Survivor aired 39 seasons to date and there are a few runner-ups, that arguably should have been crowned ‘Sole Survivor’. So, while every single season winner’s spot could be debated, there are an obvious couple of former castaways that many survivor fans feel were “robbed” at the end. Here are four of the most controversial runner-ups in Survivor history.
Survivor Fan Fave Ozzy Lusth
Survivor fans will remember Ozzy Lusth for his physical prowess when it came to challenges. Ozzy bodied his way through the entirety of Cook Islands. It seemed like there was nothing the California native couldn’t do with his strength and endurance. When he wasn’t scaling trees, he was dominating challenges and winning favor within the tribe. Which is why it was a major shock when Yul Kwon beat him in a slim 5-4 vote.
Although Ozzy came back for three more seasons of Survivor, he would never get as far as he did the first time. His fellow castaways knew his strategy and took him out early in both Survivor Micronesia and Game Changers. Then, he lost a Final Immunity Challenge in South Pacific and came in fourth.
Uber Villain Russell Hantz
There isn’t a dedicated fan alive that doesn’t know Russell Hantz and his insane tactics for making it to Survivor Samoa‘s Final Tribal Council.
In what seemed like the worst strategy of all time, Russell wasn’t in the game to make friends. He was there for the million dollars, which meant burning his tribemates’ socks and destroying water rations. But he is Survivor‘s most successful villain for a reason. Russell was taken to the the finals because everyone wanted to sit beside Russell at the end.
And although everyone hated him, Russell Hantz ended up making it all the way to the end. Yet, his poor jury management ended up costing him the million. Instead, Natalie White, who played a “friendlier” game, ultimately won the season. Russell Hantz returned for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villians, Redemption Island, and Champions vs. Contenders but again fell short.
What Russell failed to grasp was that in Survivor, you not only have to make it to the finals, but you have to make the jury (the people you voted out) want to vote for you. Russell has said that he thinks that’s a flaw in the game.
Aubrey Bracco Was a Survivor Underdog
While starting off Survivor: Kaoh Rong at the bottle of the totem pole, Aubrey Bracco surprised many by making it to Final 3. Her road from rocky beginning to finishing strong had even host Jeff Probst rooting for her. It was a true underdog journey that arguably should’ve ended with a million-dollar prize.
But the jury found her performance lacking compared to Michele Fitzgerald, who beat Aubrey 5-2. Something that was a little upsetting for some who believed that Michele had an easy time sailing to the end. Sadly, Aubrey’s future tribemates on Survivor Game Changers and Edge of Extinction didn’t underestimate her abilities and voted her out.
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