12/17/2012 06:26 am ET Updated Dec 17, 2012

'Survivor: Philippines' Finale: Denise Stapley Wins The Million Dollar Prize (VIDEO)

It was a wild ending to an intense season as "Survivor: Philippines" whittled its Final Four down to a single $1,000,000 winner. The first player to fall at the final challenge was assumed front-runner Malcolm Freberg. He admitted later that he just doesn't have steady hands, and that was what the final challenge was all about. Even an advantage he won at the prior challenge didn't help him, which left the door open for Denise Stapley to win the entire thing.

Returning player Michael Skupin won the challenge, but not the Tribal Council vote. He had maintained a tight alliance with former child star Lisa Whelchel, and it really came down to whether they wanted to face Malcolm or Malcolm's closest ally, Denise. In the end, they chose to sit beside Denise, and it became a million dollar decision.

At the final Tribal Council, returning player Jonathan Penner outed Lisa's television past, which may or may not have impacted the votes she could have gotten. That's not to take anything away from Denise, who played a solid game. In the end, she took 6 of 8 votes, leaving Skupin and Lisa to split the other two, and thus tie for second place.

The 26th season of "Survivor" brings back the "Fans vs. Favorites" format and kicks off on February 13, 2013 on CBS.



Survivor: Philippines Cast