The premiere of Survivor: Island of the Idols is finally here, and it brought back some familiar faces on the island. For audiences who aren't aware, Survivor: Island of the Idols brought in some past winners, Sandra Diaz-Twine and “Boston Rob” Mariano, to serve as mentors for current competitors. These mentors survive alongside their fellow cast members, but are unable to compete and are ineligible to win.
During the 30-second sneak peek, three of this season's competitors - Tom Laidlaw, Vince Moua, and Elaine Scott - all talk about what it takes to be a Survivor winner. Tom, a former NHL hockey player, explains that he’s been the captain of every team he’s ever been on. However, this is said to inform everyone that it isn’t enough to just be strong. It takes more than physical stature and strength to be a Survivor. It requires teamwork. He also mentioned how Wayne Gretzky wasn’t the biggest guy on the hockey rink, but is one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Sandra Diaz-Twine is a Wayne Gretzky in her own right. The new Survivor: Island of the Idols mentor previously took home the winning titles in Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes and Villains, making her the only person to win two seasons. Sandra wasn’t seen as the strongest contestant early on, showing a lack of physical strength, yet she managed to pull through to the very end for her resourcefulness and her smarts.
Sandra also had a little bit of an edge to her, as she would frequently sound off on her fellow contestants. She was also not well known to help out around the camp and would often be doing her own thing. While her presence on the show may have upset people, it's almost impossible to deny that whatever she did worked, seeing as she won consecutively.
The other mentor, Rob Mariano, first won back in 2001's Survivor: Marquesa. Now, he’s practically a reality show legend, appearing in six seasons of Survivor and two seasons of The Amazing Race. He competed in both shows' All-Stars seasons, where the best of the best go head-to-head with one another. Rob was the first runner up against his future wife, Amber Brkich, who took home the one million dollar prize on Survivor: All-Stars.
Rob and Amber remain married to this day and four children together. In 2006, one year after their marriage, they shot a ten-episode show titled Rob and Amber: Against the Odds. This Las Vegas-based show documented Boston Rob's journey to becoming a professional poker player. It also featured professional player Daniel Negreanu, who acted as Rob's trainer.
Both of these mentors are “permanent” fixtures of the show and will remain on the island for the duration of the entire season. The way it works is that contestants of this season will have the opportunity to compete against these two legends for “Idols,” which can be used at future Tribal Councils. Losing against the legends can also have bad consequences, such as losing votes at the Tribal Council.
Survivor: Island of the Idols airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on CBS.