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Semhar Tadesse

Last night’s Survivor: South Pacific began with Christine joining Semhar on Redemption Island. She’s down, but not out, and both women are confident about their potential second chance after the duel.

At Upolu, Mikayla tells Coach she was blindsided by Brandon, and guess who just happens to interrupt their conversation? Why it’s mini-Russell Hantz himself! I assume that he is going to apologize to Mikayla for his lies, but instead he opts for a side hug from Coach. Brandon never planned to come on the show and play the game like his uncle. He wanted to be a hero not a villain. Oops!

The Upolu tribe receives two invitations to attend the duel. Coach requests to go, and Stacey wants to join him. Ozzy and Elyse are the witnesses from tribe Savaii. During her week on Redemption Island, Semhar has found time to braid her hair. I almost didn’t recognize her. Right away, Christine tells Jeff Probst she was voted off the main island because of Coach’s disdain for her (true) after she called him a temporary player.

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Last night the ninety minute premiere of Survivor: South Pacific aired on CBS. Two former Survivor staples and two-time previous game players Ozzy Lusth and Coach Wade are back to square off with the newbie castaways on an episode aptly titled “I Need Redemption.”

Right off the bat, we meet John “Cochran” Cochran who has watched every season of the show, and even wrote a prize winning paper on it while in law school at Harvard. Native American Elyse isn’t much into the outdoors, but she’s hoping her heritage will work to her advantage, and then there’s Rick a rancher from the Midwest. Stacey is a funeral director and mortician who promises to be nosy and while pretending to play nice. Russell Hantz’s (a former Survivor with multiple games under his belt) nephew Brandon likens himself to Hitler’s nephew and vows to change the perception of his family’s name. Maybe not the most accurate of comparisons, but he doesn’t want his fellow castaways to know that he shares the blood of a Survivor competitor who wouldn’t have won any popularity contests.

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Think you could survive another season of competition and deprivation in the wild? CBS hopes so! Survivor: South Pacific is returning for its 23rd season!

The drama begins in Samoa, as the 18 castaways are divided into two teams, the Savaii Tribe and the Upolu Tribe, both named for Samoan islands. The cast will include 16 Survivor novices and two former castaways back for revenge, another chance at famewhoring, and a million dollars.

This isn’t the first time CBS has employed this trick, as Season 21, Redemption Island mixed in two experts with the pack of amateurs castaways. Even though several of the cast members are first timers on Survivor, many have “experience” with reality tv – and you know what that means: they know how to cause D-R-A-M-A!

CBS has released the names of the 16 newbies this week and plans to release the names of the final 2 contestants later in the week. No ideas yet of who it could be! I’m hoping for Richard Hatch, if he’s not back in prison! Also one of the new contestants, 19-year-old Brandon Hance, is actually the nephew of villain Russell Hantz!

Borrowing another twist from Redemption Island, the eliminated castaways aren’t immediately vanquished, but instead go to “Redemption Island” (the place, not the season) where he or she will face off against the next person eliminated by Tribal Council. The loser of the duel will then be sent home, while the winner remains in the game until the next person voted off arrives, where the cycle begins anew until ONE eliminatee, referred to as the Sole Survivor, is left standing. The Sole Survivor will then return to the game to compete for the million dollars. I guess, no one is truly safe in this edition!

The 90 minute season premiere airs Sept. 14 8/9c on CBS. The cast bios and photos for the 16 new contestants are below!

UPDATE - Ben “Coach” Wade and Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth are rumored to be the two returning cast members.

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