‘Survivor: Game Changers’ cast: Can fan favorite Tai Trang finish as strong as he starts this time around?

One of the players returning to “Survivor: Game Changers” on March 8 is fan favorite Tai Trang, back for his second try after “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” (Season 32). Tai began his season as a frontrunner to win, but was unable to finish as strong. Can he play a more even game this time around? Read my analysis of how his past performance is likely to impact his game and then make your own “Survivor” predictions ahead of the first episode.

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Immediately feeling like the odd man out of a younger Beauty tribe at the start of “Kaoh Rong,” Tai saw no option other than playing an aggressive and self-centered game in his first attempt. Lucky for him his tribe avoided early tribal councils, keeping him out of harm’s way for the first couple weeks. In those early days, Tai managed to overcome the age barrier and bond with Caleb Reynolds (also playing on “Game Changers”) while also working hard to a hidden immunity idol by the second episode, providing him a bit of security deeper into the game.

From there Tai became defined by his struggle with how best to play the game — with honesty and loyalty, or selfishly? After Caleb was medically evacuated from the game, Tai made a second unlikely bond with Scot Pollard and Kyle Jason, who would turn out to be the season’s two biggest villains. At that point the amount of trust the rest of the cast could put in Tai became murky because his loyalties seemed to shift from side to side.

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Tai’s game-changing move was when he told Scot and Jason that they’d use their two idols to form the new “super idol” to save Scot from elimination. But when it came down to it, Tai voted against Scot, saving his own idol, and wasting Jason’s when it was in Scot’s pocket as his torch was snuffed. Tai eventually made it to the finals, alongside Aubry Bracco (also returning for “Game Changers”) and eventual winner Michele Fitzgerald, but failed to earn any votes from the jury.

To win “Game Changers,” Tai will have to play a more evenly balanced game, relying more heavily on the bonds of loyalty and respect that helped him make useful connections early in the game. While he will probably have to be selfish again, Tai should try to pick a group to work with and stick with them as long as he is able to. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll find Aubry trustworthy enough to work with again, but if he’s able to unite with Caleb during a tribal switch or at the merge, I think the two of them will want to work together again.

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Get a closer look at the Season 34 contestants by clicking through our cast photo gallery. In our “Survivor” predictions center, you get to answer the following questions before each episode airs on CBS every Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.:

Who will win “Survivor”?

Who will be eliminated?

Who will win Reward?

Who will win Immunity?

Will a hidden idol be played?

Will anybody quit or be medevaced?

Who will win ‘Survivor: Game Changers’? See exclusive odds

Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Survivor” in our reality TV forum.

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