It’s time for Season 36 of Survivor, and this season’s “Ghost Island” theme seems like it could be pretty fun. The 20-player cast is stacked with young, attractive types — a bit unusual to have so many — but a large group of them claim to be superfans.
That’s fitting, since this season is going to recall Survivor history with bad and misplayed moves.
After watching each castaway’s 90-second preview clip on YouTube, I took notes and came up with a total guess at the Power Rankings — which is something that will appear each week here.
Ready? Here we go!
Survivor Power Rankings: Preseason
1. Brendan — One of the older castaways this season, this father of two is a phys ed teacher and says he’s been waiting 16 years to play. He seems to be the “hero” type of player who could be around for awhile. There are many likable players this season on the surface, so he’ll have to work for the title if it happens.
2. Domenick — This guy wants to play like Tony, except not so neurotic. He’s trying to come up with things no one has tried before, like stealing a parchment at tribal council. Can you do that? Anyway, he’s a construction supervisor in Brooklyn, so you’d think he would have experience dealing with people.
3. Stephanie Johnson — She reads all the Survivor blogs and listens to the podcasts (I’m assuming RHAP!) and comes across as extremely likable. I worry about her being annoying, but I don’t think she will be. She’s been trying to get on Survivor for 17 years and is a yoga instructor (good balance for competitions!). In general, she has a great energy, so hopefully she will make a run at the title.
4. Jacob — This guy looks like Seth Rogen and reminds me somewhat of a Zeke-type personality (a bit goofy but has a good social game). He practiced food deprivation by losing 30 pounds and then putting it back on. Another superfan of many this season.
5. James — This business analyst came to the U.S. from Korea and later became a sprinter at Harvard. He’s clearly a self-made go-getter, which is great for Survivor. One potential problem is he’s never camped in his life.
6. Desiree — She’s only 21, but Desiree says she’s “wise beyond my years” after battling through homelessness. She’s going for a “Cirie vibe” where people aren’t really scared of her and then she gets them. But she seems to have a great, fun personality and it could be a blast to watch if she sticks around.
7. Wendell — This furniture designer from Philly is a superfan (one of many this season) and seems like a cool guy, but one concern: He says his weakness is being vocal and a leader. That kind of thing can bite someone quickly on the island.
8. Stephanie Gonzalez — She grew up in Puerto Rico and then taught herself English when she moved to the U.S., which gave her a thick skin. But she says she is “unpredictable like no other,” which could be a liability in Survivor.
9. Laurel — Another superfan, Laurel says “I want to be the queen” and make big, ballsy moves. She sort of looks nerdy at first glance, but she was an athlete at Yale and even practiced lying to her boyfriend’s face (successfully) in preparation for the game. How will that play on the island?
10. Jenna — She seems like a good listener, but is too honest and says “I don’t have a filter.” The problem is, you need one in Survivor. An even bigger problem? “When I’m hungry, I’ll say anything,” she says. Uh oh.
11. Kellyn — She’s very smart (two Masters degrees) and calls it her “destiny to be here” on the island, but could be targeted early since as a weak player physically. The key for Kellyn will be sticking around long enough to establish relationships.
12. Bradley — This law student has watched the show since he was 9, but he says he “has a hard time interacting with simple people” because he prefers to get along with other smart people. Survivor requires players to get along with everyone, so that could be a challenge for him.
13. Sebastian — He grew up watching Survivor every week at his grandmother’s house, so he knows the game. That said, he could either end up being a Jay type or getting burned by talking too much.
14. Michael — This 18-year-old plans to pretend he’s 23 and says he has no problem backstabbing, lying and cheating — but will he get the opportunity? His personality seems low key, so could that cause him problems in forming alliances?
15. Libby — NASCAR connection alert! On Wednesday, Libby was named as one of the “Great American Sweethearts” at Texas Motor Speedway, which means there’s a strong chance she could still be on the show when NASCAR rolls into Texas in April. That said, there’s a worry her self-described bubbly and outgoing personality could cause others not to take her seriously — or perhaps that’s a good thing.
16. Chelsea — This professional dancer/cheerleader says she wants to be remembered as “the person you never saw coming.” In this stacked season of superfans, a deep run by Chelsea would certainly fit that description.
17. Chris — A personal trainer-turned-model, Chris proclaims he’s “going to be the new flavor of the month.” Have you ever heard an eventual Survivor winner say that?
18. Donathan — This superfan says his face cannot tell a lie — not good! Also, he appears to be weaker physically than the other males on this season, so I could see them targeting him in an early vote.
19. Morgan — She says she’s a positive person but talks loudly and “might be annoying” to the other players. I don’t know much about her, but typically annoying people don’t make it very far on Survivor.
20. Angela — This Army vet says her personality is “outspoken and agreessive” and she likes to take charge and be in control. If that’s the case, she ultimately won’t win — although she may last halfway through the game based on her strength and ability to “get along with strong Alpha males.”