn. That secret relationship could give her an extra number for her run.
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Previously played on: Season 27: Blood Vs. Water, Finished 15th
“F*** you Brad Culpepper” – Candice Cody, Survivor: Blood Vs. Water
That’s really all that needs to be said. Culpepper is back for another season, but this time he is without his wife Monica. Culpepper needs to slow down and take a step back and let someone else take the leadership role. If he can do that, he could go very far in this game.
The gangster who came off the couch is back. Cirie is back for her fourth time. It has been seven years since Cirie last played compared to playing three times in her first five years. But even though it has been seven years, Cirie’s past reputation is still there for those who actually know who she is. With that being said, for being a Survivor Hall of Famer, Cirie needs to live up to her expectation, not crumble like her last time.
Hometown: Reading, PA
Previously played on: Season 32: Brains Vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty, Finished 9th
Kaôh Rōng Prediction
I have a problem with the fact that Debbie is back. I know that they’re a lot of jokes that came about her many job titles last time. But now, Debbie has watched herself on television and it feels like we are not going to get normal Debbie, but camera hog Debbie. But Debbie does have a decent shot in the game. She is not really a physical threat in the late game, but she is not really a weak player in the early game. Just based on those facts, Debbie should go far.
Hometown: Mobile, AL
Previously played on: Season 18: Tocantins, Winner; Season 20: Heroes Vs. Villains, Finished 10th
It has been a very long time since J.T. has played Survivor. Last time he was on the show, he was embarrassed out of the game when the idol he gave away to Russell Hantz that sent him packing. But now J.T. has stepped back from the game for seven years and that does him good. This time his perfect record has a blemish on it, so he does not have a target as large as he does last time. He is my pick for the winner and I hope he does not disappoint.
I swear this man will never stop competing in Survivor. Ozzy is the all-time competition beast and ultimate provider. The only skill that he lacks is his social game. The first time he played, Ozzy lost to Yul by a 5-4 vote because Ozzy’s physical game did not beat Yul’s social strategic game. Since then, his ego has played in every single time that he has lost the game. This time if Ozzy can relax, be humble, and take a step back, he could have a good shot at going far. There is just a risk that he will be out very early.
Hometown: Marion, IA
Previously played on: Season 28: Brains vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty, Finished 11th & Jury Member
This is going to be another interesting encounter with Tony. The first time Sarah and Tony played together, Sarah questioned Tony about his profession because as a cop she could recognize the cop’s vibe. Although Tony lied, it eventually came out. So with that being said, Sarah’s perception could be a threat this time. When competing in a season where you know who your opponents are, you have a higher chance of sensing if something is a lie or not.
Sierra Dawn Thomas
Hometown: Roy, UT
Previously played on: Season 30: White, Blue, No Collar, Finished 5th & Jury Member
This could be the biggest question of this whole cast. The 29-year-old barrel roller made the finale during her last season and that’s about it. Nobody really knows who she is, except Hali due to the fact they played together. Sierra will either go out really early or go really far as an underdog.
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Previously played on: Season 32: Brain Vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty, 2nd Runner-up
Kaôh Rōng Prediction
Ring Sia, Tai is back. At the end of Kaôh Rōng, the singer Sia stopped the finale and presented Tai with $100,000. Half was his own and half was to be donated in his honor to an animal charity of his choice. But this time around, he won’t have his chicken companion Mark, but he will have Caleb. Tai is going to be one of those contestants that’s a wildcard and could be voted out early because of it.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Previously played on: Season 33: Millennials Vs. Gen X, Finished 9th & Jury Member
Millennials Vs. Gen X Prediction
We have another unknown contestant from last season returning. Now as I mentioned before, Zeke is going to have a bigger target of the Millennials returning compared to Michaela due to the Russell Hantz vibe. But also, he does have that connection with Andrea that nobody else knows about. If Zeke can be the best on his behavior and be predictable as possible, I believe that he could go very far in the game. We already saw that he got his previous cast members to draw rocks, who knows what he could do here.
Survivor: Game Changers is quickly approaching. This will be the 500th episode of the franchise! Just make sure not to miss the two-hour season premiere tonight at 8/7 central.