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Island of the Idols is a twist used in Survivor and the titular twist of its 39th season.

Premise

The Island of the Idols appears to be a variation of Ghost Island where castaways may wager their vote to play a game of chance in exchange for game advantages. However, instead of a lottery, castaways will be mentored and challenged by two former Survivor winners, Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine.

The island prominently features giant busts of Rob and Sandra. As stated in an oath recited by Rob and Sandra to each castaway sent to the island, both mentors are not competing for the million dollar prize, though they live under the same conditions as the actual contestants, albeit with better supplies and rations.
S39E01 IoI Oath

"The Oath of the Idols" recited by the mentors to each visiting castaway.

At random points in the game, castaways will be banished to the Island of the Idols, where they will be welcomed by Rob and Sandra. The mentors will teach the castaways survival skills and winning strategies. The castaway will then be given a choice to take the mentors' challenge. If a castaway accepts and passes the challenge, the mentors will award them an advantage in the game such as Hidden Immunity Idols or Extra Votes. However, if a castaway loses the challenge, the contestant loses the right to vote the next time he or she visits Tribal Council. If a castaway refuses to take the challenge, Rob and Sandra may tempt them into taking it.

Previous disadvantages imposed by Exile Island and Ghost Island such as the castaways being away from their tribe, ostensibly from its social dynamics, remain.

Strategy

Twist History

Episode Inhabitant Lesson Mentors' Challenge Advantage Offered Result
"I Vote You Out and That's It" S39 elizabeth t
Elizabeth Beisel
Fire-making Defeat Rob in a fire-making challenge A Hidden Immunity Idol good for her next two Tribal Councils No!
Lost
"YOLO, Let's Play!" S39 kellee t
Kellee Kim
Paying attention socially Answer three* out of five questions correctly about Sandra's personal life A Hidden Immunity Idol good for her next three* Tribal Councils Yes!
Won
"Honesty Would Be Chill" S39 vince t
Vince Moua
Staying calm under pressure Sneak into Vokai's camp, light a torch, and sneak back to the Island of the Idols without getting caught A Hidden Immunity Idol good for his next two Tribal Councils Yes!
Won*
"Plan Z" S39 noura t
Noura Salman
Persuasion Persuade her tribemates to let her be the caller in the next Immunity Challenge Vote Blocker No!
Lost
"Suck It Up Buttercup" S39 elaine t
Elaine Stott
Courage Be able to obtain a vote block hidden at the next Immunity Challenge Vote Blocker Yes!
Won
"I Was Born at Night, but Not Last Night" S39 janet t
Janet Carbin
Calculating risks Unknown Safety Without Power:
The castaway may choose to leave Tribal Council before the vote, being granted immunity. By leaving, however, they will not be able to vote.
Declined
"We Made It to the Merge!" S39 jamal t
Jamal Shipman
Taking false opportunities;
Sabotage
Not take the hanging note with a enticing message at camp Lost his vote just by arriving at the Island of the Idols, but was given the opportunity to sabotage another player.* No!
Lost
"Bring On the Bacon" S39 lauren t
Lauren Beck
Situational awareness Correctly predict the person who will win the next Immunity Challenge.* A Hidden Immunity Idol good for her next two Tribal Councils Yes!
Won

Trivia

  • Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine are the second and third Survivor winners to return as mentors to the current group of castaways, following John Cochran who appeared in Survivor: Game Changers, though only for one episode.
  • Elizabeth Beisel is the first person to be sent to the Island of the Idols.
    • She is also the first person to lose the mentors' challenge.
  • Kellee Kim is the first person to win the mentors' challenge.
    • She is also the first person to refuse the original challenge, and then accept it when the offer is improved.
  • Vince Moua is the first male to be sent to the Island of the Idols.
    • He is also the first person to be sent to the Island of the Idols and be eliminated at the next Tribal Council.
  • Noura Salman is the first person to volunteer to go to the Island of the Idols.
    • She is also the first person to be offered an advantage other than a Hidden Immunity Idol, and the first person to be immune from the following Tribal Council after going to the Island of the Idols.
  • Janet Carbin is the first person to decline the mentors' challenge.

References

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