As "Survivor" fans gear up for tonight's new "All-Star" episode, many are wondering how Jenna Morasca's stunning departure will affect the rest of the players.
Two former "Survivors" visited The Early Show to share their reactions to that twist, and their predictions about who will win this time around. Brian Heidik of "Survivor: Thailand" and Sandra Diaz-Twine of "Survivor: Pearl Islands" know what they're talking about, because they've already mastered the game.
Both Brian and Sandra are writing columns about "Survivor: All-Stars." Brian writes for The National Enquirer and Sandra writes for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Asked why they were not part of the "All-Star" game, Sandra tells The Early Show co-anchors Harry Smith and Julie Chen, "I received a phone call if I was interested. You know, that I still had to go through a screening process again. At the time, I was sick. I was losing my hair. I had gotten parasites. I wasn't sure whether it was from the water or maybe not cooking the fish thoroughly. And there were other factors as well: my children. And so I just had to take a step back. Although I hadn't won at the time, because it hadn't been shown on TV, the finale. At the same time, I said, you know what, I'll take the $100,000 and that's it - maybe in the future."
Brian says, "There are some of us who are available and some of us who aren't. Also, there was some monetary value I was discussing in some of my interviews. The only way I was going to do this again was I was going to get paid to play. I don't know if that came out, one way or another. But either way, I'm not out there right now; so all the best to them. Good luck. I love commentating and watching them struggle as I'm earning a dollar or two.
As for those who are playing, Brian says it is not such a good idea for Boston Rob and Amber to be so obviously romantically involved.
Brian, the former porn star, says, "First of all, how can you honestly be sexually horny or aroused out there? I don't see how you can be aroused out there, number one. Number two, huge mistake with regards to being involved in a relationship. I think you're put out into the open. I think you're now vulnerable. OK, this couple is together, let's get rid of them. They're an alliance. It's obvious. Get them out of there."
Sandra disagrees: "I don't see a problem with it. If they like each other, and if they're into each other then, hey, go for it. Have some good, nasty love." She even thinks their love connection is going to take them further, saying, "Someone is going to come and say let's separate these two and, you're out, for even coming in with that suggestion. No, I think it's good for the game and good for them."
Brian points out, "Any chance that you put yourself out in the limelight out there is a bad decision because you want to be low key."
But Sandra, who like Brian, won by playing under the radar, says, "Even low key, it only goes to a certain point. Although you try not to show whom your alliance is with, it eventually comes out to the light where you can't hide it from anyone."
As for the other players, Rupert seems to be losing his charisma after his tribe lost the shelter-building competition. "I'm a big fan of Rupert," Sandra says. "He's a good person, a provider. I don't know what he was thinking when he dug that hole. Had I been out there, I'm like, Rupert, no. We would have switched and did something else."
That decision is now is making him a big target. Brian notes, "Rupert is making a huge mistake, letting his emotions get involved in the game. You cannot let your emotions get involved, number one. Number two: he's lost the eye of the tiger. He's out there, where am I? I'm confused, building a shelter in the sand. The water is obviously going to come up. Bad decision-making.
Does that mean Richard Hatch, after fighting with the shark and overcoming, is playing the game right?
Brian says, "The problem with Richard is he is going out of his way to be noticed and also doing somewhat similar to what he did the first time around, which is get naked, play the game that way. He's being the exact same, not bringing something else to the table, which is surprising."
Richard's strategy is to let his status as the first Survivor winner work in his favor, Sandra notes. "He's thinking you would be a fool not to go with me to the final because I'm not going to win again," she says. "I think he'll get $100,000. But I say all the million dollar winners out the door. He won't win again. No, he needs to cover up."
Her prediction, "He will not win twice, that's for sure. He won't go too much further. Him and Ethan, their days are numbered."
The winner, according to Brian, will be Shii Ann. He says, "I think Shii Ann will do well because she learned from one of the best. She was on 'Survivor: Thailand.' I think she'll do wonderfully."
Sandra's pick is Rob Mariano. She says, "I love his mouth. He's hilarious. The stuff he says just cracks me up." But she notes, "Rupert is my favorite. Everyone will look to Rupert for assistance and help."
And as always, the person voted off the island in tonight's episode will join The Early Show on Friday. If you are in New York City, come to our plaza Friday and get a Survivor buff.
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