Well, he lost Survivor, but came out a winner in a much different way. Tai Trang made it to the finals of Survivor: Kaoh Rong but could not score a single vote to win from the jury. However, while the jury may not have been fans of his play, one celebrity certainly was.
Pop star Sia bum-rushed the stage to crash the Survivor: Kaoh Rong reunion show. The reason: to give Tai $50,000 of her own money as the winner of her own personal fan favorite award. She then gave pledged another $50,000 to the animal charity of his choice.
We talked to Tai when he called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) to get his reaction to that as well as everything that happened in the game. (You can also get host Jeff Probst’s reaction to Sia’s stage-crashing right here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it like for you when Sia stormed the stage to give you tens of thousands of dollars?
TAI TRANG: Oh my God, it was amazing, I was in shock. I said, “What’s happening? I’m still answering.” And then Sia was on. It’s just crazy. I didn’t recognize who she was, but I know her music. And I so appreciate it, and she gave me $50,000 for the animals. I said, “Yes, that’s good, to bring awareness to the animals, and all life really, awareness of not being so human-centric.” And she said, “I’ve been watching the show, I’m a huge fan,” and that I’m one of her favorites because of who I am. I was like, “Oh my God, this is crazy.”
Did you know whom she was when she walked up there?
No, I know her music, but I only listen to the radio, I don’t watch a lot of videos. I did not know until I listened to the music and I said, “You’re crazy!” As soon as I listened to the music I went, “Of course I know who this is.” I hope she’s not mad at me.
What was going on in your head going into the final Tribal Council? How many votes were you expecting?
You know, I don’t know. I knew Neil would vote for Aubry, and Joe definitely as well, but for me I thought, I have to convince Scot. He’s a big basketball player and he plays the game. Win or lose, he would appreciate a game well played. So I tried to convince him, and then maybe he could persuade the jury it was a good move. But I did not know the final vote, I wasn’t sure.
Do you have regrets about voting to keep Aubry and going to the fire-making tiebreaker?
At that moment I just say Aubry’s my girl, and I’ll just stick with it. I was trying to show the jury I have loyalty to an alliance. You know, people kept telling me I was flip-flopping, which I did not. I would just disagree with my alliance, with Scot and Jason, and I would break away from that. I just wanted to show that I am not the person people say I am. The last two or three Tribals had been tough for me because of the Michelle thing, and people seemed to agree with her. But no, and I made a mistake to put Aubry through that because I also gave her the moment of making fire. That’s a winner moment right there. Coming into the vote last night, I didn’t think I had any chance, and I was hoping to have just one vote, but no.
You seemed to be the only person to realize that something fishy was going on after you all became the final three, because of what Jeff said and the fact that it was only day 37.
Yeah, I was thinking we might be going to a final 2, just the way Jeff was saying. At that moment I was pretty aware, because I was thinking, okay, maybe bringing Aubry was not a good idea because it’s such a persuasive jury. I mean I like her so much, but I have the most relationship with her, and I thought I should stay true to that to the end. I even said more than once “It’s a me game, not an us game,” and at that moment it might have been a little too late. But if we had a final 2, I wouldn’t have brought Aubry with me. It would be Michelle, because I would have a better chance to win against Michelle than Aubry. But again, the jury was all for her, I guess she was an underdog; she came to win challenges in a row, and that looks like a winner.
Was it hard to watch the moment where you sabotaged your own tribe by putting out the fire play back on TV?
It was hard. I did it, and it was a really difficult moment to watch. Watching it was hard, but I also feel really good because I want to show the fans and I want to show I’m a player. At that moment, there was clearly a line drawn in the sand between the girls and with me, and if I go with the girls I’m the bottom, but if I go with the boys there’s three of us and we have two idols. And so in the middle of the night I woke up and said “Okay, I’m completely committed to the boys,” and Scott and Jason did not know I was going to do that.
So I wake up and I have to put out the fire completely, because when I do something I do it completely and get the job done, because Scot did not get the job done. And we created chaos, and then we went home. For that moment I feel like I did it, but then the alliance did not fit well with me, so the next couple of moves later I flipped again — it’s just playing the game. It’s hard, because I got a lot of comments and tweets, and it would be this strong language and people saying “What happened!?” So I think a lot of fans think I betrayed the fans, because the type of person I am. I’m a nice person, and they didn’t expect me to behave that way. But it’s a game; the game Survivor is bigger than who we are. Inside the game, we have to play it, and I feel like I did play it.
What happened to Mark the chicken after the game?
I could not bring Mark home. My neighbor would’ve killed me or called the cops on me. I asked Jeff to find a good home for him, so Mark stayed with production, and he was the production’s mascot. Everyone let him walk around on location, and I think one day he was just tired of that thing and he lived out his years, so I think he went back to chicken heaven now. He’s no longer with us. But he lived a great life, and he was part of the tribe; he left his legacy behind.
Also make sure to read Dalton’s full episode recap as well as Jeff Probst answering burning questions from the finale and scoop on NEXT season of the show. For more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss, and check back soon for more exit interviews.