Survivors final five after a shocking season

CanWest News Service
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Survivor - noun. 1. A person or thing that survives. 2. The one of two or more designated persons having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others. 3. A person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship or setbacks.

Survivor - noun. 1. A person or thing that survives. 2. The one of two or more designated persons having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others. 3. A person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship or setbacks.

Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites: A reality-TV show that continues to prosper in spite of opposition, hardships or setbacks, such as constant bad weather on the Pacific island of Palau; the return of Ugly Betty and Greys Anatomy after a 101-day writers strike; the early elimination of fan favourites Yau-Man Chan and Jon Jonny Fairplay Dalton; and a game-ending injury to frontrunner - and fan favourite - James Clement.

When Survivors producers first chose an epic battle between former contestants and die-hard followers of the show over a second straight all-star edition, they had no idea it would play out so - deliciously.

Survivors penultimate episode airs Thursday, May 8. Five contestants are left; four will survive to lie/cheat/steal and backstab their way to the two-hour live reveal and reunion program on Sunday, May 11. At stake: a US$1 million and bragging rights for the next six months.

Heres a snapshot glimpse - the cast reveal, if you will, of the remaining contenders and their shot at being the answer to a future pop-culture trivia question.

Survivor label: THE NAIF

ERIK REICHENBACH, 22, ice cream scooper.

Survivor Micronesia designation: FAN

Odds of winning: EVEN

Yes, yes: Youre thinking to yourself, is ice cream scooper a real job, and, is there much call for an ice-cream scooper on a tropical island where there isnt any ice cream?

But heres the thing about Survivor, as Probst explained in a recent interview with Canwest News Service: You can only cheat, lie and backstab your way so far in Survivor. At the end, youre asking seven people - at least some of whom youve cheated on, lied to or stabbed in the back to get where you are - to give you a million dollars.

Reichenbach, with his aw-shucks looks, waif-like naivete and wide-eyed wonder at every new experience, may look like a goofy kid, but hes a real threat to win the game - as he hasnt cheated, lied or backstabbed anyone. Yet.

Survivor label: THE PAGEANT QUEEN

AMANDA KIMMEL, 23, aspiring designer

Survivor designation: FAVORITE

Odds of winning: 2 to 1

Kimmel has been close before: She finished third in last falls Survivor China, behind winner Todd Herzog and runner-up Courtney Yates.

At the outset of Survivor Micronesia, no less an authority than Probst said of her, in a pre-season scouting report in Entertainment Weekly: (She) knows how to play the game. She knows how to build an alliance, how long to keep it, when to get rid of it. Shes very good at looking at odds; shes very good at assessing if shes better off against this person or with that person.

Trouble is, she came within a hair - and the timely intervention of a hidden immunity idol - of being voted off the island last week. That means shes a walking target this week, unless she wins individual immunity or else manages to sway the others - the women, for example - against someone who isnt part of the group, like the last man standing.

Survivor label: THE SCHEMER

CIRIE FIELDS, 37, nurse.

Survivor designation: FAVORITE

Odds of winning: 3 to 1

Back in the world, the married mother of three is salt-of-the-earth all the way, but in Survivor Panama she used her social manipulation skills to forge her way to the final four on the back of not one but two dummy alliances. Ironically, for a game named Survivor and based (loosely) on actual wilderness survival skills, Fields was bounced out of Survivor Panama in a tie-breaking challenge based on who could make a fire the fastest.

As for using social skills to get ahead in the Survivor game, remember Probsts refrain at a tribal council three weeks ago: There are two sides to social skill. Theres the side thats threatening, because the persons very good socially. The other side is the persons so bad socially, maybe you keep them around.

Good enough to carry one to the final two, in other words, but not beyond.

If that scheming comes out in the jury phase - as it most likely will - dont expect anyone on the jury to vote for her. Unless . . . shes in the final two against:

Survivor label: THE EVIL ONE

NATALIE BOLTON, 32, personal trainer.

Designation: FAN

Odds: 1000 to 1

Dont think its right or proper to label someone pure evil, based on a shrewdly manipulated, skillfully edited picture in a reality-TV show? Just hear Bolton in her own words, as she conspired to evict her best bud Jason Siska from the Survivor game just two weeks ago: I can be pretty evil. Im definitely in Ill-get-you mode. Im in game mode. And now Im actually having a lot more fun. Im getting to be a bit of more of myself. Which is proving to be pretty ruthless, and pretty stone-cold-bitch, and pretty cutthroat. And I have a smile on my face. I love that.

Of course, it helped that Siska - one of the strongest physical threats to win at the time - would go down in Survivor lore as the dumbest person ever to play the game, this, after he fumbled guaranteed immunity not once but twice on his way to being voted off the island.

Bolton has the skill set to make it to the final two - she can lie, cheat and backstab with the best of them - but good luck convincing the remaining jurors that she deserves the million bucks. Unless . . . shes in the final two against:

Survivor label: THE FLIRT

PARVATI SHALLOW, 25, charity organizer

Designation: FAVORITE

Odds: 1,000,000 to 1

The one-time competitive kickboxer was not above using flirting to get this far in the game. Her problem is, now that she was outed as the brains behind the decision to blindside team leader Ozzy Lusth - in such a way that he was never able to bring the hidden immunity idol into play - Lusth will be looking to say and do anything it takes to sway his fellow jury members against her, if it comes down to that.

Her game - playing under the radar - has effectively been destroyed.

Organizations: Canwest News Service, Entertainment Weekly

Geographic location: Pacific island, Palau, Survivor China

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