Russel might have been booted if the guy they did vote off (forgot his name already) had enough sense to keep his mouth shut. Too early to play the mind games he was attempting to play. Espeically at the first tribal council, giving your teammates an easy out should be avoided.
We have a 90 minute opener, so there's plenty of time to give introductions to everyone. We get intros for the three returnees, and then for the two already-famous people. And then for Tat guy. (zane?) ... Then they go on with the opening credits. I was confused momentarily, as in "why would they pick out this one guy and give him a special centerpiece intro like that and not the others?" ... by the time the first commercial break was over, I'd already decided he was the one to get voted off, and that's why they featured him that way.
A few seasons back, there was a young gay guy on the show. He had barely been in any episodes, no mention of anything about him beyond his name, until his final episode. Then, suddenly, he's everywhere, we get his interviews/video diaries, he's a big part of the challenge ... Sometimes, they make it completely obvious who is getting the boot.