*Caution: Spoilers for Survivor season 45 ahead!*
Of the 18 castaways who began competition in March, only five remained ahead of this week’s finale episode: Dee Valladares, Austin Li Coon, Jake O’Kane, Katurah Topps and Julie Alley
The exciting conclusion covered the group’s final three days of competition, as the field was whittled down until the jury of their fellow castaways voted for the “Sole Survivor.” After all the votes were cast, Dee Valladares ended up being crowned the new champ, and walked away with the $1 million prize.
The 26-year-old entrepreneur nabbed the title of Sole Survivor by a vote of 5-3-0 over Austin — who would be the season’s runner-up — and 3rd place finisher Jake.
Julie and Katurah were eliminated earlier in the episode, ahead of the final jury deliberation.
Dee wound up winning the final immunity, she brought her showmance partner, Austin, along with her to the final three, and pitted Jake against Katurah in a fire competition — which Jake won handily.
However, it wasn’t impressive enough — especially in the face of Dee’s masterful gameplay and general dominance — to earn him any votes.
Congrats to the new Sole Survivor!
ET spoke with host Jeff Probst ahead of this season’s premiere, which is when he first revealed that the show would be particularly jam-packed this time around.
“The biggest change is we have 90-minute episodes,” Probst told ET’s Rachel Smith. “If you’re a Survivor fan, there’s so much more that happens that we can’t show because of limits, so that allows you to do more fun things on the show.”
Twenty-three years in, Probst said he was still excited to get things moving for season 45. “I still remember season 1, tracking through the jungle because we had a very small crew and everyone carried a tripod and equipment,” he said. “We knew we were creating something, we just didn’t know what it would be. I will savor every moment that I’m out here.”
Season 46 of Survivor is set to kick off Feb. 28, 2024.