The tribe of “Survivor” fans have spoken, with more than 4,000 voters chiming in our poll. According to 66% of those who participated, Tony Vlachos deserved to claim the title of Sole Survivor on the 40th season of the show that pitted past winners against one another.
However, 25% thought that Natalie Anderson deserved the $2 million prize — the biggest jackpot in the 20-year history of the CBS reality TV competition — after crushing it on the Edge of Extinction and then propelling herself back into the game and facing the jury.
Meanwhile, just 5% thought underdog Michele Fitzgerald was a worthier victor and 3% thought Sarah Lacina should have made it to the end. And despite earning the unofficial title of queen slayer after blindsiding the first-ever double winner of the game by using Sandra Diaz-Twine‘s own immunity idol against her, Denise Stapley only got 1% of the support.
But among those piping up in on the comments section, many made a passionate case for Natalie to have won. Here are some examples of those on Team Natalie:
Katie Woo: “We have watched ‘Survivor’ since its first season. People who dominate others usually have a target on their backs, but everyone seemed to just step aside and let Tony roll over them. We were astonished at the lack of initiative against him when it was obvious he was running the show. We think Natalie was the real fighter and outlaster and strategizer. Still can’t understand why Tony encountered relatively little (not saying none) opposition. Oddly passive for ‘Survivor’ winners.”
Virginia Martin: “Natalie was the clear winner. Tony is a mooch who spied on people, not a genuine winner. But ‘Survivor’ seems biased against women despite all the protestations. Natalie won.”
Min Imal: “Natalie should have won. EOE conditions were awful — less food, terrible sleeping conditions, endless hours of boredom. She was not daunted by any of it. She outwitted, outlasted, and outplayed everyone on EOE and had a hand in playing the game from afar using the advantages she worked to find. She earned every fire token with determination and grit, she won the challenge to get back in the game, and she then came back from EOE to make every correct strategic move possible, including finding an idol and winning an immunity challenge. She did ALL of that on her own and without the solid ally Tony had in Sarah. I wish she had practiced fire and taken Tony out, but that was her only mistake and it was an understandable decision. How do you think Boston Rob and Wendell would have voted if it had been Tyson who got back in the game and did exactly what Natalie did? Would Rob have chided him for not going to fire against Tony? I’m going to say no.”
Tony Tyson: “All of the players on The Edge should have appreciated how hard Natalie’s journey was spending the entire duration on EOE, still doing gameplay , winning battle back comp, breaking up the final 4 alliance, finding another idol and winning final comp. That’s a CHAMP! I’m not a fan of EOE . It needs to go. Probst needs to be less of an influence at Tribal and not blow up someone’s game.”
But Tony collected the majority of kudos among those who expressed their opinions in writing. Here’s what Team Tony had to say:
Jp: “Tony orchestrated some of the biggest blindsides in ‘Survivor’ history and made it to the end with no votes cast against him. That takes skill.”
Barbara Schmitz: “The jury made their decision like it or not. It’s called Outwit & Outlast for a reason, and that’s what Tony did. Congrats Policeman Tony on a well-played game.”
Jackie Hartz: “TONY …even if Sarah was sitting in the final 3 …Tony should win….Never had his name put on paper…was always playing the game. He was right about who had idols…won challenges…He betrayed Sarah and she still didn’t put his name down when she had the chance…Anyone that climbs a tree and never once got caught…lol…deserves to win…Natalie still would be second even if Sarah was in the top 3…loved this season.”
Adam: “Tony all the way. EOE is not the same type of play. It was getting fire tokens but never with a doubt that it was for getting voted out. If EOE also had a competition that included getting voted out and Nat made to the final challenge to get back in the game, fine. She play a form of ‘Survivor’ rules. Getting three advantages to play in the finals does suit well. She would not have been in the final if she had to start at the beginning, considering the issue she had getting through the knots. Tony played excellent and was true to his Alliance. Remember, Ben told Sarah to vote him out to give her a stronger story if she was final three. She wasn’t and Ben voted Tony. Tony was right choice.”