Survivor Awards 2017: Favorite player of the year

While not everyone can win this game, that doesn’t mean you exit without leaving a mark. The Survivor Awards 2017 for our favorite player is …

While Survivor this past year wasn’t as excellent through and through as it has been in preceding years, that didn’t mean that every player was a dud. In fact, some of my favorite new players came from Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, and the third time out for one returning player on Game Changers may have been my favorite from a gameplay standing.

Our Survivor Awards 2017 continues on with our look at the favorite player we saw this past year. For Game Changers, I am only considering each player for their gameplay that season, meaning I can’t in good conscience give it to Ciera Eastin this year based on her one-hour debut edit. That doesn’t mean that Malcolm Freberg, who was voted out so early, doesn’t count; I just like three players for their seasons over one of my favorite players of the modern era.

Despite all the hangups I have about how Ben Driebergen won his season, as well as how the edit reflected his character, I actually liked him a lot throughout Survivor Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. His shaky gameplay, which would have him eliminated at the Final 4 in any of the previous 34 seasons, is humanizing in this truly balanced player, who toes the line between hero and villain fairly well.

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There’s no demonizing his military experience; it’s quite on the contrary. He brought a real vulnerability to his character, opening up his experiences with mental health issues and helping to normalize a concern many have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. With everyone against him, he clawed his way out from underneath and onto victory, all while sneaking in the bushes like Tony, theatrically play idols like Russell and winning a million dollars like Adam.

We knew she wouldn’t be allowed to make it far, but Sandra Diaz-Twine kept us entertained for the 16 days she was on Game Changers. Underneath all the grandiose confessionals and constantly stating “the Queen stays Queen,” she actually showed off a fairly strong gameplay. Not only did she rally a strong alliance on Mana quickly, but took out Tony Vlachos early and orchestrated Sugargate in order to distract the “treasonous” J.T. into thinking he was safe, thus blindsiding him with an idol in his pocket.

Sandra played a lot harder this time around because she had to. Had she made it to a good tribe swap and not get screwed with an original Nuku-heavy tribe right before the merge, she could have gone far. Instead, we had to cherish what little we had of her to see, including an interesting goat faceoff and throwing one-liners out at anyone who crossed her path.

Lauren Rimmer Survivor season 35

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However, the Survivor Awards 2017 will hand out favorite player of the year honors to Lauren Rimmer for the sheer raw gameplay, character and personality she brought to Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. A straight-shooting 35-year-old woman on a tribe of young hustlers, she was on the outs from Day 1. However, she knew the right buttons to push with the chaotic Patrick Bolton and made sure that she wouldn’t go down without a fight.

While she had a decent strategy (up until her boot episode), what made fans fall in love with her is just how honest and real she was. She would call out people for their laziness or stubbornness and do it with a charming dry wit sharp enough to cut the tension in the air. Lauren Rimmer is not the type of player you see regularly cast in modern Survivor, but she’s a perfect example of why they should be casting real salt of the earth people.

Big hearty congratulations to Lauren Rimmer; our Survivor Awards 2017 Favorite Player of the Year!