Survivor Island of the Idols: Ranking the top 5 players of the season

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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Lauren Tommy Dean Survivor Island of the Idols episode 8
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

1) Tommy Sheehan

In an era of Survivor when it’s much harder to dominate a season, Tommy Sheehan dominated, especially after the merge. Unlike Lauren or Janet, Tommy took a back seat before the merge. Instead of trying to control the vote, he let his alliance make the final call. His focus was on building genuine relationships, not on strategizing.

In the first few episodes, the edit does show Tommy’s efforts to bond with Lauren and Janet, and that effort definitely paid off. That old school approach to Survivor established trust among his tribe. The closest Tommy came to getting his torch snuffed happened when that twist separated the merged castaways into two groups that both had to attend Tribal Council.

Tommy was the only Vokai member of this group of five, so it looked like he was doomed. But Tommy stuck to his biggest strength and continued to be a kind and approachable ally. Missy’s aggressive and calculated behavior contrasted with Tommy’s respectful and cooperative personality. That motivated Elaine and Karishma to side with Tommy, enabling him to survive a crucial vote and eliminate a talented player in the process.

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That excellent social gameplay only progressed for Tommy, making him the center of information. Nearly everyone felt close to Tommy, and that came with its benefits. Janet told him about her idol, Dean divulged the news about the Idol Nullifier, Lauren was at Tommy’s liberty when trying to practice fire, and Noura liked him so much that she brought him to Final Tribal Council. Tommy mastered the social game and didn’t need any idols, advantages or mentor advice to become a deserving Sole Survivor.