Elaine Stott was the breakout star of Survivor: Island of the Idols, and it wasn't particularly close. On a season with a strong, engaging cast of newbies - and a couple of Survivor phenoms - Stott's riotous personality shone through.
Before the game started, the factory worker from Kentucky was already winning over the fans. She shared with Josh Wigler on Rob Has A Podcast the hardships she's faced with her family and the crazy things she did in her rebellious youth. Elaine held nothing back, displaying a genuineness that was extremely endearing. Though she hails from the same town as David vs. Goliath winner Nick Wilson, she drew more comparisons to players who made it deep in the game but had less of a shot to win. Before the premiere, it was easy to doubt Elaine's chances to become the Sole Survivor too, but after the first episode, we're all chanting in unison, "Why not Elaine?"
Elaine was more than a character in the 90-minute opener; she was player. When her name surfaced as a target, she walked up to the majority and told them she would vote for anyone else as long as it wasn't her. This strategy doesn't always work, but for Elaine, it went over flawlessly. The man they told her to go after, Vince Moua, only received two votes while a woman-led revolt toppled the Aaron Meredith-Ronnie Bardah regime and sent Bardah packing, the only male first boot in the last seven seasons. Like in her preseason interview, Elaine elicited a gamut of emotions from viewers. She was tearful at tribal council as she pleaded to stay in the game. She was uproarious at camp - discussing a wide range of ridiculous topics, from cumin to commando - and prior to the challenge, when she told Jeff Probst, "We thought you quit."
All of this combined to create what may be a first in Survivor. Elaine was chosen as the initial person to be voted out not because she was weak in challenges or because she was untrustworthy, but rather because she was too likable. There was even talk about her being a threat to win in a final three because of this. Though she skirted the vote, she now faces one of the more unusual pre-merge hurdles to navigate. Elaine wants to establish connections and build relationships, as is necessary to be successful in the game; unfortunately for her, she's been so unprecedentedly strong in the social game so early that it's glaringly obvious that no one will want to get rid of her because she's so fun to be around. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is to...get rid of her.
Survivor likes to cast people with high-paying jobs who graduated from prestigious universities. The show routinely pines for actors, screenwriters, former athletes, models and, especially lately, superfans. Oftentimes, however, the most fun characters to watch are the ones with nondescript professions, life stories that are relatable to the average American and a base knowledge of the game without being over-the-top with their fandom. Elaine has shown, already, in one episode, why it's so valuable to have someone like her on the season.
Survivor: Island of the Idols airs Wednesdays at 8 pm on CBS.
Source: Rob Has A Podcast