Before ”Survivor: Nicaragua” crowned its winner, we ranked each triumphant player of the past based on how well they performed in their winning season — from least impressive to the ultimate big-time player
20. Natalie White Season: Samoa One of the nicest people you'll ever meet, but she had no business winning. People that try to argue she deserved it over Russell are delusional.
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19. Amber Brkich Season: All-Stars She won only because the jury was too bitter to award the million to the person who actually played the best: her now-husband, Boston Rob.
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18. Aras Baskauskas Season: Panama: Exile Island Was overshadowed all season by Terry Dietz, who was undone by a final challenge that may have been inadvertently rigged against him.
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17. Vecepia Towery Season: Marquesas I suppose it could have been worse if Neleh won, but not by much.
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16. Sandra Diaz-Twine Season: Heroes vs Villains She did not play an awful game by any means (although she was downright laughable in challenges), but Parvati and Russell played so much better.
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15. Bob Crowley Season: Gabon Admit it, if I just said the words "Bob Crowley" your first reaction would be "Who?" Your second reaction: "Ehhhhhhhhh?"
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14. Sandra Diaz-Twine Season: Pearl Islands I probably should put her higher, just for the sole fact that she prevented someone who had already been kicked out of the game (Outcast scout leader Lil) from winning.
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13. Jenna Morasca Season: The Amazon She was Parvati before Parvati, using the social flirting game to her advantage. I love her like a sister, and have found her transformation from Playboy party girl to socially conscious creature amazing — but this is as high as she gets.
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12. Ethan Zohn Season: Africa If this was a list of Survivor winners I most respect and admire as people, he'd be #1, but I still wish my main man E had come through stronger in the final endurance challenge.
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11. Danni Boatwright Season: Guatemala She was in the minority alliance but flipped the script and then won when it mattered.
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10. Earl Cole Season: Fiji An awful season, but he controlled the game from start to finish, and was clearly the dominant person out there.
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9. Brian Heidik Season: Thailand An awful season, but he controlled the game from start to finish, and was clearly the dominant person out there. (Déjà vu!)
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8. Chris Daughetry Season: Vanuatu Was the last man standing against an all-female alliance, but got some ladies to flip and rode the wave to victory.
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7. Tina Wesson Season: The Australian Outback Her best move was getting close enough to Colby so that he would make the ultimate mistake of bringing her to the finals to beat him.
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6. Todd Herzog Season: China He got a bit paranoid and scattered in the middle of the game, but his final Tribal Council performance was a work of absolute beauty.
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5. Yul Kwon Season: Cook Islands One of the smartest players ever, he leveraged his possession of the hidden immunity idol to get Jonathan Penner to flip, putting the numbers back on his side.
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4. J.T. Thomas Season: Tocantins It will be a long time before he lives down his infamous letter in Heroes vs Villains, but never has a cast been as awestruck and in love with someone as the Tocantins folks were with J.T.
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3. Parvati Shallow Season: Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites The most frightening thing about this is that as amazing as she was in Micronesia, she was even better (in defeat) in Heroes vs Villains.
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2. Tom Westman Season: Palau He dominated his season socially, strategically, and physically like no other. Was there ever any doubt at any point during the season that he would win?
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1. Richard Hatch Season: Borneo The guy who taught everyone else how to play the game. While everyone else was there to live in the wild, he was there to win. And when the snake finally devoured the rat, Richard Hatch became a reality icon.