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Survivor Wiki

The Hidden Immunity Idol (also known as the "Hidden Idol" or simply as "the idol") is a pocket-sized talisman that prevents the user from being voted out from Tribal Council. Since its introduction in Survivor: Guatemala, critical strategic decisions revolved around the idol, from when to use it, for whom to use it, or how to minimize its effect in the game.

The idol is regarded as the hallmark of modern Survivor gameplay as strategies are usually formed around it.



Gary Hogeboom uses the series' first Hidden Immunity Idol.

Not to be confused with the tribal Immunity Idol or the individual Immunity Necklace, the Hidden Immunity Idol, as the name implies, is difficult to obtain, and its hiding places vary from Exile Island or any of its variants, tribe camps, challenges, or in rarer cases, in Tribal Council itself. Clues to the whereabouts of the idol may exist at camp or may be given to the winners of a Reward Challenge.

When the idol debuted in Survivor: Guatemala, its purpose was to give its owner individual immunity without the winning of an individual Immunity Challenge. In later seasons, it was retooled to negate votes against its user. Despite its potential to protect its owner in the game, it may only be used once, after which the idol will either be re-hidden or discarded. With this, owners should be careful about divulging information about possessing one and/or when to use it, because starting in the Survivor: Fiji season and beyond, a player can still be eliminated with the idol in their possession, thus going home bringing their idol with them. Another limitation is that the idol is only usable until a given deadline (usually Day 36 or 37, when six or five players are left). Since Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, however, idols obtained through means other than being found at tribe camps have had an earlier expiry date (typically valid at the immediate Tribal Council). A player may hold more than one idol if available.

Beginning from Survivor: Ghost Island, certain caveats were put in play to be able to play the idol; otherwise, the idol will be rendered powerless.


The Hidden Immunity Idol is usually a small, ornate talisman that is designed to match the season's theme and/or location. For example, the Hidden Immunity Idol in Survivor: China was a plaque-like wooden square with a Chinese symbol engraved on it. Other idols are designed like small necklaces or bracelets. Usually, the idol is an item based on the history or landscape of the area. In Survivor: Ghost Island, select "cursed" artefacts from previous seasons were repurposed as Hidden Immunity Idols.

Beginning with Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, there has been a noticeable trend of idols being made to look simpler and less elaborate, typically being constructed from materials that could be readily available to the castaways (likely to encourage the creation of fake idols). Notably, in Survivor 41, the Tree Mail parchment was wrapped and tied by beads and string which bore a similar appearance to the Hidden Immunity Idols that season.[1]


The format of how the Hidden Immunity Idol is used every season differs, and as of now, there are three different formats of how it is used based on the time it can be used in Tribal Council.

Preventive Idol[]

Appeared in: Survivor: Guatemala
Played: Before the regular votes are cast.

This type of Hidden Immunity Idol, which can be used before the votes are cast, only appeared during the twist's debut in Survivor: Guatemala, where its existence was revealed via Tree Mail. The owner came to be Gary Hogeboom, who used it in the same episode it was found, earning him individual immunity for that Tribal Council. After its use, the idol was discarded.

Super Idol[]

Appeared in: Survivor: Panama, Survivor: Cook Islands, Survivor: Cagayan (finder only), Survivor: Kaôh Rōng (combining two negating idols),[2] and Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers (first Tribal Council only)
Played: After the regular votes are read.

The super idol is a type of Hidden Immunity Idol that can be used after the votes have been read. Under this mechanic, all the votes the user received will be negated, and the person with the next highest number of votes will be eliminated instead. This creates a scenario where the group which originally held fewer votes gain control of that vote.

The downside, however, is that it is almost impossible to counter without a split vote plan; when the knowledge of the castaway being voted out is known, the voting side holding the super idol has full control of who is going to be voted out, as they know where the majority's votes have fallen.

This format was panned by fans who called the item "too powerful" and compared it to the "Get Out of Jail Free card" in Monopoly.[3] This idol remained valid until the Tribal Council where there are only four contestants remaining. In Cagayan and Kaôh Rōng, this was changed so that, like regular idols, they can only be played up until the final five. In Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, a super idol was planted beneath the supplies before the marooning. Unlike previous iterations of the super idol, this idol could only be used during the first Tribal Council. If the finder's tribe won the first Immunity Challenge, that player had to anonymously send the idol to a member of the losing tribe.[4]

In Kaôh Rōng, while the current format still applied, there was also the option to combine two idols to create a "super idol" that can be played after the votes are read to save any player still in the game.

So far, no idol under this format has ever been played.

Negating Idol[]

Appeared in: Survivor: Fiji onwards
Played: Before the reading of regular votes.

The current iteration of the idol, one idol hidden in each of the tribe camps. To work around the loophole in the idol's rules from the previous format. Instead of using it after the host revealed enough votes to eliminate a castaway, the idol must be used after the votes have been cast, but before the host reveals them. According to host Jeff Probst, this created a "happy medium" between the previous two formats.[3]

This mechanic makes it possible for the idol to be wasted, as a castaway must play the idol on someone that can be voted against, but who is not guaranteed to have the most number of votes, making timing a crucial factor in playing it. A way to counter this type of idol is to force the user to waste it (i.e. if they do not have the most number of votes), a strategy several castaways refer to as flushing. Once the idol is used, it is usually re-hidden. Typically, these idols are valid up until there are only five castaways remaining in the game; from Survivor: Gabon to Nicaragua, idols could be played until the final six. In Survivor: Ghost Island, time-limited idols were introduced with restrictions imposed on the number of Tribal Councils the owner could attend before the idol would expire.

In Survivor: One World, while there is only one camp, there are still two idols; one for each tribe. Both idols are exclusive to a tribe; therefore if a player finds the idol for the rival tribe, they must give it to one of its members before the next Tribal Council.

In Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, however, the original intent of the negating idol was seemingly lost when it was shown that negating idols can be played even before the intended period. Ben Driebergen was allowed to play an idol during the Night 36 Tribal Council even before the castaways voted, meaning it was known to the others that any votes cast against him would not count before they vote. This would be reinforced in Survivor 42 when Drea Wheeler and Maryanne Oketch played their idols before the vote on Night 17, granting themselves individual immunity de facto.

Per the current tiebreaker rules, those who play an idol (or had an idol played for them) are exempted from the deadlock-breaking rock draw.


To find Hidden Immunity Idols more easily, clues are provided to castaways. Several clues either are progressive (meaning the first clue will not be as helpful as the next ones because it will only lead to another clue, but the succeeding clues would lead the looker closer to the actual place of the idol), or still lead to the same hiding place, albeit restructured for added confusion.

As the season progresses, more clues will be provided, regardless if the idol has already been found or not. These clues can be shared with others by the finder(s)' choosing; however, in several incidents in Survivor: Samoa, Russell Hantz was notorious for finding the idols without any clues.

Shambo clue

Hidden Immunity Idol clue in Survivor: Samoa.

These clues may be a cryptic message similar to Tree Mail messages or rebus puzzles in Survivor: Nicaragua. Sometimes, the exact location of the idol is stated outright.

In Survivor: Blood vs. Water, Monica Culpepper began a trend of refusing the clue as to prevent a target from forming on one's back. Only four of the ten clues were accepted during the season.

Over the years, there have been varying ways for how the clues have been given to the contestants:

  • In Guatemala, Heroes vs. Villains, Nicaragua, and Redemption Island, aside from the prize that a tribe gets after winning a Reward Challenge, a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol was either given to the winner/s outright or hidden inside their prize.
  • In Panama, Cook Islands, and Gabon, the idol was hidden at Exile Island. The banished castaway will be handed clues of its whereabouts. Additionally, in Gabon, a second idol was revealed, hidden somewhere near the feast table during the fake merge feast.
  • Starting in Fiji, two Immunity Idols became available, with one hidden at each camp. The exiled castaways will receive clues. This was the first time a flushed idol was replaced with a new one.
  • In Micronesia, several mechanisms have been used:
    • The two people (one from each tribe) banished will be provided multiple clues that are scattered around Exile Island, where they have to compete for ownership of the idol. This was during the tribal phase of the game.
    • At the merge phase, several idols have been available. Ozzy Lusth possessed an idol but wasn't able to use it during the Tribal Council where he was eliminated. With Ozzy's idol gone, a new one was placed on Exile Island, though its finder, Jason Siska, made the same mistake. The next idol was found by Amanda Kimmel, who possessed a clue while at Exile Island, but realized that the idol was at camp, under their tribe flag. Amanda's idol was re-hidden in the next episode. Parvati Shallow was sent to Exile Island in the next episode, and although it looked like she did not look for the idol, it was revealed in a post-show interview that she found the idol while snorkeling and left it on the island to prevent trouble.
  • In the pre-merge of Tocantins and San Juan del Sur, there were two urns on Exile Island, one for each exiled castaway. Each castaway must choose one urn to open; one urn contains nothing, while the other contains the clue to their tribe's idol hidden at camp; the clue is the same for both idols. After the merge, when only one player gets exiled, only one urn would be available but would be guaranteed to have the idol clue.
  • In China and Samoa, one player of the opposing tribe will visit the camp and they will provide the clue for the idol. In China, however, the member of the opposing tribe was forced to give the unopened clue to a member of the tribe they were visiting.
  • In South Pacific, the clue was also hidden at camp, providing more difficulty in finding the idol. The tribe that wins the Immunity Challenge will have a clue planted somewhere around their camp. The more Immunity Challenges a tribe wins, the more clues they get.
  • In One World and Caramoan, Hidden Immunity Idols would still be available, but clues were not provided, as Jeff Probst said that the contestants "do not need them" anymore.
  • In Philippines, the clues were hidden in the tribes' bags of rice, and the idol was actually on top of the bag of rice, disguised as the handle of the lid of the rice basket.
  • In Caramoan, several mechanisms have been used:
    • Malcolm Freberg bought "information" at the Survivor Auction on Day 29, which was a clue to an idol that he was allowed to read for 60 seconds.
    • As part of the individual Immunity Challenge on Day 31, the winner would be rewarded with "information", which was the clue to an idol. Andrea Boehlke won the Individual Immunity and the clue.
  • In Blood vs. Water, the person who finished first in the Redemption Island duel will give a clue to someone left in the game. At the return point, the returning contestant is allowed to give the clue to themselves.
  • At the beginning of Cagayan, the weakest castaway of each tribe (selected by the Tribe Leaders) were sent to their respective camps first. When they arrived, they were given an option to either take an extra sack of rice for their tribe or to receive a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. However, clues were also known to be found on certain rewards the tribes won in Reward/Immunity Challenges.[5][6]
  • In Worlds Apart, before the castaways were sent to their camps, each tribe chose a representative to make a decision when they reached their respective camps. The representative would then have to choose another representative from the tribe, who would join them in making the decision. The representatives would then have to choose either "Honesty" or "Deception"; choosing the former would give the tribe a big bag of beans for the entire tribe while choosing the latter would give the representatives a clue to their tribe's idol, but with only a small amount of beans for the tribe.
  • In CambodiaGame Changers, and David vs. Goliath, instead of only being hidden in the tribe camps, the Hidden Immunity Idols may also be hidden at challenge venues instead, making it potentially harder for an idol to be hidden from others. However, clues are hidden at camp, indicating exactly where the idol is going to be located, which means each clue is only applicable for the immediate challenge. If no clue is found for a specific challenge, the idol is not hidden.
  • In Kaôh Rōng, a first clue was hidden in a tree, pointing to the location of a locked box. Along with the locked box, the player would find tools to build a pole to retrieve a key that was attached to the top of a tree. After retrieving the key, the player could unlock the box to get the idol.
  • In Millennials vs. Gen X, the Hidden Immunity Idols were once again hidden in plain sight. This time, they were hidden inside objects such as a coconut, log, or shell, with their container being marked with their respective tribe insignias.
  • In Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, the clues to the Hidden Immunity Idols were written on objects such as trees and rocks, available for everyone to possibly see.
  • In Survivor 41 and Survivor 42, the Hidden Immunity Idols were hidden as usual at camp, but came in the form of Beware Advantages that forced their finders to complete a task to activate the idols, before which they would be unable to vote at Tribal Council. In both seasons, those who had found the idol must all utter a specific code phrase at an Immunity Challenge for their idols to be usable, lest they cannot vote until the merge. In 41 the idols would have been rendered powerless after the merge had the survivors either failed to find an idol or all three code phrases were not said at the Immunity Challenge. This rule was removed in 42 where the idols had power after the merge regardless if the players failed say all 3 code phrases.
  • In Survivor 43, the Hidden Immunity Idols were hidden as Beware Advantages. Their finders were tasked with retrieving a unique bead from each of their remaining tribemates to activate their immunity bracelet.
  • In Survivor 44, the Hidden Immunity Idols were locked inside a birdcage publicly visible at each tribe camp. The key to its lock was hidden somewhere in the jungle. When the birdcage was unlocked, the key holder may retrieve the bag containing the idol along with a powerless trinket, ostensibly to be left behind as a fake idol inside a re-locked birdcage.


Hidden Immunity Idols are considered "personal items," and thus cannot be stolen from its owner, as stated in the Survivor Rulebook. If the owner hides their idol for safekeeping and someone else finds it, whoever finds the already-found idol may not take it.

If all ballots are negated by idols, a vote restart will occur (see tiebreaker for details). Idols can only be played at the initial vote, not at any re-votes; it is unknown whether they can be played at vote restarts, as no contestant has ever played an idol at a restart.

If Redemption Island is in play, idols remain in the holder's possession upon the holder being voted out, and can be brought back into the game if the holder returns.[7]

If the Edge of Extinction is in play, idols are removed from the holder's possession upon the holder being voted out.[8] It is possible to possess an idol while on the Edge of Extinction only by acquiring it while already there.

In Survivor: Edge of Extinction, the Edge of Extinction returnee receives an inactive idol that comes in two halves; one half must be given to another player before the sundown on the day they re-enter the game. The idol gains full power when the two halves are combined. This mechanic was reused and applied to the pre-merge idols in Winners at War.

In Winners at War, the eliminated castaways residing on the Edge of Extinction post-merge may pay Fire Tokens to obtain an idol which they can use if they win the return challenge.

From Survivor 41 to 46, most idols came wrapped in a package labeled as the "Beware Advantage". The player that finds it may either take the advantage and be obliged to follow the instructions inside the package, or leave it back in its hiding place. If the player chooses the former, they are bound to do what the accompanying note states. Failure to complete the task before an Immunity Challenge will render the owner of the idol without a vote, ostensibly unable to use their Extra Vote nor invoke their Shot in the Dark the next time they visit Tribal Council. If the task is never completed before the merge, the idol finders' penalties end. At this point, in Survivor 41, their idols are rendered permanently unusable; since Survivor 42, the idols would gain full power regardless of whether the task was completed.


Several strategies regarding the idol have been developed by contestants. Here is a non-exhaustive list of how the idol has been used over the series:

Strategy Successful Uses Unsuccessful Uses
Making the holder believe that they will not be voted out, but then blindsiding them (dubbed as "flushing") See list of blindsided contestants See list of successful idol usages
Splitting votes to defuse any power gained by playing the idol See Split Vote
Passing idols to another player to save them "Banana Etiquette"
"Going Down in Flames"
"Zipping Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
"This Is My Time"
"Like Selling Your Soul to the Devil"
"Who's the Sucker at the Table?"
"The Tables Have Turned"
"You Get What You Give"
"I Was Born at Night, but Not Last Night"
"Don't Get Cocky, Kid"
"It's a Turtle?!"
"This Game Respects Big Moves"
"Double Agent"
"Cut Off the Head of the Snake"
"Head of the Snake"
"Million Dollar Gamble"
Discarding the idol itself to scare anybody who would want to get it "Apple in the Garden of Eden" N/A
Potentially removing the possibility of a tie vote "Going Down in Flames"
"Whiners Are Wieners"
"Lie, Cheat and Steal"
"I Don't Like Having Snakes Around"
"I'm Felicia"
Constructing and planting fake idols that have no value at Tribal Council "An Evil Thought"
"I'm Not as Dumb as I Look"
"I'm in Such a Hot Pickle!"
"Nothing Tastes Better than Five Hundred Dollars"
"I'm Going for a Million Bucks"
"I See the Million Dollars"
"It All Boils Down to This"
"There's Gonna Be Blood"
"It Comes Down to This"
"Scorpio Energy"
"The Good Things in Life Aren't Easy"
"Livin' on the Edge"
"Lie, Cheat and Steal"
"Not Going to Roll Over and Die"
"Million Dollar Night"
Playing a fake idol at Tribal Council to gauge the others' reactions and determine whether or not a real idol should be played None "Are You Feeling Lucky?"
Feigning an object in their pocket as an idol, prompting the others to vote somebody else "A Sinking Ship"
"Hell Hath Frozen Over"
"Reap What You Sow"
"Make Some Magic Happen"
Taunting another player who has an idol to surrender or use the object, inducing indecision at the side of the owner "All Hell Breaks Loose"
"Cut Off the Head of the Snake"
"You're Looking at the New Leader of Your Tribe"
Handing out multiple idols to shield more potential targets "Going Down in Flames"
"Zipping Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"
"Quick on the Draw"

There have been several instances where a person that is caught looking for the idol (or even merely suspected of having looked for the idol) has become an immediate target, so it is crucial that searchers must be undetected when looking for it.

Hidden Immunity Idol History[]

See Hidden Immunity Idol/History

Fake idols[]

Created by the contestants themselves, fake idols have been used as a foil for players to use them under the assumption that they have been helped out to achieve power and to ensure success on the end of their creators. These counterfeits have no value at Tribal Council; and when played, they are confirmed by the host as fake before being thrown in the central fire pit of Tribal Council.

Contestants Making Fake idols[]

  • In Survivor: GuatemalaGary Hogeboom made the first fake idol after finding his own Hidden Immunity Idol. He took a small piece of wood, carved a star on it, and hid it where he found the real one. Nobody found it and it was never aired. [9]
  • In Survivor: Panama, Austin Carty made a fake idol when he was marooned on Exile Island with Danielle DiLorenzo. He intended to use it as a bluff to avoid his ouster in that same episode but had a change of heart. The secret scene was revealed in his interview with Julie Chen on The Early Show.
  • In Survivor: Fiji, Yau-Man Chan made a fake idol after finding his own Hidden Immunity Idol. He took half of a coconut shell and drew a face on it with paint, and to make sure that whoever found it was sure that it was indeed a Hidden Immunity Idol, he wrote "II" ("Immunity Idol") on it.
  • In Survivor: Micronesia, Ozzy Lusth made a fake idol on Exile Island after finding his own Hidden Immunity Idol. He referenced Yau-Man in Fiji as his inspiration for this move. He took a decent-sized stick and carved a face on it. It was later found by Jason Siska, who was convinced that it was real, and reluctantly played by a more skeptical Eliza Orlins.
  • In Survivor: Gabon, Bob Crowley made two fake idols. He gave one to Randy Bailey, who eventually played it, but was voted out the same night. He used the other to attempt to sway Ken Hoang and Crystal Cox into flipping to vote out Matty Whitmore and save his ally, Corinne Kaplan. However, this plan failed when Crystal and Ken decided to split their votes in order to flush the idol. Bob's fake idols were noted as being very ornately-crafted and very convincing.
  • In Survivor: Tocantins, Taj Johnson-George also made a fake idol after finding the Jalapao Hidden Immunity Idol. Joe Dowdle found the idol, but since he was evacuated, he never played it.
  • In Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Russell Hantz made a fake idol and gave it to Jerri Manthey, but she did not use it.[10]
  • Also in Heroes vs. Villains, Rupert Boneham feigned a rock in his pocket as a fake idol, with Russell believing that Rupert really had one.
  • In Survivor: Philippines, Abi-Maria Gomes never made a fake idol but feigned the scroll container that contained the Challenge Advantage she bought during the Survivor Auction as an idol.
  • In a secret scene for Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Val Collins made a fake idol after bluffing about finding two Hidden Immunity Idols to keep her safe in the game and try to deflect votes away from her.
  • Also in San Juan del Sur, Dale Wentworth found a small emblem he thought could possibly be the idol on the well on Day 3. He eventually learned that John Rocker had possessed the real Coyopa idol, but used his fake idol as leverage in the game anyway.
  • In Survivor: Worlds Apart, Joe Anglim, using his expertise as a jewelry designer, made a fake idol using wood from a crate and pieces from his torch. Joe made a deal to give Mike Holloway the idol if Mike could swing the votes in his favor to stay in the game and send Jenn Brown home. Mike played the idol on Will Sims II at Tribal Council and learned that it was indeed a fake.
  • In Survivor: Cambodia, Kelley Wentworth created a fake idol and gave it to Keith Nale as one final attempt to scare the majority alliance in order to protect Keith as she had individual immunity. Although Keith feigned having an actual idol around camp, he did not pull out the fake idol at Tribal Council thinking that it would not change anything and was voted out.
  • In Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, Zeke Smith made a fake idol out of sea debris and hid it at the Vanua camp in a bush. This idol would be found by Ozzy Lusth in Survivor: Game Changers when the beach was used as the Tavua camp.[11]
  • Also in Millennials vs. Gen X, David Wright created a fake idol after coming back from the Day 35 Tribal Council, using various beads and parts he collected throughout the game in order to "fish" someone out. Jay Starrett ultimately found the fake idol the next day and played it at that night's Tribal Council. It was revealed to be a fake idol, and he was voted out.
    • This particular fake idol would return in Survivor: Ghost Island, again as a counterfeit. Domenick Abbate found it at the Lavita camp, and feigned it as a real idol at the final six Tribal Council, even going as far as to "play" it before the votes were cast.
  • In Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, Ben Driebergen created a fake idol which he planted with the intention of tricking Chrissy Hofbeck in the event of an idol search. Ultimately, he withdrew from the plan and took the fake idol away.
  • Also in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, Chrissy used the super idol that expired on Day 3 as a fake idol, putting up a guise that she had found the real idol to dissuade Ben from searching for one.
  • In Ghost Island, Jacob Derwin made a fake idol while on Ghost Island to keep him off the chopping block for the next vote and showed it off to his tribe under the guise of being open with them. Instead, his tribe called his bluff, and he became the main target of the split vote. He was blindsided at the next Tribal Council.
  • Again in Ghost Island, Domenick Abbate created a fake idol to distract anyone who suspected him of having the real idol (which he possessed). He used the real idol parchment as well as some beads, a shell, and cloth to create it. He showed it to Chris Noble to gain his trust and later used the same tactics with the original Malolo members after the Tribe Switch.
  • Also in Ghost Island, Wendell Holland created a fake idol using various pebbles and beads. Donathan Hurley witnessed the secret transferring of the object between Wendell and Domenick, leading to his distrust in the two.
  • In Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Nick Wilson created a fake idol out of string and various other materials he had collected and wrapped it in the note that came with his real Hidden Immunity Idol. He "found" the idol under the raft in an attempt to dissuade the other castaways from looking for the real idol. This backfired once the news reached Davie Rickenbacker. Believing that Nick could actually have two idols, he began to try to turn the vote against him, until Nick eventually told him the idol was fake. At the next Tribal Council, Nick played his fake idol as a means of gauging the other castaway's reactions. He ultimately played his real idol afterward, though ultimately received no votes.
  • Also in David vs. Goliath, after finding her real idol, Angelina Keeley crafted a fake idol and planted it for Alison Raybould to find, in order to make the upcoming Tribal Council have more "fireworks." Alison believed that it was fake but attempted to play it anyway. Jeff confirmed that it was fake and Alison was voted out.
  • In Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Ron Clark gave Rick Devens his expired Advantage Menu to dissuade Rick from finding an idol.
  • Also in Edge of Extinction, Rick created two fake idols, which he held onto until the final five. After winning individual immunity, he planted both idols with the parchments from two idols that previously found, including re-hiding a clue for one of them as well. Julie Rosenberg and Lauren O'Connell each found one of Rick's fake idols and simultaneously tried to play them at the following Tribal Council. Jeff revealed that both were fake, and after Rick played his own idol on Gavin Whitson and Chris Underwood played one on himself, Lauren was voted out.
  • In Survivor: Winners at War, Tony Vlachos created a fake idol and presented it to Nick Wilson alongside his real idol to cement his trust.[12] Tony then gave the fake idol to Sarah Lacina, which she used to feign safety towards Michele Fitzgerald and Natalie Anderson going into the upcoming Tribal Council, since Sarah knew that Natalie had a real idol. Her plan worked, and Michele and Natalie chose to vote for Ben Driebergen, who was voted out.[13]
  • In Survivor 41, Shan Smith and Ricard Foyé took a Beware Advantage which contained an idol and Shan then memorized the phrase she needed to say to activate it. Ricard left a bracelet of his in the idol package and put it in back in its hiding place to fool Genie Chen into thinking it had not been touched, while Shan kept the real, powerless idol in her possession, waiting to activate it once all three phrases were said.
  • Also in 41, Xander Hastings had created a fake idol earlier in the game and later showed it off at Tribal Council as part of a ruse while handing possession of his real idol to Tiffany Seely. This allowed him to circumvent the Knowledge is Power advantage played by Liana Wallace, preventing Liana from successfully stealing his idol.
  • In Survivor 42, Hai Giang lied about having a fake idol that he promised to play for Jonathan Young on Day 19 to prevent Jonathan from playing his Shot in the Dark.
  • Also in 42, Romeo Escobar created a fake idol which he threatened to play at the final five, though he was never being targeted. Before the votes were read, he pulled out the fake idol and discarded it in the fire.
  • In Survivor 44, Matthew Grinstead-Mayle found his tribe's re-hidden idol and went on to create a fake idol with beads and strings, using the note from his real idol. He hid it behind the water well and led Jaime Lynn Ruiz to find it, with her believing it to be the real idol. Later on, Jaime passed it to Kane Fritzler to protect it from a potential Knowledge is Power advantage, and Kane ended up getting voted out with it that night.
  • Also in 44, Josh Wilder showed Carolyn Wiger and Yam Yam Arocho the note that came with the idol he acquired on the Day 8 summit. He tied together two strings of beads from the Tree Mail scrolls as his fake idol. When presenting the "idol," however, both Carolyn and Yam Yam openly told Josh that they believed it was fake, with Yam Yam in particular calling out its shoddy quality.
  • In Survivor 46, Tiffany Nicole Ervin created a fake idol and attempted to get Jess Chong to find it in order to prevent her from playing her Shot in the Dark. When Jess was unable to find the planted idol, Tiffany handed her idol to ally Q Burdette to give Jess. A skeptical Jess played the idol at Tribal Council, only to find out that it was fake.

Fake Idol Kit[]

During Survivor: Game Changers, a fake idol kit was one of the advantages offered as part of an Advantage Menu to whoever was sent to Exile Island after the second Tribe Switch. The exiled castaway, Debbie Wanner, chose an Extra Vote instead of a fake idol kit (or a tribe challenge advantage).

Idol Cage[]

During Survivor 44, the first idols of the season were left in cages near the tribe camps, with the keys being hidden in the jungle. Once a castaway found the key, they could then open the cage, where they would receive a fully powered idol as well as a fake idol to do whatever they wanted with. The twist was that each tribe's fake idol looked identical to another tribe's real idol, moving in a triangle.

  • Ratu's Brandon Cottom opened the cage in front of his entire tribe, exposing the secret of his fake idol to everyone. When he learned that the merged tribe would be living on Ratu's beach, he decided to re-hide the fake idol in an attempt to eventually trick someone from the opposing tribes. Kane Fritzler ended up finding it, and after confirming with Brandon that it was indeed fake, he returned it to its new hiding place.[14] Later, Danny Massa found the fake idol in its new hiding place.[15]
  • Soka's Danny Massa found his key and idols in secret and successfully managed to re-hide the fake idol in the cage and the key in the roots of a tree. Matt Blankinship found the re-hidden key and opened the cage, taking ownership of Danny's fake idol. Matt later suspected that it was fake when he learned of Brandon's own fake idol after the merge, and correctly deduced that Danny may have been holding on to the real one. Matt then got voted out in the same episode, and since he left the fake idol back at camp, it was "voided" upon his exit.
  • Tika's Carolyn Wiger also found her key and collected her idols in secret. She eventually made a fake clue that led her tribe into thinking that the bird cage was now useless and that the idol had been re-hidden at camp. Sarah Wade ended up finding Carolyn's re-hidden fake idol, and was later voted out with it in the same episode.

Advantage Amulet[]

For the main article, see Advantage Amulet.


International Hidden Immunity Idols[]

Hidden Immunity Idols have become a staple feature of international Survivor series as well. For information on the history of idols from international seasons, refer to the following articles:


  • Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers and Island of the Idols currently share the record for the most idols found, with nine.
    • This does not include the three idols earned by winning the mentors' challenge on the Island of the Idols. If those three are counted, Island of the Idols holds the record alone, with twelve.
  • The Survivor 44 episode "I'm Felicia" holds the record for the greatest number of active idols in play at the same time, with six.
  • Cambodia currently holds the record for the most successful idol plays, with four.
  • From Jon Misch's first idol in San Juan del Sur to David Wright's first idol in Millennials vs. Gen X, eleven idols were played, all successfully. This is the record for the most consecutive successful idol plays.
    • However, two people were voted out and a third evacuated with idols in their possession during this span.
  • Survivor 46 holds the record for the most people voted out while in possession of an idol, with 5.


  • Gary Hogeboom (Guatemala) is the first castaway to possess and use a Hidden Immunity Idol.
  • Terry Deitz (Panama) is the first castaway to possess a vote-negating idol and the first to possess an idol after its expiration.
  • Yau-Man Chan (Fiji) is the first male castaway to possess an idol in its current format, and the first male castaway to successfully play an idol.
  • Mookie Lee (Fiji) is the first castaway to transfer his possession of the idol to someone else. The recipient, Alex Angarita, is the first castaway to use a Hidden Immunity Idol under the current format, and the first to play an idol unsuccessfully.
  • James Clement (China) is the first castaway to be voted out with a Hidden Immunity Idol in his possession. In the same instance, he is also the first castaway to be voted out with two idols in his possession.
  • Amanda Kimmel (Micronesia) is the first female castaway to possess an idol in its current format, and the first female castaway to successfully play an idol.
  • Parvati Shallow (Micronesia) is the first castaway to deliberately discard an idol when she chose to leave behind an idol that she found on Exile Island.[16] She would be followed by Randy Bailey in Gabon and Mike Zahalsky, who discarded half of the idol found by Lauren Rimmer in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.
  • Matty Whitmore (Gabon) is the first castaway to use an idol and only receive minority votes.
  • Colton Cumbie (One World) is the first person to be medically evacuated while in possession of a Hidden Immunity Idol. He would later be followed by Neal Gottlieb (Kaôh Rōng).
  • Galang (Blood vs. Water), Angkor (Cambodia), and Belo (Survivor 45) are the only pre-merge tribes whose idols were never found.
    • Galang and Belo are the only tribes to have an idol hidden but never found, as Angkor's idol was never hidden.


  • The earliest successful use of a Hidden Immunity Idol (and earliest use overall) was on Day 3 of Survivor 44 when Brandon Cottom played it on himself successfully.
  • The earliest unsuccessful use of a Hidden Immunity Idol was on Day 5 of Redemption Island when Kristina Kell played it on herself unsuccessfully.
  • The latest use of a Hidden Immunity Idol was on Day 37, in several seasons. In all such seasons, it was the last day idols could be played.
  • Michael Yerger (Ghost Island) is the youngest castaway to find an idol, being 18 at the time he found his first idol.
  • Janet Carbin (Island of the Idols) is the oldest castaway to find an idol, being 59 at the time she found her second idol.


  • Mike Holloway (Worlds Apart) is the first eventual Sole Survivor to use a Hidden Immunity Idol successfully in the season they won. He would be followed by Jeremy Collins (Cambodia), Ben Driebergen (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers), and Chris Underwood (Edge of Extinction).
    • Ben Driebergen (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers) is the first eventual Sole Survivor to use multiple Hidden Immunity Idols successfully on himself in the season they won.
  • Lauren O'Connell (Edge of Extinction) holds the record for holding a single idol for the longest continuous timespan, having the Manu idol from Day 2 up to Day 36 (35 days total).
  • Kelley Wentworth (Cambodia) holds the record for most votes negated at one Tribal Council using an idol, with 9, beating out Russell Hantz (Samoa) and Jenn Brown (Worlds Apart), the previous record holders, with 7.
  • Kelley Wentworth (Cambodia) is the first castaway to play idols successfully on herself at two Tribal Councils in the same season. She would be followed by Ben Driebergen (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers), Christian Hubicki (David vs. Goliath), and Rick Devens (Edge of Extinction).
  • Adam Klein (Millennials vs. Gen X) is the first castaway to find a Hidden Immunity Idol on the last day it could be played (Day 37). He would be followed by Ben Driebergen (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers), Rick Devens (Edge of Extinction), and Natalie Anderson (Winners at War).
  • Tai Trang (Game Changers) and Kellee Kim (Island of the Idols) are the only castaways to find two idols in the same episode.
  • Cirie Fields (Heroes vs. Villains and Game Changers) is the only castaway to be idoled out of multiple seasons.
    • In addition, her elimination from Panama involved an idol indirectly, as Terry Deitz had de facto immunity, possessing an idol at the last opportunity in which it could be used.
  • Ben Driebergen (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers) is the first castaway to negate a unanimous vote with an idol.
  • Dan Rengering (David vs. Goliath) is the first castaway to have their idol negated by an Idol Nullifier.
  • Sandra Diaz-Twine (Winners at War) is the first castaway to purchase an idol from another player using a Fire Token.
  • Natalie Anderson and Rob Mariano (Winners at War) are the first castaways to purchase an idol from the Edge of Extinction menu using Fire Tokens.


  1. (1:23:00)
  2. Ross, Dalton (January 11, 2016). "Survivor: Jeff Probst reveals latest twist: a new 'super idol'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lang, Derrik J. (January 12, 2007). "Jeff Probst Talks "Survivor: Fiji"". The Slug. Retrieved April 17, 2020. 
  4. Wigler, Josh (August 30, 2017). "'Survivor': Jeff Probst Explains Everything to Know About Season 35". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  5. "Hot Girl with a Grudge". Survivor: Cagayan.
  6. "Cops-R-Us". Survivor: Cagayan.
  12. Ross, Dalton (May 14, 2020). "Tony Vlachos reveals all his antics we DIDN'T see on Survivor". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 14, 2020. 
  13. Ross, Dalton (May 14, 2020). "Sarah Lacina explains origin of her gender bias Survivor speech". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 14, 2020. 

Survivor Gameplay
Challenges Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction
Elimination Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Null Vote · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor (Perfect Game) · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn
Strategy Alliance · Goat Strategy · Pagonging · Split Vote
Social Dynamics Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe
Twists Casting Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity
Tribal Council Advantage Amulet · Do or Die · Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Legacy Advantage · Knowledge is Power · Safety Without Power · Shot in the Dark · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal
Game Mechanics Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Earn the Merge · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Hourglass · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · Summit · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch
Post-Game Contestants on other programs · Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show
Miscellaneous Buff · Camp · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging