These 10 ‘Survivor’ Champs Won Without Receiving Any Votes Against Them
CBS reality competition series Survivor is challenging to win, let alone doing so without receiving any votes against you the entire season. The following 10 Sole Survivors have accomplished this feat, and two played a “perfect game.”
Tina Wesson – ‘Survivor: Australian Outbreak’
Personal nurse Tina Wesson portrayed a motherly role at camp and even swam across a lake to retrieve their rice after a storm wiped out their shelter. She proved to be a strategic threat after the merge by systematically eliminating the minority alliance while voting off two allies that could have beat her later on in the game.
When challenge beast Colby Donaldson won the last immunity challenge, she convinced him to bring her to the Final Tribal Council over the easily beatable Keith Famie. The Tennesse-native won in a close 4-3 vote without anyone writing her name down at any Tribal Council.
Ethan Zohn – ‘Survivor: Africa’
While his tribemates noted Ethan Zohn as a physical threat, they did not target him because of his likability. In the first few days, he formed a long-lasting alliance with Lex van den Berghe and Big Tom Buchanan. After the merge, he and his allies controlled the game, along with a few original tribemates.
The three planned to go to the end, but Kim Johnson won the last two individual immunities. She deemed Ethan more deserving than Lex and took the soccer player to the end, who beat her in a 5-2 vote. Due to his personality and genuine connections with almost everyone in the game, Ethan did not receive a vote against him.
Brian Heidik – ‘Survivor: Thailand’
Credited with creating the “goat” strategy, used car salesman Brian Heidik considered the experience a “business trip,” and his tribemates didn’t target him due to his ability to provide. After losing three challenges early on, the tribe enjoyed an individual immunity streak, gaining a numbers advantage over the other tribe.
When they merged, Brian kept his alliance strong, and they systematically eliminated the minority alliance. After voting out two castaways he made Final Two pacts with, the used car salesman won the remaining three individual immunity challenges. He then chose to take the unpopular Clay Jordan to the Final Tribal Council and narrowly pulled out the win in a 4-3 vote.
Sandra Diaz-Twine – ‘Survivor: Pearl Islands’
Initially placed on a dominant tribe, Washington-based office assistant Sandra Diaz-Twine immediately proved herself as her knowledge of the Spanish language helped secure food and other necessities for her tribe. She also formed an early alliance with Rupert Boneham as well as a rivalry with Jon “Jonny Fairplay” Dalton. After her ally’s blindside, she created a women’s alliance with Lillian Morris and Darrah Johnson.
However, she later had to eliminate the latter due to her physical prowess. Lillian won the last immunity challenge and took Sandra, impressed by the office assistant’s ability to care for her family. Even though the jury questioned if the Washington-native deserved to sit at the end, they awarded her the win in a dominating 6-1 vote.
Tom Westman – ‘Survivor: Palau’
Regarded as one of the most likable winners in the history of the game, New York City-based firefighter Tom Westman led his tribe to a historic immunity challenge streak. They then systematically eliminated the entire other tribe except for Stephenie LaGrossa, who Tom allied with early in the game.
He went on to win five individual immunity wins, tying the record for the most in a season with Boo Bernis (Fiji). Tom won the final challenge and offered to take Ian Rosenberger, but he insisted the firefighter take Katie Gallagher because their friendship meant more to him. Even though many jury members thought Tom played a “dirty game,” he won 6-1.
J.T. Thomas – ‘Survivor: Tocantins’
Well-liked by his tribemates, Alabama-based cattle rancher J.T. Thomas proved himself valuable because of his physical ability in challenges. However, the other tribe won more, putting them in the minority when it came to the merge.
Nonetheless, he worked hard and won three back-to-back individual immunity challenges and took original ally Stephen Fishbach to the Final Tribal Council. Due to his loyalty, likability, and how hard he played, J.T. became the first castaway to play a “perfect game” or win unanimously without receiving votes against him all season.
John Cochran – ‘Survivor: Caramoan’
Harvard law student John Cochran returned as a “favorite” and quickly reconciled with Dawn Meehan, whom he betrayed in their previous season. Once the tribes merged, he won the first individual immunity challenge and then bought an advantage at the auction, which led him to his second immunity.
He also engineered the blindside of biggest threat, Brenda Lowe, noting her “likability is a liability” right before the finale. Cochran then won the last individual immunity challenge and sat next to Dawn and Sherri Biethman at the Final Tribal Council. His social, strategic, and physical game made him the second castaway to play a perfect game.
Natalie Anderson – ‘San Juan del Sur’
Former Amazing Race contestant Natalie Anderson and her twin sister, Nadiya, competed on Season 29. The two were separated into separate tribes, and Nadiya was voted out first. Despite her disappointment in her twin’s early elimination, Natalie continued to play hard and engineered the strategic blindside of Drew Christy.
After the merge, Natalie became angry when Jon Misch and his allies eliminated her day one, Jeremy Collins, and sought revenge. She then orchestrated the blindsides of everyone who voted him out and made it to the end with Jaclyn Misch and Missy Payne. Her impressive gameplay won her the game in a 5-2-1 vote.
Nick Wilson – ‘Survivor: David vs. Goliath’
Kentucky-based public defender Nick Wilson nearly escaped becoming the first boot because of his laziness around camp. However, he stuck around and created several alliances, many of them named, with his original and post-swap tribemates, including a final three pact with Angelina Keeley and Mike White. Although others recognized him as a threat to win the game, he avoided elimination by winning the last individual immunity challenges.
Nick ended up sitting next to Angelina, who he chose, and Mike, who won his way to the Final Tribal Council by making fire. Due to the public defender’s strong social, strategic, and physical game, he took home the victory in a 7-3-0 vote. He is the only castaway to win without receiving any votes against him in the Season 30s.
Tony Vlachos – ‘Survivor: Winners at War’
New Jersey-based police officer Tony Vlachos returned for the first all-winners season focused on playing a different game from what he’s previously done. Up until the merge, he put himself on “house arrest” and didn’t look for idols. Instead, he entertained his tribemates by constructing huge ladders and building relationships with them.
Tony then emerged as a challenge beast and won three back-to-back individual immunity challenges while orchestrating every elimination. He voted correctly at every Tribal Council and remained loyal to ally Sarah Lacina until he took her out in fire-making. The father-of-two won in a 12-4-0 vote over Edge of Extinction returnee Natalie Anderson and Michele Fitzgerald.