Australian Survivor: All-Stars – Pre-Season Assessment

Australia’s best show*, Australian Survivor, returns tomorrow night with 24 returning castaways competing once again to be crowned Sole Survivor.

* – Yes, I am biased…

The fifth season of Australian Survivor begins this week and it’s the highly anticipated All-Star season which sees 24 returnees compete for a second shot to outwit, outplay, and outlast the rest for 50 days, ultimately fighting to become the Sole Survivor and win $500,000.

ALL-STARS?

The host of Australian Survivor, Jonathan LaPaglia, posing for a publicity shoot.
IMAGE: NIGEL WRIGHT/NETWORK 10

The concept of All-Stars so soon has been critically panned by many, but considering 24×4=96, and 16×7=112 (the amount of contestants that played before the All-Star season on the American series), I invite the season. I also understand why it is so early, television is very different in Australia to the U.S. Ratings are pivotal to the survival of a TV series whereas in America, some shows can take a hit to a season and still run for another year. Australian Survivor hit it’s peak in viewership during the fourth season, so I think it’s a very wise decision to maximise from that opportunity and invite some of the best and biggest faces back to maintain and draw more viewers into the series, so that it can survive many more seasons to come. So I welcome the new season, I am so excited to watch it play out, especially with some very deserving players making their return to build on the legacy they created over the last four years.

Channel 10 have been promoting the hell out of this season, and for good reason, it’s probably the best one yet. We’ve got 24 of the biggest and players making a return to the show, who wouldn’t be excited? I love the versatile casting too. We’ve got the snakes, the players, the winners, the beasts. It’s just Australian Survivor on extreme and I’m so happy for that! 10 deserves another success story out of this show, it’s a monster series and it’s delivered year on year. This is television gold. Let’s do it in style.

So now we have Australian Survivor: All-Stars, but just who is coming back?

THE RETURNEES

It’s become pretty clear that the production team have decided to withhold some of the names (big names, too) from being officially announced as part of the cast. Where some players have had months to promote the show, others have had to wait until the day it premieres to announce that they got to play their dream again. A bit unlucky, if you ask me. As a fan, playing the game once is a dream come true but to not even announce I’m coming back to my friends and family until it airs, that’s unfortunate. But, it’s the decision that has been made. It prevents people from drafting, it prevents potential viewers from watching their favourite player, it prevents journalists and fans to make pre-season assessments…. I struggle to find the positives.

A rumoured/leaked cast is available to find online, I personally, won’t be revealing it on Reality Review. But, if you are eager to see who’s appearing, I recommend doing some googling. Nevertheless, there are some names that have been revealed that we can, for sure, discuss.

SEASON 1:

Felicity ‘Flick’ Egginton, 4th: One of the biggest and best players to return to Survivor, Flick is no stranger to the strategic and mental toll that the game can enlist on a player. She wasn’t afraid to make big moves, she wasn’t afraid to form successful alliances. Flick is perhaps one of the most dangerous players that’s returning to the game. For that, I worry her target is too big to shake off. Hopefully she can find some worthwhile allies to keep her in the game for a while.

Brooke and Flick talking during their first season competing on Australian Survivor.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Brooke Jowett, 7th: Oh my god. She’s back. The one and only Brooke is back. My personal favourite from Season 1, I am so excited that Brooke has accepted the chance to return to Australian Survivor. Brooke is very capable in all aspects of the game, including nailing the strategy. Her downfall last season was being blindsided because of her threat level at the final seven, so hopefully this time she can one-up all the rest. And it’s Brooke, of course she will! I’m rooting for her!

Nick Iadanza, 11th: Yes he’s the original snake! Yes he can win! Nick was probably the first player from the series that really hit the game running and was the face of the show for it’s early few days. He’s a huge fan and absolutely capable of playing a great game, but he can’t get wound up in the success of being cast and playing with everyone otherwise he’ll be out the door sooner than last time! I have faith that Nick will bounce into the game again, and this time, play from the top and not the bottom.

Phoebe Timmins, 14th: The idol queen and the original pre-merge robbed goddess. Phoebe fought from the bottom once she was swapped onto Vavau in the first season, and now that she’s back, can we please promise she won’t get swap screwed again? Perhaps one of the best and boldest players from the season, Phoebe just got unlucky that she was on Vavau as it was steam rolling into defeat. She’s the Stephenie LaGrossa that should have made merge. Please come back as yourself, and win this damn thing!

SEASON 2:

Henry and Jericho sitting on the beach during Australian Survivor 2017.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Jericho Malabonga, Sole Survivor: One of the most under the radar and sneakiest winners we have from the show, I see Jericho being in a tough spot this time around. His strategy is certainly a one-time hit, it only works when people don’t know you. Now that everyone identifies Jericho as a great player, and add the fact he won the damn show, Jericho is going to have to work early and hard to make sure he’s lasting a few Tribal Councils. I don’t think he can win, but he might make a deep run.

Locky Gilbert, 5th: One of the biggest physical beasts on this season, Locky knows what it takes to survive the entire merge portion of the game. He’s strong, he’s social, I don’t think Locky’s got much to worry about early on. But he does need to have a better strategic angle this time, if he wants any chance of making it deep. Immunity and luck will only last so long, so if Locky wants to avoid a repeat of last time, I expect some big moves and loyal allies to be the ticket to any success.

Henry Nicholson, 10th: This is not a drill! The LEGEND is back! I’m Henry’s number 1 supporter, I’m with him no matter what. He’s extremely capable of playing a great game in every aspect of Survivor, it’s just whether people will trust him enough to let him. Henry doesn’t have yoga to fall back on now, so please, mate, just charm them like always. Henry will have to watch his aggressive gameplay to ensure it doesn’t strike too early, if he can keep it cool for a little bit, there’s no telling how far he can go. Good luck!

Aaron ‘AK’ Knight, 15th: If anyone’s had such an up and down experience on Australian Survivor, it’s AK. The dude went from the bottom, to the top, to the bottom again, to a swap. Even I’m losing count! AK’s strength is his strategic mind, he’s got a great handle of how to play but perhaps execution wasn’t the strongest foot last time. I think he’s in for a long stay in All-Stars, I don’t think anyone’s gonna quite want him out too soon, and if he makes the merge he’s just gotta survive. Some great social skills will be key to AK’s success for Round 2.

Mark getting his torch snuffed in Australian Survivor.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Mark ‘Tarzan’ Herlaar, 21st: There’s no denying, Mark as an All-Star sees odd, but I think we’re too quick to discount Mark’s capability of playing a great game. Not everyone has to be a strategic or physical beast. Sometimes the people with a heart of gold is what’s needed to make a show like Survivor as satisfying as it is. I think Mark’s wiser with how this game needs to played, and instead can use his likeability as a clear strength to keep him around. If everyone thinks Mark is allied with them, then he can go a long way.

SEASON 3:

Shane Gould, Sole Survivor: Yes, Shane is back! I like Shane. I don’t think she deserved to win, but I like her. It’ll be fun to have her back and see if she can do it all again. But I strongly think her days are numbered. Lydia’s coming after her, she’s a winner, people know she’s loyal yet sneaky. I think Shane is everything you don’t want in an All-Star season, and I think she’s an easy vote. It would not surprise me if Shane sees an early exit, but I underestimated her last time, so maybe it’ll happen again.

Shane was crowned the Sole Survivor over Sharn in the third season of Australian Survivor.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Mat Rogers, 9th: Sorry, not for me. Mat is not my pick to win, nor my pick to have any success this season. I’ll never get over Mat getting angry about Sharn not playing her idol (or telling him about the plan) when Mat LITERALLY HAD AN IDOL OF HIS OWN. Ugh. No. Mat lacks strategic prowess and is sometimes too confident in his own game for it to matter. I do think Mat acted as a bitter juror last season and it’s for that reason I want him gone ASAP. Great guy, bad player. That’s my take, unfortunately.

Lydia Lassila, 12th: Fantastic to watch, I’m pumped for Lydia’s return to Australian Survivor. She’s a great competitor and a true beast in the game. I just hope she has better luck with strategy and forming strong bonds. Yes, she’s a great physical player but it surprised me to see her targeted for it so soon last time. I hope she can survive longer but I don’t know if she’ll be able to win. She’s a wildcard going in for me, and I think it depends on how her tribe perceives her right out of the gate.

SEASON 4:

Harry Hills, 3rd: Harry’s lucky the cast didn’t see his last stretch of the game because damn he’s going to be on fire this season. I would love a Harry win! But I also want to see a Harry-led alliance for once. Stop being on the damn bottom Harry! I can’t see Harry changing much this time, he’s an incredible player with only minor errors to his gameplay. He managed to survive for so long, it’s incredible that he became the final juror. As a true fan, I want Harry to last as long as possible!

David after winning Individual Immunity in Australian Survivor 2019.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

David Genat, 10th: He’s a beast, and David’s back for blood! It’s true, there’s no All-Star season without the Golden God, so welcome back David! Let’s hope you can keep your game on the down low this time. If David plays the same, but keeps it more behind the scenes, then we’re looking at a David win. No doubt. He’s masterful, he’s conniving. He’s gotta go far this time. I hope losing made David realise that he can’t cloud his judgement, people will be out for him. But this time, he’ll be watching. Go David!

That’s the cast (so far), and my deepest apologies to the 10 All-Stars that I can’t discuss. Whoever you are. Trust me, you’re in my thoughts. And I wish you all the best this season too!

For fun, here’s a list of names I’d love to see back again: Kristie, Lee, Jennah-Louise, Kylie, and Craig (Season 1); Michelle, Ziggy, Sarah, Anneliese, Jacqui, and Aimee (Season 2); Sharn –ok, obviously-, Shonee, Benji, Samuel, and Tegan (Season 3); Pia, Janine, John, Andy, and Ross (Season 4).

Maybe some of those names will be there, hopefully. Maybe there won’t be some. Time will tell!

GET EXCITED

With so many great faces known to be returning, and only a few more that will make the season even better than it already looks, this might just be the season that we look back on and remember as the iconic milestone in Australian Survivor history. It’s certainly possible. So we gotta watch.

Tune into Season 5, Australian Survivor: All-Stars this year. It’s going to be a monster hit you don’t want to miss!

I’ll see you soon!

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Australian Survivor: All-Stars begins Monday, February 3rd, at 7:30pm on Channel 10!


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