power rankings

The Way Too Early Survivor Season-44 Power Rankings

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

Jeff Probst has been in full-on hype mode for Survivor 44 over the past few weeks, teasing one of the most “electric” casts in the show’s 20-plus-year history. The season premiere delivered on that promise with a captivating mix of charming personalities and wacky characters. Unfortunately, it also came with Bruce Perreault’s unfortunate medical evacuation, cutting down one player’s opportunity mere hours into the game.

But of those remaining, who has the best shot at making it deep and taking the Sole Survivor crown? Here are my power rankings of those 16 players, organized from most likely to least likely to win. I will update this list at the merge episode and then again at the Final Six to see how these predictions held up (hopefully better than last season’s!).

1. Frannie

Sparks were flying on the Soka beach, and I’m not talking about the fire Heidi made. Frannie and her tribemate Matt appeared to hit it off immediately, like two nerdy magnets coming together. Probst teased a showmance in the preseason press, and it seems Frannie and Matt (Fratt? Mannie?) are the couple in question. Now, you might question putting Frannie at the top spot; after all, showmances make for easy targets. But I don’t exactly see Frannie or Matt making out in the shelter while their tribemates try to sleep. They seem too smart for that, Frannie especially. She just seemed to have a great, personable vibe, which I think will take her far.

2. Matt

And if I’m putting Frannie first, I might as well rank Matt second. Again, I think this potential showmance with Frannie could make them a powerful duo. This already appears to be quite a messy, paranoid cast. So a pair that can develop trust and loyalty early on will probably fare well amid the chaos.

3. Carson

I guess I’ve got a real nerdy superfan vibe going on with these top picks. But Carson stood out to me for his ability to open up and be friendly while at the same time showing off his smarts and forming allies on the side. It’s too early to say whether his alliance with Helen and Sarah will stick, but in a tribe already down to five members, Carson is in the majority. So, yeah, strap a rocket to this NASA engineering student.

4. Helen

Right there alongside Carson, Helen helped solve the brainteaser that won the Tika tribe flint, immediately earning her brownie points with the tribe. As I said above, if this alliance with Carson and Sarah holds, even for a vote or two, it will put Helen in a strong position in her tribe. Of course, it should be noted that a member of this threesome, Sarah, has lost her vote for the first tribal council she attends, which could throw a crab among the coconuts.

5. Matthew

So long as Matthew stops climbing huge rocks and nearly breaking his arm, he can make a deep run. I say this because despite having his arm in a sling, which could be a detriment in challenges, his name didn’t come up as a boot option at all. That tells me his tribe likes and trusts him. And it’s easy to see why. He radiates likability. So unless his injury grows worse, I don’t see why he couldn’t win this whole thing.

6. Yam Yam

This man was made for television. Just a bright, bursting bundle of good vibes. I’m not sure if he’s in a great position, given that he’s outside of the Carson/Helen/Sarah trio, but he is certainly a force of personality. Yam Yam is one of those players whom his tribemates will grow to love so much that they won’t be able to bear getting rid of him.

7. Carolyn

In a similar vein to Yam Yam, Carolyn is another massive personality, and, incredibly, they’re both in the same tribe. Carolyn is loud and energetic, but she also shows a keen awareness. She recognized she was already on the outside of conversations. And she doesn’t seem the type to just sit around weaving palm fronds while the game passes her by. There is some craftiness up Carolyn’s sleeve, and I can’t wait to see her pull it out.

8. Heidi

The Soka tribe’s resident fire-maker, Heidi might be smaller and older than the others, but she is not to be underestimated. There isn’t much to go on regarding the tribe dynamics at the moment other than Frannie and Matt’s bond. But Heidi gained favor with her quick fire-making skills and has that go-getter attitude that serves people well in Survivor.

9. Claire

Again, not a great deal to go on. With Ratu going to tribal council and Tika having the Bruce medevac, the Soka tribe was shortchanged in the edit. That meant little airtime for players like Claire. But from what I saw, she seemed amiable and smart, with signs of a sneaky side — her sharing info with Matthew at the challenge bench could hint at a future bond.

10. Sarah

While Sarah is part of that threesome with Carson and Helen, I’ve ranked her lower simply because she lost her vote. Sure, she lied to her tribemates and told them she didn’t know the outcome of her risk-versus-reward challenge yet. But these players are smart, and if they think she is sitting without a vote, it could make for an easy target.

11. Josh

As with Claire, there is almost nothing to go on for Josh, who was perhaps the most underedited person in the premiere. So I’m sticking him here in the middle of the pack and hoping for the best.

12. Danny

Same as above. All we heard from Danny in this episode was how he expected an easy boot option; instead, everyone in his tribe is chill. Does that mean he’ll end up becoming the easy boot option? Survivor does enjoy its ironic foreshadowing. But there is nothing substantial to say either way.

13. Brandon

It was almost a short stay in Fiji for the former football player. Brandon’s last-second decision to play his (not so) hidden immunity idol ended up saving his butt. There is a chance he can recover from this early setback, and, in fact, getting rid of his very public idol might reduce his target. But the Ratu tribe is messy as all hell already, so who knows how things will shake out.

14. Kane

As you can see from these remaining bottom picks, I’m not feeling confident about Ratu’s chances. Kane was one of the two votes against Brandon, and with the other person, Maddy, now out of the game, this Canadian native could be a sitting duck. If Brandon is able to prove his worth and reconnect with Matthew, whom he seemed to have a good relationship with, then Kane could soon find himself on the low end of the totem pole.

15. Jaime

Ah, good ol’ Survivor paranoia. Jaime was not in danger at all at this first tribal council, and yet from her mannerisms, you’d think she was heading to the gallows. This led to her becoming the first player to play their Shot in the Dark successfully, so congrats, I guess? We’ve seen how paranoia can tank a game fast, so if Jaime can’t rein in her nervous energy, she could end up causing her own downfall.

16. Lauren

It feels bad ranking Lauren at the bottom because she showed some great cunning in the premiere. Her rigging the rock draw to get herself on the “journey” was smart, and her lie about losing her vote was the perfect cover to play her “Bank Your Vote” advantage. Yet it could all come undone due to that challenge-bench chat between Matthew and Claire. The Ratu tribe now knows that Lauren lied to them and, on a tribe of only five people, there aren’t many places to hide.

The Way Too Early Survivor Season-44 Power Rankings