Survivor Finale Preview: Who Will Win Millennials vs. Gen-X?

As Boyz II Men famously stated, so now we’ve come…to the end, of, the road. Yes, the Finale of Season 33 is finally upon us, capping off what can only be described as an exciting, unpredictable, and thrilling season of Survivor. We enter tonight’s two-hour finale with six remaining players vying for the million dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor. You’ve got three remaining Millennials: Adam Klein, Hannah Shapiro, and Jay Starrett. You’ve got three remaining Gen-Xers: Bret LaBelle, Ken McNickle, and David Wright. One of these six will become the 32nd person to ever win Survivor…one of their names will go down in history.

Let’s get you set and ready for tonight’s big finale, followed by the one-hour live reunion show, and take a look at the chances each of the remaining six have at winning the game.


Before we get to that, the “Survivor Hall of Fame” Class of 2016 is currently being announced! So far, two of the three inductees have been announced, and they are: Tony Vlachos, winner of Season 28, and Tina Wesson, a three-time player and winner of Season 2. My ballot has been officially announced, just click this link to check out my picks, along with others from the Survivor Press Corps! How in the heck is Rupert Boneham not yet a Hall of Famer! There is still one more inductee yet to be announced, which is planned for later today, so be sure to check back to the Survivor Hall of Fame page to see who the last remaining Class of 2016 member will be!

ALSO, EXCITING NEWS! It has been confirmed that I will be getting an EXCLUSIVE, one-on-one interview with this season’s winner TOMORROW! The full transcript of my interview can be found exclusively, right here at RealityTea. Look for it to post later on Thursday afternoon. Because of this, my season-end lists – “All-Time Winners and “Most Memorable Seasons” – may get pushed back until Thursday or Friday…but look out for both of those and get ready to comment and to complain about my picks!!!! And be sure to leave comments NOT on this preview article but on my finale recap article that will post later tonight, especially if you have any questions that you want me to ask the winner! I may just choose one fan question to ask during my interview.


We left off last week seeing not one, but two people get voted out – Will and Sunday – leaving us with just six left in the game. Jay was forced to play the game’s last remaining Immunity Idol at Tribal, even though it turned out that he didn’t need to. That leaves all six on equal footing, except for the fact that Ken possesses the mysterious “Legacy Advantage,” which will be revealed to us all tonight. You may remember, this new Survivor twist was found during the very first episode of the season, by Jessica, and she was given the ability to pass it along should she get voted out…and OK, even though she technically didn’t get voted out (damn that rock draw!), she left the game and willed the Legacy Advantage on to Ken.

It would seem that we are now left with three groups of two: You have Ken who is extremely loyal to David, you have Bret who will have no one else to turn to except Jay, and then you have Adam and Hannah in the middle. I think it’s clear that most people in the game and on the jury feel that Jay or David would be hands-down winners, and it’s unlikely that they would both reach the Final Three together…which is a possibility especially if Jay can run the table and win some Immunities down the stretch.

As I detailed last week, Hannah is in a unique position and, should she play her cards right and should the chips fall in the right direction for her, might be in the best position possible. Remember, that we are in the Survivor era of the “voting bloc,” so just because we think there are alliances going today, doesn’t mean those same alliances will be there tomorrow. Dare I bring back the phrase trust cluster?

That being said, I’ve gone ahead and mapped out the chances that I think each of the remaining players has to win the game…let’s start with least likely, to most likely. Oh and by the way, I know nothing of spoilers and I have no inside info…this is strictly my thoughts on how things may shake out:


Bret. Bret is the least likely player to win the game at this point, in my opinion, with Ken a close second. Bret’s main ally in the game, Sunday, is no more, and Bret finds himself in a tough spot. His only other ally would be Jay, and he is going to be Public Enemy #1…and should Jay lose Immunity and go home, Bret would be a sitting duck. Which, at this point in the game, may not be bad, because others could use Bret as a vote to get them to Final Three, and Bret would be a good person to take along for the ride, because he really has a weak resume. Sure, he has allies on the jury, but I don’t believe this group of sharp, cut-throat players would ever reward Bret as this season’s winner. I think the best Bret can hope for is a scenario where he is somehow sitting next to Ken and Hannah, and then can hopefully win by being the lesser of three evils.


Ken. Poor Ken has shown a few weaknesses over the past few weeks, but I know there is still a large group of people rooting for Ken. He does have the Legacy Advantage, and it’s unclear just how big a deal this might be. But short of that, Ken faces the same dilemma as Bret, just on the opposite side of the spectrum. Being allied with David, and David being one of the two biggest remaining threats, Ken will likely be all alone should David lose Immunity (which is very likely) and be targeted. Even if Ken is kept around as a vote and reaches Final Three, again, this jury would never allow a person like Ken to represent their season. His best hope is also something like Bret and Hannah, where maybe the jury decides to give it to a great guy instead of two players that currently don’t have much to hang their hats on.

Survivor finale

David. I legitimately think David can win the game, but his biggest challenge will be reaching Final Three. His best bet is to have Jay lose tonight’s first Immunity Challenge, and then vote Jay out. The Legacy Advantage could be important for David, since his ally Ken is the one who is in possession of it. But I don’t see the others keeping David in the game until the end, which means that David’s path to victory will have to include one or several Immunity Challenge wins, which just doesn’t seem to be likely. I think David is a hands-down winner should he reach and sit next to any combination that doesn’t include Jay.


Jay. Jay is the front-runner in my mind, and should be everybody’s Number One target. If he loses Immunity, he needs to go. All the cards fell perfectly last week for the other players, with Jay wasting his Idol. But winning Immunity over Jay is easier said than done. Jay could go all Wigglesworth on everybody and win his way to the end. Should he reach Final Three, in any combination even including David, I think Jay wins Survivor. But can he win three more Immunity Challenges in a row?

Survivor finale

Hannah. Oh Hannah! The game is yours for the taking! The million bucks is sitting there, waiting for you to grab it…are you going to take it?

As I detailed last week, Hannah is in a great position if the following can fall into place: If Jay doesn’t win Immunity, you vote him out first. If he does win, David goes home. Now you have either Bret or Ken with nowhere to turn, and if Hannah and Adam can use this person to then vote out Jay/David (whoever is remaining) or if this person wins Immunity AGAIN, you vote out the “other” player (Bret/Ken). Following me? Now you are down to four, with Adam, Hannah, either Bret/Ken, and either Jay/David. A perfect scenario for Hannah is that David and Jay go as the first two. If Hannah could then win final Immunity, or just get to the Final Three, she would have a compelling argument that, down the stretch, she was responsible for getting rid of Sunday, Jay and David, the latter of which are the game’s two toughest competitors. Cut Adam out at the last minute? That would be another way to boost the resume, but even alongside Adam and either Bret/Ken, I think Hannah has a legitimate shot at winning the game. If she’s not actively involved with who goes home at each Tribal tonight though, Hannah will be seen more as a goat than a hero. I’m rooting for you Hannah!


Adam. Lost in all of this is Adam, who in my opinion is realistically in the best shape to win it all. I add to this that, from Episode 1, I felt like he had the air of a winner’s edit, and his story has been nothing short of emotionally powerful. David and Jay will likely be so focused on one another that I doubt Adam would be the immediate target, especially from Jay who has shown that he likes Adam as a person. As Jay and David gun for one another, Adam will slip through, and then slip through again, and will find himself at Final Four. If he can shed Hannah at that point, I think he wins in a landslide along Ken and Bret. Even up against David, I think Adam has votes enough to possibly win. Only Jay poses a threat, but if Adam was against Jay and another strong player who could get votes, like David, then it would be anybody’s game. Can an Adam, David, Jay finale three actually happen?  Only in my fantasies. But my pick to win at this point going into Finale is Adam Klein.

Be sure to come back tonight for my recap of the finale. We’ll also talk about the Live Reunion Show.  I for one can’t wait…I’ll see you on the other side.


PS – Oh yeah, and I know that this is a Survivor blog and all, but many of you may NOT know that I’m also a legit Film Critic, and member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (who just held our “Critics Choice Awards” last weekend) and President of the Detroit Film Critics Society. I appear on FOX-2 in Detroit each week and am also part of a syndicated TV show called “Movie Show Plus” (check local listings!). I tell you all that, because if you like my writing and like movies, and have some free time between now and the beginning of the next season of Survivor, please check out my movie reviews! You can go to and search “movies” then click on the “headlines” tab to find my stuff there, or also go to Movie Show Plus website.

I received an advanced screening of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and you can check out my spoiler-free review of Rogue One here.

Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets