But what makes this season more spectacular is that half of the 20 selected castaways have played this game before. No, not an All-Star exactly, but a group of "Favorites" – some well liked, a few hated, and a couple you could say, "Flew under the Radar" - not very memorable, but who went far in their season of the game. This group will have the first opportunity ever to compete against fans of the show. From a Brunette bombshell from Emeryville California to a 45-year-old golf course beer cart driver, the chosen fans have strong expectations of dominating the favorites. And of course, the favorites are thinking quite differently.
Brining "Survivor" back to a tropical setting where beautiful beaches, blue water, warm weather and lots of natural food posed an easy decision as the Island of Palau was the chose spot. Because no one from "Survivor: Palau" was selected to compete in this new season, it served as the perfect destination. This season will also bring back the "Exile Island" (EI). But another twist will be that two tribe members will be banished to EI at the same time. There will also be a "Hidden Immunity Idol" (HII) at EI where the tribe mates will be challenged to find the idol together or sneak around on their own. This should make for some interesting episodes.
Now, let's meet the fans for "Survivor: Micronesia:"
The selected fans were (across the board) well balanced in age, but unevenly balanced in ethnic diversity. There are three aged 40 plus, three 30 plus, four 20 plus and zero people of color. I doubt it would be a factor, but it's nice to see the diversity.
The youngest of the crew is 21-year old Alexis. She's a competitive Christian who loves working with kids. Eric is a 22-year old avid runner from Michigan. 48-year old Chet says he has the ability to "read people" well. 32-year old Natalie calls herself an "Introvert with a strong personality." And 32-year old fire fighter Joel says he's the opposite of Survivor: Palau winner (Tom Wesson) in that he wouldn't "fly under the radar" but be very vocal from the beginning and stand out. The other members of the Fans team are: Kathleen (45), Jason (22), Tracy (43), Mary (25) and Mikey B. (34).
From my initial look at the Fans, I like Mikey B, Tracy, Alexis and Eric. Those I think won't last long is Chet and Kathleen.
Now let's look at the selected Favorites for this season and I have to say that I'm pleased to see the diversity in this group.
A very popular contestant coming back to compete is "Survivor: Panama Exile Island" Cirie Fields. You remember her; she won a car for being selected the "Fan Favorite". Is she an ideal candidate for another All-Star, not necessarily, but she's very worthy for a spot on a "Favorites-Type" season. Personality wise, Cirie should match up well against Kathleen from the Fans team. Both seem to have very likeable personalities which got Cirie far in the game. Unfortunately, the water challenges may be Cirie's downfall. We shall see.
Three members of Cook Island were asked to play again. Ozzy was one of "Survivor's" strongest competitors and a huge threat. As the runner-up in his season, he is out to "Win it" this time. Jonathan, the most annoying of the 3 from Cook Island and Parvati the biggest flirt promises to bring a different game plan and action of attack. They should match up well against Tracy, Joel and Jason. The other favorites making the cut are: Pearl-Islands Johnny Fairplay, Vanuatu's Eliza and Amy, Fiji's Yau-Man and China's James and Amanda.
Of the favorites I like Ozzy, Yau-Man, James and Cirie. I adore Amy in person and appreciated the way she played the game in Vanuatu. If she tries to dominate the women from the beginning, it will cost her tremendously in the game.
Unfortunately, I think that Cirie, Yau-Man, Johnny and Johnathan will get early departures from the game.
My hope for this season is a lot of comedy (which is why I hope that Cirie, Yau-Man and James stay in the game a while), some interesting drama (from Eliza, Jonathan, Amy and Johnny) and strong competition (from James and Ozzy).
As a sidebar, it's unfortunate that "Survivor" has decided not to make another All-Star using all the winners (who'd like to participate of course). Regardless of what they may think, each winner did what they needed to do in order to win and they should be acknowledged for that. Maybe they should do a "Winners vs. Runner-up" game or "First Out vs. Last Out" game where winners compete against those voted out first. Just some ideas to think about.
Survivor: Micronesia premieres tonight on CBS.
Until next week.
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