Exactly, CBS is being tricky again this season.
They highlighted more people who went early than didn't.
But as a predictive tool it is almost certainly part misdirection. The editors are not going to sit down and pick out the first seven boots, not this season.
Diane's friends was a whole other category. She was just honestly mentioning her friends, not thinking about how she had bonded with them on safari. The editors are professionals who presumably know what they're doing when they make choices.
As we can be pretty sure there is misdirection, the only way we have to know which of these are going to be voted off and which not is to go back to analysis by other means. Is it helpful to have someone who is not going anywhere highlighted in the pool for consideration? I think it increases the chances of being fooled, YMMV.
As for partial shots counting, the big picture is that all the Survivors are in those two groups, standing close together, but some reaction shots had a specific player in focus. Do we really think the editors sat down and said let's cut in shots of all the pre-merge votes who go to RI, and only them, but for some we will use the head of X who is not the focus ... and hey, let's use so and so's sleeve, while we focus on someone who isn't pre-merge ... it starts to get too much.
Either there are seven shots focused on nothing but seven pre-merge players, or there is misdirection.
Then look at this shot, which isn't a tight focus. It shows five of the Ometepe tribe.
Five out of nine ... and the older tribemates who became targets early are grouped together, perhaps they gravitated towards each other. If this is right, what it means is that as it happened, five pre-merge vote-offs from Ometepe happened to stand next to each other. It's very unlikely that Ometepe even loses five players pre-merge. By the argument that partials count used to bring Stephanie into the theory, all five of these should count.
Further, that is not a shot of Matt. If they meant to show us the king of Redemption island in close-up, they could have done a much better job. Actually I'm surprised they didn't. Matt surely deserved a focus. Of course he helped out by showing the most reaction to the twist of any -- but that wasn't under the editors' control.
Well, not unless they actually shot that announcement multiple times, and the editors got to pick the one where Matt reacted with shock. Could be.
It looks bad for Steve this week ...