John Powell – GlobalTV.com
And there endeth the lesson.
Tommy Sheehan, the fourth grade teacher from New York, is the winner of Survivor: Island of the Idols.
Tommy scored eight out of the ten jury votes.
Dean Kowalski, the tech salesman also from New York, finished second with two votes: Elizabeth and Aaron.
Noura Salman, the entrepreneur from Maryland, was third but didn’t receive a single vote.
“I kind of felt like a kingpin, everyone was telling me everything. I am not trying to sound cocky but I was very open and real with people. When you are real with people they are real with you too,” said Tommy explaining part of his strategy to host, producer Jeff Probst on the pre-taped reunion show.
Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine, who were coaches this season on the Island of Idols, agreed that Tommy had everyone following his lead.
“Even though he didn’t come to the Island of the Idols everyone else who did, they all said Tommy was their ride or die. Tommy was their Number One. They were in with Tommy so he was doing something right from the beginning,” said Boston Rob.
Tommy was grateful to have made so many friends playing Survivor but that wasn’t his main goal when he stepped foot on the island.
“I am going to be as honest as I can. I love these people. They are my best friends. They are everything to me but when I was going to bed I wasn’t playing to make best friends. I got best friends and they were great about it but I was playing to win that million dollars. I was playing to win for my family. I was playing to win for my students back home,” he confessed.
During the final phase of the game Dean was on fire. He won Individual Immunity and played his Idol Nullifier to send Florida life guard Janet Carbin to the jury and then after Noura Salman won the final immunity challenge, he beat Lauren Beck in a fire-making task to solidify his position in the final three with Tommy and Noura.
Much of the gameplay though this season was overshadowed by the situation involving Dan Spilo and his inappropriate touching, behaviour on the show which affected many of the female players. A complaint by a production assistant saw him removed from the show before the finale.
Kellee Kim, the castaway who has been outspoken on and off the island about how Dan treated her and some of the other women, finally had her say on the finale.
“I was not being supported or believed. When someone goes through something like that or anything remotely like it, to not be supported and not be believed is the hardest thing,” she said in segment dedicated to the issue.
Kellee went onto to say she never wanted her Survivor experience or this season to be defined by what happened.
“We cannot really go back and change what happened to me or all of these other people. It wasn’t just me. It was all of these other people speaking up in different ways. Sometimes people speak up in different ways and some people weren’t ready to speak up when I spoke up. Even though I was ready to speak up it was incredibly difficult. I think the most important thing when I think about this situation and what happened is that I hope this season isn’t defined by inappropriate touching or sexual harassment. I hope that it is defined by change,” she said.
For his part as the show’s producer, Probst promised that new practices were in place to effectively deal with any future incidents.
Next season the prize money is upped to two million dollars as a cast entirely of former winners faces off in Winners at War. The Edge of Extinction will also be returning as well as Fire Tokens which permit the players to buy advantages or rewards.
The returning winners are:
- Amber Mariano: Winner of Survivor All-Stars.
- Danni Boatwright: Winner of Survivor Guatemala.
- Denise Stapley: Winner Survivor Philippines.
- Kim Spradlin: Winner Survivor One World.
- Michele Fitzgerald: Winner of Survivor Kaoh Rong.
- Natalie Anderson: Winner of Survivor San Juan Del Sur.
- Parvati Shallow: Winner of Survivor Micronesia.
- Sandra Diaz-Twine: Winner of Survivor Pearl Islands and Heroes versus Villains.
- Sarah Lacina: Winner Survivor Game Changers.
- Sophie Clarke: Winner Survivor South Pacific.
- Adam Klein: Winner of Millennials versus Gen-X.
- Ben Driebergen: Winner of Heroes versus Hustlers versus Healers.
- Ethan Zohn: Winner Survivor Africa.
- Jeremy Collins: Winner Survivor Cambodia.
- Nick Wilson: Winner Survivor David versus Goliath.
- Rob Mariano: Winner Survivor Redemption Island.
- Tony Vlachos: Winner Survivor Cagayan.
- Tyson Apostol: Winner Survivor Blood versus Water.
- Wendell Holland: Winner Survivor Ghost Island.
- Yul Kwon: Winner Survivor Cook Islands.
Survivor Winners at War airs on Global in February 2020.