SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Survivor is a game about choices — often difficult ones. So it’s always fun to pose a dilemma or decision to the cast before the actual game starts. Back before Survivor: Ghost Island started I asked the players which offer they would take if they had to choose between getting a million dollars but being the first one voted out, or winning the game but getting no money — and the answers were definitely surprising.

When out on location in Fiji for Survivor: Edge of Extinction, I played another round of “Would You Rather” with the cast, but this time I tried to tap into the show’s evolution with the abundance of hidden immunity idols and advantages. So the question I posed was as follows. If you could have one of the following guaranteed, which would you take: four different advantages (but you don’t know what they are), three individual immunity wins (but you can’t pinpoint when exactly they will come), or two hidden immunity idols?

There are certainly arguments to be made for selecting each option, but it’s also a bit of a trick question. That’s because if you select three individual immunity wins, that means you’ve automatically made the merge, while the other options guarantee nothing. Which two players figured this out? And what option did the others take? (Also, for some odd reason, I didn’t ask Eric Hafemann this question, so I don’t have an answer from him. Sorry, Eric! We’ll just have to assume you would have said some charming and intelligent. Or talked about how much you want Aubry out. One of the two.) Plus, as a bonus, watch the video above to see which option host Jeff Probst selected.

Survivor 38
Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Aubry Bracco
I take the two hidden immunity idols, because — banking on the way I was able to read the game and where the idols were in the first game — I would love to be able to play those. I diffused the super idol that Scott and Jason had, but I would love to do that in a more aggressive way. I wouldn’t wanna take the immunity wins, because I would be afraid, at a certain point, that would make me a threat, and people would want me out at five or six. Those advantages, I think, sometimes, cause a little bit of overthinking, particularly in people of the slightly neurotic persuasion, like me. There’s nothing more I would love than to get an idol and pull a Wentworth and get an Andrew Savage out with nine votes, and save myself.

Chris Underwood
I would have to say the four advantages. Because you don’t have to win. Many, many players have won without individual immunity. Many players have won without idols. But advantages, now that’s something that can change the game. You’re talking about an extra vote. You’re talking about stealing someone’s vote. Even if you go down at the end of the game, the long stretch, if one advantage puts you way ahead in an immunity challenge, at the end of the game, that’s much better than just having another immunity challenge at the beginning of the merge, right? Look at Cochran. Cochran was a great player, great strategist, but those advantages helped him win. I mean, it was pretty clear those two that he won would be — the pole you took your hands off, and then not having to untie the knots — those things are huge down the stretch. So I’d say advantages.

Gavin Whitson
I am gonna take the two idols because you know that’s there. You don’t know what the advantages are gonna be, how Jacob’s advantage worked out on Ghost Island — that really helped him. [Laughs] But I’m gonna use the two hidden immunity idols, and if someone does have a nullifier, then bless them, congratulations. But I think I’m not gonna take the three individual immunity wins because hopefully I can pull that off on my own and that’s why I’m gonna go with the two hidden idols. I wanna make some big moves with those.

Wendy Diaz
I would probably pick the three challenge wins. Because if you win the challenges, that’s something to put on your résumé towards the end. You’re athletic, you got three. Also, it’s easier to play something when you know that the heat isn’t on you. It’s easier to play the cards. So let’s say you want to manipulate the whole tribe, it’s harder to do that when your head is on the chopping block. If everybody knows that you’re immune, you are basically calling the shots and if I get to do that for three Tribal Councils, that’s part of my résumé and I can put myself where I want to on the game.

Rick Devens
My self-preservation says that the three immunity wins are three weeks, but the game’s developed so much, I’m going to go with the four advantages. Just because you can’t win the game — and win the respect of the jury and get there — without making big crazy moves. Every Tribal Council now is like the best Tribal Council you’ve ever seen. So I think the four advantages just to keep people on their toes.

Aurora McCreary
I think I’d pick the four advantages. As much as I don’t like that they’re not concrete and they’re not a guarantee, they’re something that I know can help me and I have enough confidence in my ability to be smart as well as my physical ability that if you give me an in, I’ll seal the deal.

Dan “The Wardog” DaSilva
if I felt my social game was really strong and I vibed from day one, then I would say I want to find two idols because I got people watching my back and know when to play ’em. If I feel like I’m kind of down in the numbers, then I’ll take the three immunity necklaces because they last longer for three votes. But, to be honest, I think I’d go with the four advantages, even if the advantage is not as strong, because I can sell that at the final Tribal Council. I can say I actually used them and I went four for four here, so yeah, I was given it, but I executed it every single time, and that’s why I’m here because other people could have had the same advantages in seasons past or this season and failed. So at the end of the day I trust myself as a player to give me the four advantages, and I’ll make them work the best for me.

Lauren O’Connell
Okay, don’t pick the first one. Sometimes the advantages aren’t that advantageous I feel like. I think I pick the three individual immunities. I think that there’s a type of peace that comes with knowing I won this, I deserve it, and I don’t have to worry if people are voting for me or not. And as much I think hidden immunity idols are incredible, I think that I would lose a lot less sleep over the fact that I know that I’m not getting voted out tonight.

David Wright
You know what? I’m a bit of a gambler. Let’s go with four advantages. And, by the way, sometimes they end up being disadvantages, but I think that if I’ve got four of them, no one needs to know that I have all four. I can read them all. I can see the ones I like, the ones I don’t like, and give away the ones I don’t like to build trust with people that I want to align myself with. By the way, four, it just sounds like a really great number.

Julia Carter
I think I would go with the two hidden immunity idols. The reason for that is because the individual immunity wins — they’d be great obviously if you get to immunity. And I have no doubt I’d get there, but at that point, they’re going to be looking to take out more physical threats. So I’m just going to fly under the radar so I won’t really need those as much. The four advantages, historically the advantages have just been where hidden immunity idols are, or something — maybe an extra vote would be helpful. But I just think two hidden immunity idols can get you really far. Look at Jeremy. So if you know how to play them right, and work it out so that your strategy lines up in your favor, then two hidden immunity idols could be very, very dangerous and could get you all the way to the end. So I’ll take that.

Keith Sowell
Dang. I would pick… the two hidden immunity idols. I think I’m going to do good at challenges and I would love the immunity challenges, but at the same time I’ve seen people who won so many challenges like Chrissy that would still go to the end and lose. But if you’re able to pull off a good blindside or a big move with the idol, people tend to respect that more, so that could help you in the end.

Kelley Wentworth
Oh, wow, that’s tough. Well, you know I love my idols, so I think I’ve got to go with idols just because the power doesn’t change, it’s the same. With the advantages, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Some advantages you can only use at a certain time. What if I need it a different time? Whereas the idol just a lot of power and you can do a lot with it. So, I’m going with the two idols.

Reem Daly
Alright, so I’m just going to break down what you just said. Two immunity idols can only really get you so far, right? You just said three individual immunities. That means I made it to the merge, and I’ve got three individual immunities. I’ll take that, because I want to make it to the merge and then I want those three individual immunities. Because everything else can happen before that.

Joe Anglim
I mean man, obviously it would depend on what the advantage were, but you don’t know. I think I would take the gamble of the advantages, because you get four of them. Assuming that they’re either clues or the power that all of those can potentially feel like they are going to be influential to a degree, so I think I would take that. I would be confident to get my immunity wins without having to get the immunity wins. Then you can always find an idol hopefully if you know where to look, and how to stay active with your ability to observe and scout and dig and bury.

Victoria Baamonde
I would take the two idols, because the three individual immunity wins would be awesome — just as a personal goal, I definitely want to be able to win something to say that I did it — but it also only saves you for that one vote. Everyone knows you’re safe and it’s just for that moment. That’s not super-helpful all the time. You might not have even needed it in that moment. Four advantages, it really would depend on what they are. I wouldn’t really consider myself a huge gambler, I like to know what I’m dealing with. Sometimes I feel like the advantages, more than anything, are misplayed. The steal a vote or use an extra vote — I don’t know that almost anyone’s ever used it successfully. All the ones I can remember, they did it really poorly.

I just feel like the hidden immunity idols are something you can keep to yourself. Also, I feel like advantages almost always happen publicly. When you’re given an advantage, everyone knows you’ve gotten an advantage. They don’t know what it is, but you hardly ever get an advantage in secret. Hidden immunity idol, you can keep a secret. No one has to know you have it, and you can keep it in your back pocket to use it when you need it.

Julie Rosenberg
Okay, so I’m definitely going to win immunity challenges so I’m going for the two hidden idols. Because I feel like they’re the most valuable out of anything else. I’ve seen the advantages, the extra vote, steal a vote — they never seem to do anything. I just feel like having two hidden idols, to be able to use at your disposal, that’s pretty helpful.

Ron Clark
Any fan of the game will tell you it’s an easy question to answer. It’s three individual immunity wins, because that means that you made it to the merge. That means that you at least made it to probably seven because you had to get there to win three, so three individual immunities. Plus, if I did that, that would be pretty awesome. If I’d win one more, I’d be in the top 20 of individual immunity idol winners in history. Then five, I’d tie for the championship, so that’s what I want.

Listen to our on-location press roundtable cast assessment below, and for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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