Survivor fans are eagerly awaiting season 41, but in the meantime many of us are rewatching past seasons. The show has changed so much over the years and it is full of amazing moments. From brutal challenges to shocking blindsides, Survivor keeps fans entertained!
Here is the scoop on the top 10 craziest moments in Survivor history!
There are spoilers ahead!
10. J’Tia Dumps The Rice
In Survivor: Cagayan, the three tribes are Brain, Brawn, and Beauty. Unfortunately, the Brain tribe does not live up to their name. In challenges, the dysfunctional tribe lacks communication and team unity, so they repeatedly go to tribal councils.
After J’Tia’s poor challenge performance, the rest of the tribe talks strategy, leaving her alone in the shelter. J’Tia, believing that she would be the next vote out, dumps most of the tribe’s rice supply on the fire.
In her confessional, J’Tia laughs saying, “This is what happens when you leave crazy people alone.”
9. Christian’s Monologue
Fans will remember one of the show’s more recent iconic instances from Survivor: David vs. Goliath. During the immunity challenge “Uncomfortable Numb” players perch on a small foothold and hold on to a bar behind their heads.
After 2.5 hours, the final two castaways fighting for immunity were Christian Hubicki and Alec Merlino. While Alec is the greater physical threat and was desperate for immunity, Christian’s mental strategy earned him victory.
Christian simply began talking. He monologued for several hours to help keep focus until Alec was too irritated and exhausted to continue. Alec stepped off the perch and Christian won individual immunity!
8. Every Medical Evacuation
There are too many crazy medical situations on Survivor to just pick one! Some of the more memorable medical evacuations include Michael Skupin from Survivor: The Australian Outback. Skupin was tending to the tribes fire, inhaled smoke, and fainted into the fire resulting in severe burns that got him medically evacuated. Also, in Survivor: Samoa Russel Swan fainted during a challenge, and was pulled from the game due to his extremely low blood pressure.
Perhaps the most emotional and scary medical evacuation in Survivor history is that of Caleb Reynolds in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. After a long and physical challenge in the sun, Caleb collapsed from heat stroke. The medical team tried to lower his body temperature, but Caleb was too overheated. He was evacuated from the game.
Castaways Debbie Wanner and Cydney Gillon also collapsed at this challenge, but they were treated and stable enough to remain in the game. Thankfully, Caleb Reynolds returns to play again in Survivor: Game Changers.
So while there are many aspects of Survivor gameplay that are unlike any real-world problems, medical emergencies are the biggest reality checks the players receive.
7. James Goes Home With Two Idols
James Clement is one of Survivor’s most lovable players. He is handsome, funny, and also hardworking. Unfortunately, he is also known for making one of the biggest mistakes in the game.
In Survivor: China James had not just one, but two hidden immunity idols in his possession. Feeling safe in the majority alliance, James never felt the need to play either of his idols. Seeing that James was a huge physical and social threat in the game, his alliance blindsided him and he went home still in possession of both immunity idols.
6. Erik Gives Away Immunity
Erik Reichenbach won individual immunity in Survivor: Micronesia, guaranteeing him a spot in the final four. However, Cirie Fields and Natalie Bolton convince Erik that giving Natalie his immunity necklace will earn him jury votes in the finale tribal council.
So believing that he would be safe, Erik gives Natalie his immunity necklace, uttering the phrase that has haunted him ever since: “I want to give individual immunity to Natalie.” Without immunity to keep Erik safe, the remaining players immediately blindside him.
Even jury member James Clement, from number 7 on this list, said “I’ve lost my reign as the dumbest Survivor ever.”
5. Cirie Leaves With No Votes
Survivor: Game Changers absolutely lives up to the name! In one of the game’s most legendary tribal councils, fan-favorite Cirie Fields is eliminated simply by default.
After all other players either have individual immunity, play hidden immunity idols, or the legacy advantage, Jeff Probst explains that the votes in the urn do not matter because the only player who can receive votes is Cirie. Probst adds, “And for what it’s worth, not a single vote in here has your name on it.
Jeff further explains the historical significance of this tribal saying, “Most idols played at a tribal: 3. Most people ever safe at a tribal: 5. And the most significant and devastating part of tonight’s history making tribal for you Cirie, is you become the first person in 34 seasons to be voted out simply because there literally is no other choice!”
A Survivor legend left the game making history, and fans are still not over it!
4. Brandon Hantz Impromptu Tribal
In Survivor: Caramoan, the tribes are Fans vs. Favorites. Among the favorite returning players were Brandon Hantz, nephew of Survivor villain Russell Hantz, and Phillip Sheppard. Brandon and Phillip’s strong personalities lead to disagreements within the tribe, and ultimately an outburst from Brandon where he dumped the tribes rice on the ground.
At the next immunity challenge, the Favorites tribe opted to forfeit so that they could attend tribal council. Brandon and Phillip argue more and Brandon becomes really aggressive. Jeff Probst separates Brandon from the other players and announces that they will be having tribal council there at the challenge.
After tense arguing and an emotional tribal, the Favorites tribe votes out Brandon.
3. J.T. Gives Away Immunity Idol
J.T. Thomas is a fan-favorite and the winner of Survivor: Tocantins. He returned as a hero in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains where he made a legendary mistake.
J.T. believes that he and the Heroes can work with Villain Russell Hantz after the merge. So, before the merge, thinking that the Villains are planning vote out Russel, J.T. gives his immunity idol to Hantz. Living up to their reputation, the Villains tribe take J.T.’s idol and instead use it to blindside him right after the merge.
While many Survivor fans love J.T. there is no denying that he made a huge mistake. Villain Parvati Shallow summed up J.T.’s decision jokinh, “J.T. gave Russell his heart today, and Russell is just going to stab it a million times.”
2. Jeff Varner Outs Zeke Smith
Survivor: Game Changers is one of the most memorable seasons for many reasons, although not all of them are good. One of the show’s most shocking and controversial moments involves Jeff Varner revealing to the other players, as well as all Survivor viewers, that Zeke Smith is transgender.
Going into tribal council Jeff Varner knew he was in danger. In a desperate and illogical attempt to remove the target from himself, Varner reveals a secret. Saying, “There is deception here. Deception on levels, Jeff [Probst] , that these guys don’t even understand.” Varner then turns to Zeke Smith and asks, “Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?”
After a few seconds pause in disbelief, tribal council erupts as players jump to Zeke’s defense, and explain to Varner that he has no right bringing Zeke’s personal life into the game. The remaining tribal council is long and emotional, but Zeke handles the entire situation with grace.
It is no surprise when Jeff Varner is voted out of the game.
1. Jonny Fairplay’s Dead Grandma
Who else can top this list but the infamous Jonny Fairplay? During a Survivor: Pearl Islands reward challenge to win time with a loved one, Jon’s friend Dan gave him some upsetting news. Fairplay asks, “How’s Grandma?” to which Dan replies, “She died, dude.” After Jeff Probst asks about the conversation, Jon explains that his grandmother has passed away and that he hopes to win the reward challenge to get more information from Dan.
The other castaways show their sympathy by letting Jon win the reward, which lets Jon and Dan spend the day at camp alone. Viewers then watch emotional confessionals from the other contestants, expressing their sympathy for Jon. Then, the cameras cut back to Jon and Dan on the beach where Jon says, “That was a brilliant performance, sir.”
According to Dan, “Jon called me before he left and was like ‘I’ve got to have any sort of leverage I possibly can.'” So in order to gain sympathy in the game Jon said, “If you come down here, tell me my grandma died.”
Fans will remember one of the show’s most iconic lines when Jonny Fairplay says, “My grandmother’s sitting home watching Jerry Springer right now.” Whether you hate him or love him, Jonny Fairplay gave us one of the craziest moments in Survivor history!
Now it’s time to rewatch your favorite moments! Cuddle up on the couch with a Survivor blanket, your favorite drink or a glass of wine, your favorite Survivor top and some cozy socks, and start watching!