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Scott D. Pierce: Can this Utahn survive?

Published: Thursday, Feb. 12 2009 1:28 a.m. MST

Utahn Tyson Apostol gets the chance to make an impression on viewers in the first minute of the season premiere of "Survivor: Tocantins."

Unfortunately for Apostol, it's not a particularly good impression.

Trying to mix things up a bit as the 18th season begins (tonight at 7 on CBS/Ch. 2), the contestants have already been divided into two tribes. But, as they're trucked into the Brazilian highlands, they have not been allowed to talk to each other. They are, however, asked about their first impressions of the other contestants.

"Tall, spikey-hair, model boy — love him," says Erin, speaking of the 29-year-old Utahn. "He just seems like a good guy to have around."

Apostol, in turn, has formed an impression of Erin. "She comes off to me as kind of being kind of the b----," he says.

But … but … she speaks so highly of you.

The good news for Apostol, a Utah County native who lives in Heber, is that he made his rather unfortunate comments to the camera, not to his fellow survivors. So only the viewers at home are aware of his gaffe.

Apostol's other chance to make a big impression comes when he gets naked in front of the women in his tribes. (He's not quite naked in front of us, what with the digital blurring.)

But he does indeed take off all his clothes when he gets in the lake to fill up a water tank.

"Being from Utah, you'd think I'd be a shirt-and-tie, nerdy glasses (guy)," Apostol says. "But I'm probably not the stereotypical Mormon. I'm probably more of a free spirit."

You don't say.

Apparently, nudity is part of his strategy.

"Having somebody who can make you laugh in an environment like this where everybody's dirty and tired, I think people appreciate that," he says, leaving unclear exactly what it is about his naked body he thinks people will find amusing.

"But when it comes down to it, I want that million dollars," Apostol says. "Exotic, expensive furs on these shoulders, jewels on these pretty fingers — we're talking big time. I'll wear a tiara. A man tiara. Do they make those?"

Again, those words weren't spoken to the other members of his tribe. So, while they got to see all of him, they didn't get to hear all of him.

That's probably a lucky thing for the 29-year-old bicycle shop manager/bike racer.

This is, after all, the guy who said that he considers himself "charmingly arrogant," but others can take it as "straight, flat-out arrogance."

How well this works out for him remains to be seen.

THE AMAZING RACE returns on Sunday (7 p.m., Ch. 2), which is the best TV news of next week.

I hear that theme music start playing and I'm excited all over again.

This season, the racers head straight for Switzerland and the most horrifying bungee jump I've ever seen.

It's too early to figure out which teams to root for or against — other than a few first impressions — but "Amazing Race" remains TV's best reality show. Ever.

DONNY OSMOND isn't competing on "Dancing With the Stars" when that show returns in March, but that doesn't mean he won't be on the show.

Apparently, he's looking at doing the next season, which starts in the fall.

Unless maybe the Powers-That-Be at ABC were ticked off at Osmond for essentially announcing on "The Bonnie Hunt Show" that he was going to be a contestant on "Dancing."

Stay tuned. …

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com