Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Star players returned to the game with Lydia out for revenge, Henry lived to be messy, Brooke was a challenge beast and David claimed a suite of idols. Amongst the chaos Queen Shane followed Tina Wesson’s first-to-worst trajectory (despite almost avoiding it), followed by Jericho, Daisy – in a brutal blindside from Dave – Michelle and Henry before Shonee kicked off an epic revenge arc by eliminating Lydia, Abbey and John back-to-back-to-back. They were followed by Mat, Phoebe and Flick before Nick tragically missed the jury.
Locky ultimately became the first to go post-merge, followed by Harry and the tragic exit of Lee. Zach, Jacqui, Shonee and AK soon followed before Brooke’s immunity run forced the dominant majority alliance to turn on each other to boot Tarzan. Which was tragically followed by Brooke losing immunity and heading to the jury as one of our icon fourth placed robbed-goddesses, leaving Moana, Dave and Sharn to battle it out for victory.
The final three awoke on Day 49, with Dave shocked to still be in the game despite entering All Stars with a huge target from his previous season. Though thankfully, he learnt from his previous mistakes and this time forged strong bonds to keep him in the game. He then praised Moana and Sharn for being such strong competitors, though reminded himself that he is not there to make friends and he is playing to reunite his family and move back to Australia. And yeah, there is no way he is losing right?
Wait, no – we do get to hear from the other two. Sharn spoke about how important it is to win final immunity and to get to choose your opponent. While she only made it to the end with the help of her allies, the alliance would break tonight and as such, she needs to make sure she has control. Rightly, she congratulated herself on making it to the final three twice in a row and as such, she more than anyone, knows the pain of losing and as such, she isn’t going to suffer through that again. We finally checked in with Moana, who shared that she came into All Stars to pick up where she left off, after having to exit the game because she was sick. She highlighted that she played a stealth, strategic game and has never been in any real danger because she has been across literally everything that happened in camp. Which again, is true.
The final three arrived on a very windy cliff where they met Jonathan who explained that they would each stand on small pedestals with one hand holding an idol on a post and the other pulling a ring, pulling them in the other direction with the last one standing taking out immunity. As is tradition, Jonathan then wheeled out everyone’s families to distract them and make their heart break before physically destroying them. Sharn’s kids all still look exactly like their father, though hopefully the kids didn’t get his personality. But I can’t even be mean because her oldest son was super sweet about her and now I am crying. Then Jonathan wheeled out Moana’s wife of 53 days and her sister Vinnie and hot damn, I’m sobbing. Vinnie is life, Mo’s wife is hot – it is perfect. Oh and then Vinnie hugged Dave as Isabella’s crying made her sad and damn, I forgive the final three for making the merge boring. Can Vinnie be a write-in winner? I mean, Edge of Extinction is a thing, so anything goes now. Oh and then Dave’s wife and daughter arrived and see, he isn’t an arrogant jerk, he is delightful and such a kind family man. Also, can we circle back to the fact Moana’s wife is straight up beautiful? As beautiful as Dave’s sons calling him to wish him luck.
After drying their tears and hugging their families, the final three climbed up to their craggy perches while their poor families sat on a cliff and quietly wished that the challenge would be as short as possible. Well except for Vinnie and the younger kids who disappeared and honestly, Vinnie better be getting good money to babysit those kids because she is precious and needs to be protected at all costs. Anyway, as Australian Survivor is wise enough to stick with endurance challenges for final immunity, they aren’t the most exciting to recap. That being said, Jonathan said ‘It’s All Stars Baby’ in Caitlyn Jenner’s voice and honestly, I live. Moana started to struggle early in the challenge, but she showed so much personality in her interactions with her wife and now I am rooting for her.
Sharn spoke about it being more difficult than her OG final immunity challenge, while David spoke about how much he wants it and as such, while it is painful, he won’t back down. After more than an hour, out of nowhere Moana slipped off the pegs and literally fell out of the challenge, panicking everyone and leading to her wife heroically coming to rescue her and honestly, I ship them so hard. Left alone in the challenge for a further hour, David decided to try and make a deal with Sharn, suggesting that no matter what, they’re going to the end because they both want to face off against the best in the final tribal council. Sharn agreed how much of an honour it would be to go to the end with him, however neither seemed to be willing to back down. A torrential downpour then rolled in for dramatic effect and while David looked to be struggling, it was Sharn that collapsed out of nowhere, handing David immunity. And more likely, the title of Sole Survivor.
At tribal council David spoke about how amazing it was to see all of their families and compete in the final immunity challenge, though was saddened to be bringing an end to one of his closest allies’ games. Moana highlighted how close she and Dave have been from the start which immediately led to Sharn cutting her off and talking about how she was just as close with Dave. She then pointed out that she isn’t really loyal to her bestie Moana by saying that she and Dave agreed that they wanted to go to the end together during the immunity challenge. Obviously because this is All Stars and they need to have the best facing off. Moana laughed at the thought and pointed out that they all made deals with each other and as such, that deal means nothing. She then pointed out that she has played a strong game and more importantly, she doesn’t address a jury for a living.
Sharn laughed about her previous final tribal – lol – before smartly pointing out that the duo had played similar games, while her game and David’s are clearly distinguishable and as such, the jury can easily pick a winner. Oh and then Moana got sassy and honestly, where was she all season – she said that Sharn had her shot in front of the jury and now it is time she has hers. Oh and if Dave thinks she is an easy beat, take her to the end and prove it. With that David voted and tragically Moana was sent from the game as the final juror, not because she was the weaker opponent, but because she was the stronger one.
As soon as I saw Moana enter the Jury Villa, I ran to her to give her a massive hug and to praise her for playing such a dominant game alongside David. Yes, yes, I spent a lot of time complaining about how boring their alliance made the show, but that doesn’t take away from their stellar, controlling games. That being said, David had something working in his favour that Moana tragically didn’t and that was the fact I planned to make Moana a pizza. Yes, the Fame Hungry Survivor Pizza curse strikes again and it is my fault Mo lost the prize and instead had to settle for a Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza.
Like burgers, buffalo chicken is one of those things I am very passionate about shoe-horning into other culinary forms. From burgers to meatballs, buffalo chicken just works in so many forms and despite being the curse that ended Mo’s game, there is no denying this is perfection. And maybe a little worth it.
Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza
1 cup hot sauce
2 tbsp butter
3 cups shredded roast chicken (or Chooke)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup passata
handful of fresh Italian herbs, roughly chopped
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
2-4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, thinly sliced
⅔ cup blue cheese, crumbled
Michelle Branch Dressing, to serve
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.
When they’re almost finished proving, combine the hot sauce and butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat until combined. Remove from the heat and fold through the chicken. Season to taste, probably more pepper than salt, in my opinion.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To assemble, smear the bases with passata and herbs. Top with the mozzarella, carrot and celery, followed by the spicy chicken and blue cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Devouring immediately with a good lashing of ranch dressing in honour of my menu choices ended my favourite potential winner (of the final three).
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