In recent years, Survivor has started relying more and more on twists and curveballs to keep both the players and the viewers on their toes. In season 39, the big gimmick was that fan-favorite castaways Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine were on a separate island — the Island of the Idols — and periodically, castaways from the main game were sent there and could sometimes earn advantages or ways to sabotage other players.
But cast member Jamal Shipman has strong feelings about why that twist should never return to the game.
Shipman Says It Just Didn’t Work
The problem with Island of the Idols is that it just didn’t really work. Shipman said in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) that he supports the show trying new things, but this one was not a success.
“I think IOI should not return. The idea of going off to an island and meeting people can maybe be a thing, but as designed, it just didn’t really work,” said Shipman, adding, “It was a one and done. IOI doesn’t really work. They tried it. I support them trying all kinds of things to keep the show interesting. But this wasn’t a theme to repeat. No IOI 2.”
He also said that he didn’t think Mariano and Diaz-Twine really influenced the game that much, except in two instances — when Noura Salman had to come back to camp and do crazy things, and when Shipman got his vote stolen, which he did not like.
“Looking back, I think the most influence they had was Noura’s IOI challenge. We were just like…what on earth is going on here? Lol. I don’t think Noura does any of that foolishness if she wasn’t trying to execute the challenge from Sandra and Rob,” said Shipman.
He added, “Rob and Sandra were SO….NORMAL. Lol. … They were great. I obviously felt some kind of way about them stealing my vote, but they were fun to talk with and scheme with.”
Shipman Also Addressed Different Winner Scenarios From His Season
When asked about the final Tribal Council, Shipman said he thought Salman had a shot at winning, but her final Tribal Council performance “was really not good.”
So it came down to Dean Kowalski and Tommy Sheehan and for Shipman, Kowalski “didn’t fight” for his vote and Sheehan did, so Sheehan won. But he thought if Lauren Beck or Janet Carbin had been in the final three, they “would have wiped the floor with Tommy and Tommy knew it,” so he “did what he needed to do” and got rid of them.
Finally, he also revealed that their cast is “very close.” A lot of them recently attended Elaine Stott’s wedding. He also revealed that he and Carbin are “particularly close” because they “shared a special relationship out there” and “are going to be working together on a speaking tour soon! Stay tuned!”