There are still many people out there who are upset that Aubry Bracco didn’t win “Survivor: Kaoh Rong,” and we absolutely get that. She played an outstanding strategic game, and did so many awesome things that so many super-fans of the game would be thrilled to be a part of — she orchestrated blindsides, built alliances, and went toe-to-toe against physical threats twice her size. In terms of the narrative, we think of her as a cross between John Cochran and Natalie Anderson (though her past comparison of being a love child of Cochran and Sophie Clarke also works).
We’ll get into what potentially went wrong for her the first time around in our “Survivor: Game Changers” spotlight article below, but she’s not in a position where she necessarily needs to make sweeping changes in her game in order to have a good at winning. (In other words, she’s different from some other players.) Her biggest obstacle is calming the perception of her as an enormous threat because of her dominance the first time around.
Past performance – 2nd place (“Kaoh Rong”).
Historical perspective – We’re not having to dip that far into history here, but one of the reasons we feel like Aubry is worthy of this season’s theme is because she was an architect of some of the game’s biggest moves. She managed to build a friendship with Tai Trang that helped to flip the entire game on its head, and built alliances where it became very hard to take her out at almost any occasion. One thing that’s easy to forget about her game is that she had another ally in Joe who likely would’ve never turned against her in the game, and someone else in Neal she was really close to. Both of these guys were medically evacuated, so who knows what happens if they were able to stick around? (Yes, we’ve heard all of the talk that Aubry might have gone had Neal stayed, but who knows what would’ve actually happened at that Tribal Council. It’s all speculation since we never actually got there.)
Strengths – If Aubry is close to you, she does a great job of making you think that you can trust her with your life in the game. It’s something that we saw on a couple of different occasions, as she was excellent at appealing to people on emotional level. She also proved herself to be more and more effective in challenges as time went on, and she’s incredibly smart and knows the game. She’s one of the more versatile players who isn’t just coming into this season with a singular skill set.
Weaknesses – You can argue understandably that Aubry didn’t win because some jurors were bitter against her; however, if you do this then you’re going down a rabbit hole the bitter juries are a constant presence in the game and we don’t want to do that. We think Aubry’s problem the first time around is that she didn’t talk to people outside her alliance enough. She didn’t make some people in the game feel good on their way to the jury, and therefore people like Scot and Jason wanted to vote for someone in Michele who they felt did a better job getting to know them. She’ll need to do a better job appealing to everyone on her tribe during the game.
Prediction – Aubry’s longevity in the game this time around may be dependent on the Mana tribe’s challenge performance in the early going. We do think that she’ll be perceived as a threat, especially by some of the guys on her tribe like a Malcolm or a Troyzan. (She admits in the video below that she’s slightly concerned about Troyzan’s reputation of working with guys.)
However, she’s also on a tribe with someone in Sandra who’s an even bigger threat to win since she’s done it twice. If she can build great relationships with people like Michaela, Jeff Varner, and Ciera in the early going, we could see her blindsiding a ton of people on her way to getting to the merge. She’s also got Caleb as an interesting option for an ally given that they were on the same season together, and both have a relationship to Tai. (It’s a delicate balancing act with this, though — you don’t want to make it obvious that all the “Kaoh Rong” people are working together.)
After the merge, that’s where Aubry probably needs to either get some new side alliances or find an idol. She did such a great job at the end of last season that it’s hard to see anyone in the game ignoring that. We think she easily can win this game, but it’s going to be much harder for her this season to make it to the end.
How are you feeling about Aubry entering this season of “Survivor”? Share in the comments, and head over here to get some further news when it comes to the show, including further spotlights! (Photo: CBS.)