Oh, we had such hopes. Only one person can win “Survivor,” so 95% has to lose, but some lose harder than others. Some players look great on paper but utterly flame out once they start actually playing the game. Others do well for the majority of the season but end up choking in the end. Then there are those who play fantastic games on their first seasons but are not able to replicate that success on future iterations. Above, tour our guide of the most spectacular flameouts in “Survivor” history.
People like Amanda Kimmel and Russell Hantz have done well in multiple seasons, getting to Final Tribal Council not once but twice. But neither was able to convince the jury to vote for them to win in the end, with Amanda in particular seeming like a frontrunner to win only to flounder like a fish out of water in front of the jury. Russell returned for a third time and was voted out by his tribe at the first opportunity. Many returning players have similar diminishing returns, even winners like J.T. Thomas and Danni Boatwright.
Part of the fun of “Survivor” is seeing some players that just clearly weren’t meant for this game. You may have rooted for them based on their cast bio or they may have even started strong but clearly they were never winning. Such is the case with players like Garrett Adelstein and J’Tia Taylor from “Cagayan,” who both utterly flamed out, though for varying reasons. Then there was Jacob Derwin, who, like Garrett, seemed to have strategic chops in the first hour of his season (“Ghost Island”) but was proven very wrong in the second hour.
Other downfalls are just ugly to watch, like Brandon Hantz in “Caramoan,” Colton Cumbie in “Blood vs. Water” and Jeff Varner in “Game Changers.” All of them left the game under controversial circumstances, either by scorching the earth, quitting or behaving in an appalling manner. It’s never fun to watch those flameouts, but they just prove how “Survivor” is a microcosm of society. People fail to live up to our expectations and often make poor choices, and while it can be frustrating in our everyday lives, it is richly compelling to watch on our TV screens from a distance.
Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs on CBS. You’ll compete to win a spot on our Season 40 leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.