"I think I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a day that went by since being in Africa that I didn't think at some point, even if it was just for a moment, about Survivor, about the game, and about the possibility of coming back one day." - Lex van den Berghe



It's like seeing old friends again. Each and every one of these contestants brings something to the table, I like them all in some fashion. The speculation, theorizing, dreaming is over. All Star is HERE, and it's overwhelming.

What other reality show would be able to do this? Could rely on the star power of itself to carry it through a season? It's a mark of the supremely successful casting process of the show that something like this would even be viable. Who needs a Celebrity Survivor? As Burnett said himself, THESE are our A-list stars.

Last season I wrote an article for this site on the Pearl Islands final six, talking about how all the players in the final six sucked.

Now...I can only think of one way to write this. All these players...

ROCK!!!!!!!! I MEAN FREAKING RAWK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where do we start? Just pick a player...

Jerri rocks because she's managed to bite her tongue for six days about running the show, becoming almost the Amber to Jenna's Jerri. That's no small feat for someone as assertive and strong as she is. Though next week it looks like she will fight with Rupert, the most popular castaway ever. Something tells me this won't exactly endear her to the viewing public.

Jenna Lewis rocks because she has gone from being a naive Pagonger to the power player on her tribe. She's boundlessly enthusiastic, and absolutely utterly in it to WIN IT. It's a take no prisoners competition with her...but yet she's respectful of people too. And she's hot, in fact hotter than she was on Pulau Tiga.

Big Tom rocks because he's just...Ol' Big Tom! He's funny, he works his ass off, doesn't complain about the elements, does the patented Big Tom Dance in the rain, and no one else says "Crybaby titty sucking" better. Oh, and he's also scheming and plotting his ass off!

Kathy rocks because it's great to see that indomitable spirit and enthusiasm she always had in the Marquesas. And that wonderful laugh is back too! Can't wait to see more of her strategic thinking.

Rich ROCKS!!!!!! because he's...just so damn arrogant, but yet he's fighting his own common sense in thinking that he could win. He knows he's got a huge target on himself, an even bigger target than any other winner, but he just isn't letting that get him down. He's circling, trying to figure out what to do, knows he can't win...maybe...even though he can't...but then he'll see...

Lex rocks because he's personable as hell, gets along with the tribe, and could care less about Rich's nudity. Plus...he's in a rock band, so he has to rock.

Ethan rocks because he has shown more personality in two episodes than he did in 13 episodes of Africa. Snarky comments about Jenna? Geez, I know there is bad blood because you dated, but the angelic Mr. Zohn actually DISSING someone??? Funny thing is, I like him even more for that.

Rupert rocks because...well, he's Rupert, and you gotta give him props for turning around so soon after Pearl Islands and doing this all over again. Plus he rigged up a nice Hawaiian sling spear, and caught the first fish. Food providing is going to be INVALUABLE this time around!

Rob C. rocks because...he's The Robasu, and will rock from now until the end of time. The Obsessive Survivor Fan, who not only places third on his fave show, but then becomes an All Star?? He's already succeeded at the game beyond his wildest dreams.

Amber rocks, because she's executing her original FUTR approach, and in this crew of BIG PERSONALITIES that's a great, great strategy. She WILL go far.

Alicia rocks because she's looking smokin', she is strong and fit, and is butting heads with Mariano, who needs someone to stand up to his rulership.

But for that matter, Mariano rocks because he's stepped up to take the lead, when no one else in the game has dared to do so. That takes balls, and more power to him for doing that. Plus he's been making with the funny more than just about anyone so far.

Sue rocks because she's tough as NAILS. Drinking the water, eating raw food...the woman is made of iron. Like Rudy, she is just one of a kind - it simply wouldn't be All Star without her. Plus I have a soft spot for Wisconsonian accents.

Jenna Morasca rocks because the Insider clips show just how witty and charming this woman really is. It's too bad she's about to leave, and we won't get to see how long she would have lasted in the game.

Shii Ann rocks because she wants to keep Rich in the game, for a little bit of time at least. "What fun would it be if the king left on the first day?" She's absolutely right...there'll be plenty of time to boot Rich later.

Colby rocks only minimally, given that I don't think his heart is really into this. He keeps talking about how hard it's going to get, why he came out there, and so on. But...he's still Challenge Machine Colby, and deserves some rocking props for that.

Rudy rocks...for obvious reasons that don't need to be explained. As Jerri said he's "one of a kind." Can you imagine if he somehow snuck into the merge? He would have been in for the long haul. Though maybe not...his interviews since Thursday show me the man was still in Survivor I - "make an alliance of four and then duke it out in the end." Sorry Rudy...if you hadn't noticed, the game has kind of evolved since then.

Finally Tina rocks too...because she fulfilled my wishes about Episode One and was voted out first. Buh-bye!

I can't imagine how hard it must be to edit these first few episodes down. Not only are there three tribes to cover, but there just isn't anyone who's dull, or not worth some screen time. I could watch three hours of this a week, with rapt attention. Could this be the greatest Survivor series ever???

Funniest Quote: It goes to Rob Mariano, with his laugh-tastic "We wouldn't wanna upset Pretty Boy Probst." Again, it shows confidence in the franchise that they left that in, the first time I can recall any contestant making fun of Jeffy within the show itself.

So for next week...well, it shouldn't be a big secret (especially given the previews) that the fate of Jenna Morasca's mom will be the heavily discussed topic. All Star started filming on November 3 last year, the episode upcoming will take us to the 11th, and Carla Morasca died on the 19th. So Jenna will be leaving soon, and probably this episode. It's going to be...really sad to see. I think. Jenna is a woman who took a LOT of heat in the Amazon for her behavior, but I've grown to have an immense amount of respect for her. She's a beautiful person, both inside and out, and a worthy winner too. I can't imagine she would have made it very far, but I still would have liked to see just how well she would have done.

The days just can't tick by fast enough.