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Dolly Had A Big Mouth

This analysis of "Survivor: Vanuatu"'s latest episode is by columnist Greg Feltes of CBS station WBBM in Chicago, who offers weekly commentary on the popular reality TV show.

Here's why Dolly Neely is the second to be booted from "Survivor: Vanuatu": She announced her intentions publicly.

There is nothing wrong with straddling the fence. In fact, it's smart play, especially early on in the game. However, it is pure idiocy to tell your competitors exactly where you stand so cavalierly. Doing so allows your opponents to plan for every possible scenario and adapt to any possible mood shifts that become apparent before tribal council.

Announcing your status also reeks of arrogance, which young people don't wear particularly well in a game for a million dollars.

She also didn't make a decision soon enough. Again, there is nothing wrong with straddling the fence. However, you can only do so for so long before people start panicking. It looked as if Dolly hadn't locked her decision in until just before tribal council, which is a tragic mistake. If she could have made her decision even a few more hours earlier, she could have used the remaining time to reassure her alliance that she was with them.

You can't please everyone in this game. Your goal should be to please as many people as possible before you cut their throats.

She made some incorrect assumptions. It probably never crossed Dolly's mind that Eliza would talk with Leann and vice versa. This proved fatal as this unexpected communication got Eliza thinking about her own safety instead of the security of her alliance.

She made plans to get rid of a member and alliance several days before it would be necessary.

This was a classic case of counting chickens before they hatched. Things change so quickly in this game; long-term planning is always something that should be in the back of your mind, but it shouldn't control your immediate actions. There was no need for Dolly to articulate the idea of getting rid of Eliza when she had several available targets that were outside of her alliance ready to be picked off.

For example, Richard Hatch took out the entire opposing tribe in season one before he even considered voting out Sean and Kelly.

Tribe Analysis, Lopevi:

  • Brady, 33 -
It was quite odd that he was so out of the loop with both alliances last tribal council. This lack of communication or execution has yet to be explained. Was it a message or misdirection vote? Is he with the youngsters or the elders?

It seems he is with the youngsters, as Chad, Chris, Lea, Rory and Travis look rock solid. It is highly unlikely that he can pick off two of them to join him, John K. and John P. in an alliance. His best bet is to try and become the sixth wheel in the hopes that there is an early merge or mix-up.

  • John K., 22 - He is the youngest member of a tribe that places a premium on maturity and experience. Do you think that means trouble?

    John K. needs to perform exceptionally well at challenges to stick around. The worst possible thing he could do is work with Brady and the other John. He needs to cut ties with that failed alliance and suck up like never before.

  • John P, 31- He was far too confrontational when he asked Travis about his status. Never ask a question in this game if you are unwilling to hear the answer and respect it. Even worse, John acted outraged when Travis talked about playing for his children, which is an honorable and understandable motivation. I think he goes before John K. or Brady.
  • Chad, 35 - Chad is at a disadvantage because every one of his action is under a gigantic microscope. Falling a couple of times during a reward challenge is no big deal for most players. However, with his prostheses, Chad is not most players. Small stuff like that can plant seeds in the backs of the minds of his fellow tribe mates.

    However, he is a member of a core group of five that shares a strong bond, which will carry him until a merge or tribal mix-up occurs.

  • Chris, 33 - It was a quiet week for Chris, which is a good thing, considering how poorly he performed last week. His attitude is his strongest asset and he should go far if there are no twists on the horizon.
  • Lea, 40 - He is too old and too loud for his own good, but he should be a rock for his tribe over the next several days.
  • Rory, 35 - He is still acting erratic. His rant about Yasur's victory celebration was ill-timed and unnecessary. Rory is easily the weakest link in the alliance of five. He needs to calm down and think before he speaks or he could soon talk himself out of an alliance.
  • Travis, 33 - The fact that John P. approached the Big Tom doppelganger shows how powerful Travis has become in a short period of time. He is obviously trusted and respected, which could make him a target down the line, but he can coast for the time being.
    Tribe Analysis, Yasur:

    • Eliza, 21 -
    Her switch was gutsy, but was it smart?

    Impulsive action is rarely rewarded in this game. Eliza was insecure and simultaneously ensured and endangered her survival by picking the devil she knows over the devil she doesn't.

    The older woman should be grateful for her vote and keep her around for a while. However, they will never fully trust her.

  • Ami, 31 - We didn't really see Ami this week. It was smart of her to align with the older crowd despite the fact that she is younger than all of her other alliance members.
  • Julie, 23 - Julie will soon become victim to Dolly's poor game play. She relied too much on a person who clearly wasn't mentally equipped for the game. There is little hope for her now other than a tribal mix-up.
  • Leann, 35 - Leann didn't really do anything to cause herself to be targeted and that has to be frustrating. However, she didn't panic and she didn't beg. Instead, she very calmly discussed what was going on with Eliza and turned the tide.

    As a member of a strong alliance, she should be fine for the time being.

  • Lisa, 44 - Lisa really bet on the wrong horse when she sided with girls who are considerably younger than she is. It was a losing proposition to begin with. Even if Delta Delta Yasur controlled the game, its oldest member would likely be the first to go when it got down to the final five. She needs to throw Julie and Mia under the bus as soon as they get back to camp or she will join them in being picked off.
  • Mia, 30 - Dolly wasn't exactly Richard Hatch and that should have been evident to Mia. However, it wasn't and now she will suffer the same fate as Julie. It's critical to deflect attention onto Julie as soon as the shock wears off.
  • Scout, 59 - Scout screwed up big time during the immunity challenge when she completely missed the final piece in the water. This caused the loss, but much like Chris' last week, she didn't panic and she didn't fall over herself to apologize again and again.

    Scout also has acted as a mother to many of the younger tribe mates. And who wants to vote out Mom? This status is likely why Scout's name never came up as the young people plotted their votes

  • Twila, 41 - She has become the workhorse of her tribe, which made it very difficult for the younger gals to justify voting her out. Twila's effort made Dolly alter her target, which really is what ignited Eliza's suspicions. Twila can now breathe easy for a while as the other alliance has collapsed because of Dolly's indecision and Eliza's paranoia.

    The question now becomes: Can Twila relate to and work with Mia and Julie if the tribes are jumbled and she is separated from her alliance of elders?

    Predictions for next week:

    There should be quite the fallout from Eliza's betrayal of Delta Delta Yasur. Mia looked particularly shocked and angry, which isn't a good state of mind in this game. She should go next week if the women fall apart. If Lopevi suffers a loss, I think John P's behavior puts him in danger.

    My current ultimate Survivor pick:

    Travis. He looks to have power without the arrogance that usually comes with it. His strong alliance makes him a surefire bet to make it to the merge unless something completely game-changing happens.

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