A tiebreaker is a situation where two or more individuals share the same amount of votes at Tribal Council, with no other person receiving a higher amount. In this event, several instances may occur and have occurred over the course of the series.
Pre-Final FourIn the event of a tie prior to the final four Tribal Council, all tied contestants will not vote, and the non-tied contestants will have to vote again, but may only choose between the tied contestants. Whoever receives the highest amount of votes will be voted out. Hidden Immunity Idols and Extra Vote advantages cannot be played at revotes, but depending on the specifics of the advantage, their effects may carry over into the revote.
If the revote does not break the tie, the host may declare a deadlock vote, after which he will allow the non-tied players to openly discuss who should be eliminated in front of the tied players and the jury. The decision has to be unanimous; otherwise, the tied players will be rendered immune, subjecting the non-immune, non-tied contestants to a lottery of rocks. The contestant with the odd-colored rock will be eliminated from the game instead.
Ifand the host declares a deadlock vote, only those contestants tied at the revote are considered to be tied. However, in practice, a deadlock will not be declared in this scenario.
It is unknown what the rule is for the extreme case where every non-immune contestant is tied before the final four, as no one would normally be eligible to draw rocks.
Final Four (Vote)
If aoccurs at the final four Tribal Council, there will be no official revote and the two tied contestants will compete in a fire-making challenge, where the winner stays and the loser is eliminated.
Final Four (Forced Fire)
Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers modified the final four Tribal Council to automatically advance to fire-making without a vote. The winner of the Immunity Challenge would choose one other contestant to save, and the two remaining contestants would compete in a fire-making challenge.
As first seen in Survivor: Edge of Extinction, if the winner of the Immunity Challenge chooses to give away the Immunity Necklace, they retain the right to choose which other contestant is safe. It is assumed that they cannot save the person they already gave the necklace to, as this would be redundant.
It is unknown whether the right to choose which other contestant is safe can be transferred.
If a pre-merge tribe enters Tribal Council with only two members, as happened to the Ulong tribe in Survivor: Palau, no official vote is held and the tribe goes straight to fire-making. In this challenge, Stephenie LaGrossa defeated Bobby Jon Drinkard, sending the latter home.
It is unknown how this interacts with Hidden Immunity Idols or other advantages, as Palau predates the introduction of idols.
If a null vote (i.e. a vote where none of the votes cast count, possibly due to multiple Hidden Immunity Idols negating all votes) occurs, a vote restart would occur.
All of those who had gained individual immunity (e.g. those with the Immunity Necklace and the ones who played a Hidden Immunity Idol) during the regular vote are individually immune; this immunity cannot be passed before the restarted vote. This is a fully restarted vote with the non-immune contestants not considered "tied", so the non-immune contestants would remain eligible to vote; however, it is believed that idols and advantages cannot be played at a restarted vote. In the event that a restarted vote ties, it is treated the same as any other tie, even if everyone eligible to receive votes at the restart is part of the tie.
The first case of a null vote occurred in Survivor: Cambodia where Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth each negated three votes against them with Hidden Immunity Idols. The vote was restarted, but yet another tie occurred, this time between Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox. The contestants declined to revote when offered, confirming that their votes would stay the same, prompting the host to declare a deadlock and start an open discussion. The situation was complicated by the potential elimination by default of Keith Nale, the only person who would be left without immunity in the event of a rock draw. After discussion, the tribe unanimously decided to eliminate Kimmi.
The second null vote happened in Survivor: Game Changers, where three Hidden Immunity Idols and a Legacy Advantage (which also functions as an idol) were played; and with five players immune (including the wearer of the Immunity Necklace, Brad Culpepper), the only remaining person eligible to receive votes, Cirie Fields, was eliminated by default without the need to cast further votes.
Jury Vote Tiebreaker
At the Survivor: Micronesia Reunion, host Jeff Probst confirmed that a tiebreaker rule is in place for a two-person Final Tribal Council, though he did not reveal to the audience what the tiebreaker was.
Prior to the Survivor: One World finale, Probst confirmed that in the scenario of a two-person tie in a three-person Final Tribal Council, the jury would revote between the two tied contestants. He was also asked what would happen in the scenario of a three-person tie, but chose not to reveal this information. One World is the most recent season in which a three-person tie was possible entering the Final Tribal Council.
During the Survivor: Game Changers Reunion, it was further revealed that at a three-person Final Tribal Council, the second runner-up would join the jury to break the tie. Immediately after the votes are cast at the Final Tribal Council, the host would proceed to read the votes to reveal that a tie between the other two finalists had occurred, after which the second runner-up, now officially a member of the jury, will cast an impromptu deciding vote. This rule was exercised in Survivor: Ghost Island, where Jeff Probst revealed the results of the vote on location instead of live. The second runner-up, Laurel Johnson, cast the deciding vote to break the 5-5-0 tie between Domenick Abbate and Wendell Holland, with the said vote being the only one kept as a secret and read live.
In Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Africa, if there is a deadlock tie, the castaway with more previous votes against them is eliminated. Votes cast at revotes are not counted as part of the previous votes tiebreaker. If none of those who are tied have previous votes against them, or if all of those who are tied have the same number of previous votes against them, the players concerned will partake in a tiebreaker challenge. It is presumed that this tiebreaker was in effect throughout the entire game, including the final four Tribal Council.
In Survivor: Marquesas, the rock drawing tiebreaker was in effect even at the final four Tribal Council. A final-four tie did occur in that season, with Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis tied and Paschal English untied and not immune. To avoid automatically eliminating Paschal, production forced Kathy and Neleh to also draw rocks, but Paschal was ultimately eliminated despite never receiving votes throughout the entire game. After the season, the producers admitted that they made a mistake, as the tiebreaker was impossible to be applied fairly with only four contestants left. Paschal's abrupt exit influenced how contestants voted in subsequent seasons, with contestants trying their best not to resort to a rock draw.
Prior to Survivor: Panama, with the exception of Marquesas, the revote stage took place even at the final four Tribal Council.
In Game Changers, the revote stage was removed as a one-season twist, immediately subjecting the contestants to the open discussion stage. However, this never came into play. Had there been a null vote under this rule with multiple non-immune contestants, the vote restart would still have occurred.
|Tie Vote and Tiebreaker History|
|Survivor: Borneo||"The Final Four"|| |
Richard Hatch and Susan Hawk
|2-2; Kelly switched her vote to Susan at the revote.|
|Survivor: The Australian Outback||"The Killing Fields"|| |
Keith Famie and Mitchell Olson
|Deadlock vote; Mitchell had one vote from a previous Tribal Council, while Keith had none, eliminating the former.|
|"The Merge"|| |
Colby Donaldson and Jeff Varner
|Deadlock vote; Jeff had two votes from previous Tribal Councils, while Colby had none, eliminating the former.|
|Survivor: Africa||"The Gods Are Angry"|| |
Carl Bilancione and Lindsey Richter
|Deadlock vote; since it was Samburu's first Tribal Council, neither had any previous votes. The tiebreaker was a nature quiz. Carl lost the quiz, eliminating him.|
|"I'd Never Do It to You"|| |
Lindsey Richter and Tom Buchanan
|Deadlock tie; Lindsey had four votes (excluding revotes) from the above Tribal Council, while Tom had none, eliminating the former.|
|Introduction of Rock-Drawing Tiebreaker|
|Survivor: Marquesas||"The Sole Survivor"|| |
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis
|Final four; all three non-immune contestants (Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal) drew rocks, where Paschal drew the odd purple rock and was eliminated.|
|Survivor: Palau||"The Best and Worst Reward Ever"|| |
Angie Jakusz and Bobby Jon Drinkard
|2-2-1 vote between Angie, Bobby Jon, and James; Angie was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"Jellyfish 'n Chips"|| |
Ibrehem Rahman and James Miller
|2-2 vote between Ibrehem and James; Stephenie changed her vote to James at the revote.|
|"Neanderthal Man"|| |
Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa
Bobby Jon Drinkard
|Fire-making challenge; with only two members left, Ulong did not vote. Bobby Jon lost the challenge, resulting in his elimination.|
|"The Ultimate Shock"|| |
Ian Rosenberger and Jenn Lyon
|Final four; Jenn lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Panama||"Call the Whambulence!"/"The Final Showdown"|| |
Cirie Fields and Danielle DiLorenzo
|Final four; Cirie lost the fire-making challenge. Tie occurred in "Call the Whambulence!", while the fire-making challenge occurred in "The Final Showdown".|
|Survivor: Cook Islands||"This Tribe Will Self-Destruct in 5, 4, 3..."|| |
Becky Lee and Sundra Oakley
|Final four; Sundra lost the fire-making challenge. Due to how long both were unable to make fire with flint, they were given matches to complete the tiebreaker.|
|Survivor: Gabon||"Say Goodbye to Gabon"|| |
Bob Crowley and Matty Whitmore
|Final four; Matty lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Samoa||"The Day of Reckoning"|| |
Laura Morett and Natalie White
|5-5 vote between Laura and Natalie; John switched his vote to Laura at the revote.|
|Survivor: Nicaragua||"Worst Case Scenario"|| |
Kelly Bruno and Marty Piombo
|3-3-2 vote between Brenda, Kelly B., and Marty; Jill and Sash switched their votes to Kelly B. at the revote.|
|Survivor: Redemption Island||"Keep Hope Alive"|| |
Ralph Kiser, Russell Hantz, and Stephanie Valencia
(sent to Redemption Island)
|3-3-3 vote between Ralph, Russell, and Stephanie; David, Julie, and Sarita switched their votes to Russell at the revote. This marks the first three-way tie.|
|Survivor: South Pacific||"Double Agent"|| |
Keith Tollefson and Rick Nelson
(sent to Redemption Island)
|6-6 vote between Keith and Rick; Cochran switched his vote to Keith at the revote.|
|Survivor: Caramoan||"There's Gonna Be Hell to Pay"|| |
Eddie Fox, Hope Driskill, and Shamar Thomas
|3-3-3 vote between Eddie, Hope, and Shamar; Matt and Michael switched their votes to Hope at the revote.|
|"Tubby Lunchbox"|| |
Julia Landauer and Michael Snow
|3-3 vote between Julia and Michael; Julia was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"Come Over to the Dark Side"|| |
Andrea Boehlke, Malcolm Freberg, and Reynold Toepfer
|3-3-3 vote between Andrea, Malcolm, and Reynold; Malcolm was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|Survivor: Blood vs. Water||"One Armed Dude and Three Moms"|| |
Brad Culpepper and Ciera Eastin
(sent to Redemption Island)
|3-3 vote between Brad and Ciera; Vytas switched his vote to Brad at the revote.|
|"Rustle Feathers"|| |
Hayden Moss and Monica Culpepper
(rock draw; sent to Redemption Island)
|Deadlock tie; all three non-immune contestants (Ciera, Katie, and Tyson) drew rocks, where Katie drew the odd white rock and was sent to Redemption Island. This marks the first time the rock drawing tiebreaker was used as intended, with the tied contestants immune.|
|Survivor: Cagayan||"Cops-R-Us"|| |
Alexis Maxwell, Brice Johnston, and Morgan McLeod
|2-2-2 vote between Alexis, Brice, and Morgan; Brice was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|Survivor: San Juan del Sur||"Method to This Madness"|| |
Baylor Wilson and Val Collins
|4-4 vote between Baylor and Val; Alec and John switched their votes to Val at the revote.|
|"Let's Make a Move"|| |
Jaclyn Schultz, Jon Misch, and Keith Nale
|2-2-2 vote between Jaclyn, Jon, and Keith; Baylor switched her vote to Jon at the revote.|
|Survivor: Worlds Apart||"Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner"|| |
Lindsey Cascaddan, Rodney Lavoie Jr., and Sierra Dawn Thomas
|2-2-2 vote between Lindsey, Rodney, and Sierra; Lindsey was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"It's a Fickle, Fickle Game"|| |
Carolyn Rivera and Rodney Lavoie Jr.
Rodney Lavoie Jr.
|Final four; Rodney lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Cambodia||"Lie, Cheat and Steal"|| |
Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox
|Null vote between Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth, followed by a 3-3 vote between Kimmi and Tasha at the restart, which deadlocked when no one was willing to change their vote at the revote. Kimmi was then eliminated by consensus.|
|Survivor: Kaôh Rōng||"I'm a Mental Giant"|| |
Alecia Holden and Darnell Hamilton
|3-3 vote between Alecia and Darnell; Darnell was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"The Circle of Life"|| |
Aubry Bracco, Liz Markham, and Peter Baggenstos
|2-2-2 vote between Aubry, Liz, and Peter; Liz was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"Not Going Down Without a Fight"|| |
Aubry Bracco and Cydney Gillon
|Final four; Cydney lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X||"Million Dollar Gamble"|| |
Hannah Shapiro and Zeke Smith
|Deadlock tie; all six non-immune contestants (Adam, Bret, David, Jessica, Sunday, and Will) drew rocks, where Jessica drew the odd black rock and was eliminated.|
|Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers||"Playing with the Devil"|| |
Desi Williams and Joe Mena
|4-4-1-1 vote between Ben, Desi, Joe, and Lauren; Ashley, Chrissy, and Cole switched their votes to Desi at the revote.|
|"Million Dollar Night"|| |
Devon Pinto and Mike Zahalsky
|1-1-0 vote between Devon and Mike; Chrissy and Ryan switched their votes to Mike at the revote.|
|Survivor: Ghost Island||"The Finish Line Is in Sight"|| |
Laurel Johnson and Michael Yerger
|2-2-1-1 vote between Kellyn, Laurel, Michael, and Wendell; Michael was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"Always Be Moving"|| |
Donathan Hurley and Kellyn Bechtold
|3-3-1 vote between Domenick, Donathan, and Kellyn; Angela switched her vote to Kellyn at the revote.|
|"It Is Game Time Kids"|| |
Domenick Abbate and Wendell Holland
|5-5-0 vote between Domenick and Wendell; the second runner-up, Laurel, became a member of the jury to decide the winner, voting for Wendell to win. This marks the first time a tie has occurred at the Final Tribal Council.|
|Survivor: Edge of Extinction||"It's Like the Worst Cocktail Party Ever"|| |
Lauren O'Connell and Wendy Diaz
(goes to Edge of Extinction)
|4-4 vote between Lauren and Wendy; Wendy was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
- Lindsey Richter is the only castaway to be in a deadlock tie twice in a single season, in Survivor: Africa. The first time occurred on Day 9, with her winning the trivia tiebreaker against Carl Bilancione, and the second time on Day 18, where she was eliminated by having more past votes than Tom Buchanan.
- The first three-way tie occurred in "Keep Hope Alive" in Survivor: Redemption Island where Ralph Kiser, Russell Hantz, and Stephanie Valencia each received three votes, and Russell was voted out 5-1-0 in the following revote.
- The earliest occurrence of a tie was on Day 3, in "I'm a Mental Giant" in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.
- In the rock draw tiebreaker, the color configuration of the rocks has been different each time:
- ↑ http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2012/05/07/what-if-theres-a-tie-at-a-survivor-final-tribal-council-jeff-probst-kinda-explains/
- ↑ http://ew.com/tv/2017/05/26/survivor-jeff-probst-game-changers-finale-2/
- ↑ http://ew.com/article/2000/09/08/burning-questions-survivor-revealed/
- ↑ http://ew.com/article/2005/02/08/jeff-probst-survivor-seasons-i-loved-and-hated/