Survivor: Island of the Idols – Vokai Tribe Assessment

Survivor U.S. returns for it’s 39th season which sees 20 all-new castaways compete for the title of Sole Survivor and one million dollar prize. The twist? This time former Survivor winners Sandra and Rob are mentors to the cast!

With a continuous and successful run for almost 20 years, Survivor has changed the way Reality TV appears on television, and each new edition brings something new and exciting to the format.

Sandra Diaz-Twine and Rob Mariano, both former winners, returning to act as mentors to this year’s group of Survivor contestants.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Four-time player and former winner, Rob Mariano, and three-time player and two-time winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine (both pictured above), will live on their own island where castaways will individually visit to gain advice and maybe an advantage, if they’re lucky. The 20 competitors are split into two tribes. Below is my pre-game assessment for the Vokai tribe.


MOLLY BYMAN, 28 – LAW STUDENT

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Molly’s my wildcard this season. She’s not as high energy as some of the cast, yet isn’t giving me nothing to analyse. She’s been a longtime fan, and I sense the competitiveness she mentions in her bio. She’s purposely chosen the law track to go down, and critically details exactly how it relates to her attributes. If someone can articulate well, not only will they make a great lawyer, they’ll be an excellent performer at the Final Tribal Council. The only problem? She’s gotta get there. I really can’t quite pick where she’s gonna go. But a blind guess tells me she’ll make the merge, and if she’s a great player, might get blindsided sooner rather than later.

DAN SPILO, 48 – TALENT MANAGER

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

I love how Dan immediately comes out and says he’s seeking new challenges. Rather than climbing Mt Everest, he’s tackling Survivor. That’s awesome! He’s already got an edge by scouting the expected beaches for the tribes on Fiji, and it’s quite a tactical move. He says his early strategy is to not attract attention and be with the most people. He’s examined those early interactions well. He was supposed to be cast on Survivor: David vs Goliath, and then Edge of Extinction, so casting has wanted him for a while. It might be third time lucky for Dan if he manages his social relationships as well as he does his talent clients.

NOURA SALMAN, 36 – ENTREPRENEUR

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Noura talks. A lot. Very, very high energy. Can she tone it down before the season begins? I doubt it. What’s great about Noura is her willingness to engage in conversation. This will assist in her actually making social interactions with her tribe. The possible problem? She’s making social interactions, and if she’s too keen, I can see her being a very easy first vote that everyone just agrees to go after. She says she covers all aspects of a personality being, “multidimensional”. After seeing the rest of the cast, there’s a chance her energy matches others and those like her will bond well together. But, unlikely, I think.

JAMAL SHIPMAN, 33 – COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

While Jamal can’t quite pinpoint when he became a fan of Survivor, he does assert he’s a big fan of the show. Interestingly, Survivor plays a role in Jamal’s dating life, with ‘Wednesday Night, Date Night”. Sounds good to me Jamal. He’s put a lot of study into the game, and hopefully he understands that he’s going to be seen as a threat purely for his size, and needs to shut it down ASAP. If he gravitates to a majority alliance, there’s no reason why Jamal can’t make it to the merge and then find his way to go deep. I can see Jamal making it very far, but I don’t think he’ll edge it out to the very end.

KELLEE KIM, 29 – MBA STUDENT

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Kellee has a very bubbly personality, she laughs, she engages. I’d want an alliance with her. There’s no immediate reaction I get from Kellee that screams untrustworthy or threatening. Perfect for her if I’m right because she’ll probably be a pivotal player in an alliance, and likely claim a spot on at least the jury. She’s a late bloomer fan, but does guarantee good gameplay because she’s become so addicted to the show. Applying to the show was an impulse decision, and sometimes just jumping into it pays off well. She wants to discover what she’s really made of, with an ultimate goal of winning one million dollars.

TOMMY SHEEHAN, 26 – FOURTH GRADE TEACHER

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Being a Survivor superfan, Tommy has openly admitted he’s already analysing social interactions at Ponderosa (where no one is allowed to talk to each other, pre-game). INSANE. And that’s why he’s probably (literally) me if I played. Survivor has united Tommy’s family, and he embraces the fact his students will unite to watch him every week. He’s going to be a great physical player, and I certainly think he’s likeable enough to be a great social player. Will it get him far enough? Yeah. But will it put a target on his back? I think so. If he manages to keep it lowkey, maybe Tommy scrapes in a victory.

JANET CARBIN, 59 – CHIEF LIFEGUARD

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Age is just a number right? We’ve seen the older women go pretty early, but something tells me Janet’s in here for the long haul. Her bio answers are short and sweet, which hopefully isn’t too much of her personality because it might rub people the wrong way. But it’s just a small roadblock, I’m very confident that Janet will get along well with her tribe early on. She says she lives an, “awesome life”. Which is incredible to hear and a talking point for those quiet moments around camp, I’m sure. She’s never missed an episode of Survivor, so hopefully Janet will never miss an episodic appearance this season.

JACK NICHTING, 23 – GRADUATE STUDENT

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

The youngest contestant out here, Jack literally dropped his masters, everything, to come and play Survivor. Jack’s confident he can navigates any social scenario, and this show is certainly going to put that to the test for him. He’s vibrant and enthusiastic in a non-threatening way. I just know he’s gonna be put in between a couple alliances at some point. He’s just the perfect swing vote because he’s so likeable and everyone’s gonna want a piece of him. He’s actually excited to be hungry and sleep in the rain. Any guy who WANTS to be in it is crazy. And he’s probably gonna win because of it. I love Jack!

LAUREN BECK, 28 – NANNY

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

I am so excited for Lauren. I picture big things for her. She’s got everyone’s attention immediately for her bright, long locks. She is super keen to play this season and has watched since she was 11. She truly believes she is meant to play this game, and I truly believe it’s the right place and right time for Lauren. She says she loves people, and mentally sees herself sitting at the end. I don’t deny it at all. She’s got a degree in journalism, so she’s got my tick of approval. Willing to listen to stories and maneuver situations in her favour, that’s all extremely pivotal in Survivor. Her ability to adapt will go a long, long way.

JASON LINDEN, 32 – PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

I left my personal best for last. Jason is my winner pick. I had him at first impressions, and he got me after pre-season press. He’s got a great reading of the game: relationships. He knows that’s what is important to win the game, above all else. You can play a great strategic or physical game. But if you don’t have enough positive relationships with jurors, you ain’t winning. He’s sitting in the right spot amongst the cast I think. He’s not too much, not too little, not too different, yet not the same. As long as he keeps everything in check, there’s no reason why Jason isn’t an incredible social player that can bypass all the other threats until he’s the last one standing.


That’s the Vokai tribe! Click here to read my assessment of the Lairo tribe.

Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres in Australia on 9Go! at 7:30pm, Thursday, the 26th of September!


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