|Description:||The person who has earned the highest number of votes from the jury.|
The Sole Survivor is the title held by the winner of Survivor, as determined by a plurality of votes from the jury. It is the task of the jury to award the title to the contestant who most thoroughly embodies the show's three-word slogan: "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast."
There are no formal constraints on the rationale that jury members may employ in choosing the Sole Survivor. The only built-in requirement of eligibility for the title is to survive all 39 days of competition.
At the Final Tribal Council, the finalists are subjected to questioning by the jury, who may ask any questions or make any statements that they feel will help them make the best decision possible. As there is no objective definition of 'best' in this case, the methods by which contestants have won the game, and the reasons adopted by jury members in voting for them, have varied widely throughout the history of the series.
Jury members are expected, however, to choose Sole Survivors that have credibly embodied the show's three-word premise:
- Outwit: The strategic element; the ability to outmaneuver other contestants and eliminate them in a manner conducive to one's own long-term success in the game. This component of the game may include alliance formation/management, the execution of blindsides, the use of Hidden Immunity Idols, or any other manifestation of guile, deception, or strategic command.
- Outplay: The social element; the ability to bring about one's desired strategic goals without sacrificing one's social standing or alienating other contestants emotionally. A strong candidate will remain respected while playing an efficacious game.
- Outlast: The physical element; the ability to withstand the harsh realities of being a contestant for 39 days, such as harsh weather, grueling challenges, and deprivation of the necessities of life. It is expected that the Sole Survivor will have not only endured the physical difficulties of the game, but indeed will have borne them with enthusiasm and grace.
It should be noted that in the game of Survivor likeability and respect are not always fungible qualities. In some cases, the winner may have played a game strategically dominant enough to overcome the fact that other finalists were more likeable. At other times, the opposite may be the case, and a more sociable player may win due to the quality of their personality even in the presence of a more strategically "active" but socially inept competitor. It is up to the idiosyncratic interpretation of the jury to determine who has fulfilled all three elements of "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast," and it is up to each finalist to present a compelling argument in their own favor, emphasizing their strengths and eliding their weaknesses, at the Final Tribal Council.
The Sole Survivor receives a check of $1,000,000, to be received after the season finale. The winner, and all contestants present in the live Reunion Show will also receive an extra $10,000 appearance fee, which immediately follows the finale broadcast.
List of Sole SurvivorsEdit
- There are currently 15 male winners, and 15 female winners.