After a haiatus from posting, I am updating my rankings as to who has the most power in the game at the current moment. I think #1 is the most obvious, as well as #2, but after that things seem to be a little fuzzy...
1. Rob - is there anyone that has more control over his tribe and his game right now? The hidden immunity idol is the kicker though, as he will have to be voted out TWICE to actually be eliminated.
2. Grant - a stud at challenges, and has the inside alliance with Rob that will be too tough to beat down the stretch. Easily could make it to the finale Colby-style, but is playing a good strategy being Rob's #2 guy, making himself less of a target while being just as strong a player.
3. Mike - while I don't think anyone from Zapatera really is in control, he is the biggest physical threat on their tribe (but don't ask Grant that), and seems to be cool, calm and collected, which is more than you can say for most of that tribe.
4. Julie - who saw the 50 year old firefighter chick being this high in the rankings at this point in the game? I sure didn't. The only person I could fathom to put ahead of her was Ralph for the sole fact that he has an idol. Julie is playing a solid game, seems to be on good terms with her alliance, and has never been on the chopping block.
5. Andrea - I like her more and more as the season goes along. She has the respect of Rob and Grant because she helps out at camp and does pretty well in challenges. She also seems to be smarter than I first pegged her as, and I think she could go pretty far in this game (especially if/when Matt gets back).
6. Ralph - I liked him for about 10 minutes of this season. I thought he was funny when he found the idol, but now I think he's an idiot. He only gets this high for the idol he has, but EVERYONE knows he has it cuz he's an idiot and without thinking blurted it out to piss off Russell. How has he not even been talked about being on the chopping block? Really Zapatera?
7. Ashley - she isn't as annoying as Natalie, and that's saving her. If she stepped it up around camp and quit being so friendly with Natalie (seriously? Scissors on your armpits and legs? Gross!) she could become a player with Rob and Grant. Maybe even make a power play with the girls and vote the boys off? She seems to passive to do a power move, and potential power doesn't translate to high rankings here...
8. Steve - While David is better for challenges and around camp, Steve is higher up in the alliance because he hasn't tried to stir things up. He looks like the worn down offensive lineman he is, and that won't help him when the merge comes. No strategy, just an alliance he is loyal to.
9. David - obviously he lost his bid to get Sarita off, but he gets points for trying something. Points don't get you high in the rankings when they're unsuccessful points. I like him somewhat, probably my second favorite on that tribe (surprisingly after Julie), just because he has the same strategy at this point in the game I would: win at all costs, alliance aside.
10. Natalie - won't last long, unless Rob carries her to the final so he gets more votes. She is weak, lazy, and is rubbing people the wrong way almost as much as Philip. At least she doesn't wear loose pink briefs right?
11. Philip - he gets this spot because his team is on a winning streak. The next to go on his tribe, and an idiot. I think I have nothing to really say on him this post. He can't be trusted at a merge, no telling WHAT he will say, and that's why he is gone asap.
12. Sarita - your team is on a losing streak, you put your hand up IMMEDIATELY when Probst asked for someone to sit out, you should be gone. Complaining about bacteria in your mouth should be the least of your worries on Survivor, man up, grow some juevos and outlast someone!
Two more quick scenario adjustments to this rankings based on if the merge happened RIGHT after the Matt-Stephanie duel on Redemption Island:
Matt wins - he goes to the middle, right above all Zapatera people. Does Rob really want him around longer than one of the girls with his duel-winning run? No. But will he keep him around long enough to hold numbers? Yes.
Stephanie wins - she catapults up to #1 because she holds the most important vote, but she holds that spot for maybe an episode. Zapatera tribe takes the bottom 6 spots because we know she won't stay with them.
Basically, unless Zapatera wins the next challenge, they are SCREWED. Throwing the challenge to get rid of Russell has really put them in a funk and they need to get out of that immediately to have a chance at making it far post merge. Their only other hope is that Ralph guesses who they're voting for, gives them the idol, and they pull off a successful blindside to last another week. I don't see the merge happening in the next 2 episodes, but I assume Redemption Island will be done with when the merge comes.