Spoilers ahead. It's back! Australian Survivor returns in 2022, and after the Brains v Brawns theme last year, this series has been named Australian Survivor: Blood v Water.
As the title suggests, it's a family affair this time around when contestants enter the competition with one of their dearest and nearest, putting their relationships to the ultimate test in the most extreme sweat-inducing scenarios. This is the first time in Australian Survivor history that contenders compete alongside and against family members.
From married couples, siblings, in-laws and parents and children, there are strong bonds of trust that could be broken when the 24 castaways battle it out. At the end of the day, there can only be one 'survivor' so will blood prove to be thicker than water? We'll have to wait and see.
Who Is In The Cast?
From the get-go, we have Survivor royalty on the ground ready to play hard. US Survivor champ Sandra is the show's first two-time winner after she came out on top on Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains in 2003 and 2010 respectively.
She has appeared on the show as a contestant two more times and as a mentor once. With all of that experience and insight into how the game works, she'll no doubt be a force to be reckoned with.
The 47-year-old will be appearing on the Aussie version alongside her daughter, Nina Twine.
Sandra Diaz-Twine was eliminated on Sunday, February 13.
Nina is the 24-year-old daughter of Survivor champ, Sandra Diaz-Twine and a graduate of Eastern Carolina University.
Her famous mum has already teased that Nina will an asset to her winning streak as a "secret weapon", saying in a recent promo, "Y’all better look out, ’cause I taught her well." We will be watching!
Update: Nina Twine was eliminated on February 20 after becoming injured.
Michael Crocker aka Croc
It wouldn't be Survivor without a professional sports star. Michael is a former NRL player who will be on the show with sister-in-law Chrissy Zaremba.
The ex Rabbitohs player retired in 2013, and after a solid break, it's time to see what goals the 41-year-old will kick in the most gruelling of reality TV challenges.
Update: Michael Crocker was eliminated on February 21.
Chrissy is the sister of Michael's partner Kiri-Moana Proctor. We're yet to see her in action but she's already considered the potential of having to go up against Michael.
"If we have to go up against each other, I'm in all sorts," she says in a Channel 10 promo.
Avid Survivor fans will actually recognise Mark because he competed in season 2 of Australian Survivor. This means he has a bit of insight into how the game works, and interestingly enough, he's competing alongside wife Sam Gash, who he met on that season back in 2017. But back then they werewn't married, and it makes their return to the how a different ball game this year.
"Playing Survivor with your spouse is a very dangerous idea," he says in a promo. "But the good thing is, if one of us wins, we both win."
Mark, who is a former SAS Troop Commander, married Sam in 2019 and the pair share a young son.
Sam is an endurance athlete in her own right so we're sure physical challenges will be right up her alley.
At age 25, she was the first and youngest person in 2010 to compete in the Four Deserts Grandslam, which involves four 250 km desert ultramarathons completed in four deserts in the world.
With 266k Instagram followers, Sophie has quite the fanbase that will be cheering her on when she competes on Survivor. The lifestyle influencer will be joined by her sister and their close bond is an advantage in Sophie's eyes.
"I honestly don't think there is any relationship that is going to be stronger than two sisters," she says in a promo.
Sophie, who shares two young children with former former Carlton AFL player Jaryd Cachia, is in a relationship with women's basketball Maddie Garrick.
At the end of last year she opened up about the various challenges she's faced in her personal and professional life.
"In 2013, I fell pregnant at 22yrs old and a family friend said to my face ‘oh I’m so sorry.. how did Jaryd take it?’ because presumably J would abandon me - the knocked up tart - and my life would dwindle away as a young Mum who dropped out of uni & lost her way," she wrote on Instagram.
"8 years later, I’ve lived up to that promise I made that little baby in my belly all those years ago. I’ve built an 8 figure company, have multi-year partnerships with incredible brands who believe in me, and last night took 16 business associates out to dinner to say thank you for the wonderful year that 2021 was," she added.
Update: On Sunday, February 6, Sophie was voted out of the Red tribe with six votes. However, the season's first epic twist came into play and Sophie remained in the game, joining her sister KJ's Blue tribe.
Sophie Cachia was then eliminated (for real) on Monday, February 14.
Kate Austin aka KJ
Kate is Sophie's sister and will be giving the experience a red hot go. She's already given viewers a sneak-peek of what to expect.
"You'll see clashes, you'll see some really beautiful moments as well and some heartbreaking moments," she says in a recent promo clip.
As a surfer and yoga teacher, Shayelle has plenty of balancing skills at the ready for Survivor-style challenges. According to her Instagram account, which boasts 46,000 followers, she's a biomedicine student at the University of Sunshine Coast.
She'll be competing alongside her partner, Ben Watson.
Update: Shayelle Lajoie was voted out by her co-stars on March 7, but an epic twist came into play and she learnt that her game continued: in Purgatory.
A a professional photographer, Ben is often behind the camera but that won't be the case on Survivor. He's also given a bit of the influencer life a go, appearing in snaps with Shayelle on social media.
"We just want to see the end goal which is either of us winning – mostly me," Ben says in a new promo for the show, revealing he's truly got his eyes on the prize.
"Please don't show her that," he then laughs in another scene.
Update: Ben Watson was eliminated on February 22.
Khang Ong will be recognisable to fans of MasterChef Australia after he placed third on the 10th season of the cooking show back in 2018. He then returned to the all-stars season, MasterChef Australia: Back To Win in 2020, but there's more to the 30-year-old than just his incredible culinary skills.
He's also a style enthusiast, creative and influencer and says he'll do whatever it takes to win Survivor.
Update: Khanh Ong was eliminated on February 27.
Amy is Khanh's younger sister and this is really her first big foray into reality TV and the spotlight. The beautician has revealed it was her brother's idea to go on the show, and while she was initially taken aback, she now thinks "it was the best decision ever."
The siblings are are focusing on nailing the social game this season when it comes to strategic playing.
Update: Amy Ong was eliminated on February 15.
Watching Mel on Australian Survivor could be one of the most intriguing aspects of this season because she's competing alongside her identical twin sister, Michelle. The siblings say they share a 'twin connection' with one another, where they're able to know what each other are thinking and can even feel each other’s pain.
Being a super-fan of the show, the chiropractor knows the ins and outs of the game and is banking on making alliances a major part of her strategy throughout the series.
Update: Mel Chiang was eliminated on February 28.
Michelle is a speech pathologist and with her special twin connection and her sister being a big fan of the show, she's hoping she's in a solid position going into the game.
The 33-year-old is proud of having the ability to catch people out on their lies and hopes her innate understanding of human behaviour can assist her in finding out what drives her rivals.
Jordan is competing on the reality show alongside his cousin Josh Millgate. Between the two, he's the one who will be diving in headfirst. In a recent Instagram post, the personal trainer teased his appearance on the program, writing, "Extreme camping with your cousin." Well, that's certainly one way to put it!
As a pilot, Josh is used to jetting across to areas that are perhaps a bit foreign to him. But competing on Survivor will no doubt be the newest territory he's visited. The Victorian is excited to see if he can execute the physical, social, and strategic gameplay in real life.
Jesse is in the game alongside his older brother, Jordie whom he shares a tight bond with.
Being a triathlete, the 22-year-old from the ACT will no doubt have an advantage in the physical challenges and in fact, he finds comfort in pain.
Update: Jesse Hansen was eliminated on March 6.
The landscaper from Victoria is quite the social butterfly with the ability to make friends easily.
But the 25-year-old knows nailing Survivor is more than just being mates and understanding people on a deeper level.
Andy has a bit of an advantage, not just because he's a super fan but because he's appeared on the show in the past. The 49-year-old advertising consultant competed on Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders back in 2019.
Competing with his sister Kate this time around, can Andy get right to the end? Only time will tell.
Update: Andy Meldrum was the first contestant eliminated on Monday, January 31.
The stay-at-home mum from Queensland has learnt the ropes from her brother and is ready to give every challenge a red hot go.
"I am humbled to be playing what I believe is the world’s greatest game," she recently wrote on Instagram. "I have so much admiration and respect for the worldwide Survivor franchise and am so grateful for the opportunity to be a minuscule part of it."
Update: Kate Tatham was the third contestant eliminated on Wednesday, February 2.
Briana is certainly not camera shy as she's an experienced presenter and digital producer. The 26-year-old roller skating enthusiast is not afraid to speak her mind, and while she says she's initially perceived as being 'cute', she knows how to be sneaky and strategic.
Update: Briana Goodchild was the second contestant to be eliminated on Tuesday, February 1.
The 51-year-old project manager from Queensland is competing with his daughter, Briana. He considers himself to be quite the strategist and is comfortable making tough calls.
While his rivals don't know this, we know Alex's big secret – he's former Bachelorette Sam Frost's brother. The 26-year-old warehouse operator is competing on the show with Jay Bruno, who's actually sister Sam's ex-boyfriend.
Alex Frost voluntarily left the show on Tuesday, February 8.
Jay moved in with Sam Frost during the pandemic lockdown, and after becoming close with her brother, Alex, he decided to audition for Survivor with his sort-of in-law. While drummer Jay and Sam split after Survivor filming wrapped up, he and Alex are still good mates.
Jay Bruno was eliminated on Wednesday, February 9.
Who Is The Host?
Jonathan LaPaglia has hosted the reality show ever since Channel 10 revived the Australian version of Survivor back in 2016.
The 52-year-old, who actually has a medical degree, has worked as an actor for over two decades in Australia and the US. He has appeared on shows such as Love Child, Slap, NCIS, Law & Order and The District.
The father-of-one and brother of fellow actor, Anthony LaPaglia is unsurprisingly very excited for the new season, teasing fans on Instagram with a cheeky line: "Clear your calendar!"
What Is The Air Date?
Channel 10 has confirmed there's not long to go now until the action unfolds on our screens.
Australian Survivor: Blood v Water will premiere on Monday, January 31 at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play on Demand.
Mark it in your calendars!
Where Is It Filmed?
While many previous seasons have seen the cast and crew jet to tropical overseas locations such as Samoa and Fiji, the 2022 one has been filmed locally (like the 2021 season) due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Blood v Water season was shot at North Queensland’s Charters Towers, 134 km south-east of Townsville. The 2021 series was filmed in Cloncurry, 770km west of Townsville.
"We’re thrilled to bring Australian Survivor back to North Queensland for another unmissable season," Chief Content Officer & EVP, ViacomCBS Australia & New Zealand, Beverley McGarvey said in a press statement in October ahead of the 2022 season.
"The harsh and unwavering conditions of the Australian outback turned the game on its head last season, and the Castaways faced some of the toughest conditions the game has ever seen. We’re excited to showcase the rich terrain of Charters Towers, Queensland, to our audiences in Australia and beyond."
What Is the Prize?
Last year Brains v Brawns star Hayley Leake won the $500,000 prize money and it's expected to be the same amount this year at the finale.
While I can't imagine throwing myself into the Survivor world – even for half a million dollars – I'm more than happy to sit back and watch the action unfold on finale night.
Australian Survivor: Blood. vWater premieres on Monday, January 31 at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play on Demand.