The Winners & Losers Of 'Survivor Australia: Brains Vs. Brawn' Week 1

For the first time ever, 'Survivor Australia' will be taking place in the outback. With brutal temperatures and deadly creatures at every turn, the blindsides, backstabs and bitchiness are destined to hit another level. We've got writer Jackson Langford able to break down all the winners and losers of each week.

Besties. It’s been over a year since we saw the GOAT David Genat earn the title of Sole Survivor, arguably the greatest to ever play Survivor Australia. Devilish good looks and even more devilish schemes? Nothing but respect for my premier.

Of course, nothing of note really happened in the world between March 2020 and now – it’s been quite an uneventful year to be honest. Here right now in July 2021, half the country are staying at home for some reason (?) and we need something to remind us of the THRILL and the DANGER of the outdoors. Vitamin D? We don’t know her!

Enter the new season of Survivor Australia, pitting 12 jocks against 12 nerds – a tale as old as time. Brains vs. Brawn – which might I add is exclusionary to those of us (see: me) who are neither strong nor smart – could seem like a strange matchup for Survivor Australia given the inherently physical nature of the game. But, week one’s episodes have reminded us to always expect the unexpected, as well as how butt-clenchingly tense tribal councils can get. Aside from the obvious challenge victories and failures, the show gives us plenty of winners and losers in other ways. Enter me, who’s going to crown those who won this week, and shame those who spectacularly failed.

Keep in mind I’m someone who would fake an ankle break on the first challenge just because I wanted a nap, so naturally no-one’s more qualified than I.



Survivor Australia, Network 10

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Before episode 3, Kez would have been a loser because ol’ love forgot to bring a jacket to Survivor. But, once she took some time away from camp to learn that ‘night = cold’, generally speaking, Kez entered the third episode of the season with a VENGEANCE.

And by that, I mean the sheer luck of finding an Idol clue and then enlisting Flick to come and help her while she inconspicuously – a word I’m using very generously – dug the hidden immunity Idol out from under her. While I’m sure her onlooking tribe mates didn’t think she was retrieving an idol (it kind of just looked like she had worms) she managed to snag it without anyone noticing.

Almost by fate, it would be Kez who would find her name being thrown around for elimination – a stroke of Daini’s genius which we’ll get to later. But Kez – Idol in hand and butthole rid of parasites – dropped it in front of JLP’s gorgeous self and all votes against her were nullified, leaving the Big Boy trio down an AFL icon, and the S Club 6 – as I’ve dubbed them – as victorious once again.


Simon on Survivor Brains Vs Brawns at tribal council looking grim and shocked with cap on

Survivor Australia, Network 10

Prefacing this by saying that Emmett is also a loser, but mainly because he’s all swing no ding and is 31 years old but suffixing every sentence with “brah!”.

But Simon, the tradie who came to make “big moves”, at least gives a little bit of ding. He certainly orchestrated big moves, except they both failed. A+ television.

When the Brawn tribe headed to Tribal Council in episode 2, Simon was all for voting off Janelle (a predictable choice) until he heard that there were plans to vote off Emmett. Simon, who would rather die himself than let his star-crossed lover take the fall, switched gears, and opted to gee up a blindside against Shannon because she’s a “big threat”. What is he basing this assessment on? I’m still not sure.

Anyway, cut to tribal and the ‘vote-for-Shannon’ memo apparently didn’t get heard by everyone, and Janelle went home. Shannon, however, went back to camp looking for BLOOD. More bloodthirsty influencers, please.

Episode 3, and the Brawn tribe truly have a god awful loss at the Immunity Challenge. Set to go back to tribal, Big Bad Simmo was ready to give Shannon the axe once again. In walks Daini – otherwise legitimately known as ‘Big D’ – who is already on board to vote out Gavin with Flick, Kez, Shannon, Gerald and Benny. The boys want to win Daini over, and Daini complies, but only if they vote for Kez and not Shannon.

This, apparently, was for no reason other than Daini just proving to himself that he could convince them to do what he wanted. All Hail King D.

Simon, desperate for approval, suppresses his weird hatred for Shannon and rallies the troops to vote for Kez. Daini, of course, votes for Gavin anyway, Kez plays her idol etc etc etc.

Simon – you lost mate, I’m sorry.


Wai from Survivor Australia in challenge puzzle trying to figure it out

Survivor Australia, Network 10

What’s that? A bird? A plane? Me about to be crowned MVP of this tribe?

As the first Tribal Council loomed and the Brains tribe had to reconcile with the fact that they lost two challenges in a row, it seemed all but over for Wai – who just doesn’t pack the physical strength of some of her tribe mates.

But, as the ancient proverb goes, when there’s a will, there’s a Wai!

And by that, I mean George – who will not rest until he sees the ‘Dictator Doctor’ Mitch meet his demise – plays an advantage at TC that prevents himself and five other people from casting a vote or being voted off. Wai’s Fairy Georgemother grabs her by the arm, and struts proudly out of Tribal Council with four other inconsequential people, leaving Mitch flabbergasted and the votes turning to Phil and his crocodile hat.

Rest In Peace, Phil’s Crocodile Hat, we hardly knew ye.

Phil in crocodile hat survivor smiling at tribal council

Survivor Australia, Network 10

🎶 I will remeeeeember yooooou 🎶

But, now Wai was in a very dangerous position. She knows she’s a target, and George can’t be there to save her every time. As the Brains tribe lost their third challenge in a row, Wai must have been packing her quokka shirt ready to call it a day. However, the season’s second immunity challenge requires constructing an intricate puzzle on hooks, and Wai absolutely fucking DOMINATES.

Sure, George helped build the puzzle a bit, but this was Wai’s challenge. If Wai was in charge of solving the Da Vinci Code, that movie would have been half as long (idk I’ve never seen it). She blitzed through it, even pushing George aside because he wasn’t connecting pieces fast enough. Immunity was theirs.

There is something unspeakably powerful about narrowly avoiding elimination in one episode because the tribe can’t see your worth, and then undoubtedly proving your worth the very next episode. The world is ready for Wai supremacy!!!

(In all fairness to George, who is definitely the outcast of the Brains tribe, he would effectively secure the same sort of win in the next Immunity challenge so he can be a pseudo-winner too. God bless them both.)


Fire. A constant, ever-blazing reminder of nature’s unmatched power. Since whenever humanity stole it from the gods or whatever you want to believe, fire has been the base for how we as a society have evolved, and will probably play a decent role in our future if current climate trends continue. In Survivor, fire represents your life within the game. Not only does your fire go out once you’re eliminated, but fire at camp means you can cook and keep warm. It is essential to your survival.

So tell me fucking why no camp was able to build a fire until episode 2?

Big Bad Simmo manages to lose once again, after he chose the survival kit over the fire-making kit at the first reward challenge, despite seemingly all of his tribe mates wanting the opposite. Even when he wins, he loses.

Emmett manages to get a fire going on Day 3, and will likely continue to talk about it for the rest of the season because that’s just the kind of guy he is :-)

As for the Brains, I was questioning whether any members of the tribe had any considering they hit day 5 without a fire. Did no one think to learn this skill ahead of time? What’s more egregious is that Andrew emerges from the woodwork and reveals he’s a ~survival expert~ and decides, this far in, that he’ll step up to the plate and make a fire.


If it weren’t for his success, and for Brawn’s similar crime, Andrew would be a loser here because ???????????



Gerald and Daini at Survivor Australia camp crying looking at their families

Survivor Australia, Network 10


The fact anyone walked away from this challenge victorious is beyond me.

This is an opinion piece written by Jackson Langford, senior music and culture writer at MTV Australia. Hot takes at @jacksonlangford and hotter pics at @jacksonlangford.

Editor’s note: Network 10 and MTV are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.

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