Survivor: Island of the Idols
Survivor: Island of the Idols is the 39th season of the American competitive reality television series Survivor, airing on CBS in the United States and Global in Canada. This season was announced by CBS on May 15, 2019, the same day as the Survivor: Edge of Extinction finale. The season premiered with a 90-minute episode on September 25, 2019. The live season finale and reunion is planned to air on December 18, 2019. This was the seventh consecutive season (eighth overall) to be filmed in Fiji.
|Survivor: Island of the Idols|
|Presented by||Jeff Probst|
|No. of days||39|
|No. of castaways||20|
|Location||Mamanuca Islands, Fiji|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Original release||September 25, 2019 –|
|Filming dates||March 21, 2019– April 28, 2019|
Sandra Diaz-Twine, winner of Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and "Boston Rob" Mariano, winner of Survivor: Redemption Island returned to the game as mentors living on the Island of the Idols, but were not competing for the million-dollar prize themselves. Instead, Diaz-Twine and Mariano would host a contestant each episode and give them a lesson on how to survive on Survivor. They also gave the contestant a chance to win an advantage, but if they failed, they would lose their vote at their next Tribal Council.
According to host Jeff Probst, the idea to bring back past champions as mentors came from "wondering how to get a player like Boston Rob, who has said he'd never compete again because he doesn't feel he'd ever really have a shot to win, to return to the show." The two mentors will be surviving similarly to the contestants on a separate part of the island, though they will have better initial supplies and more time for constructing their shelter and feeding themselves; the other players were not aware of Rob or Sandra's participation prior to the start of the game.
The mentors’ island has two large wooden busts of their heads, which the arriving survivor will first see when they arrive on the mentor's island before they are greeted by the mentors. After arrival, the mentors explain to the survivor that they are not playing the game and are ineligible to win the million dollar prize nor contribute to any Tribal Council vote. Instead, they teach the survivor in a critical skill in the game (making fire, listening to others, etc.) and then offer the survivor a challenge against one or both of them based on that skill. Winning the challenge can offer a reward such as an immunity idol, while losing the challenge means they will lose their vote at the next Tribal Council they attend (though this is not revealed to the other players; a survivor without their vote will still go to the voting area when called during Tribal Council but does not write anything down). The survivor does not have to take this challenge but otherwise leaves with no added benefits. Before leaving, the survivor draws a name of a member of the opposing tribe from a bag, turning it over to the mentors without looking at it. That person will be next sent to the island after the subsequent challenge. Besides their role on the Island of the Idols, Rob and Sandra secretly attend each Tribal Council in a hideaway, allowing them to listen in as the events go on.
Island of the Idols is the first season to feature one castaway who has Canadian citizenship (Tom Laidlaw), as the casting process opened for Canadians in mid-2018. Canadian citizens had been ineligible to compete on the show previously as, according to Probst, the limitation was due to the rights that Mark Burnett and CBS had on the Survivor format limiting to contestants with American citizenship. While Survivor had contestants with dual citizenship at the time of application, such as Survivor: China winner Todd Herzog, they were required to give up their Canadian citizenship to claim their prize money.
|Contestant||Original tribe||Switched tribe||Merged tribe||Finish|
36, Henderson, Nevada
|Lairo||1st voted out|
28, Durham, North Carolina
|Vokai||2nd voted out|
27, Palo Alto, California
|Lairo||3rd voted out|
27, Los Angeles, California
|Lairo||4th voted out|
60, Greenwich, Connecticut
|Lairo||Lairo||5th voted out|
32, New York City, New York
|Vokai||Vokai||6th voted out|
23, Harrisonburg, Virginia
|Vokai||Lairo||7th voted out|
1st jury member
29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|Vokai||Lairo||Lumuwaku||8th voted out|
2nd jury member
33, Providence, Rhode Island
|Vokai||Lairo||9th voted out|
3rd jury member
36, Warwick, Rhode Island
|Lairo||Vokai||10th voted out|
4th jury member
24, Tacoma, Washington
|Lairo||Vokai||11th voted out|
5th jury member
29, Glendale, California
26, Saunderstown, Rhode Island
59, Palm Bay, Florida
29, New York City, New York
37, Houston, Texas
36, North Potomac, Maryland
26, Long Beach, New York
48, Los Angeles, California
41, Rockholds, Kentucky
|Episode||Challenge winner(s)||Island of the Idols||Eliminated||Finish|
|No.||Title||Original air date||Reward||Immunity||Exiled||Result|
|1||"I Vote You Out and That's It"||September 25, 2019||Vokai||Elizabeth||Lost||Ronnie||1st voted out|
|2||"YOLO, Let's Play!"||October 2, 2019||Lairo||Kellee||Won||Molly||2nd voted out|
|3||"Honesty Would Be Chill"||October 9, 2019||Vokai||Vince||Won||Vince||3rd voted out|
|4||"Plan Z"||October 16, 2019||Vokai[a]||Noura||Lost||Chelsea||4th voted out|
|5||"Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You"||October 23, 2019||Vokai||Vokai||None[b]||Tom||5th voted out|
|6||"Suck It Up Buttercup"||October 30, 2019||Vokai||Lairo||Elaine||Won||Jason||6th voted out|
|7||"I Was Born at Night, But Not Last Night"||November 6, 2019||Vokai[c]||Vokai||Janet||Declined[d]||Jack||7th voted out|
1st jury member
|8||"We Made It to the Merge!"||November 13, 2019||None[e]||Aaron||None[e]||Kellee||8th voted out|
2nd jury member
|Jamal||Lost||Jamal||9th voted out|
3rd jury member
|9||"Two for the Price of One"||November 20, 2019||Elaine,
|Noura||None||Aaron||10th voted out|
4th jury member
|Elaine||Missy||11th voted out|
5th jury member
|10||"Bring on the Bacon"||November 27, 2019||12th voted out|
6th jury member
- Although not shown in the episode, Vokai also won a reward of baked goods and caffeinated accessories along with immunity.
- There was no Island of the Idols due to the tribal switch, therefore no one was exiled.
- The reward challenge from this episode was unaired, however press photos show that this challenge did happen. The challenge was for pizza.
- The contestant chose to not participate in the game.
- There was no reward challenge or Island of the Idols due to the merge.
|Original air date||US viewers|
|569||1||"I Vote You Out and That's It"||1.3/6||18||September 25, 2019||6.29|
The two tribes, Lairo and Vokai, were dropped off at their camps with no introduction by Jeff, and several members wondered about the "Island of the Idols" theme. At Lairo, Tom bonded with Elaine and Vince, and the other seven members agreed to align against them. Missy felt more secure in aligning with the women, so she told Elaine her name had been mentioned for elimination. Elaine's sense of humor caught the attention of her tribemates, especially Ronnie; he proceeded to propose an alliance with her, but she distrusted him.
At Vokai, Janet led the tribe in making fire without flint. Jason quickly began searching for an idol, but Molly and Dan noted his absence from camp and targeted him. Jack bonded with Tommy, who subsequently bonded with several of his other tribemates. Kellee and Molly were put off by Dan's "touchy" behavior, voicing their concerns to Janet. Dan and Kellee later smoothed things over, though Kellee was still wary of Dan.
Vokai ran away with the victory during the puzzle portion of the challenge. Jeff had a Lairo member randomly draw the name of a tribemate to be sent to the Island of the Idols; Elaine drew Elizabeth's name. Jeff also said Elizabeth would return in time for Tribal Council that night. At the Island of the Idols, an excited Elizabeth was greeted by Boston Rob and Sandra, who taught her how to make fire. Elizabeth made fire after struggling, then accepted an offer to take on Rob in a fire-making challenge for an idol good at the next two Tribal Councils. Elizabeth lost the duel and therefore, her vote as well. Before she left, Rob and Sandra told her to randomly draw a Vokai member's name (which remained unrevealed) to be the next visitor to the Island of the Idols.
Back at camp, Chelsea conferred with Elaine, Tom, and Vince, who targeted Ronnie. Elaine was targeted by some of the other tribe members, but after pledging her loyalty to them, Aaron targeted Vince instead. Elizabeth returned to camp and withheld the information about Rob and Sandra, as well as the fact that she lost her vote. At Tribal Council, Rob and Sandra watched the proceedings from a concealed alcove; Elaine continued to plead her case, while Ronnie made a case for tribe strength. Ultimately, Ronnie was blindsided by the rest of his tribe, sans Aaron and Elizabeth (the latter of whom cast no vote), becoming the first person eliminated from the game.
|570||2||"YOLO, Let's Play!"||1.2/6||22||October 2, 2019||6.57|
The aftermath of Lairo's first Tribal Council was tense, with Vince questioning why he received votes and Aaron expressing frustration about being left out of the loop. Missy reassured him that he would be safe, but Aaron was skeptical. The following day, Chelsea stumbled upon an idol while gathering firewood. At Vokai, Noura's quirky behavior was a concern to her tribemates, while Jack, Jamal, and Molly were tightly aligned. A boat came in to pick up Kellee for Island of the Idols, as her name had been drawn by Elizabeth previously. Upon arriving, Kellee was greeted by Rob and Sandra, who told her more about themselves and said that her test would determine how well she paid attention socially. Rob offered Kellee an idol good for two Tribal Councils if she could correctly answer 4 of 5 questions; her hesitance made Rob offer the idol for 3 councils if she could get 3 of 5 right. Kellee ultimately won the challenge, but at camp, she also kept Rob and Sandra a secret in favor of a lie about a choice between urns.
Lairo won the challenge. The vote initially was a toss-up between Jason and Noura; Molly wanted Noura gone first, but Jamal saw Jason as a more dangerous player. Lauren saw an opportunity to target Molly for her perceived social prowess, roping in several tribe members, though Tommy was reluctant to make waves at the tribe's first vote. At Tribal Council, Jason and Noura both pled for their tribemates to spare them, and ultimately, Jack and Jamal were left stunned as a blindsided Molly was sent out of the game.
|571||3||"Honesty Would Be Chill"||1.2/6||23||October 9, 2019||6.51|
Now in the minority of Vokai, Jack tried to reintegrate with his tribemates, while Jamal attempted to shift the target off himself by targeting Dan, though Janet grew wary of Jamal's scrambling. At Lairo, the men were wary of a women's alliance and attempted to align with Vince, who secretly wasn't on board. Karishma, who wasn't as keen on the women's alliance, accidentally cut her hand with the machete and felt alienated from the tribe afterwards. A boat came to pick up Vince for Island of the Idols, and after Vince left, Dean openly suggested splitting the vote in case Vince were to find an idol, which made Karishma paranoid. At the Island of the Idols, Rob and Sandra tested Vince's ability to remain calm under pressure by challenging him to sneak into Vokai's camp after dark to light a torch from their fire without being caught. Vince accepted the challenge, but due to rain which had put out Vokai's fire, resorted to taking ash from the fire pit instead, which satisfied Rob and Sandra. Vince was given an immunity idol good for his next two Tribal Councils.
Vokai overtook Lairo in the puzzle to win the challenge. The women debated voting out Vince or Tom (due to wanting to keep Aaron and Dean around for challenges), while Vince told a paranoid Karishma to vote against Tom. At Tribal Council, Karishma whispered to some of her tribemates but was called out by Tom. Vince brought his idol but didn't play it, and the women stuck together to send him out of the game.
|572||4||"Plan Z"||1.4/7||17||October 16, 2019||6.91|
After narrowly surviving the vote, Karishma was still uneasy about her position in the tribe, while Aaron and Missy were concerned about a potential power couple in Dean and Chelsea. At Vokai, Jamal searched for an idol while his tribemates were occupied, which he eventually found. Unlike the previous visits to Island of the Idols, Vokai had to come to a unanimous agreement on who to send, or else the tribe would randomly draw a name. Noura eventually volunteered; upon arriving, Rob and Sandra gave her a chance to prove her powers of persuasion by explaining the next immunity challenge would have one tribe member call out directions to others who would all be blindfolded; their challenge to Noura was to persuade her tribe to make her the caller. If successful, she would gain an advantage to block a tribemate from voting, or otherwise would lose her vote. She agreed instantly, but upon returning to camp, her disjointed explanations of why she should be the caller created distrust among the tribe.
Vokai had Noura sit out. Lairo nearly came from way behind, but a mistake in the puzzle proved costly, and Vokai won the challenge. Aaron tried to convince his tribemates to vote out Dean to break up the "power couple", but several others wanted to vote out Karishma. Missy sensed that some of them were scared to turn on Dean so quickly, so she proposed voting out Chelsea instead. At Tribal Council, Missy's plan worked; Chelsea didn't play her idol and was blindsided with it in her pocket.
|573||5||"Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You"||1.3/6||21||October 23, 2019||6.82|
Dean questioned his tribemates over Chelsea's blindside, eventually deducing it was Missy who orchestrated the vote. Upon arriving at a challenge site, the tribes were randomly reshuffled; the new Lairo tribe consisted of Dean, Jack, Jamal, Janet, Karishma, Kellee, Noura, and Tom, while the new Vokai tribe consisted of Aaron, Dan, Elaine, Elizabeth, Jason, Lauren, Missy, and Tommy.
Vokai continued their challenge dominance even with new members. At Lairo, Dean and Tom respectively bonded with Kellee and Janet, while Karishma eagerly pled her loyalty to the five Vokai members, after revealing she is in an arranged marriage. At Vokai, Elaine and Missy fake-fought to entertain their new tribemates, while Aaron bonded with Tommy in hopes that it would break the 4-4 stalemate in the tribe.
Vokai won immunity again. Dean and Tom were willing to cut Karishma due to her weakness in challenges, while Vokai debated voting out a threat in Dean or Tom, or preserving tribe strength with them. Noura had lost her vote from her unsuccessful test at Island of the Idols, but Vokai still had a 4-3 majority in the tribe. At Tribal Council, Dean was left out of another vote as Tom was sent out of the game.
|574||6||"Suck It Up Buttercup"||1.2/6||21||October 30, 2019||6.37|
Despite being in a 5-2 majority, Noura approached Dean about turning against Jack and Jamal, but Dean was wary of her eagerness to flip. At Vokai, Aaron told Jason he was ready to jump ship to avoid going to rocks.
Elaine was picked to sit out for Vokai, meaning she would also be sent to the Island of the Idols. Vokai won the challenge. At the Island, Elaine accepted Rob and Sandra's challenge before even hearing what it was. The two instructed her that she had to retrieve a vote-blocking advantage that was hidden at one of the stations at the upcoming immunity challenge without being caught; being caught or not retrieving the advantage would cause her to forfeit her vote at the next Tribal Council. At Lairo, Jack offhandedly mentioned the word "du-rag" in Jamal's presence, but immediately realized the ramifications of what he said. Jack offered an apology, which Jamal accepted.
Elaine was able to snatch the advantage, and Lairo came from behind to win immunity. Elaine told Elizabeth, Aaron, and Missy about her advantage, but Aaron internally debated whether to flip. At Tribal Council, Elaine revealed her advantage, leading to whispering amongst the Lairo and Vokai alliances. Ultimately, Elaine blocked Jason's vote, and Aaron stayed loyal to his original tribe, sending Jason home.
|575||7||"I Was Born at Night, But Not Last Night"||1.3/6||TBA||November 6, 2019||6.82|
Lauren felt betrayed by Missy, to whom she felt close, after her alliance's successful blindside of Jason. At Lairo, Noura tried to organize a girls' alliance against Jamal. Janet was selected for Island of the Idols; Rob and Sandra's challenge to her was to play a game to test her ability of calculated risk. If she won, she would receive an advantage where she could forgo any single Tribal Council up until the final seven (in which case she would be immune); if she lost the game, she would lose her vote. Janet decided not to play due to concern over being a future target because of the advantage. Back at Vokai, Tommy and Lauren tried to turn the Lairo members against Dan, but Missy saw through their scheme.
Vokai edged out Lairo as both tribes were placing the final piece of the puzzle. The Vokai majority plus Karishma agreed to vote out Dean, but Kellee got an idea to turn against Jamal or Jack using her idol. As that night was the last opportunity to play it, she discreetly gave the idol to Dean. At Tribal Council, Jamal voiced concerns of a potential girls' alliance, but Kellee took the comment as being sexist, leading to a healthy discussion about respect for women. When the time came to vote, Kellee voted against Dean to cover herself; Dean played the idol to negate 5 votes, but this prompted Jamal to play his idol on Noura. Jamal's idol went to waste, while Noura joined Dean in voting out Jack, who became the first member of the jury.
The episode concluded with a tribute to two-time contestant Rudy Boesch, who died the weekend prior to the episode's release.
|576||8||"We Made It to the Merge!"||1.1/6||TBA||November 13, 2019||6.07|
Kellee located a hidden immunity idol on the Lairo beach, prior to both tribes receiving notice about the merge into Lumuwaku. At the celebratory merge banquet, Kellee met with Missy for the first time, discovering both had issues with how Dan behaved around them. This led to a long discourse between the merged tribe over Kellee's accusations against Dan, requiring production to speak with the contestants as a whole and individually, warning Dan about his behavior.
Aaron won the challenge. Based on Kellee's stories, Missy and other women on the tribe initially conspired to take out Dan, but Missy learned of Kellee's ultimate intent to take her out, and convinced others to vote for Kellee instead. Kellee felt uneasy about Dan's calm demeanor before Tribal and searched for a merged tribe idol, which she found. At Tribal, the situation around Dan was discussed. Kellee opted not to play either idol, and while Dan received five votes, Missy's turn led to Kellee's elimination.
After Kellee's blindside, Dan quickly tried to learn about why he was targeted by Missy, Elizabeth and Janet. The following morning, Janet found a new immunity idol. Near camp, Jamal saw a note and took it, finding that it would send him to the Island of the Idols. There, Rob and Sandra explained that by grabbing the note, he already lost his vote for the next Tribal Council, but gave him the opportunity to sabotage another player, giving him blank paper and pencil to write anything he wanted. Back at camp, Jamal claimed that he had found a special advantage that he had to write down and give another player, giving this to Dean. However, this painted more of a target on Jamal, as Dean and the rest of the tribe weren't convinced of Jamal's story.
Aaron and Missy won immunity. Jamal, at the bottom of his alliance and without a vote, scrambled for some support before Tribal, while Janet became concerned she would be targeted. At Tribal, the situation from Dan and Kellee came up again, leading to a long discussion on appropriate behaviors. Janet even considered quitting due to Elizabeth and Missy's playing on Kellee's accusations against Dan, but was talked out of it. After the vote, Janet played the idol, but it was unnecessary as the tribe had sent Jamal to the jury with six votes to Janet's two and Karishma's three.
|577||9||"Two for the Price of One"||1.2/6||TBA||November 20, 2019||6.63|
Karishma continued to struggle with the elements and at camp, but she discovered an idol. She lied about feeling ill to her tribemates, since they had her gather coconuts and she only had two in an hour.
Noura won immunity on purple but immediately dropped out afterward in her elation, leading to orange winning reward; Elaine also won immunity. Several of the purple team members agreed to vote out Janet, but Aaron's name was also brought up due to his status as a physical threat. Dean was reluctant to expose himself as a physical threat by voting out Aaron, but at Tribal Council, he joined the rest of the group in sending Aaron to the jury.
Meanwhile on orange, Karishma and Missy clashed when the former felt bullied as they tried to talk strategy. Missy targeted Tommy due to his strategic and personal bond with Lauren, but Elaine came up with a plan to target Missy. At orange's Tribal Council, Karishma and Missy's conflict was brought up. Ultimately, Karishma joined Elaine and Tommy in blindsiding Missy from the game.
|578||10||"Bring on the Bacon"||TBA||TBA||November 27, 2019||TBD|
|Original tribes||Switched tribes||Merged tribe|
- On Day 27, a split Tribal Council was held. The castaways were divided into two groups; each group went to Tribal Council separately to eliminate one castaway from each.
- Dean played a hidden immunity idol on himself, therefore five votes against him were not counted.
- Janet played a hidden immunity idol on herself, therefore two votes against her were not counted.
- Due to losing the game on Island of the Idols, this contestant lost their vote at the next Tribal Council.
- This contestant's vote was blocked at Tribal Council.
From the first episode up until the merge in the eighth episode, Kellee Kim and several other members of the Vokai tribe had expressed concerns to Dan Spilo about his "inappropriate touching". At the merge, Kellee had her first opportunity to speak to Missy Byrd, who also confirmed her concerns on Dan's behavior. Kellee spoke of her concerns to the merged tribe, at which point production became much more involved. One Survivor producer explained to Kim that she should let them know if Dan continued to cross the lines, then production would take immediate action. Production contacted CBS about the situation, who instructed them to have group and individual meetings with the remaining survivors and formally warned Dan about his behavior. Title cards were used in-episode to explain the situation to viewers.
Though not in her best game interests at the time, Kellee and her ally Janet Carbin ultimately agreed to vote out Dan at the first merge Tribal Council, believing to have support from the other women on the tribe, including Missy and Elizabeth Beisel, who had both expressed discomfort towards his actions. However, Kellee was blindsided and saw herself being voted out of the game with two Hidden Immunity Idols still in her possession, following a vote-flip from Missy and Elizabeth, who had decided to deviate from the agreement to vote out Dan in order to take out a bigger game threat in Kellee. Issues on Dan's behavior persisted in the tribe through the next few days, as both Missy and Elizabeth admitted they did not have any issues with him, and had simply decided to play on Kellee's concerns as part of the game. At the next Tribal Council, the impact of Dan's behavior had come up, and Dan took time to apologize to Kellee and the other female tribe members for any wrongdoing. According to Probst, he and production talked to Kellee about letting her have a chance to respond to Dan, but she agreed with production that as a jury member she would remain quiet as per the game's rules. Kim contradicted that statement though, claiming that she didn't speak with Probst at all until after Jamal's voteoff. For the remainder of the season, production continued to monitor the situation, with the staff performing individual interviews with players keeping abreast of any concerns or issues related to the situation and reminding contestants to report anything they feel uncomfortable about to production immediately.
The situation was considered to be the first time that the Me Too movement entered into Survivor. The day after the episode aired, several contestants posted public apologies to Kellee and Janet for their behavior, seeing the problems with it after watching the episode and not seeing how much the situation harmed the two women.
Many fans argued that Dan should have been ejected from the game instead of creating a story out of it for the show. CBS and MGM issued a joint statement reiterating that production had been monitoring the situation around the clock, as part of the standard practice for the show, and would have taken action if they felt Kellee or any other player was at risk. "On Survivor, producers provide the castaways a wide berth to play the game. At the same time, all castaways are monitored and supervised at all times. They have full access to producers and doctors, and the production will intervene in situations where warranted." Other fans were upset at Missy and Elizabeth for falsifying claims towards Dan to trick Kellee.
|No.||Title||Air date||Timeslot (ET)||Rating/share
|1||"I Vote You Out and That's It"||September 25, 2019||Wednesday 8:00 p.m.||1.3/6||6.29||0.70||2.53||1.97||8.83|||
|2||"YOLO, Let's Play!"||October 2, 2019||1.2/6||6.57||0.58||2.11||1.76||8.69|||
|3||"Honesty Would Be Chill"||October 9, 2019||1.2/6||6.51||0.62||2.20||1.78||8.72|||
|4||"Plan Z"||October 16, 2019||1.4/7||6.91||0.63||2.13||2.02||9.06|||
|5||"Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You"||October 23, 2019||1.3/6||6.82||0.62||2.17||1.90||9.00|||
|6||"Suck It Up Buttercup"||October 30, 2019||1.2/6||6.37||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|||
|7||"I Was Born at Night, But Not Last Night"||November 6, 2019||1.3/6||6.82||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|||
|8||"We Made It to the Merge!"||November 13, 2019||1.1/6||6.07||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|||
|9||"Two for the Price of One"||November 20, 2019||1.2/6||6.63||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|||
|No.||Air date||Timeslot (ET)||Total viewers
(AMA[a] in millions)
|1||September 25, 2019||Wednesday 8:00 p.m.||2.181||3|||
|2||October 2, 2019||1.795||7|||
|3||October 9, 2019||1.775||4|||
|4||October 16, 2019||1.886||4|||
|5||October 23, 2019||1.812||4|||
|6||October 30, 2019||2.131||1|||
|7||November 6, 2019||TBD||TBD|
|8||November 13, 2019||TBD||TBD|
|9||November 20, 2019||TBD||TBD|
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