“Australian Survivor” has recently captured the hearts of “Survivor” fans in America and across the world, in part due to its most recent season airing amidst the year-long “Survivor” drought caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (season 8, “Brains V Brawn,” aired in the summer of 2021, shortly before the release of “Survivor 41”). The upcoming “Blood vs. Water”-themed season, however, has even more fans excited, given that legendary U.S. Survivor and two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine and her daughter Nina will be competing in it.
Recently, “Australian Survivor” host Jonathan LaPaglia gave an interview previewing the long-awaited upcoming season, “Blood V Water,” and its exciting cast, ahead of its premiere date on Monday, January 31. Here’s what you need to know:
LaPaglia Calls Sandra ‘Very, Very’ Smart
In an interview with Australian magazine New Idea Monday, LaPaglia, who has been hosting “Australian Survivor” since its second iteration began in 2016, teased fans on the contestants in the upcoming season, filming of which completed in November 2021, according to the True Dork Times.
LaPaglia said of Sandra, “she is very good at playing the game, but her daughter has never played before, so there’s an interesting dynamic there.” When asked if the 47-year-old all star was an “intellectual sort,” considering the skill it must take to win “Survivor” twice, he replied that she is “very, very sweet, smart.” He went on, “She’s excellent at leading the room and I think that’s her superpower…she’s quite subtle in how she works [her way] into relationships and manipulates.” He added that “during camp life, she’s quite subtle and quite clever.”
When asked about Sandra’s 24-year-old daughter Nina Twine, who has not yet competed on any “Survivor” edition, LaPaglia teased that she may share her mother’s skill at the game, saying, “She may not have played, but she’s either been taught well by her mother or she’s been paying close attention. So they’re also great to watch and [a] couple to watch out for.”
LaPaglia said of what it was like observing them play as a host:
I love Sandra. She’s great. I love both of them. They were totally, a hundred percent committed to game. They’re both great players. And whenever I asked them something, they always gave me great answers. So I was happy!
Other Returning ‘Blood V Water’ Contestants Include A Couple Who Met on ‘Survivor’
Sandra is not the only “Survivor” all star to return for the ninth season of the Australian edition. Most notable among the Australian returning contestants are Samantha Gash and Mark Wales, who were voted out back-to-back in episodes 6 and 7, respectively, of season 4, which aired in 2017. On that season, the two fell in love, and their downfall came in part as a result of the tight bond they had formed. They are returning as a married couple on “Blood V Water.”
“The silver lining to that story,” LaPaglia said of Samantha, 37, and Mark, 42, “is that they fell in love and got married and have a child now, so that’s a great story. So they come back and they learned from their previous mistakes, so they’re definitely a couple to watch out for.”
Another notable contestant on the upcoming season is 41-year-old former National Rugby League player Michael “Croc” Crocker, who is competing with his sister-in-law (his wife’s sister) Chrissy, 42. “He’s a huge fan of the show,” LaPaglia said of Crocker, “and he convinced his sister-in-law to come on the show with him. And she really didn’t know much about the show or about the game, so the two of them together is kind of hilarious. And I think she felt that she got hoodwinked.”
“Australian Survivor: Blood V Water” will be released January 31 on Network 10 for Australian viewers. Americans will be able to watch the show on Paramount+. Previous seasons of “Australian Survivor” can also be viewed on the website and app.
American “Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.