What were the best blindsides that occurred before the creation of the Hidden Immunity Idol?
It’s hard to imagine a season of Survivor without the Hidden Immunity Idol, but there were 10 seasons before the creation of the now-iconic twist. The first-ever Hidden Immunity Idol was introduced in Guatemala where Gary discovered it and played it on himself, sparing him for one more tribal council.
We didn’t know it at the time, but that idol play would be the first of many. It’s hard to think back to how Survivor functioned without the idol, but they did it for 10 seasons and still managed to have a fair share of shocking blindsides.
Let’s take a look back at the best blindsides that took place before the invention of the Hidden Immunity Idol.
Best pre-Idol blindsides in Survivor history- No. 12: Gretchen (Borneo, Season 1)
We’ll start this list off with the first true blindside in Survivor history, which was the vote-off of Gretchen in season one. Alliances weren’t a staple of the show like they are now and the former Pagong tribe hated each other so much that they didn’t even think to vote the former Tagi members off until it was too late (hence, the term Pagonging).
Gretchen was the unlucky former Pagong member chosen to be booted first at the merge because Greg won individual immunity and he was Tagi’s original pick. Nobody saw the vote coming as one by one by one by one, votes came in for Gretchen and she ended up being the first contestant to ever be blindsided on Survivor.
Best pre-Idol blindsides in Survivor history- No. 11: Jerri (Australian Outback, Season 2)
There weren’t many blindsides in Survivor‘s second season, but the biggest from that season was when the former Ogakor tribe (minus Amber) teamed up with the final few remaining members of Kucha to take out Jerri, who didn’t see it coming. Jerri famously uttered, “Checkmate, you guys got me” as she picked up her torch to be snuffed.
Ogakor was in firm control of the game at this point, but Colby and Tina decided they wanted to go further with Elisabeth and Rodger than to stick with Jerri and Amber long-term. Jerri was the first to go between the two and as I mentioned previously, it was the only true blindside in the season.
Initially, I wanted to include Mitchell from the Australian Outback on here, but it’s been revealed over the years that he knew he was going to be booted.