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Survivor: Samoa is the nineteenth season of Survivor. It premiered on September 17, 2009 and concluded on December 20, 2009.

In the end, Natalie White defeated Russell Hantz and Mick Trimming in a 7-2-0 vote. Hantz ended up winning the "Sprint Player of the Season" award, earning the fans' vote over Shambo Waters and Brett Clouser. It would ultimately feature two medical evacuations, and has to date produced four returning players (Laura Morett, Monica Padilla, Russell Hantz, and Russell Swan) for subsequent seasons.


Participant applications were due by January 14, 2009. Approximately 800 might have been invited to be interviewed in several states. Following this, approximately 48 semi-finalists were invited to Los Angeles in April 2009 for final interviews with the producers. Initially, there were supposed to have only 18 contestants for the season, but it was increased to 20, at cost of the budget allotted for the family visit being repurposed to accommodate the two additional castaways: Ashley Trainer and Erik Cardona.

Survivor: Samoa and the succeeding season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, were filmed back-to-back. Day 39 of Samoa and Day 1 of Heroes vs. Villains were 20 days apart, giving Russell Hantz only a few days to prepare.


  • Tribe Leaders: At the beginning of the game, both tribes voted for a tribe "leader." This leader (symbolized by a necklace, not to be confused with the Immunity Necklace) would make decisions in challenges such as assigning tasks for tribe mates, sit-outs, etc. After a Reward Challenge, the winning tribe's leader would also assign one of his tribe mates to be an "observer." If a leader gets eliminated, the tribe must select a new one to replace them.
  • The "Observer": Following a Reward Challenge, one member from the winning tribe would be selected by the tribe leader to go to the opposing tribe's camp, and would return to them at the next Immunity Challenge. This person would hand the tribe a clue to the whereabouts of a Hidden Immunity Idol at their camp.
  • Hidden Immunity Idol: A Hidden Immunity Idol will be hidden at both camps. Both idols are usable until the Day 36 Tribal Council.
  • Double Tribal Council: Both tribes would go to separate Tribal Council sessions to eliminate a player. This would be cancelled due to Russell Swan's medical evacuation.
  • Early Merge: For the first time in Survivor history, the merge occurred with 12 players.
  • Expanded Jury and Final Three: Instead of the conventional Final Two facing the jury of seven, the Day 39 Tribal Council was held with a three finalists facing a nine-man jury.


Contestant Tribe Affiliation Finish Votes
Original Tribe Merged Tribe
S19 marisa t.png Marisa Calihan
25, Cincinnati, OH
Foa Foa 1st Voted Out
Day 3
S19 mike t.png Mike Borassi
62, Marina del Rey, CA
Personal Chef
Foa Foa Evacuated
Day 5
S19 betsy t.png Betsy Bolan
48, Campton, NH
Police Officer
Foa Foa 2nd Voted Out
Day 6
S19 ben t.png Ben Browning
28, Los Angeles, CA
Bar Manager
Foa Foa 3rd Voted Out
Day 8
S19 yasmin t.png Yasmin Giles
33, Los Angeles, CA
Galu 4th Voted Out
Day 11
S19 ashley t.png Ashley Trainer
22, Maple Grove, MN
Spa Saleswoman
Foa Foa 5th Voted Out
Day 14
S19 russells t.png Russell Swan
42, Glenside, PA
Galu Evacuated
Day 15
S19 liz t.png Liz Kim
33, New York City, NY
Urban Planner
Foa Foa 6th Voted Out
Day 18
S19 erik t.png Erik Cardona
28, Los Angeles, CA
Galu Aiga 7th Voted Out
1st Jury Member
Day 21
S19 kelly t.png Kelly Sharbaugh
25, San Diego, CA
Galu 8th Voted Out
2nd Jury Member
Day 24
S19 laura t.png Laura Morett
39, Salem, OR
Office Manager
Galu 9th Voted Out
3rd Jury Member
Day 27
S19 john t.png John Fincher
25, Santa Monica, CA
Rocket Scientist
Galu 10th Voted Out
4th Jury Member
Day 30
S19 dave t.png Dave Ball
38, Los Angeles, CA
Fitness Instructor
Galu 11th Voted Out
5th Jury Member
Day 31
S19 monica t.png Monica Padilla
24, San Diego, CA
Law Student
Galu 12th Voted Out
6th Jury Member
Day 33
S19 shambo t.png Shambo Waters
45, Renton, WA
Galu 13th Voted Out
7th Jury Member
Day 36
S19 jaison t.png Jaison Robinson
28, Chicago, IL
Law Student
Foa Foa 14th Voted Out
8th Jury Member
Day 37
S19 brett t.png Brett Clouser
23, Los Angeles, CA
T-shirt Designer
Galu 15th Voted Out
9th Jury Member
Day 38
S19 mick t.png Mick Trimming
33, Los Angeles, CA
Foa Foa Second
S19 russellh t.png Russell Hantz
36, Dayton, TX
Oil Company Owner
Foa Foa Runner-Up 9
S19 natalie t.png Natalie White
26, Van Buren, AR
Pharmaceutical Saleswoman
Foa Foa Sole Survivor 8

Season Summary

Based only on first impressions, the tribes were told to vote one of their own as a "leader," who, for the tribal portion of the game, would make critical decisions at certain challenges, in particular, selecting one member of their tribe to spend the day after Reward Challenges with the other tribe through which they would receive a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. Foa Foa selected Mick Trimming as their leader, while Galu picked Russell Swan as their leader.

Foa Foa's Russell Hantz attempted to make living conditions harsher for Foa Foa by sabotaging his own tribe (i.e. dumping water out of canteens and burning socks). Russell H.'s risky move proved effective as Foa Foa performed dismally in challenges, and consequentially, the tribe quickly decimated. At the same time, Russell H. took complete control of the voting by making alliances with everyone on his tribe. Before the merge, the opposing Galu tribe had won eight challenges, while Foa Foa won only one Reward Challenge and one Immunity Challenge. The Galu members seemed more and more relaxed and appeared lazy as they continued to win more challenges, which Shambo Waters resented. Shambo also felt alienated from her tribe after she was excluded from a reward by Russell S., and while visiting with the Foa Foa tribe, she began to grow roots within the yellow tribe.

Due to intense competition, two players were medically evacuated. During a challenge, Mike Borassi was too injured to continue, while Russell S.'s condition became more serious, as he fainted during a challenge and almost died in the process. After Russell S.'s sudden departure, the supposed double boot twist was canceled, and Galu chose Shambo as their new leader.

The two tribes merged with twelve players left; Galu had the advantage of eight players over Foa Foa's four, though Shambo clearly showed favoritism towards Foa Foa. Natalie White was able to convince Galu to vote off Erik Cardona along with the rest of Foa Foa. At this vote, Russell H. had played his Hidden Immunity Idol, but was able to find the Idol in its new location, again without clues, before the next Tribal Council. Russell H. played his new Idol there, saving himself from being voted off as he was targeted by every Galu member, and eliminating Kelly Sharbaugh.

As Shambo began to shift sides to the former Foa Foa's, the next vote first ended in a tie, but John Fincher, worried about being eliminated from the game by the rock-pulling Tiebreaker, flipped his vote, and aligned with the former Foa Foa's. With Foa Foa now in the majority, they held together for the rest of the game, systematically eliminating the former Galu members, one-by-one. Their plans were halted when Brett Clouser went on an Immunity Challenge winning streak, resulting in Foa Foa having to turn on each other. Brett lost the Final Immunity Challenge and was voted out, leaving the Final Three as Russell H., Natalie, and Mick.

At the Final Tribal Council, Mick was mostly ignored by the jury for his poor leadership, that lead to Foa Foa's failure in challenges, while Russell H. was berated for his unethical game strategy. In the end, Natalie's better social game made her the nineteenth Sole Survivor in a 7-2-0 vote over Russell and Mick respectively.

Episode Air date Challenges Observer Eliminated
Finish Viewership (in millions)[2] Rating/Share (18-49)[2]
Reward Immunity
1 "The Puppet Master" September 17, 2009 Foa Foa Galu None Marisa
1st Voted Out
Day 3
11.66 3.6/11
2 "Taking Candy from a Baby" September 24, 2009 Galu1 Yasmin Mike
(No Vote)
Day 5
11.66 3.7/11
2nd Voted Out
Day 6
3 "It's Called a Russell Seed" October 1, 2009 Galu1 Shambo Ben
3rd Voted Out
Day 8
11.54 3.7/11
4 "Hungry for a Win" October 8, 2009 Galu Foa Foa None Yasmin
4th Voted Out
Day 11
11.69 3.4/10
5 "Walking on Thin Ice" October 15, 2009 Galu Galu Shambo Ashley
5th Voted Out
Day 14
11.78 3.5/10
6 "This Is the Man Test" October 22, 2009 Neither2 None None Russell S.
(No Vote)
Day 15
12.90 4.0/12
7 "Houdini Magic" October 29, 2009 Galu Galu Laura Liz
6th Voted Out
Day 18
12.19 3.7/10
8 "All Hell Breaks Loose" November 5, 2009 None John Erik
7th Voted Out
1st Jury Member
Day 21
12.44 3.7/10
9 "Tastes Like Chicken" November 12, 2009 Dave, John,
Laura Kelly
8th Voted Out
2nd Jury Member
Day 24
12.94 4.0/10
10 "The Day of Reckoning" November 19, 2009 Brett, Dave,
Russell H.
Mick Laura
9th Voted Out
3rd Jury Member
Day 27
12.33 3.8/11
11 "The First 27 Days" November 26, 2009 Recap Episode N/A N/A
12 "Off with Their Heads!" December 3, 2009 Survivor
Jaison John
10th Voted Out
4th Jury Member
Day 30
12.82 3.9/11
13 "Damage Control" December 10, 2009 None Jaison Dave
11th Voted Out
5th Jury Member
Day 31
13.25 4.2/12
Brett Monica
12th Voted Out
6th Jury Member
Day 33
14 "Two Brains Are Better than One" December 17, 2009 Jaison,
Russell H.,
Brett Shambo
13th Voted Out
7th Jury Member
Day 36
12.56 3.9/12
15 "This Game Ain't Over" December 20, 2009 None Brett Jaison
14th Voted Out
8th Jury Member
Day 37
13.97 4.4/11
Russell H. Brett
15th Voted Out
9th Jury Member
Day 38
Jury Vote Mick
Second Runner-Up
Russell H.
Sole Survivor
16 "Reunion" 11.68 3.8/10

^1 Combined Reward and Immunity Challenge.
^2 Russell S. collapsed at the challenge, causing the challenge to be cancelled. Galu and Foa Foa attended Tribal Council that night, to discuss Russell S.'s situation.
^3 A Hidden Immunity Idol was played, however, no votes were cast against its user.
^4 A Hidden Immunity Idol was played, negating all votes against its user.
^5 The vote resulted in a tie. Per Survivor rules, a revote would commence.

Voting History

Survivor: Samoa Voting History
Original Tribes Merged Tribe
Episode #: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15
Voted out: S19 marisa t.png
S19 mike t.png
S19 betsy t.png
S19 ben t.png
S19 yasmin t.png
S19 ashley t.png
S19 russells t.png
Russell S.
S19 liz t.png
S19 erik t.png
S19 kelly t.png
Tie S19 laura t.png
S19 john t.png
S19 dave t.png
S19 monica t.png
S19 shambo t.png
S19 jaison t.png
S19 brett t.png
S19 mick t.png
S19 russellh t.png
Russell H.
S19 natalie t.png
Vote: 7-3 No Vote1 7-1 6-1 8-2 5-1 No Vote2 4-1 10-2-03 4-04 5-55 5-3 7-1-1 7-1 5-2 5-1 4-1 3-1 7-2-0
Natalie Marisa Betsy Ben Ashley Liz Erik Kelly Laura None John Dave Monica Shambo Jaison Brett Jury Vote
Russell H. Marisa Betsy Ben Ashley Liz Erik Kelly Laura Laura John Dave Monica Shambo Jaison Brett
Mick Ashley Betsy Ben Ashley Liz Erik Kelly Laura Laura John Dave Monica Shambo Jaison Brett
Brett Yasmin Erik Russell H. Natalie Natalie John Dave Russell H. Shambo Jaison Mick Natalie
Jaison Marisa Betsy Ben Ashley Liz Erik Kelly Laura Laura John Dave Monica Shambo Mick Natalie
Shambo Monica Jaison Russell H. Laura Laura Dave Dave Monica Mick Russell H.
Monica Yasmin Erik Russell H. Natalie Natalie John Dave Russell H. Natalie
Dave Yasmin Erik Russell H. Natalie Natalie John Shambo Natalie
John Yasmin Erik Russell H. Natalie Laura Mick Russell H.
Laura Yasmin Erik Russell H. Natalie None Natalie
Kelly Yasmin Erik Russell H. Natalie
Erik Yasmin Jaison Natalie
Liz Marisa Betsy Ben Ashley Jaison
Russell S. Yasmin Evacuated
Ashley Marisa Betsy Ben Liz
Yasmin Monica
Ben Marisa Betsy Ashley
Betsy Ashley Ben
Mike Marisa Evacuated
Marisa Ashley

^1 Mike was evacuated from the game due to injury and hypotension. However, Foa Foa still had to visit Tribal Council and vote.
^2 Russell S. was evacuated from the game due to severe hypotension. Therefore, the planned double Tribal Council was cancelled.
^3 A Hidden Immunity Idol was played, however, no votes were cast against its user.
^4 A Hidden Immunity Idol was played, negating all votes against its user.
^5 Tribal Council resulted in a tie. Per Survivor rules, a revote was held where the castaways involved in the tie would not vote and the remaining castaways could only vote for those involved in the tie.


  • As stated in the Tocantins Reunion Show, the season was originally planned to have only 18 castaways.
  • This season's rendition of "Ancient Voices" is remixed with another track from the season's soundtrack entitled Samoa Tomeah.
  • This is the first season since China to not have a subtitle.
  • This season has the first person to be disqualified from a challenge due to foul behavior since several members of Thailand's Sook Jai tribe did so.
    • However, because the disqualified players in Thailand broke a specific rule, Ben Browning is the first player to be arbitrarily ejected from a challenge at the sole judgement of Jeff Probst.
  • This season held the largest Tribal Council with 13 players, which occurred after Russell Swan was pulled from the game. It was eventually tied by the first post-merge Tribal Council of Survivor: Cambodia and several subsequent seasons.
  • This season was the first season to have the merged tribe consist of more than ten members.
    • Consequently, this season was the first in which a player received more than nine votes at a single Tribal Council, excluding revotes.
  • This is the first time that Ulonging happened to one tribe and Pagonging happened to another.
  • This is the first season where a woman won a Final Three.
  • The necklace Jeff Probst wore this season was made by Marquesas contestant, Gina Crews.[3]
  • All four returning players from this season, so far, have been voted out pre-merge in subsequent seasons.


Survivor (US) Seasons

BorneoThe Australian OutbackAfricaMarquesasThailandThe AmazonPearl IslandsAll-StarsVanuatuPalauGuatemalaPanamaCook IslandsFijiChinaMicronesiaGabonTocantinsSamoaHeroes vs. VillainsNicaraguaRedemption IslandSouth PacificOne WorldPhilippinesCaramoanBlood vs. WaterCagayanSan Juan del SurWorlds ApartCambodiaKaôh RōngMillennials vs. Gen XGame ChangersHeroes vs. Healers vs. HustlersGhost IslandDavid vs. GoliathEdge of ExtinctionIsland of the IdolsWinners at WarSeason 41