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Image: "Survivor"
Monty Brinton  /  CBS
Amanda Kimmel, Natalie Bolton, Parvati Shallow and Cirie Field are the "Survivor" final four.
msnbc.com contributor
updated 5/7/2008 9:43:27 PM ET 2008-05-08T01:43:27

"Survivor: Micronesia" has been a weird season, starting with its group of "Fans" and "Favorites," both of which didn't really seem to be deserving of those designations. The fans came across as unprepared and were basically steamrolled by the favorites for weeks, and the favorites weren't exactly a collection of all-stars.

But then some interesting turns of events livened things up, and "Survivor: Micronesia" now has the biggest collection of surprising exits in the show's 16-season history. Between unexpected departures — two people were forced out of the game for medical reasons, one asked to be voted out, and one quit — one fifth of the cast left the game atypically. And the remaining contestants experienced blindside after blindside.

For the past three weeks, the person who left during Tribal Council was a complete surprise to a number of the other players, but especially to the person voted out. CBS' promos are promising yet another surprising Tribal Council this week, and it's hard to imagine what could be more surprising than what we've already seen.

Now, there are just two fans left and three favorites. If those favorites — Cirie, Amanda and Parvati — stick together as they swore to do, they may very well be the final three. But this is "Survivor," and a last-minute change could shake things up.

Based on what we've seen so far, here's a look at the likelihood each of the final five could win, in order of most likely to least likely.

Chances of winning: Stellar

Image: Amanda
Monty Brinton  /  CBS
Amanda's game-changing play last week — she pretended she didn't have the immunity idol and then played it, allowing her vote plus Parvati's to send Alexis to the jury — was perhaps the most strategic thing she's done all season. Otherwise, she's noteworthy only for being likable and part of an alliance of favorites.

While her move shocked her fellow tribemates, she clearly won fans on the jury (they all but jumped up and cheered), two of who failed to play their own hidden immunity idols. If Amanda makes it to the end, that game play plus her general likability could be the one-two punch she needs to knock out whoever's sitting next to her. Right now, it's Amanda's game to lose.

Chances of winning: Extremely good

Image: Cirie
Monty Brinton  /  CBS
During "Survivor: Panama," Cirie endeared herself to viewers with her hysterical commentary about her fellow cast members, never mind her often brilliant strategy. She lost that season during a tie-breaking fire-building challenge at Tribal Council, and thus placed fourth.

Her strategizing and commentary have been just as strong this season. At first she seemed reluctant to turn against her fellow favorites, but keeping those alliances was a smart idea. And eventually, we saw her intelligence and ingenuity come into play.

Based upon her game play last time and this season, Cirie seems to be a favorite to win. Whether or not she can pull it off, though, depends upon who she goes up against. Likable ally Amanda might be her biggest threat in the final three, but sticking with Parvati and Amanda is, paradoxically, probably her best bet to get to that final vote. Once there, she'll have to make a compelling argument that she's a true all-star deserving of the win.

Chances of winning: Doesn't look good.

Image: Parvati
Jeffrey R. Staab  /  CBS
Of the alliance of favorites that's most likely to make it to the final three, Parvati will have the toughest time convincing the jury she deserves to win. No one seems particularly thrilled with her because of her back-and-forth game play, and her showmance with James seems to be over.

There is a chance she could be dumped from her favorites alliance as a result of her actions. Earlier, she promised Alexis and Natalie that she'd be in an alliance with them, and also committed Amanda to that alliance, which irritated Amanda. With that in mind, her best chance to win seems to be to swing her allegiance back over to Natalie, and vote off Cirie or Amanda.

But after working last week with Amanda to vote out Alexis, Parvati has probably both proven herself to be trustworthy again and signaled that she intends to stick with the favorites. Still, there seem to be no plausible scenarios in which Parvati wins the majority of the jury's votes.

Chances of winning: Slim to none.

Image: Natalie
Monty Brinton  /  CBS
Natalie is quite the oddball. She barely seemed like she was on the show for nearly the entire season, and then suddenly came out of nowhere and came across like a raving lunatic, calling herself "ruthless and a pretty stone-cold bitch" as she threatened to floss with Jason's jugular vein.

If the other contestants think she's as unpleasant as she comes across to us, they might opt to keep her around as a person who'd be ideal to go up against in the finals. And once there, she could make a compelling argument that she was behind the plan to vote him out, which makes her a strong player.

Still, if the three favorites stick together, Natalie is gone. And if she does make it to the final Tribal Council, it's hard to imagine how she could win a majority of the votes. Right now, she's basically just fighting to see how long she can stick around.

Andy Dehnart is a writer who publishes reality blurred, a daily digest of reality TV news and analysis.

© 2013 msnbc.com.  Reprints


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