Previously on Survivor after Heidi defeated Carson in fire and locked in the final three, the trio awoke the next morning to watch their final sunrise in Fiji and celebrate making it to the end. While Yam Yam was nervous about saying something stupid, sweet Carolyn assured him she will always sound stupider. At final tribal council the jury, under Matt’s leadership, were sweet and kind, asking leading questions to get the best out of each and every member of the final three. Despite Carson acting like the proudest stage mom towards Carolyn the entire time and Frannie praising her for changing her life, our sweet icon couldn’t muster a vote and landed in third place.
As Jeffrey tallied the votes there were one a piece for each Yam Yam and Heidi before the rest piled up on Yam Yam, leaving fire queen Heidi to finish as the runner-up thanks to her number 1, Danny. As Probst and Co reset for the After Show, I pulled Heidi aside and while I was still gutted for Carolyn, I held Heidi tight and praised her for a strong game with such a delightfully splashy finish.
While I have been a diehard Tika stan from the beginning, there is no denying how much of a dominating presence this season. Whether the edit showed that or not. She formed a tight pair with Danny early on, but her bonds with Frannie and Claire helped her control the premerge phase. Once the tribes came together, despite not realising Tika were playing them, it was Heidi that helped the Soka tribe winning out over Ratu, paving her way to the end. And TBH, if Tika weren’t lighting in a bottle, she would have easily run off with the season like the modern era Kim Spradlin.
Instead, she had to settle for being the runner-up and a big plate of Heidi Lagarissoles-Greenblatt as her prize.
While rissoles cop a lot of flack for being a basic meal, there is something so life affirming about them. Maybe because you can literally pop anything in – well, almost – and be guaranteed a delicious, warming meal.
Heidi Lagarissoles-Greenblatt Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 500g chicken mince 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 zucchini, grated ½ cup peas ¾ cup breadcrumbs 1 lemon, zested 2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped 1 egg kosher salt and pepper, to taste olive oil
Method Combine the mince, garlic, zucchini, pea, breadcrumbs, zest, parsley and egg in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch until well combined. Using wet hands, form into 12 equal sized patties, place on a lined plate and transfer to the fridge to chill for half an hour or so.
Pop a good lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and once nice and hot, cook the rissoles four at a time for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for a further few minutes, or until cooked through. Repeat the process until done.
Serve with salad or a little mash before devouring, like a solid runner-up.
Previously on Drag Race España the queens finally played the Snatch Game and while it is often something I struggle to translate, it was clear that Pink Chadora, Hornella, Vania and Visa were the stars of the show. Though it did feel like Hornella and Vania were a double act, rather than two performances. At the other end of the pack, Bestiah struggled, The Macarena gave only voice and somehow, the judges hated Pakita’s slutty Peppa Pig which was honestly iconic. After Pink took out her second victory – and vowed to split the money with Hornella – before Bestiah was saved leaving robbed icon Pakita to face off against our favourite returning queen. And then promptly sent her home. Again.
Backstage Pakita was feeling bad for The Macarena, given she was so kind to her despite the fact she also drove her mad. As she sobbed through cleaning the mirror, the dolls looked on a little awkwardly given Pink Chadora, in particular, was thrilled to see her go. After they sat down, Pakita opened up about how surprised she was to have made such strong bonds in the competition, while Clover was just gagged to see Pakita showing emotion after being so stoic. Talk turned to Pink’s second win with her admitting she was sure Hornella would win, which is why she shared her prize. While Pitita hilariously pointed out to us that it made more sense to trust the judges opinion, even if they clearly just focused on the loudest person in the room.
The next day things were far more uplifting as the dolls entered the Werk Room to The Macarena’s song. Talk immediately returned to the competition, with Vania hoping she would also get a little prize from Hornella, given she helped carry her to second. Pitita pointed out a table of gifts sitting next to them, with them speculating maybe a little sewing challenge is coming up. Supremme then dropped by to announce that they won’t be whipping out the Janome, and instead, they’d be starring in a rusical. No doubt lasting 45 minutes like last season. But first, the boxes, with Supremme announcing they were actually gifts from home with Pakita getting a belt and shaw – or is that sash – Hornella had a styrofoam papaya – yuck – and a vibrator – work – Pink Chadora had a book of her husband’s poetry, Bestiah got an anime drawing of her little family, Clover got nutella and a letter, Pitita got a teddy from su abuela, Visa got Mexican candies from su novio y Vania got a turtle from su madre, which was originally her grandmothers.
Meaning grandmothers and teddys are having a big episode tonight.
As everyone wiped away their tears, Supreme announced that they’d be starring in El Mago Precoz – aka The Wizard of Oz – and to secure their roles, they will even have to audition. After Supremme departed, the dolls sat down to read the script and figure out which roles they’d be going out for. Barely able to finish it, Vania was called into the audition suite with Supremme and a trio of zaddies with her being a delight from start to finish. Clover was up next and missed the final note of her scale, Hornella was horny, Pitita was camp and kooky, Pakita was a screaming delight, Pink struggled to maintain the anger they required, Visa flooded my basement while Bestiah closed auditions with demented delight.
Dia de eliminacion arrived with the dolls a healthy mix of excitement of nerves, with Clover thrilled to have jagged one of the leads (Doro, to Pink’s Tea, get it?). Pitita, Pakita and Visa were excited to be her three friends, Hornella was ready to shine as the Wizard while Vania was thrilled to be the Glinda proxy while Bestiah was ready to eat as the Wicked Witch. As they split up to beat their mugs, Pitita opened up to Pakita about being misunderstood as a child and how growing up in a conservative household made it difficult at home in addition to school, where she didn’t have many friends. Thankfully once she left school and moved out, she learnt to trust in herself and form good relationships, which have helped her thrive and TBH, just crown Pitita now because she is such a sweet icon.
Supremme, Ana y Los Javis were joined by my dear friend Penelope’s little sister, Monica Cruz to watch the opening and closing night of El Mago Precoz – which commenced at the 34 minute mark, for the record – with Vania killing it as Club Glinda, while Pitita ate as the scarecrow stand-in, which sadly left Pakita and Visa to fade into the background. Hornella was fun with her brief role, while Clover and Pink were hurt by the fact they spent the entire time on stage. All 60 hours of it, like 8 Gay Men with AIDS. Finishing at the 48 minute mark, FYI.
On the Tres Looks en Uno Runway Pakita went from yellow frilled fun into flamenco to sexy icon, however I already fear the judges will say they weren’t really three looks. Vania went from winter coat to a messy brown dress to an even messier dress before offering a fourth pride swimsuit look. Hornella served from trash bag to pigeon lady to a rag princess, Pink went from PJs to house dress to evening gown, Pitita served LBD to gorgeous green gown to full length pink drama and dolls, this is how it is done. Bestiah went for rock queen, to cloud demon before slaying a red and black look and well, it was GOOD. Visa meanwhile was a pink puff before revealing a teal gown(?) before transforming, slowly, into a butterfly. While Clover iconically served Bratz in all the colours – aka Sugar and Spice.
Bestiah and Pink were sent to safety before Pakita was praised – rightly, despite my fears – for a stunning runway though read for not having enough of a presence in the rusical. Vania received universal praise for the challenge, though was cautioned to bring more polish to the runways. Hornella too was beloved, before Pitita – as is becoming tradition – received all the praise and then some, for stealing the show in the rusical and giving such a killer runway. Visa meanwhile was read for not bringing enough in the challenge though praised for two out of three of the looks landing. Clover was praised for lip syncing two episodes ago, though read for not bringing that passion to the rusical, despite a strong runway. Clover rightly wasn’t sure why the judges were reading her, with Javier Ambrossi explaining they just don’t want her to bring herself down to other people’s level when dancing and instead shine.
Backstage Bestiah was disappointed to be safe while Pink was more focused on the fact Hornella is likely winning. On the other hand, they could not clock the bottoms. Right on cue, the dolls joined them with Clover opening up about the judges reading her again, despite not really being bad. Visa was okay with her critiques, given she knows rusicals are not her jam, despite the dolls telling her she slayed all the moves. She admitted that it sucks to see other dolls slay weeks they felt they were going to bomb before she read dolls for being favoured. Specifically Pitita and while I love Visa, Pitita is not the one to come for. Pink is, but I digress.
Ultimately Vania was deemed safe before Pitita took out her third win of the season, leaving Hornella as a very capable runner-up. Pakita meanwhile was the last to join them, leaving Clover and Visa to battle it out for the final slot to Beth’s Dime and once again, Clover proved to be a killer performer when it counted, owning the stage and giving all the energy. Visa meanwhile was living her best life, feeling all the emotions, stripping off and flipping up onto heels. Sadly for her, however, it wasn’t enough to win over the judges – despite both the dolls splitting in perfect synergy – as Clover was sent to safety, eliminating her from the competition.
Well, until next week’s return challenge, but once again, I digress.
Before she took her place behind the mirror All Stars 2 style, I pulled Visa aside and assured her that she has more than slayed the competition and should hold her head high. Despite the fact she felt Pititia was getting praise she didn’t deserve, I tried to redirect her anger towards Pink and while we’ll have to wait and see next week whether I was successful, we dropped the conversation and instead toasted her run – thus far – with a sweet, rich Peasa Hummus.
While this recipe is super simple – mashing peas into hummus, if you go store bought – it is one of those things that prove how you don’t have to work hard to eat something delicious.
Peasa Hummus Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 1 cup Ivana Hummus ¾ cup peas 1 tsp chilli flakes
Method Make the hummus as per Ivana’s recipe and cook the peas – in the microwave or boiled, I don’t mind – for a couple of minutes, or until vibrant, bright and warmed.
Drain and place the peas in a bowl and mash before stirring through the hummus and chilli flakes. While you could also blitz, I prefer this one to feel a little more rustic with the chunkiness, rather than it being too smooth. If that is your jam, no judgement, get blitzing.
Either way, load up on crudites and crackers and then devour. Feeling healthy and fresh, like the skinny legend you – and Tracey Martell, of course – are.
Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways arrived on the beaches of Samoa divided into Heroes or Villains depending on either how they play the game – for our 11 returnees – or how they intended to, for our newbies. Or their profession, in the case of our journos and real estate agents. As quickly as she came back for her redemption, poor Jackie was medevaced. She was followed by a string of newbies as Anjali, Michael, Mimi, Rogue and Sarah soon followed. George then set his sights on his nemesis Simon, but after a surprise individual immunity challenge we lived through the best tribal council of all time which cost Fraser his spot.
Iconic scream queen Sharni was next to go (back to Yabbie Creek, darl) before the swap (thankfully) cost Paige her spot in the game. We then suffered the tragedy of losing sweet Jordie before my dear friend and legit hero Benjamin Law was shown the door. Internal battles between the Spice Girls caused Stevie to be blindsided just ahead of the merge, before George’s instincts proved correct as Flick turned on them while Matt stayed loyal, allowing the OG Villains to take control and boot David from the game.
For her deception, Flick became Australia’s first ever Queen of the Jury before a lack of mateship sent Sam out. George then broke our hearts by turning on Shonee before the Villains turned their attention back to eliminating Heroes in the form of Shaun and Hayley. George and Simon’s feud finally came to a head with the King booting sweet, power-bottom Simon before Nina became the first Twine to join the jury.
The final four were gagged by Jonathan when he announced that they would be eliminating a juror with Matt and Gerry pushing to get rid of Shonee, given she was 100% in Liz’s corner. Which should have been a warning to George that he would not be making it to the final tribal council again, with the final three newbies banding together to send him to the ALL RETURNEE jury. At the final tribal council Liz well and truly rose to the occasion, laying out a comprehensive, nearly watertight argument why she deserved the win. Before the jury awarded her unanimously, making her our second Olympian to take out the crown. I mean, if presenting to the jury was an Olympic sport, she would come out on top while Sharn, famed barrister and two-time runner-up wouldn’t even qualify.
While the edit may not have shoved it down our throats, there is a very clear reason why Liz was not only the final woman and villain standing, but our newly minted Sole Survivor. And that is because she not only played a hell of a social game but also knew when to make the right moves. It may not have been the most exciting television watching the newbies ride it out with George at the end, however it made the most sense to use him as a shield as he will always be easy to eliminate at the end (another reason Sandra should actually always make it to the end, but people get too excited) as their best shot was with each other.
Despite Matt opting to eliminate Shonee from the jury for being a locked in Liz vote, he clearly underestimated the bonds she made and how well she would be able to articulate her game. Which is why he landed in second and she joins our iconic pantheon of winners. As the fireworks settled, I pulled her in for a massive hug – did you know I was a champion pole vaulter and we became friends on the circuit? – and thanked her for keeping us fed this season. More important than winning the title, she also managed to put an end to the long running Survivor curse and that is worth celebrating, with a glorious Liz Parciuttov & Asparagus Pizza.
This pizza is so delicious, it is hardly a surprise it had the power to end the curse. The earthiness of the asparagus works perfectly with the salty tang of the prosciutto and the creamy ricotta to deliver a pizza fit for the newest queen.
Liz Parciuttov & Asparagus Pizza Serves: 4.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅔ cup ricotta kosher salt and pepper, to taste 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths 1 lemon, zested 2 tbsp chives, thinly sliced ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 6 slices of prosciutto, roughly chopped
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Spread a thin layer of ricotta over the bases, followed by a sprinkle of salt and a good whack of pepper. Add the asparagus, lemon zest, chives and parmesan, before topping with the prosciutto. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Serve and devour triumphantly, knowing you’re the one person great enough to break an epic(ish) curse.
Previously on Australian Survivor George was playing 5D chess as he told Hayley about his secret $60K prize at the auction, not as a way to get her to take him to the end as she assumed but to act as a canary in the coal mine for her turning on him. After his attempts to work with the OG Heroes at the previous tribal council, though when he won immunity George had to pivot. Despite Shaun and Nina being on the bottom without any more idols to save them, George started to grow concerned about how close Shiz were and as such, used Hayley and Nina to blindside arguably the biggest threat to win, Shonee, instead. Breaking the heart of the nation and ruining the month of March for me.
Back at camp Simon marvelled at how great the blindside was as Liz and George immediately caught up, with him taking full credit for the move but assuring her he feels horrible about it. Though he did admit that this turn of events now makes it easier for the two of them to win, before he promised that the two of them will still be there to face off at the final challenge. He went back to Hayley and Matt to assure them that Liz is still 100% on their side, gloating to us about how well he played it all. The next morning however it was very clear how wrong he was, as George and the tribe joked around while Liz stared daggers at him. In her confessional she broke down in tears, heartbroken to have not only lost her bestie but to have been lied to by the entire tribe. And while she felt all alone at the bottom, she vowed to bide her time and take George down at the right time.
As he dressed up as Shonee and she pretended to laugh. And oh God, I am here for her Natalie Anderson revenge arc.
George caught up with Gerry and once again incorrectly assured him that nothing has changed with Liz, so now they just power ahead as a group of five rather than six. Which was also formerly seven. As such, he turned his attention back to Nina, Shaun and Simon, vowing to exacerbate tensions between them to keep them from pulling off any moves together. Speaking of Simon, he was next to chat with George, pointing out that he did what he was asked at the previous tribal council and as such, wanted to know if he would protect him at the next vote. With George assuring him that he, Hayley and Matt all see it that way, so he is good. Simon then pointed out that he has had very little agency throughout the season and as such, is unlikely to get many votes at the end before straight up floating the idea of them going to the final two together.
Sadly George then told us that when the vote changed to Shonee, the deal changed. So poor, sweet Simon is once again in danger.
The tribe reconnected with my love JLP for the reward challenge where they would use their feet to release some blocks, organise them and then stack them onto a three level tower and place a flag on top. For one of two cars and a little picnic. Matt whipped out in front from the very first moments while everyone else took a more slow and steady approach. Nina overtook him when it came to building as Simon and Liz closed the gap. Shaun meanwhile was a mess while Hayley was surprisingly almost just bad, making me feel like she is throwing it to avoid the car curse. Simon eventually took out the lead as he powered through the third level with Nina and Matt right behind. Until Nina dropped a couple, that is. In any event, it didn’t really matter as Simon continued to power through, placed his flag and guaranteed he would not be winning the game. After breaking down in tears over such an epic victory, everyone hugged him before Shaun begged to go with him on the reward. After selecting his ute, he opted to take not Shaun but Matt and Hayley. Before JLP chose to be kind and let him choose one more person. With him shockingly once again not opting for Shaun, but Nina.
The foursome disappeared to celebrate Simon’s win with their epic feast, joyfully eating everything in sight before everyone spoke about how shocked – and grateful – they were to Simon for picking them to go along. Hayley knew it was a good chance for some strat chat and given Simon is super eager to play, asked him if there was a specific reason why he chose the three of them to come. With him hilariously saying no, given he had no options anyway. He then told everyone that George told him to vote Shaun last night to save himself, while Nina opened up about her own deal with George and that they really can’t let him get anywhere near the final five. While Matt straight up told them he didn’t think he would ever turn on George. For some reason that made Hayley feel like it was the right time to get messy, telling everyone about George’s $60K win at the auction. And while she thinks it will rally everyone and help them take George down, I feel telling Matt will be the actual undoing. Tragically, hers.
The groups came back together for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to squat against a wall to try and balance an idol on a ledge with the last person holding up their idol taking out victory. Almost instantly Matt became the first to go and followed by George, as Jonathan speculated the challenge would be over within ten minutes. Liz was next to drop, followed by Gerry at two minutes before Hayley dropped out of nowhere as Simon shook hard. Hayley tried to keep Shaun focused before Simon dropped, leaving Nina to fight it out against the athlete to be the first Twine to win individual immunity. After ten minutes both of them were struggling badly before Shaun finally dropped, taking out the win for the Twine family. And ugh, I’m as proud as Sandra would be right now!
Back at camp the tribe quickly got to work scrambling, with George pulling Shaun aside to float the idea of getting rid of Simon. He laid it on thick, pointing out that once Simon is gone, the entire tribe opens up as everyone settles on the endgame and that he truly sees value in them working together. George then caught up with Hayley, Matt and Nina, locking them in on a solid vote for Simon. Hayley however was ready to make a(nother) move and as such, pushed hard to split the vote between Shaun and Simon so she could dictate who goes home. Liz joined them and they quickly locked in the split before George approached Shaun to let him know about it too. Though once again assured him that things will get better tomorrow. That is if he is still there, thanks to Hayley.
George returned to camp and looped Gerry in on the plan, praising it for being completely foolproof. The only potential complication to it however, was Nina, who he just isn’t sure he can trust. As such, he pulled her aside and begged her to hold firm on the plan and while she assured him she is good, he wasn’t sure. He then found Hayley and spoke to her about his fears and once again, she promised they were fine. Sadly for him, he didn’t factor in Simon and given he had spent the afternoon being ignored, he was also ready to make a move given something is clearly afoot. And since Matt has already said he will never turn on George, Simon suggested they get rid of him instead. He and Shaun locked it in before approaching Liz to see if she’d be interested in working with them. And when she was, they rallied Nina and Hayley to see if they’d be willing to take the shot.
While George was just confident he was making it to the end again, unaware that there are multiple plans on the table and without Shonee around as a shield, he is now the biggest threat. Which is wild, given a winner is there.
At tribal council George opened up how great Shonee looks, though was using her as a reminder that anything can happen at tribal council and you can never let your guard down. Otherwise you get taken out. Liz meanwhile spoke about how sad she is to be without Shonee, fairly throwing George under the bus for being the cause of her demise though admitted she had to move on, otherwise she will be cut. Shaun meanwhile was grateful to have been saved at the last couple of tribal councils, though continued to advocate for people in the majority to use him – swoon – to make a move. Before Simon spoke about how Shonee going simply transferred power from the Spice Girls, to George, Gerry and Matt, meaning he was still on the outs. And George is still in power. While George tried to laugh it off, Matt started to spook and questioned whether Simon was still the plan.
Talk turned to Nina’s victory, with her sweetly saying she will keep it as a surprise for her mum. Liz mentioned that everyone should be feeling nervous without immunity, while Hayley reminded them that they now need to turn their attention to who they face off against in the final three. With George saying if you haven’t done that yet, you may as well just go to the jury now. Simon theatrically got up to wander off – bless – before talking about George telling he has done nothing to justify the win, leading to yet another blow-up between them as Simon – again, bless – told him trying is sometimes enough. He then admitted to being nervous, unsure how to rebuild trust this late in the game. With that the tribe voted and the smile was promptly wiped off George’s face as Hayley switched her vote and sent Shaun out of the game. As George vowed to get revenge on Nina for flipping, as he praised his spot-on instincts to Hayley on their walk back to camp.
As Shaun arrived at the Jury Villa, I was inspired by Simon at the previous immunity challenge and straight up climbed him like a tree for a hug. Once again, Shaun played an exceptionally strong game, which is sometimes forgotten because he looks and is built the way he is. He has solid reads on the game, builds loyalty, is strategic and most importantly, kind and likeable, meaning people naturally gravitate to him. Add in the fact he is 9 foot and hot as hell – not to be mistaken for rotting in hell or rawting in heal, which Tom Sandavol should do – and well, you’ve got an all around strong player that will make it to the merge, but will never win given he is the target. Which more than earned him a big fat platter of regal Coronashaun Chicken Hampsondwiches.
Originated way back when at the last coronation of the British Empire, these sandwiches may not be everyone’s cup of tea (see what I did there?), but they are jam packed with flavour. Sweet and tangy, they are a decadent way to celebrate a solid run and toast the way that is king of our loins. And long may he reign (on me).
Coronashaun Chicken Hampsondwiches Serves: 2.
Ingredients ¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain 2 tbsp Joe Manngo Chutney 2 tsp curry powder 1 lemon, zested and juiced 2 tsp dijon mustard 1 tsp celery salt 1-2 cups roast chicken, shredded butter, for spreading 4 slices sourdough 1 cup baby spinach leaves
Method Combine the mayo, chutney, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, mustard and salt in a bowl and toss through the chicken until well coated. If you want a lighter flavour hit, go with more chicken.
To assemble, butter the bread and divide the mixture between two slices. If you went with more chicken, however, you can probably get more sandwiches out of it, so build to taste. Anyway, top the mixture with some baby spinach and close with the remaining bread. For full royal flair, cut into triangles. Otherwise just devour greedily.
Previously on Australian Survivor on the bottom with dwindling options, Shaun revealed his idol to Simon, anointing him his closest ally as they locked in a plan to blindside George. After Simon won immunity and climbed Shaun like we all want to, George was spooked by their growing closeness. The Vigilantes planned to split the vote on Nina and Shaun given Sam is not exactly the most strategic person. That is until Simon left the group and they agreed to load all their votes on Sam, to navigate around a Simon flip. Sadly for George, Hayley was also planning on making a move against him, telling Nina the real plan and advising her to use any idols they had on Sam given they won’t be doing a split. With Shaun’s idol in hand, Nina improved their chances further by jagging a second. Despite having three out of their four people immune, however, the Heroes and Simon botched the double idol play resulting in Sam’s exit.
The next day Shiz were busy hunting for crabs and doing best friend shit, with Shonee particularly thrilled to have all the power in the game on top of having a bestie. She spoke about how close they are before venturing to the ocean to plot who would be the smartest people to take to the end, agreeing Gerry is easiest to beat in challenges while Simon is a bit of a joke. The one person they know they can’t hang with, however, is George, given everyone will assume they rode his coattails. And they were happy to lose to each other, but not him. Oh and then Shonee wandered off and found yet another idol which honestly is just Queen shit. As is her plan to use it to have a fun little blindside.
Shaun and Nina however were feeling far less zen, bonding over how screwed they kind of are after their spectacular blunder with the idols. They agreed the smartest thing to do was keep quiet about Hayley leaking information, given it means they could still use her in the future. Simon meanwhile was explaining why he moved to Hayley – unaware she also tried to flip – while George went person to person talking about how stupid Simon is. Seeing this, Nina decided it was in her best interests to throw him under the bus, approaching the Vigilantes to work with them to get rid of Simon the instant he doesn’t have immunity. Oh and then she and Shaun decided they probably still need an idol to seal the deal, despite not having the best track records.
With the duo off hunting for idols, the Vigilantes discussed who would be the smartest to take out next and while Hayley and Matt felt Simon was easy – given that is what George wants – Shonee knew it was a bad idea, given Shaun and Nina have more friends on the jury and Simon’s gameplay has been far from winning. The Spice Girls and Hayley caught up with Shonee calmly trying to explain why they need to put Simon on the backburner, particularly since the immunities get less physical as they go along, meaning he will get less and less threatening.
Shonee and Liz then sneakily ate rice by the shelter as everyone else was away, unaware that George was lurking behind and heard them refer to themselves as Shiz rather than the Spice Girls. And well, let’s just say, he was pissed. Later that night, George woke up and paced the shoreline as he simmered in rage, before Gerry woke up and joined him. George unleashed about how hurt he was and floated making a move sooner rather than later. And oh God, please don’t break up yet, I can’t handle it!
The tribe met Jonathan for the latest epic immunity challenge which would play out across three stages. The first would see them race to land three sandbags on a disc with the first six to finish moving on. In the next stage they would have to toss sandbags to knock rungs off a ladder and then use them to build a bridge with the first three to finish going to the final round where they would be tethered to a spinning platform and have to stack 10 discs into a tower with the first to finish winning. Simon was the first to move on to the second round, followed by Gerry, Matt, Liz, Shaun and Hayley. In the second round Shaun pulled out in front as Hayley and Simon nipped at his heels, while George whispered to Nina that he just doesn’t want either of the boys to win. Sadly for him however, they made it to the final round with Hayley. Simon got out to an early lead, while Shaun continued to botch the balancing as Hayley quietly worked away. Until she dropped, giving Simon plenty of breathing room to place the final disc and secure immunity. Again.
Back at camp everyone gave Simon some half hearted congratulations before he, Nina and Shaun went for a walk to the well, leaving the Vigilantes to lock in the split vote between Nina and Shaun. The minority meanwhile focused on hunting for an idol as Simon went back to chat with the Vigilantes, with him suggesting they work together for this vote and that he will just lock in who he will vote for when the time comes. Obviously George hated that idea, given he wants control, so he agreed to work with Simon once again and not come for him until the OG Heroes are gone. But only if he votes for Shaun.
George returned to the shelter to fill Shiz in on the plan and while they were happy with things, they went into the ocean to wash off together and talk about how happy they would be if the other person won. Sadly George watched on, growing more and more jealous of their closeness until he suggested to us that Shonee is so dangerous to his game that maybe now is the time to take the shot. And ugh, I fucking hate it here.
As the tribe gathered to eat dinner, the girls fed each other as George looked on angrily. He pulled Gerry aside to float the idea of getting rid of Shonee and while he was keen on it, he cautioned that now is not the right time and told George they just need to hold firm for a few more rounds. As such, George pulled Hayley aside to get a different answer with her obviously thrilled by the idea, wanting to play a fun, messy game. Which obviously filled George with joy as he suggested to her that while Liz will be angry, he will happily beg for her forgiveness tomorrow. He went back to Gerry to fill him in, who in turn told Matt, while George went to rope in Nina. Horrifically, it all fell into place very quickly as everyone was ready to get rid of Shonee ASAP, given she is such a massive threat. While she spoke to Matt about feeling nervous, given she has been the one to blow up 3-3 votes from the minority in the past.
At tribal council – where I was ready to vom and cry all at once – Simon spoke about how immunity is the only thing that saved him tonight, meaning either Shaun or Nina are going home. Nina played coy about hearing word of people jumping ship as Shaun whispered to her asking what George had wanted to talk to her about back at camp, with her just assuring him they are fine. Liz spoke about the alliance being solid and steamrolling to the end, while Shonee was equally as confident as George spoke about sticking to a deal that was cut post immunity challenge. Matt, Simon and Shonee all mentioned they heard about the deals, while Matt and Shonee agreed George’s deals are always solid. George spoke about how they need to make moves when they have numbers, while Shonee whispered to Liz whether they should be worried. With Liz assuring her they are fine.
Talk turned to timing, with Shonee reiterating that it is too early to make a move and doing it too soon often screws you out of alliances and stops you from making it to the end. Nina joked about them definitely being at the right point of the season to make a move, so to join her, while George spoke about how making moves at the right time is simply when you have the numbers. Nina whispered to Shaun that it won’t be him going home tonight, making him confident enough to speak up and tell the majority that if they don’t know how they are proceeding beyond the six, then they are likely not making it to the end. With that the tribe voted and despite our queen feeling uncomfortable about a 3-3 vote, she held firm onto her idol and was tragically blindsided from the game. As Liz looked on enraged – just like me! – while George thought winking at the jury would make them like him, rather than hate him.
While Shonee was her usual positive, delightful self as she arrived at the Jury Villa, I was an absolute mess. I was screaming, I was shaking, I had had it. Officially. I went full Laura Dern in Enlightened on poor Sam and Flick – coincidentally created by King Mike White – until Shonee arrived and pulled me, her number one cherub in for a hug. After a day or so – just ahead of the next boot, TBH – I stopped crying long enough to congratulate her on such a strong game. Despite this being her lowest placement, she absolutely dominated the game and proved she is far and away the best player of the franchise. She then got me talking about pilates, which is now my personality – I do it with David Wenham, which is a true sentence – giving me enough strength to toast her third game with a delicious Lemonee Buttell Cake. In preparation for her fourth, winning game.
Like Shonee, this cake is near perfection. Sweet, a little zesty and a hint of salt, working together to give you a joyous (viewing) experience. Oh and the lemon butter creates a glorious, gooey centre which is just perfection.
Ingredients 300g raw caster sugar 2 lemons, zested and juiced ¾ tsp sea salt 3 eggs, at room temperature, 2 separated 227g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 330g flour 2 ½ tsp baking powder 250g cream cheese, softened 225g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
Method Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 22cm round pan with baking paper, leaving an overhang to help remove the cake later.
In a large bowl, combine the caster sugar with half the zest and ½ tsp of salt using your fingers until it is a fragrant, yellow mixture. Add the whole egg, half the lemon juice and cooled butter and whisk to combine before folding through the flour and baking powder until just combined. Transfer to the lined pan, smoothing out the top.
Using a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until it forms a smooth, soft batter. Add the egg yolks, remaining salt, lemon zest and juice, and beat until smooth. Pour on top of the cake and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until the edges have browned and the centre is puffed. If it is still a bit under, cover with foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes to set completely.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes or so before removing to cool completely. Then simply sprinkle it with some icing sugar and devour it in honour of our queen.
Previously on Australian Survivor as the original Spice Girls decreed, two became one, as the Heroes and Villains came together to form a single tribe. With Simon once again all alone on the bottom. Flick was thrilled to reunite with her bestie Shaun and while she initially wanted to protect the Spice Girls as payback, she ultimately decided to stick Heroes strong after Shaun reminded them they have more than enough numbers to take over. Sadly for them, George roped in Hayley and his former nemesis Simon to take control. After David sketched out Liz by the well, she decided to play her idol for Shonee, though didn’t need to, as David himself was booted from the game. As Shonee whispered to George that Flick is finished and ugh, I have goosebumps.
Back at camp Matt pulled everyone together to admit that he was the one that flipped, with Hayley quickly jumping in to say that she also made the jump to make sure they both got the credit come final tribal council. As Sam and Co. tried to wrap their heads around things, they kept taking little shots at the OG Heroes with George and Shonee iconically telling him to stop undermining their decision to play for themselves. The new power alliance then opted for a trip to the hammock – since the Heroes wouldn’t let them use it the day before – where Matt giggled about being an evil vixen, while Simon was happy to finally have friends again and ugh, is nature healing? Because when Matt suggested they call their alliance the Vigilantes to steal Nina’s suggested tribe name, I almost flooded my basement.
While the four Heroes stood quietly in the dark and sulked.
The next day Shiz were talking about their disappointment that Flick broke the girl code, likening it to a messy breakup. As such, they pulled Flick aside to find out what they did to upset her and while she explained she was just trying to save herself the night before, it obviously meant nothing to them. Though while they accepted the apology, Shonee was still out for blood and if All Stars is anything to go by, Flick is in trouble. Sam, Nina and Shaun meanwhile were busy trying to figure out how to get out of the mess of their own making and while Sam suggested they need an idol, Shaun smartly mentioned they need another way. As such, they decided that Simon was their best option to flip again, so they put Flick to work on winning him back. Or somehow win four immunities for the upcoming tribal.
George, Simon and Matt caught up by the well, with George thanking Simon for putting their issues aside and working together and well, it was wholesome and I love it. Particularly since Simon finally feels like he has friends. Hang on, maybe I don’t love Simon because he still wants to work with Shaun. Given he has lingering uncertainty about whether he can trust the Spice Girls, he caught up with Sam and Flick to talk about how shocked he is to have an alliance while Sam tried to act like he was happy for him to have some power. With Simon reiterating he is ready to make moves at the right time and aligning with George proves he can bury the hatchet, which kinda gives them some hope without saying anything. And again, do I now love Simon?
The tribe joined Jonathan on a beach for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a barrel containing 40% of their body weight with the last one standing winning. After ten minutes, Shonee asked Shaun how much weight would be in his barrel before George dropped out of nowhere. While Shonee started to struggle, she managed to hold on another 25 minutes before she dropped out. As Shonee and George kikied about getting rid of Flick, the rest of the tribe clocked up an hour before JLP told everyone they had to drop down to only one hand, costing Nina, Gerry and Shaun straight away. Sam was next to go, followed by Flick as Shonee praised her allies for outlasting the Heroes. And while Liz started to celebrate, Shonee told her to cut out the funny business and focus. Matt and Simon then dropped out, leaving Hayley and Liz to face off with Hayley dropping out of nowhere after another 20 minutes, handing the Olympian immunity.
With Flick quickly jumping in to congratulate the girls on being so strong. Which will not save you babes, I’m sorry.
Back at camp George obviously called his allies aside for a pow wow as the 4 Heroes skulked off to the well to figure out if there was anything they could do. George assured the Vigilantes that the only way they don’t make it to the top seven, is if something goes catastrophically wrong. They locked Flick as the target and while Simon suggested they need to split the vote in case of an idol. Everyone explained that they don’t have the numbers to make it work, with George going on step further and pointing out he or Shonee would be the target anyway so let them take the risk. He assured us that while he still doesn’t trust Simon 100%, he will be watching him like a hawk. The Heroes went person to person trying to figure out who the target is in the hope of saving themselves with an idol, though the Vigilantes would not budge. As such, they decided to load their votes on Matt to spook him a little and not upset anyone in power, while Shaun awkwardly danced around having an idol in the hope of them finding a second one to save the group. Given he is holding on to his, to play at the right time to save himself.
While Flick spent hours hunting around the hidden idol, she gave up and decided she needed to at least talk to Simon about making a move on George. She reminded him that the Spice Girls are a solid four, meaning nine is the latest they can make a move to beat them. Shonee meanwhile was watching on, talking to Hayley about how Flick could easily convince Simon to make a move just for the sake of it. Thankfully though, he checked in with Hayley who was super reassuring, reminding him that they want to get rid of more of the alphas first before trying anything and as such, it makes sense to hold firm for now. Hayley was then pulled aside by Shaun, who tried to guilt her into sharing who the target was, with her expertly not budging or even offering assurance. Leading him to speculate to us whether it was a smart decision to actually play the idol for himself or Flick, given she is his number one.
At tribal council Sam spoke about how shocked he was after the previous tribal council, though also knew he couldn’t really do much, before throwing out that nothing that happened at the last tribal council changed anyone’s place for those that flipped. Which drew an audible gasp from George, who pointed out that they are now on the winning ship and that ship has set sail, whether the OG Heroes like it or not. Shaun tried to point out that he is just in a bit of a trough, but the game is all about peaks and valleys with Simon agreeing that his game has only been ups and downs, though he is glad to be working with George and being part of the conversation now.
George pointed out that you should never close the door on any options, or at least, that is how the Vigilantes roll. Which annoyed the hell out of Nina that the tribe name she suggested was co-opted for the alliance working against her. Flick tried to pretend she was swap screwed with George whispering about the fact she actually had a numbers advantage, so that’s a lie. While she doubled down on the fact she was upsetting someone either way she went, which Shonee called bullshit on given she was the one leading the charge against Shiz, which makes it all the more hurtful. Particularly since Liz was willing to use her idol to save her. This clearly got Shaun thinking about doing the same as Matt pointed out he was in the same situation as Flick at the previous tribal, though clearly made the right choice. And well, now one of Flick, Nina, Sam and Shaun are drowning and they don’t have a lifesaver on their side. Which feels extra savage and I love that for him.
With that the tribe voted before Shaun proved himself a little more selfish than the Villains – or well, Liz – as he held on to his idol as his closest ally Flick was shown the door. Though hey, at least she has now been the final juror and the Queen of the Jury in her Survivor career. As she arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her that while I am firmly team Shiz, I was rooting for her and love how effortlessly she plays the social game. Plus, she is sensible and not bitter, meaning we should be lucky enough to have a fair jury on our hands with no toxicity with her as the Queen. Leaving me nothing more to do than toast her success and her new reign with a piping hot bowl of Flick Paellmateer.
While I forgo any of the seafood additions which are commonly placed in a paella, this is still a smokey, salty delight. The rich, spiced tomato bathes the al dente rice, working with the sweet meats to warm your soul and wash away any disappointment.
Flick Paellmateer Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 carrot, cut into rings ½ a bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks roughly chopped separately 500g chicken thighs, diced 250g chorizo, cut into rings 2 tsp hot smoked paprika 1 capsicum, sliced 300g paella rice 2 tbsp tomato purée 3 cups chicken stock kosher salt and pepper, to taste 100g peas 1 lemon, for squeezin’ at the end
Method Heat the oil in a dutch oven – or paella pan, ideally – over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the parsley stalks, chicken, chorizo and paprika. Cook for another five minutes or so before stirring in the capsicum and cooking until soft and sweet. About five minutes.
Add the rice and tomato purée to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes, until the rice is coated in all the juices. Stir in the stock and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 15 minutes. Once reduced, stir in the peas and cook for a further few minutes, or until cooked through.
Adjust seasoning and serve with a good sprinkle of parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice, before devouring.
Previously on Australian Survivor Stevie was grateful for Shiz saving him in the most chaotic tribal council of the season, while Jordiewas left right out on the Villains. Though with Shiz secretly vowing to have his back. While Simon was Simon. Shonee meanwhile casually found herself a new piece of bling in the form of an idol, wisely keeping it a secret from even her closest of allies. At the immunity challenge George and Simon aired their dirty laundry to the Heroes before Shiz single handedly scored them immunity. Back at the Heroes, Gerry was fired up and ready to call them out for the way they handled sending him to the Villains, while Ben quickly realised it was him or Gerry going home. After finding the cookie non-idol, Ben used it as a clue to finding another idol on the Heroes beach, which he ultimately used to save himself, as he stitched up Sharni and swiftly got her booted from the game.
In no small part thanks to Paige’s lie that Sharni dropped the block, but whatevs, I’m not bitter.
Letting us know we’re in for a big episode, the tribes immediately joined with Jonathan in the middle of the jungle where they were delighted to discover an auction awaiting them. Psych, it wasn’t an auction though, as Jonathan unveiled the first covered item, new buffs, meaning they are finally switching! One by one they went up to select their new buffs with Nina going to the Villains, Ben sticking with the Heroes, Sam going to the Villains, Gerry sticking with the Heroes, alongside ally George before Liz found herself isolated on the Villains, as Shonee also landed on the Heroes. David added more beef to the Villains, alongside Shaun and Simon before Matt stuck with Heroes, Hayley went to Villains, Stevie went to Heroes and Jordie stuck with the Villains. Alongside his nemesis Simon and all his new alpha bros. While Flick and Paige were stuck on the Heroes tribe.
And while everyone laughed about the meat tray all landing together, George hilariously reminded them that meat heads normally suck at Survivor and as such, he isn’t concerned with the idiots. Basically.
But turns out, there was actually an auction too with each tribe getting $2500, with max bids set at $500. The catch being, the money would be shared amongst the tribe meaning some could win big and others end up with nothing. George quickly worked out that everyone then had $320 to spend, with Liz winning the first item, a cheeseburger and beer for $320. Ben jumped straight to $320 on a covered item which led Sam to jump to $360 for what he assumed was an advantage, but ultimately ended up being chocolate. Which honestly, I think makes more sense for him than a note. The next item was a scroll with Ben jumping straight up to $400 as Paige, shock horror, started to bitch to George about needing to vote Ben out ASAP. Oh and the scroll meant he scored an onion and while everyone laughed, Paige – again, shock – looked sour.
Paige then bid $400 on spag bol and red wine – I guess we can all go over $320 now – before Shaun bought it for $500. Flick then bought tacos and margs for $480 before Liz and Paige went into bat for Jordie and Matt bidding on a call from home, given they are both expecting children. While Jordie sweetly tried to step back and let Matt take the call for $200, Matt just as sweetly pointed out he is up to date with the scans and knows the baby is good and as such Jordie can have it to get his update as the two both burst into tears. As did I. While Paige told Matt he is such a good bloke. As Jordie spoke to Sam, he learnt they got the all clear from the doctors AND they found out they are having a boy and ugh, watching everyone cheer for him was so damn wholesome. As was him sobbing about how much he misses her.
Matt tried to assure him he was crying happy tears for him which honestly broke me even more before George spent $320 on a covered item, which turned out to be a pass as the guest of Honour at a Survivor afternoon party with two of his friends. And while Ben tried to remind him it is a social game, he was loyal and stuck with Shiz as Paige, once again, looked saltier than the dead sea. While Jordie and Simon cautioned everyone that was a dangerous reward, particularly for someone like George.
The Spice Girls arrived at their epic reward, ready to devour everything in sight – including some leftover Sharlami Vinson, FYI – before George learnt he had just won $60,000 from Set for Life. They debated whether they should be checking for an advantage, with them agreeing to just wait until the end before Shonee straight up found an idol while smashing a party pie. Making it two in two episodes. Liz turned the talk to their new tribes, with George sharing that Flick told them Ben can’t be trusted while Liz was confident in all the strength she had on the new Villains, but knew that should they lose, she will be first on the chopping black. With Shonee assuring her that she will hand off the idol if she does lose an immunity. Since she should probs keep it as new Heroes is super weak comparatively and more likely to attend all the premerge tribal councils.
Back at the Heroes camp, Paige told Stevie that everyone helps out around at their camp before reiterating to Flick how much she wants to get rid of Ben ASAP. Given he allegedly twisted her words the previous night, which he didn’t. He told Flick that while she doesn’t trust George, she feels she could at least work with him for a couple of rounds, knowing they’ve split up the chance that he and Ben could potentially align. While Ben quietly worked nearby and oh god, I hope he heard. Also, as an aside, does it feel like a lot of the hate towards Ben comes from a place of casual homophobia? Because it is starting to feel like it. Though to be fair, I am super sensitive about that and may be finding reasons why my hero keeps getting called shady.
We checked in with the new Villains tribe where Hayley was thrilled by their surroundings, while Simon was more focused on how stacked their tribe is and thrilled to finally put an end to his losing streak. Knowing he no longer is the only person carrying the tribe through every challenge. Simon caught up with Shaun to fangirl over him, before Shaun admitted that he plans to use the Jeremy Collins meat shield strategy as Simon desperately tried to get pulled in. They returned to camp with Jordie overhearing him suck up and as such, he decided the only way to survive this mess is to blend in as best as possible, talking footy and copying Shauns’s fashion choices. And ugh, I love Jordie so much as this is hilarious, knowing he is quietly mocking them. Despite how well Simon was trying, the Heroes were still focused on sticking together with Shaun, Hayley, Nina and David locking in a plan to flush Simon’s idol ASAP and then pick off the original Villains. Because yeah, they can all see how desperately Simon was trying to win their love.
The new tribes reconnected for an epic immunity challenge where they would race to transport a tribe member locked in a cage through a tunnel, then a gate, up a huge ramp and then down into a pool before they unlocked said member and two people solved a puzzle. Because duh. Shonee and Hayley took their places in the cages, with the former loving the chance to have a little R&R during the challenge. Obviously the Villains got out to an early, massive lead, unlocking Hayley before the Heroes even made it to the ramp. Hayley and Nina got to work on the puzzle as Stevie cheered his tribe on before finally getting the chance to free Shonee and starting on the puzzle with George. A full circle moment, and I love it. While Hayley and Nina calmly worked through the colours, George started to bicker with Stevie about messing up his work. While Ben looked frustrated to be shut out of the puzzle before subbing out with George. That made the challenge exciting as the Heroes closed the gap as Hayley and Nina madly finished the puzzle and just snatched immunity for the Villains.
As the tribes hugged it out, David told Paige not to trust George whatever she does – like duh, is that really the most important message to share – which made her change her mind about targeting Ben as soon as she returned to camp. Well, after yelling at Stevie for trying to debrief too early and then yelling at everyone to get to work on fire and making some rice. Thankfully George is wise and instead got to work scrambling and locking in a plan of his own. Flick tried to lock him and Shonee in on a plan to get rid of Ben, floating that afterwards, they could align with Paige and Matt to run the tribe. Once Shonee and George were left alone, they laughed about how easy her plan would be to derail, given they are not going to just do what the OG Heroes want and instead will work with Gerry to get rid of one of the originals. And after finding God, they locked in Paige as their target given life is for living.
With that George and Shonee got to locking in a new majority, first pulling in Stevie to get rid of Paige and assured him that under no circumstances are they to tell Flick, Matt, Paige or Ben. George then floated the idea with Gerry, who was also very much on board given he wanted to mix things up. And admitted Paige can be hard work.
After locking in the 4-3-1 vote – given Ben’s is irrelevant at this point – and filling me with joy, Paige decided to ruin everything and pulled Flick and Matt aside to talk about getting rid of George instead, given the meat heads are too scared of him making the merge and told her to do it. Flick wisely cautioned them that they need to decide whether it is better to stay hero strong, or to get rid of Ben. Right on cue, Ben arrived who assured them all that the OG Heroes would be so proud of them if they managed to get rid of George. While Paige once again acted like Ben has given any reason not to trust him. He then pointed out that they need to try and woo Gerry to their side if they want it to work, with Ben offering to do it while Flick wisely suggested they should all try, given he hasn’t exactly felt the love from the original Heroes tribe.
Up first, Ben pointed out that he and Gerry were both kind of on the bottom of the OG Heroes and as such, they need to make a decision that would save them in the long run. Gerry the icon told him he wasn’t willing to commit to anything yet, before all the Heroes obviously pulled him aside to take their shot. While Shonee quietly watched on as it all unfolded. Feeling confident, Paige went off to relax, while Shonee decided to act on the nervous energy; pulling George aside to warn him that something is afoot as the Heroes hung out, gleefully talking about taking out the King as Shonee assured us that while she doesn’t want to play the idol, if that is what it takes, she will.
At tribal council George and Shonee joked about being frequent flyers while Paige spoke about how it was too soon to deem any of the newbies heroic. Eyeroll. George spoke about this tribal council drawing a line in the sand and letting people know where they stand. Paige said that she doesn’t focus on goals when voting, given they all have the same – I mean, duh, but also WHAT? – while Flick spoke about how scary tribal council always is. Shonee brought some intelligent strategy to the table, telling JLP that if you have enough conversations, you can build trust and prove that you can add value to people’s games long term and meet those goals. Gerry meanwhile spoke about having loyalty to people, but he doesn’t know if he has it from others. And while trust takes forever to build, it can break just as quickly.
George felt like Gerry should be able to trust him and he hopes they are still friends, while Paige started whispering to Flick that she is sure they can get George out. Shonee meanwhile admitted she isn’t feeling as confident as George, while Matt spoke about being very nervous given the OG Heroes were whispering. Paige had a big shit eating grin talking about how confident she is that her conversations from the afternoon will hold firm. George meanwhile wanted tonight’s vote to bring a group of people together that will be able to run the game and make it to the end. Like a shared goal, even.
With that the tribe voted, Shonee wisely opted to play one of her idols on George as Paige looked ready to shit her pants, realising that her genius plan didn’t exactly account for an idol. As four votes piled up on George the cocky Heroes grew less and less confident as the rest came in on Paige, sending her out of the game in tears of rage. And ugh, it was GLORIOUS. As was Flick congratulating them as Shonee reminded her that the whispering tipped her off, given this is not her first rodeo.
Paige was still rather annoyed by the time she arrived at Loser Lodge and despite myself, I told her to hold her head high and be proud of the game she played. While her confidence and the paranoia of the game turned her quite bossy in the last few episodes, she started off strong, building a lot of trust with her allies and firmly placing her in the Heroes majority. Sadly though she was undone by two of the best at the game in George and Shonee, meaning she had to settle for some pre-merge comfort in the form of Paige Donarred Greens.
Given the off-screen drama that fueled Rogue to hate on Paige so much, it was kinda poetic that both of them ended up with vegetarian dishes. But when they taste as good and wholesome as this, it is hard to pass up. A little spicy with a hint of tang, this is the perfect side for a Sunday roast. Of ethically farmed meat, obvi.
Paige Donarred Greens Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 3 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 6 cups collard greens (aka borekale), washed and dried, removed from the main stems and bruised 2 bay leaves 1L chicken stock ¼ cup lemon juice 1 tbsp raw caster sugar 1 tsp chilli flakes salt and pepper, to taste
Method Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for about ten minutes or so, or until sweet and tender. Add the bay leaves and cook for another minute or so.
Slice the greens into 3cm thick ribbons and add to the pot along with the stock, juice, sugar and chilli. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring infrequently, for about an hour or until the greens are gloriously soft and the liquid reduced. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper before devouring with your favourite roast.
Previously on Australian Survivor George returned from hospital with a brutal facial injury, which instantly endeared him to the tribe that desperately wanted him gone. The tribe christened him and despite the rebirth, Simon and Michael were still out for his now exposed blood. Simon in particular desperate to have the title of Kingslayer on his resume. The Heroes dominated yet another immunity challenge as George bombed the puzzle – justice for Stevie – sending the Villains back to tribal for a second time in a row. Back at camp, the tribe locked in a plan to get rid of George, though Queen Shonee was an icon as she turned the tide and saved our king, sending Michael from the game instead.
The next day the Spice Girls – aka Shiz and George – were busy bonding with Sarah, hoping for answers to whether she actually pushed Miss Greece down the stairs. And while she assured us that she didn’t, I live for the black humour of how she would have wanted to alongside the assurances she was only temporarily in a wheelchair, to get out of anyone thinking she is awful. We then learnt more about the iconic beauty queen, who plays rugby league in her spare time and loves it due to her passion for smashing people. Begging the question, did she actually push Miss Greece?
Stevie meanwhile was doing some tai chi as Jordie and Simon caught up about the fact George is still here, with the boys thankfully moving on and agreeing it was best to use him as a shield. For now. The tribe convened to talk through how they plan to maintain the fire while away at the upcoming challenge, while Stevie adorably tried to keep them all focused and motivated before pulling them into some tai chi. And while he isn’t great strategically, Shonee lives for his kooky ways despite him wanting her gone. And what is good for Shonee is good for me.
Jonathan made a speedy return for the reward challenge where the Heroes were gagged to see George survive, rather than the fact it was Michael that departed. For the challenge, the tribes would face off one on one to grab a sandbag in the water and score a goal, with the first tribe to three getting a giant cookie jar. More importantly, this kind of challenge generally gets us buns as the boys grapple in the water. First up were Shonee and Flick with our Queen putting in one hell of a fight before Flick scored the first point for the Heroes. Stevie once again faced off against Shaun who obviously won before Jordie scored the first point for the Villains against Matt. Sam and Simon were up – the latter in speedos, swoon – with Simon tying things up after a brutal, brutal battle. That left Mimi and Paige to battle for the win which started off a bit derpy before the duo fought hard, dragging each other back and forth before Mimi secured the cookies for the Villains. Like a damn boss.
We finally checked in with the dejected Heroes trip with Shaun sad to have missed out on the cookies, while Rogue gave them a pep talk which obviously sounded more like reprimanding them for not being strategic enough. Everyone started to speculate whether a clue would be in the cookies and how ultimately it would make the Villains more chaotic and as such, could help them in the long run. Shaun, David, Matt and Sam caught up in the water to form an alpha male alliance with Benjamin pointing out to the girls what was happening, while Ben narrated an ad for all the meat on offer and yes producers, thank you, thank you, thank you!
While Rogue was busy questioning who, other than her, was actually a hero.
Back over with the funner Villains, the tribe instantly cracked the cookies and got to work smashing them before Jordie suggested they sit by the shore to continue eating them. George meanwhile went to crack a coconut – which was obviously code for idol hunting – as the tribe were otherwise occupied. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the perfect cover as Jordie questioned where he was as everyone praised his strategy in the challenge. And while he did find the idol, it may no longer be a total secret as there is suspicion. And a giant bulge in his pocket.
That being said, it appeared that nobody had actually noticed George’s antics, as the tribe seductively ate cookie after cookie before everyone started to speculate whether they should search the jar for a clue or advantage. Despite the risk of literally getting their hand caught in the cookie jar. While Jordie cautioned Fraser against it unless he was feeling nervous, Fraser tried the same with Mimi who was less concerned about the repercussions. After night fell, she quietly got out of bed and started searching through the jar – unsuccessfully – as Liz awoke and just as quietly watched on behind her. The next day Mimi was disappointed to have not found anything while Liz got to work spreading the update to everyone in the tribe.
And just like that, Mimi was now public enemy number one.
The tribe rejoined JLP for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes would have to race a ladder over a series of obstacles before releasing a sack of coconuts and then using said coconuts to smash six tiles. The Villains got out to an early lead on the first obstacle before the Heroes’ brute strength slowly closed the gap. And then they pulled way out in front. To the point where they smashed all of their tiles before the Villains even released theirs.
Back at camp the tribe were, how do you say, very disappointed, with Stevie questioning what the hell they are doing wrong. He caught up with Simon and Jordie to suggest they focus on getting rid of dysfunction by taking out Mimi. Which the boys were obviously on board with, particularly since they know he would be loyal to them if they protect him. The Shiz too were focusing on Mimi or Stevie, with Shonee rightly pointing out that since Stevie is coming for her, it makes sense for her to get rid of him. The boys joined the girls, Sarah and George, quickly pushing them back towards getting rid of Mimi for her shiftiness.
Well, for a little bit.
George obviously hates not being in control, so approached Mimi to fill her in on what has been happening and told her to go hunting for an idol while he worked overtime on turning the tide on Stevie. He and Fraser joined up with Shiz and quickly locked them in on the Stevie plan, before they floated the plan to Sarah. Everyone eventually reconvened at the shelter where Simon stumbled upon the advantage that was hidden in the cookie jar. Wait, no, the producers crossed out the idol symbol so I am just guessing it is a random token with zero power. Or if he is lucky, an idol nullifier. Simon caught up with Jordie, filling him in on the potential idol before floating the idea of idoling George instead. And damn, things just got spicy or funny. And there will be no in between. Begging the question, do the producers have a fetish for making Simon look silly? Because if so, the idol is for real fake.
Simon got to work making sure everyone was voting for Stevie, laying it on thick with George to ensure he thought they were tight and as such make the blindside all the more sweet. Mimi meanwhile caught up with Shonee to see if they were good, with the Queen assuring her that duh, of course they were. Stevie traded out with Shonee, suggesting Mimi goes idol hunting while both of them pretended they didn’t know the other was a target. Simon and Jordie caught up with Shonee, not letting her in on the plan before she reiterated that while she doesn’t trust George, she knows she needs him for now to save herself. And after she left, Jordie rightly pointed out that they can’t afford to make a move without at least checking in with Shiz, because otherwise, they will flip on the boys and they will follow him out the door.
At tribal council Fraser tried to downplay the fact they are slowly growing more and more screwed, as the tribe snacked on cookies. Liz spoke about being sick of tribal council but knew it was the game and as such, was ready to get on with it. Simon started to whisper to Jordie about wanting to make history, before Jordie told Jonathan that he is more focused on quality over quantity and while he wants numbers, he’d like to make sure they are loyal. Simon reiterated the fact they have won a couple of challenges and as such, they at least know they can beat the Heroes, with George agreeing that the last win in particular was arguably the best he has had in both seasons.
Talk turned to the paranoia of the cookie jar with Jordie outing someone for hunting in it for an advantage. Though stopped short of naming Mimi, despite everyone already knowing about it. Liz hilariously then admitted that she knows who it is given she was the one who saw them, before Simon and Jordie started whispering again as Jordie desperately asked him to reconsider. And when he didn’t listen, he instead asked to talk to the girls who swiftly told him they would not be on board. At all. Despite the whispering, Stevie was not concerned and assured Jonathan that if they wanted him to know what they were talking about, they would tell him. He and Mimi then argued over whether he was loyal or had trust, and while they fired up, it made Shonee and Liz keen to flip things back on to her instead of Stevie.
After Shiz got the boys on the new page, Simon decided it was a good idea to now play his non-idol for Mimi while Jordie openly declared that tonight is not the night for big moves and that instead, they needed to focus on building trust with the people they want to work with. Aka Simon, cool your jets, you can get idol redemption another day. Well, if it is legit, that is. The tribe finally voted and Simon wisely opted against any theatrics as Mimi was brutally blindsided from the game, meaning Shonee has now booted and saved Stevie. Like a merciful queen.
As Mimi pulled up at Loser Lodge, I quickly ran out to give her a massive hug, disappointed to see yet another queen exit the game too soon. I assured her that despite the stumble with the cookie jar, she had been playing a solid game and should be proud of how she always stayed true to herself. Plus, she totally dominated the reward challenge. With the formal pep talk out of the way, we gossiped about whether we thought the Villains were doomed for a Stephanie LaGrossa V Bobby Jon demise, or whether they’d be able to win immunity soon. But that goss is not something I’m willing to share just yet. Just the secret to some delicious Mimi Ricottang Cookies.
Yes, yes, it is another festive recipe, but you’ll have to accept that the show filmed last year and festive cheer commences in July in my house. Plus, you don’t necessarily need the sprinkles to make these ones a winner. Soft and melt in your mouth, the light flavour transports you to a place of calm.
Mimi Ricottang Cookies Serves: 12.
Ingredients 240g unsalted butter, softened 425g raw caster sugar 1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 eggs 480g flour 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp kosher salt 450g icing sugar ¼ – ½ cup milk, depending on desired consistency
Method In a stand mixer, cream all but a tablespoon of the butter and caster sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and half the vanilla, and return to medium speed to beat until well combined. One by one, beat in the eggs, allowing the mixture to come back together between them. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before folding in flour, baking soda and salt. Return to the mixer one last time and beat until everything is just combined. Cover the dough and pop in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a few baking sheets.
When the dough is cold and firm, shape into tablespoon sized balls and place on the baking sheets leaving about 5cm between them to allow for spread. Pop the trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly baked, just before golden, before allowing to cool for five minutes on the tray after which they should be stabilised to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cookies cool, melt the remaining butter. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl before slowly whisking in the melted butter, lemon juice, remaining vanilla and enough milk to form a glaze. That will depend on your own preferences.
Pour a little bit of glaze on top of each cookie, followed by the sprinkle of your choice – don’t have to be festive, but why not, I say – before smashing. Gleefully.
Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.
We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.
We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?
Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.
The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.
And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.
After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.
Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! – who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.
We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.
That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.
Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.
Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!
But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.
Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.
Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.
The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity.
The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.
After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.
Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.
Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.
Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.
Jackie Glaziered Muffins Serves: 6-12.
Ingredients 140g butter, plus extra for greasin’ 1 cup golden syrup 1 cup muscovado sugar 1 cup Guinness 1 tbsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground cloves 2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’ 2 tsp baking soda 1 ¼ cups sour cream 2 eggs 1 ½ cups icing sugar ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.
Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.
Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.
Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World after slaying the ball, Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted they were a little bit surprised that one of them didn’t land a spot in the top, despite how well Victoria and Silky also did. Thankfully there wasn’t time to dwell on things as the top six performed Cameos before Brad announced they would be putting on a little stand-up show. And he and his husband Gary would be on hand to help. Despite everyone slaying their rehearsal, Icesis appeared to be getting inside her head. The next day as the dolls beat the mugs for the show, Icesis continued to struggle before admitting to Ra’Jah that she is straight up exhausted and is struggling with her mentally health. Ultimately stepping out of the competition to look after herself, with the support of all her sisters on the way out the door.
After Icesis exited, the dolls all broke down in tears before Reverend Doctor Silky Nutmeg Ganache led them in a prayer before they re-beat their mugs and well, it was really bloody touching.
Brooke, Brad, Traci and Gary Janetti took their places on the panel as Ra’Jah kicked off the show with all the energy and damn, I love her. While she had some solid jokes, the middle lagged a bit, but thankfully she was able to finish strongly. Vanity’s nerves sadly got the best of her, but bless, she won us back with some knock knock jokes. Rita’s French gag landed as well as it could, but thankfully she knew how to work the crowd and won them back. Sadly for her, as soon as Victoria took the stage she owned the damn show. Her jokes were on point, she was charming and energetic and oh lord, just give her the bloody crown. Oh and Silky was obviously just as good as she tossed her notes into the crowd and went off the cuff and stole the show.
Broken bottle of spices be damned.
On the Plaid Girls Club runway Ra’Jah was perfection as COVID-Ru and Carmen Sandiego’s love child. Vanity was a glorious, non-prolematic Dionne from Clueless, Rita was demented and delightful in a pink vintage number while Victoria was stunning in an oversized purple suit and Silky gave sexy biker girl. The judges felt Ra’Jah’s pacing was a little off throughout the set, though they lived for her glamorous runway. Vanity’s look received universal praise while they felt she got stuck in her head throughout the challenge. Rita was praised for her charm throughout the performance, despite it being a little too long. Oh but they loved the runway. Victoria’s runway was beloved, though the judges loved her performance even more. And while they lived for Silky’s comedy, Brooke felt her runway was basic. Specifically perfect for a meet and greet.
Once again Silky and Victoria landed in the top before Rita was sent to safety, leaving Ra’Jah and Vanity up for elimination. Backstage the girls congratulated Silky and Victoria on their win, while Silky admitted that she is super disappointed to have to eliminate one of her SRV bandmates. Vanity opened up about feeling down, though assured them her fire was still there while Ra’Jah broke down about letting her inner saboteur get to her. Ra’Jah and Silky caught up with Ra’Jah pulling herself together and reminding her that she will bounce back and their Venus and Serena energy can live on. Though Silky did admit she was concerned about the girls thinking she would only save her because she is her sister. Vanity meanwhile told Victoria that she is still focused on taking out the win and wants to take the platform back and elevate black queens in the UK.
Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.
Ra’Jah tapped out and caught up with Victoria, assuring her this is nothing but a moment and she will bounce back. While Victoria admitted she did do better in the challenge. Vanity meanwhile opened up to Silky about how she was shocked to not be the first boot, though she assured her she wants to be a role model for her black sisters and ugh, poor Silky is really struggling with this decision. As soon as Your Daddy Don’t Know by Toronto kicked off, both of the girls gave it their all, but it was Victoria’s filthy performance that won the judges heart and handed herself victory. And more importantly, because Icesis exited the competition already, Brooke rightly suspended All Stars rules and cancelled the elimination.
As. She. Should.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to not have to lose another sister, while Victoria was just giddy to finally have a win. Ra’Jah led the girls in praising Icesis for being an icon and how she ultimately ended up saving them. That obviously led to Victoria having to admit that she had chosen Vanity to go home, though assured her she is thrilled she got saved and hopes it puts a fire under her belly. Silky meanwhile didn’t want to announce who she chose in front of everyone, with Ra’Jah assuring her that she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want and if she chose her, there would be no hard feelings. Luckily for her though Silky too had chosen Vanity, pulling her aside to quietly let her know and assure her that she loves her and is thrilled she is still here.
Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.
The next day the top five compared track records with Victoria and Silky realising they are neck and neck, while Rita was hoping for another win to bookend her run. Given people only really care about the start and end, so the rest – aka the ones Silky and Victoria took out – don’t really matter. Traci dropped by to loop the girls in on the next Maxi Challenge, filming a trailer for the blockbuster new movie Spy Queens. And since Victoria won the last lip sync, she had all the power to cast the roles. The dolls sat down to read through the scripts with Rita getting the house mother, while Silky and Vanity fought for the lip sync assassin. But given Silky suggested getting tapped out with a skinny stunt double would be funny, she totally won the battle. Victoria took the shade assassin, Vanity got the look queen while Ra’Jah got the body-ody-ody.
They immediately did a read through of the script with Victoria and Silky delighted to get another kiss, while Vanity, Ra’Jah and Rita kikied about how they can knock their rolls out of the park. Rita tried to remind them that whether they have the most lines or the fewest, they are always on the stage and as such, need to serve it all. Ra’Jah on the other hand was just hoping to redeem herself in an acting challenge. Victoria and Silky meanwhile were busy bonding over their passion for acting – get Silky on Grey’s Anatomy as she deserves – and the way they have experienced stigma due to their weight, though thankfully have learnt to love themselves.
The dolls joined Traci on set where Victoria and Rita were perfection from start to finish, while Ra’Jah powered through flubbing her lines while Silky was just charming as hell, whether she was a character or not! While Vanity was on struggle street as she got more and more in her head.
Elimination Day arrived with the Ra’Jah feeling like she got redemption, while Rita admitted she forgot it was a competition as she was just living her best life. On the flipside, Vanity felt like she was far and away the worst, while Silky admitted she was just vibing. Talk turned to their love lives, with Victoria opening up about how grateful she is for her girlfriend while Ra’Jah admitted that duality between Benji and Ra’Jah makes it hard to find love. Vanity meanwhile admitted her husband wasn’t thrilled about drag at first but now had become her biggest supporter. And costume maker. While Ra’Jah and Rita sweetly praised their sisters as being their new support systems.
Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined on the panel by Joe Zee as the dolls stomped the Y2Gay Runway. Rita opened the show as a glorious pink and green hourglass. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in black with highlighter yellow hair, Victoria destroyed – the set, literally – as the millennium bug, while Silky gave sickening drag Oblina from Aaahh! Real Monsters while Ra’Jah was perfect in a bronze and orange sexy Teletubby look. When it came to the trailer, Victoria and Rita were far and away the best while Ra’Jah camped it up and Silky and Vanity kind of faded into the background, somehow. (Maybe the writing).
The judges lived for everything Rita served this week, from committing to the character to giving a creative, playful look. Vanity’s look was praised for giving all the references, despite not giving Club Kid. Oh and she was read for getting lost in the performance. Victoria was universally beloved for her performance and the look, despite breaking the set, before Silky was read for being hit and miss in the performance, though received universal praise for her runway, despite it being a bit crafty. Ra’Jah meanwhile got her redemption in the performance, receiving universal praise for always being in the moment while everyone loved her look, despite it confusing Brad. Victoria and Rita obviously landed in the top two while Ra’Jah was deemed safe, leaving Vanity and Silky in danger of going home.
Backstage Ra’Jah was gutted that her fellow girl groupers were in the bottom, though praised Rita for manifesting a spot in the top. Victoria was proud of getting her third win, which triggered Silky, who felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. Vanity meanwhile started to break down, talking about how she saw each of her sisters knocking it out of the park as she faded. Everyone stopped her in her tracks, reminding her that she too is an icon and as such, needs to put some respect on her own name.
Silky and Rita were first to catch up, with Silky reiterating she feels like she doesn’t deserve a place in the bottom and isn’t ready to go home, particularly since she has slayed the competition. While Rita assured her they have an alliance, she admitted to us that getting rid of Silky would give her a better shot at the crown. Vanity meanwhile assured Victoria that she just wants to slay another week, while Ra’Jah kikied with herself. When Rita and Vanity caught up, the latter reminded her that Silky has competed three times while this is her second and as such, she wants the chance to fight for the crown and go home and let the girls know Rita is the reason she made it to the end. Silky meanwhile assured Victoria that she just is not ready to go and wants the honour of competing against her next week.
After Rita and Victoria selected their lipsticks they ventured to the mainstage and as soon as Estelle’s Freak kicked off both the dolls went off, Rita leaning into camp comedy while Victoria was silly and street. Ultimately though it was Rita that took out victory with her sticking to her word and sending Vanity from the competition. Though not before telling Silky to go snatch the crown for her.
Backstage I pulled Vanity in for a massive hug and immediately continued on her sisters work, reminding her that she already is an icon and should never doubt herself. She is a killer performer, she is charming, can turn a look and even better, she is super sweet. Obviously she was grateful for my kind words, but I think the thing she was most grateful for, however, was the big fat (festive) Vanitonne Milan awaiting her.
Like many random things growing up, I decided that panettone was disgusting and never tried it. Until my husband came along and would smash multiple each Christmas, eventually enticing me to try it. And well, it was a glorious day. Sweet, spiced and gloriously fluffy, this is the perfect way to dull post boot pain or more importantly, get into the festive spirit.
Vanitonne Milan Serves: 8.
Ingredients ¼ cup warm milk 7g dried yeast 150g raw caster sugar 250g butter, softened 5 eggs, lightly whisked 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp almond extract 1 lemon, zested 1 orange, zested 550g bread flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp kosher salt 80g raisins 80g sultanas 3 tbsp rum 100g candied lemon and orange peel, roughly chopped
Method Pop the warm milk in a bowl with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave to get all foamy and glorious.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the remaining sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract on medium speed until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the zests, followed by the eggs one at a time, adding the next only when the last one is fully incorporated.
In another bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. While stirring, slowly pour the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the buttery eggs, until a soft dough forms. Return to the stand mixer and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or until it has all come together, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.
Pop the raisins, sultanas and rum in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the fruit is plump and juicy.
Grease and line a deep 20cm deep cake tin. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, slowly working in the candied peel and rum-soaked fruit until it is all together. Transfer to the prepared tin, wrapping baking paper around the outside to help keep the height as it rises. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size while you preheat the oven to 160C.
Remove the cling and pop the panettone in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Before devouring, dusted in icing sugar.