power rankings

The Survivor Season-44 Post-Merge Power Ranking

Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: CBS

The first half of Survivor 44 can be best summed up in two words: “idol insanity.” The moment Brandon Cottom unlocked the birdcage on the Ratu tribe, it was as if he’d cracked open Pandora’s box. Idol paranoia immediately took over at each camp as real and fake idols emerged almost without warning. Now, after six weeks of idol shenanigans and unfortunate medevacs, the merge is here.

As we head into the next phase of the season, it’s time to see who is in the best position to win the whole thing. Today, I will reveal my updated power rankings of the 11 remaining players, organized from most likely to least likely to win. You can check out the previous premiere power rankings here, and this list will be updated once again at the final six to see how these predictions held up.

1. Carson (⬆️ from 3)

The young NASA Engineering student has rocketed to the top of my rankings because of his stellar social game throughout the pre-merge. Carson has managed to get in good with everyone he’s met, from his original Tika tribemates to his new buddies on Ratu. And he’s done so without coming on too strong as a strategic threat.

2. Heidi (⬆️ from 8)
While not a huge presence so far, Heidi has shown herself to be an asset at camp and a trusted ally. She was part of a firm majority on Soka, and coming into the merge, she doesn’t stand out as a major target. If she wants to be Sole Survivor, she will probably need to break out on her own and claim a move or two. For now, she is sitting in a great position.

3. Yam Yam (⬆️ from 6)
Now that his archnemesis Josh is out of the way, Yam Yam should have an easier time fitting in with his new tribemates. Even though he copped a couple of votes at the previous tribal council, I don’t see that as a death knell. Did you see the way he had his whole tribe laughing during tribal? His personality is so warm and bubbly that he will surely win over new friends quickly.

4. Frannie (⬇️ from 1)
I had Frannie in first place after the premiere because I thought her showmance with Matt could prove powerful. And I believed she was smart enough not to make their relationship too obvious. While I still have faith in her, I’m not quite so bullish. Others have noticed the Fratt fraternizing, and it only seems to be getting worse in the preview for next week. So I do expect them to be split up soon, but the one that survives could go far, and from what I’ve seen, Frannie has more game sense than Matt.

5. Carolyn (⬆️ from 7)
There is no doubt about it: Carolyn is absolute TV gold. What’s more, she is much savvier and plugged in than her fellow castaways would like to admit. We’ve seen time and time again how others have underestimated Carolyn, only for her to turn the tables on them. I don’t think Carolyn has finished proving people wrong just yet.

6. Kane (⬆️ from 14)
Kane almost found himself as a backup vote this past episode, but thanks to his “nerd” alliance with Carson, he was given a heads-up and managed to move the target off himself. The D&D aficionado needs to take control of his game and find himself a solid alliance; if he can do that, he has a decent chance of going far.

7. Brandon (⬆️ from 13)
I would have felt a lot better about Brandon’s chances if not for that “bromance” scene two episodes ago. The former NFL player seemed to be set up well on the old Ratu tribe, but his bro-brunch with Danny painted him in a negative light. The way he brushed off Carolyn suggests his game is one-track-minded, and that kind of gameplay doesn’t fare well in modern Survivor.

8. Jaime (⬆️ from 15)
The self-proclaimed “Plant Lady” is certainly a vibrant and positive personality. And after the initial bout of paranoia in the first episode, Jaime has relaxed and bonded well with her tribemates. So why is she so low on my rankings? Well, her confessionals have shown her to have a poor read on the dynamics. Not only is she carrying around a fake idol (which she doesn’t know is fake), but she is completely off-base about the Frannie and Matt alliance. I sense a rude awakening in her future.

9. Matt (⬇️ from 2)
As I said earlier, I expect the Frannie and Matt duo to be broken up fairly soon. And simply basing things on the edit, I suspect Matt is the more likely target. He isn’t quite as shrewd as Frannie and has already had a few blunders under his belt, including losing two votes and picking up a fake idol.

10. Lauren (⬆️ from 16)
Putting Lauren this low is a shame because she hasn’t done anything wrong. But she is so underedited that I can’t see her winning this season. We barely know anything about her or her relationships other than that she has an extra vote. Fingers crossed she will rise up in the post-merge.

11. Danny (⬆️ from 12)
The New York firefighter has been starting plenty of fires in Fiji across the pre-merge. He opened the birdcage on the Soka tribe and successfully snatched the idol while also planting the fake for Matt to find. And he got his way with the Claire vote. But that bro-down with Brandon foreshadowed an epic downfall. Honestly, I can’t wait.

Eliminated Survivors and their previous rankings: Helen (4), Claire (9), Sarah (10), Matthew (5), and Josh (11).

The Survivor Season-44 Post-Merge Power Ranking