Ranking the 16 players left in Millennials vs. Gen X

As David pulled out his hidden immunity idol at the fourth tribal council of the game, successfully saving Jessica from her torch-snuffing demise and sending Lucy straight to Ponderosa, he became only the third player to successfully play and idol before the merge.

The two players before him to accomplish such a feat both did so during Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.

On Night 11, Tom Westman played an immunity idol on himself, canceling out three votes that would’ve caused a tie between Cirie Fields and himself on the Heroes tribe. Westman was ultimately voted out three nights later.

In one of the most exciting tribal councils of Heroes vs. Villains on Night 15, Russell Hantz convinced Tyson Apostol to switch his vote from Russell to his alliance partner, Parvati Shallow, who he was planning to play his idol on. After Russell did so, four votes were read for Parvati, three for Tyson and only two for Russell, sending Tyson home.

A number of players have played idols in the tribal phase of the game, but outside of the two plays in one the game’s most competitive season, no one has ever pulled off such a stunt.

And there’s a reason why. It’s never a good game move to play an idol before the merge, especially on another individual.

There’s two reasons for that: By being in possession of a tribe’s hidden immunity idol, David wasn’t only blessed with its powers, he also knew who was in possession of the idol – meaning he knew that every other player on his tribe didn’t have an idol.

In Survivor, Intel like the is the currency of the game. And by blowing his idol on Jessica, he gave up all the currency he’d accumulated. Forget about the trust factor he also put back into question.

Now, there’s an idol back in play at the Gen X beach. If he doesn’t find the immunity idol, not only is David out of a powerful tool, he also doesn’t know who has it, which could be even more costly to his game.

Vanua (Millennials):

1. Michaela

2. Jay

3. Michelle

4. Taylor

5. Will

6. Figgy

7. Adam

8. Hannah

9. Zeke

Takali (Gen X):

1. Chris

2. Bret

3. Ken

4. Sunday

5. David

6. CeCe

7. Jessica

Opening the vault: Expedition Impossible

Over the years, knock-off versions of hit reality shows have been attempted.

ABC tried to create their own version of Big Brother with The Glass House. The show lasted only one season, and the network was actually sued by CBS because the program was too similar to their own reality series. The two networks eventually settled.

But a slightly more successful, reinventing of the wheel was by ABC with Expedition Impossible. Described by show producer Mark Burnett as, “an epic Indiana Jones style experience,” the network’s rendition of The Amazing Race featured 10 teams of three traversing North Africa completing tasks along the away.

As with the Emmy Award winning program, the last team to complete the week’s tasks in Expedition Impossible was eliminated.

In the show’s lone season, one team – The Gypsies, ran away with the competition, winning nine out of the 10 legs of the race. The group of California friends’ lone loss came in the fifth episode when they finished in second.

The contestants competed for $50,000 a piece and a Ford Explorer, the summer series actually had it’s moments.

Ultimately, though, the shear dominance by The Gypsies derailed any suspense the game might have had.

Tribe swap remains Survivor’s simplest but best twist

There are few sweeter words in Survivor than when Jeff Probst says to, “Drop your buffs. We’re switching things up.”

And on Wednesday night the show’s longtime host will utter those famous words.

For four weeks, the Millennials and Gen X’ers have gone at it head-to-head, with the youngsters outnumbering their elders in the game, nine players to seven.

It would seem that the Millennials would have a clear numbers advantage heading into a tribe swap. But if 32 seasons of Survivor have taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen.

Over the last 16 years, the show has conducted the tribe swap in various ways, beginning with the show’s first real game-changing twist in Africa, when the swap was introduced and Silas Gaither infamously went from running the Samburu tribe and found himself on the bottom of Boran. Before the episode was over Silas’ torch was snuffed and the swap claimed its first victim.

Other seasons, those involving three or more tribes, have featured tribe dissolutions. Typically, this occurs when a tribe features complete and total ineptitude like Saboga in All-Stars or the game’s first ever 0-for tribe, Matsing, in Philippines.

In the actual swap in All-Stars, Survivor legend Boston Rob Mariano pulled off the ultimate coup when his alliance partner and future wife Amber Brkich was separated from him right before the merge. With the numbers against Amber and her tribe heading to tribal council, Boston Rob famously pleaded to his friend and respected competitor Lex van Dden Berghe, “You take care of her, and I’ll take care of you.”

If only Lex knew that days later Mariano would add an amendment to his statement of, “If I could, I would. I’m sorry, I cannot.”

Other players have used the swap to escape near game-ending situations, such as Spencer Bledsoe in Cagayan.

Heck, some swap have even added a tribe to the game like what occurred in Cambodia – Second Chance.

Mixing things up has become a staple to the game. It’s often pontificated that in order to win Survivor a player has to be strategically and socially sound, but also have a little luck on their side.

When the players draw for new buffs this week, lady luck could have a big impact on the game.

Will the two lovers of Taylor and Figgy be torn apart?

How will David regain the trust of the Gen-X’ers after going against his alliance to save Jessica and blindside Lucy?

Can duos on the bottom such Bret and Chris or Adam Zeke find their way back into the thick of things after integrating with the opposite generation?

These are all questions that make the tribe swap the game’s best and simplest twist, but also have such a dynamic impact on the game.

Three questions heading into week four of Millennials vs. Gen X

  • What will the post-tribal council vibe be like on the Gen X beach?

Following the blindside of Paul after Jessica persuaded Lucy and Sunday to flip over to the minority alliance, Chris and Bret were left in shock. The 6-3 decision to vote out the de-facto leader of the Gen X tribe caught the three men totally off-guard.

While Zeke and Adam responded in a vocal, dismayed manner last week after being left on the outs, it was to a select minority in Hannah.

I expect Bret and Chris to demonstrate the behavior that you would expect a Gen X’er to show – cool and composed, strategizing how to get back the numbers so that they’re not the next to be picked off.

  • Who will emerge as the new leader on the Gen X tribe?


The preview for next week’s episode show that there’s a new leader on the Gen X tribe now that Paul is no longer there to run the show.

The term “dictator” was thrown around by one player to describe the leadership qualities the demonstrating. In Survivor, that’s never a good thing, and can spell doom for their game.

The previews make it appear to be Lucy as the new show runner on the Gen X tribe. But if we know anything about previews, it’s that things are never what they appear to be. With that said, in our pre-season cast assessment for the Gen X’ers, I wrote that, “Lucy is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way over the 39 days, making her the perfect jury goat.” There’s no certainty that Lucy, who has received limited screen time over the first three episodes, will emerge as the Takali tribe’s new leader, but if she does, it’s no surprise that she will be brash and abrasive.


Ranking the 17 players left in Millennials vs. Gen X

(Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)
(Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

Each week during Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, andrewrhanson.net will provide power rankings of players in the game for each tribe, and then individual overall rankings once we hit the merge.

These rankings are not intended to demonstrate who is most likely to win the game, they simply show a players projected position within their tribe. Essentially, the higher a player is ranked, the less likely it is believed that they will be voted out.

Vanua (Millennials)

1. Michaela

2. Taylor

3. Jay

4. Michelle

5. Will

6. Hannah

7. Figgy

8. Zeke

9. Adam

Takali (Gen X)

1. Chris

2. Bret

3. Ken

4. Sunday

5. Lucy

6. Jessica

7. David

8. CeCe

See you (u?) later

In a fascinating exchange at tribal council, host Jeff Probst asked members of the Gen X tribe if they texted. Some said sparingly.

Probst further interrogated asking the simple question, “When you write the word you, as in see you later. Do you spell y-o-u or use the letter u?”

“I spell y-o-u,” Sunday responded.

“I spell y-o-u,” Paul immediately followed.

“Yeah,” David said nodding his head in agreement.

Jessica provided the same nod in affirmation.

“Pretty interesting because the millennials will tell you the language is changing, and you can change with this or you can just be an old fogey,” Probst said. “But it’s more efficient.”

The question arose after the Gen X tribe got blown away during the balance beam portion of the weekly immunity challenge, in which Taylor on the Millennial tribe re-invented the wheel, running the balance beam multiple times while CeCe took the slow and steady, never-back-down approach and was passed up by three millennials.

Probst poked at the players, asking this question because of the approach to life these two generations take.

When players have an identity tacked to them, such as in brains, brawn and beauty, some respond differently because of the perceived label.

Millennials and Gen X has been no exception.

See you or u later. How do you spell “you?” It’s a simple question Probst asked, but one’s answer very well could have a million dollar result.

Opening the vault: Whodunnit


Week by week guests at Rue Manor were “murdered” by the Killer in the ABC reality series Whodunnit.

It was a short-lived series that lasted only one season, airing in the summer of 2013. But despite it’s brief tenure on the reality circuit, the show had its moments.

In a new series on andrewrhanson.net, Opening the Vault looks at past reality shows and a few highlights (or lowlights) from the now cancelled programs.

  • Giles the Butler

For a show as wonderfully absurd as Whodunnit, the host was simply the best part. Doubling as Rue Manor’s butler and the host, Gildart Jackson, performing the role of Giles stole the show with his quick-witted humor and almost-forceful puns.

From jokes about finger sandwiches following the “murder” of a contestant to claiming he was going to go, “take a tinkle in the woods,” everything Giles did made viewers laugh.

  • A different genre

As an avid fan of Clue – both the board game and movie – Whodunnit fit everything a reality TV junkie, Clue loving fan needed. The show was a nice change of pace and provided a fun alternative for a summer reality series.

The cast was comprised of a number of compelling characters, and watching the dynamics of the game unfold was fascinating since people were eliminated each week based on their performance on a test about the week’s mystery.

  • People thought the contestants on the show were actually murdered…

No seriously, check it out.

Jason Roy finds his way back into the Big Brother house

Jason Roy
Jason Roy

When Vanessa Rousso nominated Jason Roy for eviction in blindsiding fashion during the week five veto ceremony of Big Brother 17, the fate was sealed for the super fan from Massachusetts.

Posing too much of a threat to Vanessa’s alliance with the Austwins (Austin, Liz and Julia), she put Jason on the block after Clay removed himself from the chopping block.

Days later, Jason was evicted from the Big Brother compound by a vote of 7-2.

But now, he’s back. After beating out the messiah, Jozea, from BB18, in a fan vote decided by America, the grocery clerk got the final ticket into the house for Big Brother: Over the Top.

Jason was the kind of player who understood the game and gave the fans what they wanted. In an edition where the fans will have a significant impact on the game, let’s hope that pays dividends for Jason.

Three questions heading into week three of Millennials vs. Gen X

  • What is the game-changing twist?

In a sure-fired attempt to mix things up, previews for this week’s episode include hype for a game-changing twist. In Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance, the game featured the first ever tribe expansion when the two tribes – Bayon and Ta Keo – became three. Recent seasons have used the three tribe format, and the results have been well-received.

While its been fun to see the millennials and generation x’ers square off, it’s time for some change. And what better way to shake things up than hearing the sweet sound of Jeff Probst’s voice saying, “Drop your buffs.”

  • Where do Adam and Zeke fall with the other millennials?

Following the polarizing tribal council where Mari was eliminated in a 7-3 vote, Adam and Zeke were forced to return to camp on the outs.

Adam Klein
Adam Klein

The decision was reached after Figgy was able to pull back the numbers with the help of her alliance by roping Michaela back in, and at tribal, Hannah put all of her trust, after long thought and consideration, into Figgy’s trusted ally Michelle.

The left Adam and Zeke, along with Mari, as the only millennials to vote for Figgy.

Around camp, Zeke has been a useful asset, as he started fire for the tribe without flint.

Zeke Smith
Zeke Smith

Adam has his strengths, he’s excelled in the challenges. But through his confessionals, he appears to be rather outspoken, which could come back to haunt him.

Perhaps the game’s first big twist – a tribe swap, or even a new element – could be coming at just the right time for the two millennials who are on the outs.

  • Will we see Dr. Joe again this season?

After three medevacs during Kaoh Rong, Survivor’s chief medical expert, Dr. Joe, was back at on the beach last week after Paul got hit was a bout of heat exhaustion.

Fearing a potential heart attack, Dr. Joe and host Jeff Probst had the chopper on its way to the Gen X beach. Fortunately, all of the tests came back negative and the antidote for Paul’s ailment was a little water, shade and rest.

Following the most punishing season in Survivor history, it was a relief to not have an early medical evacuation in Millennials vs. Gen X.

A week two appearance by Dr. Joe does beg the question, though, will the “outlast” element to Survivor be ever more crucial once again. For the sake of the players and the game, let’s hope we don’t see Dr. Joe again this fall.

No friendship for your boy

There was no friendship at the Big Brother 18 finale.

In the closest final vote in five seasons, and the first ever 5-4 decision since the jury was expanded to nine members, Nicole Franzel edged out the breakout star of the season Paul Abrahamian.

Nicole Franzel became the first woman to ever beat a man in the final two as she won Big Brother 18. (CBS)
Nicole Franzel became the first woman to ever beat a man in the final two as she won Big Brother 18. (CBS)

Despite being on the block six times, winning two veto competitions and running away with the final four challenges to secure his spot in the final two, the player who dubbed himself “Your Boy” couldn’t overcome what he believed to be a bitter jury as he told Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross.

“I was a little bit shocked. I don’t know what more I could have done. The most in-house competition wins of the season, cleaning house towards the end of the game, really winning every single competition, and being up against two people who have played the game before,” Paul told Dalton Ross following the jury’s shocking decision to award Nicole the $500,000 prize. “I thought it was a no-brainer, but clearly the jury was a little bit pissed, let’s put it that way.”

In perhaps the most shocking ending in Big Brother history, Paul Abrahamian came up one vote short of the half-million dollar prize. (CBS)
In perhaps the most shocking ending in Big Brother history, Paul Abrahamian came up one vote short of the half-million dollar prize. (CBS)

Paul could have taken James to the end, instead opting to evict him at the final three. Some might argue Paul would’ve won the game had he done so, but hindsight is always 20-20.

After all, Paul was confident he could beat both of the two-time competitors in the final two.

“I honestly thought I could beat both of them by either a 7-2 or 6-3 vote. But seeing as how it ended with Nicole – especially with the enemies she had in the house – I knew James created less enemies in the house and Nicole had a little bit more heat on her, so I thought it would be my best move to take her,” Paul told Dalton Ross when asked if he took the right person to the end. “But clearly seeing how that turned out, I think it would have been the same way with James. I think there was just a slight distaste for how crazy I was.”

Paul might have been a little crazy. There’s moment after moment that corroborates that claim. But crazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The muffin man wouldn’t have happened if Paul weren’t a little crazy. The same can be said about the rise and fall of our good friend Pablo the Pelican.

While James may have found love in the house in Natalie, he came up empty-handed in his quest for $500,000. (CBS)
While James may have found love in the house in Natalie, he came up empty-handed in his quest for $500,000. (CBS)

“I know the second you guys walked through those doors, you said he’s the loud and crazy one,” Paul said in his speech to the jury on finale night.

After rattling off his accomplishments from the season, which included finding the Paris Room first and the round-trip ticket, winning his way to the end after his closest ally Victor was clipped and splitting up the biggest power couple house of Corey and Nicole at the final four, Paul finished his final plea in typical fashion.

“What I’m proud of the most is I accomplished this by staying true to my crazy self and not having to change a single thing about me,” he began. “My cards were shown this entire game because I had nothing to hide, and I told you guys I’d break some rules, but there’s one rule I’ll never break. And that’s rule number one – friendship.”

“Crap that was good,” Nicole mumbles before she started her final speech.

It was the proverbial mic drop for your boy. All the while one contestant, Da’Vonne, could not have been more animated or excited.

In the end Paul got votes from James, Victor, Michelle and Bridgette.

Nicole received five votes, with them coming from Corey, Natalie, Paulie, Zakiyah and most shockingly Da’Vonne.

With a 4-4 deadlock and one vote – Da’Vonne’s – left to read, I thought he had done it. Your boy had done the impossible. There was no vote I was more certain about Paul receiving (besides Victor’s of course) than Da’Vonne.

And then in a matter of seconds, the mood went from friendship to pissed as Julie Chen pulled the final key from the box with “Nicole” written on it.