Survivor - Season 31 [Extra Quality]
It is the tenth season to feature returning players, and the third to feature a cast consisting entirely of returning players, after Survivor: All-Stars and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Though this season was the 31st to air, it was the 32nd to film, after the subsequently-aired Survivor: Kaôh Rōng; the two seasons were filmed back-to-back in the same location.
Survivor - Season 31
This season featured several new alterations to the game format. Hidden immunity idols, typically hidden either at tribal camps or Exile Island, were hidden this season at immunity challenges before the merge. Additionally, this season marked the first time the number of regular tribes increased over the course of a season (in this case, from two to three), and the first time the tribes merged with 13 players remaining. It also introduced the vote stealer, in which one player could prohibit another from voting and cast a second ballot in their stead.
According to host and executive producer Jeff Probst, 75 former contestants were initially considered regarding on returning for this season. On Twitter and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Probst revealed that Greg Buis from Survivor: Borneo, Ian Rosenberger from Survivor: Palau, Shannon "Shambo" Waters from Survivor: Samoa, Roberta "R.C." Saint-Amour and Jeff Kent from Survivor: Philippines were contacted to return but all of them declined the offers. Josh Canfield, Reed Kelly, and Jon Misch from Survivor: San Juan del Sur were all contacted, however Canfield and Kelly's Broadway contracts prevented them from being able to play, and Misch missed the call.
The vote was conducted on the CBS website, and was open to residents of the U.S., Canada (where the show is simulcast on Global), and Australia (where the show airs the following day on Go!). On the website, each candidate was featured in a video displaying a series of clips from their original season followed by a plea to voters as to why they should be selected for Cambodia. Registered voters were required to submit ballots of exactly ten men and ten women, and each voter could only submit a ballot once every 24 hours. This public voting process was similar to one CBS used in 2006 for the first all-star edition of reality program Big Brother.
Voting commenced on May 6, 2015, while the Worlds Apart season of Survivor was still in progress. The ballot consisted entirely of players who had played only once before and had not won; however, two of the candidates from Worlds Apart (Mike Holloway and Carolyn Rivera) had not yet been eliminated from that season when voting began; if either of them were revealed to be that season's winner, they would be deemed ineligible for Cambodia and, if they were among the top ten vote receivers of their gender, their spot would be given to the person on their ballot with the 11th highest vote total. Holloway won Worlds Apart and per Jeff Probst's announcement had finished in the top 10 among male candidates, so the 11th place male candidate joined the cast instead. Probst has since stated that, out of respect for the contestants, there is no intention to reveal the final vote counts or ranks.
Host Jeff Probst visited the Ta Keo camp to inform Terry that his son Danny had been hospitalized, and Terry was subsequently pulled from the game to be with his family. The next morning, the tribes were shuffled again: the new Bayon tribe was composed of Jeremy, Joe, Keith, Kelley Wentworth, Kimmi, Stephen, and Tasha, while Abi-Maria, Andrew, Ciera, Kass, Kelly Wiglesworth, Spencer, and Woo formed the new Ta Keo tribe. Kass and Spencer, nemeses on their original season, were reunited, and Wentworth found herself the sole original Ta Keo tribemate with six original Bayon members.
To secure the majority, Kass attempted to strategize with Tasha, but Tasha lied to her about the Bayon alliance as vengeance for Kass betraying her in their original season. Kass caught on to Tasha's deception, and tried to patch things up the next morning. Tasha admitted that she did not trust Kass, and the two discussed their feud in front of the rest of the tribe. Ciera then lied to Jeremy and Joe, telling them that Andrew and Woo had discussed getting rid of them.
"This week's very satisfying finale included one of the show's greatest Tribal Councils and barely took a breath in the rush to the finish. Three different players won immunity, tears were shed, and no one backed down. There were no horrible gaffes at the Final Tribal Council, and the jury mostly avoided the bitter route. Kimmi emerged from a quiet edit to nearly dethrone the champ while Keith remained his unique self. Spencer and Tasha made a strategic error by sticking with Jeremy, but both showed real determination throughout the season to make the end. To put it mildly, I enjoyed this season."
Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly ranked Cambodia as his sixth-favorite season, only behind Borneo, Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, and David vs. Goliath. He stated that despite some confusion with the season's constantly-shifting "voting blocs" and his disappointment with some of the challenges, he found the season appealing due to "how hard the bulk of the cast was playing," while also praising the numerous twists such as the fan-vote, the idols hidden in challenges, the tribe swaps, and the vote-stealing advantage. Caroline Framke of Vox raved the season, saying "The high level of game play in Survivor: Second Chance made a 15-year-old formula feel new again." In 2020, "Purple Rock Podcast" ranked this season 4th out of 40 saying that "the cast is an obvious strength. The gameplay is great as well, with ever-shifting strategies as players jostle for position to make the most of their second shot at the game." Later that same year, Inside Survivor ranked this season 16th out of 40 saying that "what really makes a season is the cast. And best believe this cast plays hard. Voting blocs, alliances, immunity idols, and vote steals, no obstacle is too great for these players who have everything to prove to their fans and themselves." In 2021, Rob Has a Podcast ranked Cambodia 9th during their Survivor All-Time Top 40 Rankings podcast.
On December 15, the day before the live reunion show, one of the season's castaways, Vytas Baskauskas, announced on Twitter that he had been banned from participating in the reunion, simply for leaving Cambodia early following his elimination. Baskauskas was the first person voted out of the game, but rather than remain sequestered from the public for the duration of filming, per the show's protocol, he chose to return to the United States early to be with his infant son. According to Inquisitr, when fans of Survivor read about his ban, many of them were irate that he was being excluded from the reunion show. However, one fan in particular claimed that Baskauskas had committed breach of contract with CBS, by making a post on Instagram during the time period in which the season was filming, thus revealing that he was indeed out of the game at the time and, therefore, potentially spoiling part of the outcome of the season.
The season became highly regarded for its unprecedented degree of strategic gameplay, with long-term allegiances being largely eschewed as each player made the most of their second chance. The season also saw the first elimination by consensus when Kimmi Kappenberg was eliminated on Day 36. After 39 days of high-octane gameplay which also saw one evacuation, Jeremy Collins won the title of Sole Survivor in the series' fourth unanimous jury vote, defeating Spencer Bledsoe and Tasha Fox in a 10-0-0 vote. To date, it has produced five returning players (Ciera Eastin, Jeff Varner, Jeremy Collins, Joe Anglim, and Kelley Wentworth) for subsequent seasons.
On May 6, 2015, an announcement was made that for the first time in Survivor history, fans had the ability to vote for and assemble the cast for the next season. Through social media, fans voted for ten men and ten women from a pool of 32 former castaways, each of whom had played only once. Voting ended one hour into the Survivor: Worlds Apart finale, where all of the nominees were present at the Reunion Show with their luggage already prepared for filming.
The final roster of 20 was revealed at the end of the show, and were flown to Cambodia immediately afterward. It should be noted that this season was 32nd to be produced, but the first to be aired, while the 31st season to be produced, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, was pushed back and slated as the 32nd season to air.
According to Jeff Probst, some of the former players who declined the chance to come back to this season were Greg Buis from Survivor: Borneo, Elisabeth Filarski from Survivor: The Australian Outback, Ian Rosenberger from Survivor: Palau, Shambo Waters from Survivor: Samoa, and Jeff Kent and RC Saint-Amour from Survivor: Philippines. Josh Canfield of Survivor: San Juan del Sur confirmed on his Twitter he was approached to return, but he had to decline because his Broadway contract wouldn't allow him to leave. Jaclyn Schultz revealed on her Twitter account that her fiancé Jon Misch (also of San Juan del Sur) missed the call and opportunity to compete in Cambodia.
Immediately following the Survivor: Worlds Apart episode "Holding On for Dear Life", a shortlist of 32 candidates, all one-time, non-winner contestants, was posted on CBS.com. Contestants were nominated from across 16 seasons, ranging from the first installment, Survivor: Borneo, to the most recent, Survivor: Worlds Apart. Fans were allowed to vote starting from the end of the said episode until the Worlds Apart finale. 041b061a72