In 2015, Survivor did the unthinkable. They let America decide the cast for the next season of the show. During what was one of the most exciting times to be a fan of the show, CBS compiled a pool of 32 potential castaways (16 men, 16 women) and encouraged viewers to vote on who they wanted to see for Survivor: Second Chance!
The catch was that every eligible contestant met two criteria: they had only played the game once (sorry, Rupert!) and had never won (sorry, Sandra! x2) Out of the 32 potential Survivors vying for a second chance, the top 20 were selected to give it another shot.
It has been almost ten seasons since Survivor: Second Chance and we think it might be time for another. We have selected 20 one-time, non-winner players that we would love to see on the ballot for Second Chance 2. And while we are at it, Jeff, maybe don’t focus in on contestants as their dreams are crushed this time around?
Here are the Top 10 Survivor Men Who Deserve a Second Chance!
10. Josh Canfield
Season: San Juan Del Sur (29)
Early on in Survivor: San Juan Del Sur, fans pegged two players as potential winners: Jeremy and Josh. It came as a surprise when both men were taken out of the game, back to back, right as the jury phase began.
Josh had a solid handle on things in the first half of the game. He controlled the first few vote-offs of the season, before the swap. He also used his strong social game to build bonds that would take him to the merge. Once there, he was blindsided by his in-game rival, Jeremy, and his alliance.
In the first half of San Juan Del Sur, Josh showed a lot of promise. He naturally fit in with just about everyone. He had strong ties to both men and women, but was unfortunately pitted against Jeremy, who had similar strengths. Jeremy ultimately came out on top that season.
Well, for that vote, anyway. Getting rid of the biggest threat in the game meant that Jeremy would take his spot as the most enticing target. Jeremy’s success was short-lived, as he was immediately voted out after Josh. But if Jeremy could come back and win the game, is it possible that Josh could come back on Survivor: Second Chance and do the same? We like to think so!
9. John Carroll
Season: Marquesas (4)
John was in a similar position as Josh was during his time on Survivor: Marquesas. John was well connected and seemed destined to go far. His alliance had dominated the early part of the game and it looked inevitable that one of the Rotu Four would be declared Sole Survivor. That is, until one fateful day.
During the final nine immunity challenge, John and his three alliance mates were feeling unstoppable. They had just voted off one of their biggest threats (soon to be Survivor legend, Boston Rob) and were feeling extra cocky. This arrogance would prove to be their downfall.
The challenge required contestants to answer questions and for every right answer, they would target a different castaway for elimination from the challenge. After three strikes, that contestant would be out with no chance at immunity. The Rotu Four made their targets very obvious by the order in which they eliminated the others. The outsiders realized this, banded together, and blindsided the head of the snake: John.
Before letting his confidence get the best of him, John had a nice handle on the game. With an eye for strategy and a strong alliance, John seemed poised to win the game. Of course, it was not meant to be. He was playing a modern style of game even back in season four and that is reason enough to want to see what he could do now. Would he be able to correct past mistakes if given a second chance?
8. Hayden Moss
Season: Blood vs Water (27)
Coming into Blood vs Water, Hayden had already found success on CBS reality shows. Just three years prior, he won the 12th season of Big Brother. Since the finale, Hayden started dating Survivor: One World contestant, Kat Edorrson. This was perfect timing, as Survivor had an all new twist for its 27th season.
Ten former players would be competing against their loved ones for the million dollar prize. Kat and Hayden were chosen to join the cast, thus making Hayden the first Big Brother contestant to crossover to the island. Despite Kat getting voted off early, Hayden had a great run throughout the season.
Showing his social chops once again, he formed several alliances early on that took him to the merge. Though down in numbers, Hayden continued to fight his way to the end, as well as he could.
In the single most impressive move of the season, Hayden convinced Ciera to flip on her alliance at tribal council, forcing a tie. It was an incredible act of persuasion but unfortunately, the subsequent rock draw did not go in his favor. If it had, it is possible that Hayden would have won. In a Second Chance season, Hayden could very well be the Sole Survivor.
7. Jamal Shipman
Season: Island of the Idols (39)
There are quite a few people from Island of the Idols who deserve a second chance. Beyond being likable people and strong players, they were a part of a season with a dark cloud looming over it through no fault of their own. One of these people is Jamal Shipman.
Jamal was a constant bright spot on the season. He was more willing to have difficult conversations than just about any other contestant in all forty seasons. This made for some compelling character moments that helped to educate but also further our understanding of the players as people.
Jamal was willing to share his own experiences, as well as listen to others. This made his social game really pop on the island, despite being in the minority alliance early on. After a failed vote out of He Who Must Not Be Named and one of the most unfair “advantages” of all time, Jamal was eliminated early on in the merge. We would love to see what kind of game Jamal has left up his sleeve on a future Second Chance season.
6. Davie Rickenbacker
Season: David vs Goliath (37)
Most Survivor fans will point to David vs Goliath as the best cast of new contestants in recent memory. Davie is a big reason why. Davie is one of the most likable contestants of the last ten seasons. As a super fan, he was so happy to be playing the game and it really showed.
Davie’s enthusiasm was infectious and rubbed off on anyone he played with. Being someone that has so much fun whether they are on top or on the bottom made him a fan favorite. Due to his strong social game and after several Hidden Immunity Idol plays, Davie became a huge threat to win and was voted out at final six.
On a Second Chance season, Davie would almost certainly go far. He has a likable personality that could easily carry him to the merge but he also has a knack for strategy. Not everything he attempted worked in his favor but he was willing to dodge and weave as he saw fit to survive another day. On a second attempt, he could put what he learned as a David to good use and potentially become the Goliath of the season.
5. Andria “Dreamz” Herd
Season: Fiji (14)
Placement: Co-Runner-up (2/19)
This could be a controversial pick but hear me out. When he appeared on Survivor: Fiji, Dreamz was 25 years old. Having spent some of his young life homeless, Dreamz played to win. He was a part of several alliances and made and broke promises as long as it served to further his game.
His most notable moment, however, came near the end of the game. During the final six, fellow castaway, Yau Man, won a new truck during a reward challenge. Knowing that Dreamz needed it more than he did, Yau Man took advantage and struck a deal. Yau Man would give Dreamz the truck if Dreamz agreed that if both he and Yau Man ended up in the final four and Dreamz won the final four immunity necklace, he would give it to Yau Man. Dreamz agreed.
Sure enough, at Final Four, Dreamz won the final immunity challenge and had a decision to make. Keep his word, give Yau Man immunity, thus making himself vulnerable OR break his promise very publicly, keep immunity, and vote out Yau Man. Sadly for all the Yau Stans, Dreamz broke his promise.
It was one and still is one of the coldest moves in the history of the show. However, it showed that Dreamz was willing to do whatever it took to win. Now fifteen years older, it would be fascinating to see if Dreamz still has that sort of fight in him.
If you still aren’t sold, I urge you to listen to this podcast and let Dreamz convince you himself!
4. Christian Hubicki
Season: David vs Goliath (37)
Remember how I mentioned that Survivor: David vs Goliath has one of the best newbie casts in recent years? It should come as no surprise that we have another contestant from that season on the list. Christian was an instant star of the season. He was unabashedly himself and people loved him for that.
He was the perfect mixture of endearingly nerdy and sociable. Everyone, from Jeff Probst to his tribe to the fans, were in awe of Christian. We were charmed by the way he was able to bond with his seemingly polar opposite in John. Our hearts were warmed by his friendship with Gabby. We laughed as he tried to bore his tribe mates into dropping out of an endurance challenge. Just when you thought you had Christian figured out, he would surprise you.
In a Second Chance season of Survivor, Christian would likely have a big target on his back, as he is notoriously likable. But we feel confident that he could turn that likability from a liability into an advantage.
3. Jay Starrett
Season: Millennials vs Gen-X (33)
The thought of having Davie and Jay on the same season is almost too much enthusiasm to handle. Like Davie, Jay is incredibly likable. He is so happy to be on the island and is an incredibly endearing personality. Even if he had little to offer as a player, Jay would be worth having on just as a positive presence. Luckily, he brings a lot to the game.
Early on in his time on Millennials vs Gen-X, Jay was attached to a minority alliance that was not very well liked. Because of his friendly demeanor, however, Jay was able to slip into other alliances with ease. He proved time and time again that he was there to win for himself. He did not always make the smartest moves (voting out Michaela is questionable at best) but he did make a show out of whatever he was doing.
Additionally, Jay was such a good sport about the game. Most of the cast on this season was hyperaware of the fact that they were playing a game. In fact, despite some animosity on the island, this cast is probably the closest cast in all 40 seasons. Jay was no exception to this.
Take, for example, his relationship with Adam. The two were at each other’s throats since day one, both attempting to vote the other out. Yet, the two of them opened up to one another in such a real, honest way in one of the more touching scenes from the season.
Jay plays to win but at his core, he is a kind, good person. He has fun with the game and holds no hard feelings even after getting duped with a fake idol on his way off the island. Jay is so easy to root for and would be a great addition to Survivor: Second Chance.
2. Domenick Abbate
Season: Ghost Island (36)
The definition of “someone who deserves a second chance.”
Domenick has gone as far as you can go in the game of Survivor without winning. After playing a hard game with close ally, Wendell, the two made final two together (one of the best Final Twos ever, in our opinion). In a Survivor first, the duo tied in the final vote and the original final three member, Laurel, cast the tie breaking vote for Wendell.
After dominating the season in such a spectacular fashion with Wendell, it seemed poetic that the two would reach the end together. Unfortunately, only one of them would come out on top. While both men are well rounded players, Wendell was seen as the more likable, more social half of the duo. Domenick, on the other hand, was seen as the mastermind. He was the more aggressive player of the two, held both an immunity idol and Legacy Advantage at one time, and won three Individual Immunity challenges. Rounding out his impressive run, Domenick received a total of five jury votes – the most any runner-up has ever received.
Similar to Kelly Wiglesworth in the original Second Chance season, Domenick could be the poster child of what it means to be given a second chance on Survivor. Would he be as successful without his right hand man? We would love to find out!
1. Sean Rector
Season: Marquesas (4)
It is well documented that we believe Marquesas to be an incredibly underrated season. One of the best aspects of the season is Sean Rector. Sean was one of the strongest players from the early seasons of the show. His friendship with Vecepia is one of the most fascinating relationships ever on the show.
Being the only two black contestants on the season, they were the only ones who were able to empathize with the other. They did not try to hide that fact either. The conversations that the two had and the truths that they were speaking all the way back in 2002 are still relevant today. They would be just as interesting to hear on the 41st season of Survivor, which makes it all the more shocking that they were being had in the 4th.
Sean was not just ahead of his time in terms of what he was saying on national TV, but also in the way that he played. The first three seasons, though interesting, were mostly steamrolls. An alliance would take control early on in the merge and ride it out until the end. Marquesas is where everything changed and that was thanks to Sean.
If you need a refresher, I suggest you scroll up to #9 in the countdown. I will give you the basics: The Rotu 4 thought they had the game on lock but tipped their hand a little too obviously. Sean capitalized on this and formed a coalition to overthrow the alliance and shifted the game entirely. It was a pivotal moment in the season and in the show’s history itself. Sean is more than worthy of a Second Chance and we would be rooting for him to become the Sole Survivor all season long!
Who Would You Want to See?
While we love all ten of our selections, there are plenty more male contestants we would love to see return on Survivor: Second Chance. Some honorable mentions that just missed the cut include Mike White, Shane Powers, Greg Buis, and The Wardog. Who are some castaways you would like to see back on the island? Let us know in the comments below!