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Survivor: Vanuatu – Why Ami Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/03/2004
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Ding dong, the witch is dead! A big ol’ house fell on her head! And before anybody e-mails and complains about me calling her a witch, this is the woman who said at the end that she wanted to hold Twila’s head under water and then turned around and talked about integrity. And in case you missed it (I did at first), she also flipped off everybody as she was walking out of the game after having her torch snuffed.
But this column is not called, “Why Ami Is a Bitch,” so we’ll move past that and get on to our real goal – determining how Queen Ami was dethroned.
Ami controlled the game for most of her time on the island. And she did a good job of it, too – up until the end, that is. Where did she go wrong? As always, we will look back at What Vanuatu Survivors Should Have Learned to see what happened, and to determine why Ami lost.
The first rule, of course, is to scheme and plot. Let’s be frank – Ami did a great job of this through most of the series. If she had kept on that path and won, I might not have liked her, but I would have had to respect her play.
Scout indicated that Ami had controlled the vote since Day 2. She had it in her mind that there should be an all-female alliance, and the production of this particular series played right into her hands by splitting the tribes by gender.
Early on, Ami saw the Yasur tribe splitting down (mostly) age lines. She stuck with the elders – Scout, Twila, and Leann – but that didn’t stop her from thinking. When she saw that Dolly couldn’t make up her mind and Leann might end up being voted off, Ami made a great move – she casually sat with both Leann and Eliza, the two potential targets, and told them what was going on. She convinced both of them to go after the person who wouldn’t make up her mind, and thus Dolly left while Ami gained two people who owed her for saving them.
As the game progressed, we often saw Ami leading the charge. She held the course on the all-female alliance, though she also disposed of those she felt unworthy along the way, like Lisa. When Scout, Twila, and Julie wanted to dump Eliza a couple weeks in favor of keeping Chad, Ami – along with Leann – was the one who really turned that around.
But then Ami hit a bump in the road. Leann decided that Eliza should go home. Ami decided not to fight it. This may be the biggest mistake Ami made in the entire game. (Indeed, it is the reason she ended up with a dishonorable mention in Leann’s Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment.) She stopped trying to direct the votes, even though she knew it could come back to bite her. And bite her it did.
The second rule says not to scheme and plot too much, to keep your scheming secret, and not to backstab until you need to. Let’s go in reverse – voting out Eliza before Chris, as we just discussed, was not a wise idea. She violated the part about backstabbing too soon.
She also completely disregarded the part about keeping her scheming secret. Everybody knew that Ami wanted an all-female group of finalists. Thus, the men were automatically excluded and she could not ever try to take advantage of their votes or try to broker a deal – real or pretend. She cut off a lot of her maneuvering room by doing this.
Furthermore, she let it be known just who in the female group was going to be going to the end. Yes, Leann was the one who openly told Scout that she had been ousted from their Final Four plans, but Ami was sitting right there, helping Leann to tag-team Scout.
As for the first part of the rule, we go back again to voting against Eliza. There was simply no reason to change the vote. Chris was a doomed man. They knew it and he knew it. Switching up at that point was scheming and plotting too much. Even though it wasn’t Ami’s idea, she went along with it.
Finally, there is also a corollary to this rule: “if any alliance do get out in the open [which the all-female alliance definitely did], do not let it be known that you are the decision-maker.” Everybody knew Ami was the decision-maker, and it contributed to her being targeted rather than Julie this week.
Ami didn’t do too well in the third part of the rule, pretending to be nice. Ami had no use for the men, and she made that abundantly clear. Let’s look back at what some of them had to say in their interviews with me. First, here is how Rory described her:
I found Ami to be way too domineering. She acts as if she isn't in control and making decisions, when the entire time she makes all of the decisions. Then she uses her 'honesty' to belittle and patronize you. I don't begrudge her being the foundation of a strong alliance or her wanting to hold a female alliance together, but I personally believe that she is a bit mean-spirited. She acted that way towards Bubba, Lisa, and me, and then she covers it up with a phony smile.1 2 Next-->
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