High School Friend Contest is the eighth episode of Survivor: China.


Day 21

Returning from Tribal Council, Hae Da Fung climbed into the shelter. Jean-Robert Bellande, rattled by his close call at Tribal thanks to Jaime's attempt to play a Hidden Immunity Idol, complained of his near miss. However, when he wouldn't move over in the shelter to let Erik Huffman in, James Clement called him out on his self-pity, mockingly asking if he needed a hug.

At Tribal Council, I had a close call. Jaime pulled this little plaque out of her bag. I mean, I was like, "Is this really happening? Could this possibly be, like, she found an individual Immunity Idol somewhere in our camp?"

–Jean-Robert Bellande

Jean-Robert don't know that I have both Immunity Idols. We can't tell him that, because he's Jean-Robert. He's gonna mess something up. We just need to keep his dumb ass in line 'cause we're stuck with him now. We need his vote, so we gotta deal with it.

–James Clement

Day 22

James rose early to tend to the fishing nets, contemplating the strength of his Fei Long Alliance against the weaker Zhan Hu Alliance. He hadn't even finished stringing out the nets before he'd caught two decent-sized fish, much to the delight of the tribe. However, Amanda Kimmel was concerned that he might be becoming too much of a threat, particularly with the hidden idols on his side.

I'm back with my original tribemates and we have to stick together. We've put ourselves in a position by all these personalities coming together – we're a complete opposite. I mean, we got a lunch lady, we have a professional gambler, we have a stewardess, we have a waitress from New York, there's a gravedigger. All our personalities, even though we clash, we pull together. And we won together. Y'know? And the other team, that's not how they work. The other team, they got together as a clique. They're not trying to win a million dollars. They're trying to win a high school friend contest.

–James Clement

At this very moment, James is in a good position because he has both the Immunity Idols for sure. So he's almost guaranteed himself in a top five position now. He's a strong physical, mental player at this game, so I am kind of afraid that he might win the whole thing.

–Amanda Kimmel

Hae Da Fung met for their Reward Challenge later that day. Jeff Probst revealed that the tribe would be split into two four-person teams to compete in The Bucket Stops Here. One team member would sit in a small wooden boat in the center of a pool defined by a square platform. The three members of the other team would then attempt to throw water into the boat, leaving the castaway in the boat to the task of keeping away from the other tribe and bailing the water out. The first team to sink the other team's boat would score a point, with the first team to two points would win the challenge: a trip to an ancient village and a fresh-cooked meal, as well as a sealed bamboo tube to open at the dinner.

The teams were determined by a Schoolyard Pick. Jean-Robert and Peih-Gee Law were randomly determined as the team captains. Jean-Robert had the first choice and chose James. Peih-Gee chose Frosti Zernow, and James followed by selecting Todd Herzog. Frosti chose Erik next, splitting the team up as the old Fei Long against the old Zhan Hu. Todd chose Amanda as the last member of the Yellow Team. Erik then chose Courtney Yates to round out the Red Team. This left Denise Martin as the odd person out, automatically eliminating her from contention for reward.

In the first round, Courtney and Todd were in the boats. Both were able to get to the middle of the pool early, and kept up well with bailing water from the boat. However, Courtney drifted to the edge, allowing Amanda, James, and Jean-Robert to effectively pour water straight into her boat. Todd managed to keep on the move, slowing the Red team throwers down by making them chase him, but Courtney was not able to bail fast enough and her boat sunk, scoring a point for the Yellow Team.

In the next round, Amanda and Frosti boarded the boats. The Red Team began to grow weary as they threw water at Amanda, who managed to keep her boat fairly central. However, the Yellow Team got the best of Frosti, particularly when he drifted towards the platform, allowing the three men to gang up on him. Although he tried to paddle away, he couldn't escape and his boat sunk, scoring the second – and winning – point for the Yellow Team. As Courtney, Denise, Erik, Frosti, and Peih-Gee headed back to camp defeated, Amanda, James, Jean-Robert, and Todd received the sealed bamboo tube and left for their reward.

The winning team arrived at their reward and were welcomed through the gate into the city. They were escorted through the narrow stone streets of the ancient village, and the atmosphere astounded everybody. The team were then led to a room of their own where they were to have their meal. Before the arrival of the food, however, Jean-Robert opened the sealed bamboo clue to discover that it contained clues to the whereabouts of the Hidden Immunity Idol. Jean-Robert was taken aback by the information, having not known anything about the existence of a hidden idol – a fact that both Jean-Robert, Todd and Amanda commented on in their confessionals. Soon after, the food was brought out and the four dug into the banquet meal, with Jean-Robert and James particularly excited about the authentic wontons. Jean-Robert, however, was still primarily concerned with the clue to the "American Immunity Idol." He asked James what they should do with the actual note, and he answered that the clue should "disappear," suggesting that the group would need to memorize the clue.

The reward was nice. We had the opportunity to go and see a thousand-year-old village. I'm not really one to enjoy the "romantic" side of stuff, but when you walk into the place, the construction of everything, you could feel, like, the history. That was really nice.

–James Clement

I gotta tell you, when I read this, I was a little bit surprised. As much information as there has been out there, I should have known something. I should have had some sort of clue. And that shook me up a little bit.

–Jean-Robert Bellande

When Jean-Robert busted open those clues for the Hidden Immunity Idol, it was kind of funny because there's no idol out there. It's already been found. James has both Immunity Idols and Jean-Robert's the only one from Fei Long that doesn't know about it.

–Todd Herzog

Jean-Robert has no idea. I think that was the best part of the whole evening was hearing him talk about finding this idol. "Where do you guys think it can be? I don't know where it is!" Y'know?

–Amanda Kimmel

Back at camp, Denise was frustrated about being excluded from the challenge, and began to doubt the loyalties of her alliance. As the group cooked up the fish that James had caught earlier in the day, Denise rhetorically asked the former Zhan Hu why they hadn't voted out James when they had the chance. Erik responded that James was certainly the big target now, but noted that Jean-Robert was a sneaking threat too. Peih-Gee pounced on the opportunity that presented itself by pointing out that the five of them could team up as a new majority alliance. The group agreed that they wanted to see Jean-Robert go home before any one of them, and Peih-Gee admitted that if Courtney and Denise sided with them, then she would give them her vote if they made the Final Tribal Council. Yet whilst Denise liked the gist of the idea, she was tentative to jump ship, explaining her reasoning to Peih-Gee and Erik: "If I think the best way for me to go is with you guys, I'm gonna go with you. If I think the best way for me is to go with them, I'm gonna go with them." Her honesty was understood by both of them, who responded that they wouldn't expect anything different.

I'm very upset right now, y'know, what am I gonna do? I wasn't picked at the challenge. I mean, I was standing there, y'know, looking at everybody and just sitting on the bench. Y'know, I'm big, I'm fat, I'm always the last one picked, so... I mean, it's been like that my whole life. And here it is again. Y'know, I mean, the last one standing there, are they going to do that when it comes down to the Final Seven? Am I going to be the one that goes home before J.R.? Or am I going to be the one who goes home before James? Y'know, I don't want to be that person. I want to stay in this game as long as I possibly can.

–Denise Martin

I'm like... Wait a minute... I was like, if we all band together, then it'll be four to five and guess what? Jean-Robert and James, oh, Amanda, okay, bye! I have nothing to lose. Like, I'll try anything at this point.

–Peih-Gee Law

Peih-Gee's trying to shake things up and get us to vote out Jean-Robert. Nobody likes him, so it's kind of an easy vote. If I decide to go with Peih-Gee and Erik, I could end up in a good situation with them, but I don't wanna go against the rest of the tribe and have them vote against me, so I'm thinking it over and deciding what I'm gonna do.

–Denise Martin

Day 23

Amanda, James, Jean-Robert and Todd returned to camp in the middle of the night, but Jean-Robert did not lie in the shelter for long. Whilst it was still dark, he rose and began searching for the Hidden Immunity Idol, looking at Tree Mail and even in the archways where the idol had once been hidden. As the tribe slept, Jean-Robert pried off the remaining plaques with the intention of determining which was the idol at a later time. He hid them in a shrub, put the machete used to pry off the plaques back in its place and climbed back into the shelter before anyone had woken.

I didn't even sleep last night, I was so anxious to get that Immunity Idol. I mean, that's the difference in the game. That could protect me. That could be my million dollars right there. I looked around and I remembered some clue about four bats and I know it's above and I got the feeling that it was some place we walked every time we came home. So I decided it was probably one of those mini-pagodas. Now I'm thinking it might be one of these plaques. The four bats thing makes sense. One of the plaques. So right now, I think I might take the other three down and I can figure out which one of them is right. If I have the Immunity Idol, it gives me a trump card. I like the direction I'm going, but I feel more comfortable with a trump card in my pocket knowing that the general public doesn't have access to them right now.

–Jean-Robert Bellande

Day 24

At breakfast, Jean-Robert accused James of eating more than his fair share of the rice. The brief argument fuelled Todd's frustration towards his two allies, and he pulled Amanda aside to suggest they blindside James at the next vote. Amanda wasn't convinced, proposing that they vote out Peih-Gee first, and take out James at eight. However, Todd was concerned that if James were to win a couple challenges, he'd be able to use the hidden idols to get himself to the Final Four. Amanda was skeptical, but Todd was adamant that they could blindside him if he continued to believe the alliance planned to vote out Peih-Gee. Todd then approached Frosti with the same plan to blindside James if he didn't win immunity, and Frosti agreed, also promising not to tell Peih-Gee about the plan.

We have been in the jungle for twenty-three days now and these people are driving me insane. I hate hearing Jean-Robert's voice, I hate hearing James complain how he's so hungry. Plus, it kinda pisses me off how James has both Immunity Idols, being that I found it and told him where the other one was, and he hasn't offered to give one back. That drives me insane. So, I would love to see some craziness happen here at camp

–Todd Herzog

The plan was, originally, to get rid of Peih-Gee next and then Erik and Frosti after that. Now, all of a sudden, Todd's in a big hurry to get rid of James. And him changing so quickly, like, really makes me nervous.

–Amanda Kimmel

In this game, you've got to take advantage of whatever happens whenever you can and right now, people are starting to view me as a swing vote, which ends up being not so bad. I'm always looking for a chance to make sure I'm safe, so right now the plan is to not let James win immunity at this next challenge and blindside him at Tribal tonight.

–Frosti Zernow

The tribe then travelled to their next Immunity Challenge. Jeff took the Immunity Necklace back from Frosti and revealed the challenge: Dragon Rider. Each castaway would sit balanced on a rolling barrel along a giant dragon structure. The barrel, initially filled with water, would drain over time, making it more unstable. If a competitor fell off the barrel and into the mud, or if they touched any part of the structure other than the barrel, they would be out of the challenge. The last person standing would win immunity.

Soon after the challenge began, Jean-Robert complained to Jeff that his barrel wasn't balanced, and Courtney commented snarkily, "I thought I was the complainer." James struggled to keep balanced on his barrel. After ten minutes, Jean-Robert was still complaining, this time about his back itching. He began to play with his position on the barrel, but lost his balance and face-planted into the mud, becoming the first person eliminated from the challenge. Denise lost her balance soon after, and was also eliminated. James continued to wobble, but recovered well.

After twenty minutes, Erik recovered his balance, Peih-Gee showed signs of unbalance but Courtney was still as a statue. James continued to struggle to stay on the barrel and finally lost his balance and was eliminated. Erik and Peih-Gee lost their balance soon after. Amanda began to wobble and placed her hands onto the dragon structure to steady herself, eliminating her from the challenge.

Frosti began singing at the thirty minute mark, amusing his tribe. Todd lost his balance next, leaving only Frosti and Courtney to fight for immunity. Jeff commented that Courtney had not moved in thirty-two minutes, and she quipped, "I am lazy!" Soon after, Frosti began to lose his balance and despite fighting hard to recover, he couldn't manage to right himself. As the last person remaining, Courtney won her first individual immunity.

Returning from the challenge, Courtney was ecstatic about her unexpected win, but Peih-Gee was devastated as she believed she was the target at the evening's vote. As Erik and Jean-Robert washed off in the lake, Jean-Robert told Erik that he wasn't going to be on the chopping block for much longer and claimed that he had found the Hidden Immunity Idol. Erik was certain, however, that James had them (having searched James' bag several days back). When he called Jean-Robert out, the latter boasted that he had more clues than Erik. However, Erik revealed that he knew there was an Idol at each camp, and that he'd found two plaques amongst James' possessions back at Zhan Hu, utterly shocking Jean-Robert. Frustrated that he was late to the party, Jean-Robert told Erik to keep their conversation on the down-low, but suggested they might "have to pull a fast-one" on James and blindside him.

I did win Immunity today. I didn't think I would ever win anything. (laughs) So I pretty much don't care, at this point, who gets voted out. I'm immune tonight, so can't get me!

–Courtney Yates

I was crushed I didn't win it today because I know I'm next on the chopping block. I've been really trying to scramble and save my ass and Denise seemed really open to the idea of voting with me and my other allies. So, hopefully it will get me through one more Tribal Council.

–Peih-Gee Law

I was trying to think, how do I keep me in the game longer? And then Jean-Robert told me head had the Idol and that changed everything. 'Cause I'm ninety-nine percent positive James has them.

–Erik Huffman

Later, James and Jean-Robert rowed out into the lake to check the fishing nets. Jean-Robert asked James about his thoughts on the Hidden Immunity Idol, but James played dumb, and asked if Jean-Robert had looked for it. However, Jean-Robert accused James of holding out on him with two idols in his pocket, which James denied. He asked Jean-Robert who had had told him about the idols, and Jean-Robert claimed he had figured it out by himself. The poker player continued to argue that it wasn't a question – he knew James had the idols – and he gave him an ultimatum to either work with him or against him, and threatened that it wouldn't work out well if he chose to work against him. However, James brushed off the offer and rowed away, calling back that if he ever found two idols, he'd give one to Jean-Robert.

Jean-Robert's just fishing for answers. I don't know what he was trying to pull. He know I don't like being sequestered or cornered. Like, he was so cunning he'd fooled me or some way. I might look like a dumb monkey and just fall for anything, but I'm really not. I mean, come on dude! You're Jean-Robert! You can't trust anything that comes out your mouth anyway. Why would I align with you!? That would be the worst move of Survivor history to align with that guy.

–James Clement

James kept playing dumb like he doesn't know what I'm talking about, and he didn't make any kind of offer about what we could do with this advantage together. Now I kind of feel like, eh, it's fair game.

–Jean-Robert Bellande

Jean-Robert then pulled Todd aside to reveal his big news: that there were two idols, and he knew who had them. Todd asked if it was James, and when Jean-Robert asked how he knew, Todd covered by saying it was just hearsay. Jean-Robert proposed the idea of blindsiding James, and Todd quickly wrapped up the conversation to avoid being seen, but confirmed that he "loved the idea." However, he moved straight to Amanda and James, revealing that Jean-Robert had told him about the idols and tried to convince him to vote for James, along with Erik, Frosti, and Peih-Gee. He then suggested targeting Jean-Robert instead. James and Todd agreed to the plan (and agreed that Denise should not be told about it, in case she waivered), but Amanda persisted, as she preferred to take out Peih-Gee and was concerned about Todd's flip-flopping on the plan. When Courtney joined the trio, they asked her she wanted gone, and she answered that she didn't care and the choice was theirs. Todd proposed voting Jean-Robert, surprising her. Frosti was also let in on the plan.

Y'know, it's really funny. I had an original idea to take James out. And then Jean-Robert came up with the same idea, and I was kinda bothered by the fact that he's coming up with all these ideas I've had for days now. So, I'm always entertaining options. I could change my mind in two minutes. Who knows? This game is fun and I like keeping it fun.

–Todd Herzog

Todd is all over the place right now. One person comes up to him, he rethinks his whole strategy. He's second-guessing himself and in this game, you have to be confident about your choices. So, I really don't know what's going to happen at this point.

–Amanda Kimmel

I'm not entirely sure what happened, but all of a sudden, Todd decided to vote for Jean-Robert. It's a widely-known fact that Jean-Robert and I have hated each other since Day One. So if everyone's finally willing to vote him out, then great. But he's become the Susan Lucci of Tribal Council. Like, his name is always up there, but he never quite gets voted out, so I don't have much faith it will actually happen.

–Courtney Yates

I knew Jean-Robert was gonna try something and I'm just gonna have to deal with it. Hopefully, I make it through. I don't know if I will take the idols with me, 'cause I shouldn't have to use them. So I might just roll the dice tonight. As long as I make it to the next one, I should be all right. But, I mean, you never know.

–James Clement

At Tribal Council, the first member of the jury, Jaime Dugan, entered and waved hello to the Hae Da Fung tribe. Jeff first asked Courtney if she had ever expected to be wearing the Immunity Necklace, to which she gave a firm, "Hell no!" and was applauded by her tribe. James was then asked if he was concerned, as he was without immunity but was one of the biggest physical threats remaining. He said he was worried, but pointed out that the bigger threats were the "talkers" who were manipulating alliances and the game strategy.

Peih-Gee was then asked about being one of the last remaining Zhan Hu members, facing off against six Fei Long. She pointed out that only she and Erik had brought their belongings to Tribal as evidence for why she felt worried about the tribe divide, and how concerned she was that it would be her at the vote. Jean-Robert was then asked how he'd feel in Erik or Peih-Gee's shoes. He answered bluntly that he would be frustrated by their "really bad position," but used a detailed poker metaphor to explain how they'd been dealt a tough hand. Erik agreed, but pointed out that in a six-person alliance, there was always going to be somebody at the bottom, and they should be considering their plan ahead as the alliance would inevitably "split." James shot up his hand in amusement at Erik's attempt to bat away his discussion of flipping alliances as "not lobbying," and commented that Erik was "just beautiful," which evoked applause from Jaime on the jury.

Asked about the aftermath of Jaime's playing of a fake Immunity Idol at the previous Tribal, Jean-Robert commented that he had feared he was going after she played the idol, and as the "tribe jerk" who expected to get a few votes at every council, he worried that if anyone ever played an idol, it could mean the end of his game. Amanda was asked if she truly believed she could be going home at every Tribal Council, and she agreed, pointing out that you couldn't know what everybody else was up to, and that she was always concerned.

With that, the tribe went to vote. Todd started the proceeding, and was followed by Courtney (who voted for Jean-Robert). Peih-Gee and Amanda voted next, with Denise then casting her vote for Peih-Gee. Erik and James then voted, followed by Jean-Robert (who voted for James). Frosti was the last to vote before Jeff tallied the votes.

Jeff asked if anyone wished to play a Hidden Immunity Idol, but nobody did. Jean-Robert received the first two votes, followed by a vote for Peih-Gee. The next three votes fell on James, but another vote for Jean-Robert evened the score at 3-3-1. The final two votes both came up for Jean-Robert, making him the eighth person voted out of Survivor: China and the second member of the jury. Jeff pointed out that tribal lines were gone, and sent Hae Da Fung back to camp.


Challenge: The Bucket Stops Here
Two captains are randomly chosen, who start a selection chain, continuing until there are two teams of four, and one player left out. This player sits out, and they will not go on the reward. Then, one tribe member sits in a small boat in the middle of what is essentially a pool, while the three remaining members of the other team stand on a pontoon and use buckets to throw water at the boat to try and make it sink. The player in the boat can bail water out and move around with their hands. Sink the other team's boat first to score a point. In each round, someone different must sit in the boat. First to two wins.
Reward: Village trip for authentic Chinese meal and a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol.
Winners: Yellow Team (Amanda Kimmel, James Clement, Jean-Robert Bellande, and Todd Herzog)

Challenge: Dragon Rider
The final nine must each sit on an unsteady water-filled barrel over a swamp for as long as possible as the water slowly drains out. If they fall off or touch the structure holding the barrel, which is shaped like a dragon, they're out. Last one left wins.
Winner: Courtney Yates

Tribal Council

Tribal Council 8:
Hae Da Fung
S15 jeanrobert t
Jean-Robert (5 votes)
S15 amanda tS15 courtney t
S15 frosti tS15 james tS15 todd t
Amanda, Courtney, Frosti, James, Todd
S15 james t
James (3 votes)
S15 erik tS15 jeanrobert tS15 peihgee t
Erik, Jean-Robert, Peih-Gee
S15 peihgee t
Peih-Gee (1 vote)
S15 denise t
S15 jeanrobert bw
Jean-Robert Bellande

Voting Confessionals

(votes for Jean-Robert) Your game is poker. This is my game. Time to go.


(votes for Jean-Robert) Well, **** **** Survivor. I hope tonight is your night, and I hope this is the last time I have to vote for you. Maybe we all can sleep now.


(votes for James) Um, you crossed me before. Payback is a bitch.


(votes for Jean-Robert) I'm sorry, but you burned way too many bridges, and everyone wants you gone. So, I'm sorry to do this, but you have to go.


(votes for Peih-Gee) Peih-Gee, I'm voting for you. It was a good strategy, losing a challenge, but you should have stuck with your plan.


(votes for James) You're just too big of a threat, especially with that Hidden Immunity Idol. So, you gotta go bro'. Sorry.


(votes for Jean-Robert) You've escaped so many times, like a cat with nine lives. Hopefully, this time, this gravedigger will put you to a rest.


(votes for James) You've played an incredible game, my friend, but, uh, so incredible, that you're probably the toughest player here. That's why we gotta send you packing.


(votes for Jean-Robert) Looks like me free-roll lasted a little bit longer than yours.


Final Words

I really love the way I played this game. If I were to relate what happened to a game of poker, I pushed all-in and it didn't work out for me. But I'm playing it for first and the only person who really threatened that first place position for me was James. But I think they realized that I probably was the best player in the game and they would feel a lot more comfortable with me out of the game.

–Jean-Robert Bellande

Still in the Running

S15 chicken bw
S15 ashley bw
S15 leslie bw
S15 dave bw
S15 aaron bw
S15 sherea bw
S15 jaime bw
Hae Da Fung
S15 amanda t
Hae Da Fung
S15 courtney t
Hae Da Fung
S15 denise t
Hae Da Fung
S15 erik t
Hae Da Fung
S15 frosti t
Hae Da Fung
S15 james t
Hae Da Fung
S15 peihgee t
Hae Da Fung
S15 todd t


  • This episode is the first time the "Ancient Voices" opening credits were shortened to conform to the number of remaining castaways.
  • The episode title was said by James Clement, who felt his opponents were not here to win a million dollars, but instead make friends.
  • In this episode, Courtney referred to Jean-Robert as "the Susan Lucci of Survivor," because his name was always written down but he never went home. This is a reference to the actress Susan Lucci receiving 18 Emmy nominations in a row without winning.