Brains Trump Brawn For 'Survivor' Prize
Yul Kwon, a 31-year-old management consultant and the main mastermind of a dominant "Survivor: Cook Island" team, was voted the season's winner. Kwon, the season's intellectual Godfather, won a 5-4 vote over Oscar "Ozzy" Lusth, the season's most dominant physical player.
The season's third finalist, 28-year-old attorney Becky Lee, didn't receive a single vote from the "Survivor" jury.
"Survivor: Cook Islands" began as one of the most discussed "Survivor" seasons yet thanks to a twist in which the teams were divided by race and ethnicity -- Caucasians, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Despite great uproar from more sensitive, thin-skinned critics, the twist lasted only two dull weeks before the teams merged into two blended tribes.
With neither heroes nor villains, the season drifted for several weeks before the Nov. 9 episode changed everything. Offered the chance to mutiny, Jonathan and Candice betrayed their tribe and became instant villains, making underdog heroes of Ozzy, Yul, Becky and Sundra, whose Aitu tribe went on a winning streak that turned the game upside-down.
The racial division failed to yield either ratings or an iota of drama while it was happening, but its long-term effect was easily the most diverse final grouping in "Survivor" history, with only one player remaining from the initial Caucasian tribe as Sunday's episode began. That one remaining player, Adam Gentry, lasted only 35 minutes into the episode.
In a final "Survivor" twist, the last immunity challenge, typically an endurance obstacle, came with four players remaining, meaning that the jury vote would be on three players. That wrinkle made no difference in the challenge, where Ozzy once again proved unbeatable.
The final Tribal Council came down to a hilarious firemaking challenge between Sundra and Becky. Neither woman was able to start a fire in an hour with flint, steel and kindling, prompting host Jeff Probst to allow the use of matches, but Sundra ran out of matches, leaving Becky to finally win and join the Top Three.
The next installment of the popular reality series, "Survivor: Fiji," will premiere on