Survivor: Island of the Idols – Carolyn Rivera’s Assessment

Co Runner-Up of the 30th season of Survivor (Worlds Apart), Carolyn Rivera, shares her thoughts on the 20 individuals set to compete in the latest season of the show!

With Survivor: Island of the Idols set to premiere tonight, Carolyn is putting her experiences in the game, as a fan and player, to come up with the ultimate pre-game assessment.


Carolyn was a strategic powerhouse in her season, who managed to find herself in solid positions within her alliances and tribes. After almost being voted out first, Carolyn used her social and physical capabilities to catapult into the merge, blindsiding one of her own allies along the way. After finding a Hidden Immunity Idol on Day 1, Carolyn made it to Day 35 without ever having to play it, until her alliance turned on her after the only outsider, Mike, won Immunity. After successfully playing her idol and managing to make it to the Final Four, Carolyn had to make fire in a tiebreaker to earn her spot at the Final Tribal Council. After emerging victorious, she was able to plead her case to the jury for why she should win Survivor. Despite a dominating strategic game and impressive physical and social performance, Carolyn was unable to earn the jury’s full respect after many appreciated Mike’s record-equalling five Individual Immunity wins and managing to outlast until the very end. Ultimately, she lost in a 6-1-1 vote, tieing for Runner-Up with fellow tribe member Will.

After Carolyn and I met a couple of years ago over Skype, and then spending so much time together in August at Hearts of Reality, Carolyn was so kind enough to offer up her pre-game assessment of the cast that will debut this season.

Carolyn wrote a quick assessment for each player this season, I’ll divide them by tribe for easier reference.


BACK ROW (L-R): Missy Byrd, Ronnie Bardah, Tom Laidlaw, Aaron Meredith, Vince Moua.
FRONT ROW (L-R): Dean Kowalski, Karishma Patel, Elizabeth Beisel, Chelsea Walker, Elaine Stott.

On Missy: “I love the fact that she wants to learn other cultures and that she finds a way to travel the world. This should help her game as long as she keeps her ‘relentless’ nature in check.”

On Ronnie: “I like his style. He has a heart but is totally focused on winning the game. Lets see how he can put it all together.”

On Tom: “He has experience in tough environments. He knows how to compete. If he can build alliances like he says, and not let his stubborn nature take over he can be a force to reckon with in this game.”

On Aaron: “He has drive. He seems to be a fan of the show and understands what he needs to do to be successful. If he can put all his knowledge of the show together he can do well in this game.”

On Vince: “I loved reading his bio. He is smart and understands the game. If he can deal with the big egos and remain unassuming, he can be that unnoticed threat. I love his 3 words, ‘shamelessly me’, ‘quick-witted’ and ‘not afraid to flip tables’. Yeah baby!

On Dean: “I loved his bio and his inspiration. He was a teacher and he says that self awareness is his strength. That is a great strength to have in this game. Let’s see how it plays out.”

On Karishma: “Her pet peeves are fabulous. She has the desire to win this game, and to push herself to her limits. That is what I love about her. If her desire is linked to a great social game, then she could be a big threat.”

On Elizabeth: “Bad ass athlete. She has to be mentally strong as an Olympian. As long as her social game is good, she can go far.”

On Chelsea: “I love that Chelsea didn’t give up trying to get on the show. She kept believing. If she can play that flirty yet sneaky game that she talks about, she can be successful. Time will tell.”

On Elaine: ” She says she has a hard exterior but is a big softy inside. If she can let people in and build alliances, she can be successful. She will have to be able to deal with strong egos and not let it get to her to make it far.”



BACK ROW (L-R): Noura Salman, Dan Spilo, Jamal Shipman, Jason Linden, Tommy Sheehan.
FRONT ROW (L-R): Jack Nichting, Molly Byman, Lauren Beck, Kellee Kim, Janet Carbin.

On Noura: “Personal hygiene is a pet peeve, that is hilarious. Just wait it gets bad! She seems very adaptable. She says she doesn’t like selfish or self centered people. She will likely have to deal with this, so if she can get over that, she can do well.”

On Dan: “He says he has trouble dealing with stubborn people. This could be a problem. He will definitely encounter stubborn people and will need to be able to navigate that. Dealing with different egos can be a problem. If he can overcome this he has a fighting chance to go far in this game.”

On Jamal: “He hates bugs. Uh Oh. He says he is balanced. He says you can’t judge a book by its cover. If he can get to know people and build relationships following his own advice, he can do well in this game.”

On Jason: “He understands communication, that is a big benefit. He says he really cares about people so those two skills are his ticket to success. He is a leader, hard worker and he gets things done. As long as he can work with people that don’t work hard, he can go far.”

On Tommy: “He understands the game. It’s all about people. If he can find idols, make moves, lead blindsides and connect with people like he says, he just might be the Sole Survivor.”

On Jack: “His smile is infectious. He does seem like a free spirit and will have a social game. He can be affected if people are rude so we will see how that goes. If his social game is as good as it appears, he will go far.”

On Molly: “She says she can use subtle powers of persuasion to get people to do what she wants. She taught middle school for five years, she already is a Survivor! If she can find humor in stressful situations like she talks about, she will have an upper hand.”

On Lauren: “She is very funny. She says she is a gangsta in an Oprah Suit. You go girl. If she is as adaptable as she says, well then she just may take the prize.”

On Kellee: “I love her already. She plays the game Catan! She seems like a fun loving person from her bio. If she is as easy going and free spirited as it reads she just may do very well.”

On Janet: “There will be laziness that she will have to deal with and that she says is her pet peeve. She also says she is aggressive. She will have to be able to keep that in check in order to make it far in this game. Let’s see how she does with all of that….”


Thank you so much to Carolyn for providing some insight ahead of tonight’s big launch. It’s so great you could come on board to share your thoughts!

If you would like to watch Carolyn’s season of Survivor, in Australia, 10 All Access has all the former Survivor U.S. seasons available to stream! Or there are DvD’s (if you’re old-fashioned like me) available, primarily on Amazon! Carolyn also has her own website, check it out here.

Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres in Australia tonight at 7:30 on 9Go!.


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