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Let the games begin! Survivor 39, aka Survivor: Island of the Idols, brings back past winners Sandra Diaz-Twine and Boston Rob Mariano as mentors. They cannot win the $1 million, they can only advise. So what does that mean, and how should the Survivor 39 players take advantage of that resource? Here's what host/producer Jeff Probst said he would do, if he were competing in the Fall 2019 season:
If I was playing and I got the chance to hang out with Boston Rob and Sandra. I would want to talk and talk and talk and talk and say this at the end: ‘Now tell me where I’m vulnerable. Tell me what you see about me that I don’t see. Talk to me about my ego. Where am I weak? Where are my tendencies? Just give it to me all.’ And then I’ll stiffen up, take it, and go back. Because I think the thing they’re really good at is spotting entry points that they can get in. So rather than teach me how to make fire, I’d say, ‘Man, can we just forget this. Will you just tell me what I need to be better at in terms of observing?’
As Jeff Probst told EW, he'd want to talk -- he is quite a talker -- but then listen. To me, though, in order for Boston Rob and Sandra to know enough to point out weaknesses and tendencies, they'd have to know the castaways pretty well. That's not a first day question, it's allowing Boston Rob and Sandra to observe for a bit.
And making fire? It's Season 39. Anyone who walks on that Fiji beach without having practiced making fire at home is a disgrace.
Boston Rob is famous for being a leader players want to follow -- to an extreme extent in Survivor: Redemption Island. But he also played too hard for the All-Stars jury, and they gave the win to his now-wife Amber. That was a "bitter" jury, for sure, but it's something for players to keep in mind. Playing Rob's way can backfire.
Sandra won twice with her "anyone but me" strategy. She basically let the bigger fish take each other out and just kept swimming, never pissing jurors enough to make them bitter. She was funny and sassy and savvy and did just enough to look slightly better than the people next to her in the end. Sandra benefited from a bitter jury in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, so she and Rob can probably offer the full gamut of Survivor advice from both sides.
Survivor: Island of the Idols comes complete with giant idol statues of Rob and Sandra, made by Game of Thrones talent. The season starts Wednesday, September 25 (aka tonight) with a 90-minute episode airing before the Big Brother 21 finale. (Side note: Jackson Michie said he wants to apply for Survivor right after Big Brother. That's a very bad idea.)
The first episode of Survivor 39 is called "I Vote You Out and That's It." Per CBS, one castaway gets fired up when learning a lesson on the Island of the Idols, where Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz serve as mentors. Also, castaways question whether likability will prove to be a liability. Hopefully they decide being likable is OK at least for TV viewers, since Survivor is rough watching when it's packed with unlikable players.
The starting tribes for Survivor 39 are Lairo and Vokai. Here's the Lairo lineup:
• Ronnie Bardah (35)
Hometown: Brockton, Mass. Current Residence: Henderson, Nev. Occupation: Pro Poker Player
• Elizabeth Beisel (26)
Hometown: Saunderstown, R.I. Current Residence: Saunderstown, R.I. Occupation: Olympic Medalist
• Missy Byrd (24)
Hometown: Decatur, Ga. Current Residence: Tacoma, Wash. Occupation: Air Force Veteran
• Dean Kowalski (28)
Hometown: Westfield, N. J. Current Residence: New York, N.Y. Occupation: Tech Sales
• Tom Laidlaw (60)
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario, Canada Current Residence: Greenwich, Conn. Occupation: Former NHL Player
• Aaron Meredith (36)
Hometown: Uncasville, Conn. Current Residence: Warwick, R.I. Occupation: Gym Owner
• Vince Moua (27)
Hometown: Merced, Calif. Current Residence: Palo Alto, Calif. Occupation: Admissions Counselor
• Karishma Patel (37)
Hometown: Philadelphia Current Residence: Houston Occupation: Personal Injury Lawyer
• Elaine Stott (41)
Hometown: Woodbine, Ky. Current Residence: Rockholds, Ky. Occupation: Factory Worker
• Chelsea Walker (26)
Hometown: Marlton, N.J. Current Residence: Los Angeles Occupation: Digital Content Creator
And here are the 10 castaways of Vokai:
• Lauren Beck (28)
Hometown: Bakersfield, Calif. and Rochester Hills, Mich. Current Residence: Glendale, Calif. Occupation: Nanny
• Molly Byman (27)
Hometown: Boston Current Residence: Durham, N.C. Occupation: Law Student
• Janet Carbin (59)
Hometown: Neptune, N.J. Current Residence: Palm Bay, Fla. Occupation: Chief Lifeguard
• Kellee Kim (29)
Hometown: Costa Mesa, Calif. Current Residence: Philadelphia Occupation: MBA Student
• Jason Linden (32)
Hometown: New York, N.Y. Current Residence: New York, N.Y. Occupation: Personal Injury Lawyer
• Jack Nichting (23)
Hometown: Newport News, Va. Current Residence: Harrisonburg, Va. Occupation: Graduate Student
• Noura Salman (36)
Hometown: London, UK / Bethesda, Md. Current Residence: North Potomac, Md. Occupation: Entrepreneur
• Tommy Sheehan (26)
Hometown: Bayville, N.Y. Current Residence: Long Beach, N.Y. Occupation: 4th Grade Teacher
• Jamal Shipman (33)
Hometown: Jersey City, N.J. Current Residence: Providence, R.I. Occupation: Admissions Counselor K-12
• Dan Spilo (48)
Hometown: New York, N.Y. Current Residence: Los Angeles Occupation: Talent Manager
Jeff Probst has talked about Survivor 39 having their most diverse cast on multiple fronts. He also said there will be a change to the storytelling for Island of the Idols.
Do you have a favorite or least favorite player so far? And how would YOU use the Island of the Idols resource of mentors Sandra and Boston Rob? Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.