Three players may not have won the $1 million, but they did win the Sia Award. See their reactions here!
SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

She's done it again. While Sia Kate Isobelle Furler may be an international pop superstar, she's also become famous for something else — giving lots and lots of money to contestants on her favorite TV show, Survivor.

The tradition started back in 2016 after season 33, Survivor: Kaoh Rong, when Sia gave $50,000 to Tai Trang and $50,000 more to charity in his name after being so impressed with the fan favorite's love of animals. Since then, players like Donathan Hurley, Davie Rickenbacker, Rick Devens, Aurora McCreary, Janet Carbin, Elaine Stott, Jamal Shipman, and Drea Wheeler have received various amounts of money from the songstress after they came up a bit short of the $1 million prize. (Joe Anglim also cut his hair after the Edge of Extinction finale in exchange for a $15,000 Sia donation to charity.)

EW can exclusively report that three players from the recently concluded Survivor 43 have just learned they are on the receiving end of this year's "Sia Award," with their gifts combining to total a whopping $200,000, and you can watch it all go down in the exclusive video at the top of the post. Leave it to Sia (the artist behind the Everyday Is Christmas album) to lean all the way into the holiday season and the spirit of giving.

Tai Trang, Sia, and Jeff Probt during the 'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' finale
Tai Trang, Sia, and Jeff Probt during the 'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' finale
| Credit: Neil Jacobs/CBS via Getty Images

Jesse Lopez may have completely made up the Pineapple Zone, but he does not have to lie about being Sia's favorite from Survivor 43. The fourth-place finisher cried when he came up short in his quest for $1 million, but there were tears of joy when he learned that the show's most famous fan was so moved by his story that she was giving him $100,000.

"I was devastated," Sia tells Jesse about his loss at fire to eventual winner Mike Gabler. "I really think you deserved to win, and I just think you played the most epic, sneaky, wonderful game in the whole world. It was the most epic move I've ever seen."

Sia also tells Jesse that she is going to personally lobby host Jeff Probst to get him cast again on a returning player season. "I poured my heart into the game," Jesse says to Sia. "I was 100 percent myself out there, and so for you to see something in me and just appreciate that, thank you so much."

And the giving does not stop there. Owen Knight may not have received any votes from the jury at final Tribal Council (ending the game in third place), but he just received a cool $50,000 from a global superstar to help make up for it, enabling the Charlie Brown-like character (and noted Schroeder hater) to finally kick that football straight through the uprights.

"I really see you and I really loved your personality," Sia tells Owen. "I don't know if other people saw it as much as I did, but I'm used to being a bit of the underdog and a little bit of the outsider, and I just felt so sorry for you that day that you had a really hard day that I wanted to make sure that I gave you something to lift your spirits."

Owen's ability to preserve even when he was constantly left out of the loop made a big mark on the big star: "You spoke for all the underdogs, and that meant a lot to me because I don't say much publicly, so when other people say what I feel or mean, that makes me feel proud and it makes me feel seen as well, so you made me feel seen during that day."

Ryan Medrano, Jesse Lopez, and Owen Knight of 'Survivor 43'
Ryan Medrano, Jesse Lopez, and Owen Knight of 'Survivor 43'

And finally, nobody worked harder for the tribe this season than Ryan Medrano, who was born with mild cerebral palsy. Ryan steered clear of the drama, opting instead to build, dig, fish, and then fish some more for his fellow contestants. That hard work was rewarded with some cold hard cash, with Ryan also receiving $50,000 from Sia.

"You're a totally beautiful, beautiful person," Sia tells Ryan while he sits sits in his car on his lunch break from work. "Your vibe was awesome… I see you as a hero."

"I'm talking to Sia right now!" an unbelieving Ryan exclaims after being personally serenaded. "My face hurts from smiling!"

While Sia bankrolls the gifts, there is another famous face who helps facilitate them: host Jeff Probst. "The Sia Award is a beautiful gesture, and it comes straight from Sia's heart," Probst tells EW. "It's all her. It's very fun to be a witness to her process."

Probst explains how the gifts used to happen: "Back when we did the live reunion shows, she would either be sitting in the audience or in my dressing room. She would watch the finale and then let me know who she wanted to receive the Sia Award. The players would find out immediately. It was very powerful to see it go down."

| Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Highlighting just how last minute the whole process was, Probst recalls one instance when things almost went very awry. "One year, she even brought personal checks and just wrote them out on the spot," says Probst. "In fact, that season, I was the last person to leave the studio, and as I was grabbing my bag, I saw two blank checks sitting on the table. She had forgotten them. That's Sia!"

In the new era of Survivor, the Sia Award logistics have changed a bit. "Now that we do the After Show in Fiji," says Probst, "the process is slightly different. She watches the finale from home, and then I get a text letting me know who she would like to receive the award. There is surprisingly little fanfare."

So why does Sia do it? The host explains. "Sia shared there are two reasons that inspired the idea. She gets a lot of joy from watching Survivor players take on such a personal and often vulnerable life adventure. And she has been incredibly fortunate in her own career and wants to share some of that fortune with others." 

As for this latest round of gifts, Probst knows one thing: "She definitely just made the holidays for Jesse, Owen and Ryan a lot brighter! What a way to finish Survivor 43!"

So what were the players' reactions to learning that one of the biggest names in music was giving them oodles of cash? See it all go down in the exclusive video at the top of the post as they learn from Sia herself during a video call. Sia — who has now given over $800,000 to Survivor players over the years — can be seen next on Miley's New Year's Eve Party, while Jesse, Owen, and Ryan can be seen next counting their money.

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