Author's Note: Hey! the leak was right! Looks like Survivor 26 will really be Fans vs Favorites! I'm not 100% sure about the returnees but here we go!
I was doing a google search for info about Season 26 and came across this interesting topic. Apparantly there has been a leak about who the returning contestants will be, remeber that not everything you see on the internet is accurate so these are only the RUMORED returnees.
Season 26 will take place in the Philippines. For a long time now, Survivor has been keeping 2 seasons in the same country in order to reduce production costs. This is a confirmed fact, so expect to see the contestants crying because of the rain (yes, as a person living in the Philippines; I can truly say that it's either always raining or always blazing hot.)
This is NOT a confirmed fact: Season 26 will be the 2nd Fans vs Favorites. I always thought that Fans vs Favorites were always gonna be mismatches. I mean, look at all the great players of Micronesia? not a single favorite was called back...so far
So who are the rumored returnees? Scroll down to find out. I'll be putting them in the order they competed and describe how they got voted out, how they played and my opinions on them.
Returnee #1: Erik Reichenbach from Season 16 Survivor:Micronesia (The original Fans vs Favorites) - Erik (in my opinion) is like a 2nd Ozzy Lusth because he's almost just as physical as him. During his season; he did a good job in being in the majority alliance but layed low until the tribe swap where he became close friends with Ozzy. He and Joel (both from the fans tribe) made a deal with Ozzy, Amanda, Ami and Cirie to vote out fellow fans member; Chet who they believed was pulling their tribe down (Note: There were only 8 members in each tribe during the swap) but Cirie betrayed the deal by convincing Ozzy and Amanda to vote out Joel instead (who wasn't a threat). The fans knew that they would be outnumbered now that they were in a 3 vs 4 and that the favorites were sticking together but out came an oppourtunity to vote out Ozzy when Ami (Favorite) offered her vote to Tracy (Fan) because she [Ami] was never in an alliance with the other 3 fans and couldn't trust them as well, however, Chet chose not to pursue with the plan because he wanted to leave the island immedietly and asked to be voted out. Leaving Tracy and Erik as the only remaining fans. Erik maintained a close bond with Ozzy (since the plan never surfaced, Ozzy never know that Erik was trying to blindside him) which lead to Tracy being the next person to go home. With Erik being the last fan standing; he told Ozzy that Ami was willing to jump to their side and blindside him which lead to their tribe's decision to vote out Ami for being untrustworthy (nice one Erik!). The tribes merged after Ami's elimination, where it was revealed that Parvati Shallows (Favorite) had made an alliance with Alexis Jones and Natalie Bolton which made it clear that it was Airai vs Malakai (the tribe names) rather than fans vs favorites. All cast aways unanimously voted out Eliza Orlins (Favorite) who played a fake hidden immunity idol (planted by Ozzy) that her ally Jason Siska (Fan) found, which led her to realize that Ozzy had the idol which she revealed in tribal council. Knowing that Ozzy had the idol made the Black Widow Brigade (Parvati's all girl alliance) choose to blindside Ozzy and tell everyone except Amanda, James and Erik (Who were Ozzy's closest allies). Jason was soon blindsided (with an idol in his pocket) and following the evacuation of James who sustained a life threatening injury; Erik became the last man standing vs a 5 girl alliance. He, however, won immunity which lead to Amanda and Parvati blindsiding Alexis. The remaining women were in the final 5 with Erik who won immunity once again but was cleverly convinced by Natalie and Cirie to give up his immunity (Check it out on youtube, it was VERY believable) in order to gain their trust so that they would side with him and vote out Amanda (never happened). Erik was then voted out and was dubbed as the dumbest survivor of all time.
Analysis: I'm glad Erik is back, I think its just about time. He played an amazing game but made the dumbest move ever, I don't blame him for that though. Cirie was incredibly smart for making him believe that giving up immunity was the smartest move. I think Erik will go far this season and maybe not be as gullable.
Returnee #2: Brenda Lowe from Season 17 Survivor: Gabon - Truth be told, I didn't watch Gabon, so I am in no position to add analysis, I do know however that she is a smart strategist who can get deadly if she ever makes it to the final 3 (Anyone, feel free to edit this portion)
Returnee #3: Corinne Kaplan from Season 17 Survivor: Gabon - Again, never watched Gabon... I heard that Corinne is a loud mouth though. I don't think she'll go far
Returnee #4: Dawn Meehan from Season 23 Survivor: South Pacific - DAWN! I love Dawn! she's a good player, good ally and an amazing person. Dawn is the bad ass mormon mom who became a physical strong person in the tribe! I thought she'd be one of the first to go but she really surprised me in that one immunity challenge which she (practically single handedly) won for her tribe! Amazing person! She is the perfect ally but is prone to making bad moves. Back in her season, she could have saved her entire tribe when Cochran was jumping ships since he offered her the oppourtunity to do so but what did Dawn do? she kept her mouth shut hoping that Cochran would change his mind and what happened? One by one, everyone in her tribe was blindsided...True she will never betray you but she isn't built for the mental manipulation game that is, Survivor. I love Dawn but I hate that she lacks a cut throat attitude.
Analysis: Great player and good at her social game. I think tribemates would like her as an ally because she's not as weak as she looks and she is trust worthy. I'd like to compare her position to Ami's position in Season 16:Fans vs Favorites. Everyone liked her, and she wasn't a target until she tried to make a big move. I don't think Dawn would win because by the time it'd get to the final 5, she'd probably be seen as a jury threat for her attitude and likeable personality but she is definitely a dark horse if she manages to make an alliance strong enough to protect her till the final 3
Returnee #5: John Cochran from Season 23 Survivor: South Pacific - I hate this guy, he was targeted since day 1 but survived by luck... He managed to convince his tribe that Semhar was a weaker player, then saved himself again by throwing Papa Bear under the bus and by luck; Jim saved him by convincing Keith and Whitney to vote out Elyse. John made it to the merge and backstabbed everyone by jumping over to Coach Wade's alliance, making him the swing vote that killed his tribe... haha, 7th place. Should've stayed with the people who've been carrying you fucker!
Analysis: First one gone. Nobody likes him and he's a weak player.
Returnee #6: Brandon Hantz from Season 23 Survivor: South Pacific - Here is a season that brought me back to being an ultimate survivor fan! Brandon Hantz is the nephew of Russell Hants who plays an exact oposite game. He was initially in an alliance with Coach Wade who was the returning player of that season, together with their alliance of 5; they remained strong and soon became the final 5. However, a lot was said about Brandon who was overly religious and would always stick to his word...a little too much. Brandon would blurt out the alliance's strategies during tribal council and even told the swing vote Edna Ma that she was never in their alliance. This created problems which resulted to Brandon being a target in the final 5 since he would become a strong Jury threat due to his blatant honesty as well as a physical threat in challenges. However, he won immunity but gave it up to Albert Destrade to show that he could trust him... then got blindsided by Sophie, Rick and Coach and was sent to the jury by Ozzy Lusth in Redemption Island.
Analysis: Brandon Hantz is the perfect ally, he will never blindside you and he will always watch your back. The only weakness to having him as an ally is that you need to have all out control over him, otherwise, he will blurt out all your secrets. Deception is not his gameplay, its all out honesty and integrity (which was his tribe's Mantra). However, don't expect the same gameplay this season. The Hantz family was so disappointed in him that nobody (except Russell) came to watch the live final tribal council and his wife even filled for a divorce! this might make him learn a few tips and tricks from him uncle Russell and play a different game. He has a good repuation, they won't see it coming.
Returnee #7: Francesca Hogi from Season 22 Survivor: Redemption Island - She is gonna be the first survivor to be returnee after lasting only 3 days in her season. I honestly don't see where Francesca's audience comes from, I do believe that she would have lasted longer in Boston Rob wasn't in that season but I don't see any strategic gameplay that would be good enough to bring her back for another season. If anything, I think her ally Kristina Kel desserves it better than her, Kristina found the idol in day 1 and was semi strategic with it (She wasted it but it was really believable that Kristina would go home that night).
Analysis:Still dont know what this girl is doing in this season but since she never had time to put any real strategic moves in the game; She's more of a fan who's competed on survivor rather than a favorite. Nobody knows her gameplay because she barely had any so I think Francesca is a huge wildcard, anything is possible with the castaway.
Returnee #8: Andrea Boelhke from Season 22 Survivor: Redemption Island - This girl should have won Redemption island, if Boston Rob didn't have that idol. Ashley and Natalie would definitely side with her and make an all girl final 3. Andrea started out in Rob's alliance but felt shakey after her closest ally/love interest Matt Elrod was blindsided, Andrea still remained one of Boston Rob's allies till the merge. She then thought it was better for her gameplay to blindside Matt Elrod again after he came back from Redemption Island (shows her strategic gameplay). Andrea soon made it to the final 5 but was voted off since she became a physical threat as well as a jury threat (even Boston Rob was scared of her), when she was sent to Redemption Island; she became the first girl to ever survive and return to the game after beating Matt, Grant and Mike in the duel. When she returned, she appealed to Ashley and Natalie to try and convince them to vote out Boston Rob and have an all girl final 3. It would've worked but it was revealed in the reunion show that Ashley and Natalie knew that he had a hidden immunity idol and that Rob would be very likely to play the idol on that night since the hidden immunity idol is only good till the final 5.
Analysis: Andrea is a great player! Its about time that she was pulled in for another season! She is a huge contender for the win. She's smart, strong, social and strategic (everything that begins with an S)
Returnee #9: Phillip Sheppard from Season 22 Survivor: Redemption Island - Philip was in an initial alliance (made by necessity) with Franchesca Hogi and Kristina Kel (who had a hidden immunity idol). The 3 of them plotted to blindside Boston Rob but Philip jumped ships and told everyone that Kristina had the idol which put him in Rob's pocket. Philip has been on Rob's good side for the duration of the game, mainly because of Philip's loyalty and because everybody hated him so much that Rob was pushed out of the hot seat.
Analysis: I heard from Andrea Boelhke that Philip is actually fun to be around when he isn't on the game. Maybe he learned from his past mistakes or maybe he'll make the same ones and get himself booted out.
Returnee #10: Malcom Freberg from Season 24 Survivor: Philippines - Malcolm formed a strong bond with Denise Stapley in season 23 and managed to survive 4 straight tribal counsils. His tribe was then desimated; Denise was put on Kalabaw while Malcolm was put in Tandang. Because of Malcolm's physical strength; he and his tribe won every pre-merge challenge from this point onwards. At the merge, he managed to stay off everybody's radar until fellow tribemate Lisa; Discovered that he had the hidden immunity idol and convinced the original Tandang 6 to vote him out but Malcolm was spared when they chose to blindside Jeff Kent instead. Malcolm soon convinced 2 of the original Tandang members (Lisa and Skupin) to side with him and make a final 4 deal with Denise. During the final 5 reward challenge which Skupin won; He took Malcolm and Lisa where they decided to make a final 3 deal and vote out Denise on that night but Skupin and Lisa saw Malcolm as a bigger threat and realized that they'd need Denise's help to ensure that Malcolm would not win the final 4 immunity challenge. Since Malcolm had immunity; they voted out Abi-Maria instead. Malcolm won the reward challenge in the final 4 which gave him an advantage in the immunity challenge but was still the first person to be eliminated. When confronted by his ally; Denise about tribal council; he was hassitant on answering and didn't give a definit answer which led Denise to appealing to Lisa and Skupin to eliminate Malcolm. Malcolm placed 4th at a 3-1 vote
Analysis: Malcolm with beyond doubt go far in the game. He has an excellent social game and is a huge physical threat. He'll probably be the ring leader of the fans tribe or at least a huge threat to the majority alliance