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The Blood vs. Water contestant didn't bring home the million this time, but he has a bigger prize awaiting him at home

November 21, 2013 03:30 PM

Yes, Aras Baskauskas didn’t bring home the million on his second time out playing Survivor, but he’s not lamenting the loss.

The L.A.-based singer-songwriter has much more important things going on in his life. “I’m going to be a dad,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively. “My fiancée is 12 weeks pregnant! Obviously, that’s a lot more important than winning Survivor.”

It’s been a good month for Baskauskas, who recently got engaged to Christy Petersen, his girlfriend of four years. Petersen is a model and clothing designer who runs the Dawn clothing line. “So far so good, if you don’t count the morning sickness,” says Baskauskas. “Momma and Baby are both healthy, and the little one is due in early June.”

With such good things happening in his life, Baskauskas has taken his Survivor loss well. After his alliance turned on him on day 21, Baskauskas was sent to Redemption Island. After losing a challenge, he was sent home.

“On the surface, I was less successful this time,” says Baskauskas, who won Survivor: Panama in 2006, “but I came home to an entirely different situation. My life is great. Having my torch snuffed ended my Survivor life, but it was also the spark that led to a whole new one back home.”

Evidence that he has no hard feelings: Baskauskas remains close with Tyson Apostol and Gervase Peterson, who betrayed him in the game. “We’re still friends,” says Baskauskas. “We were all out there to play the game, a very nasty game, but still a game.”

Christy Petersen and Aras Baskauskas
Courtesy Aras Baskauskas

“Ironically, it was my friendship with Gervase in real life that was my undoing in the game. It led to a big blind spot in my game play. I never, even for a second, thought Gerv would turn on me. Had we not been such good friends outside of the game, I would have ditched Gervase and gone with the two other couples left in the game post-merge. Secondly and thirdly, I did a poor job of understanding the impact of losing a loved one and underestimated how big of a threat [my brother] Vytas and I were perceived to be.”

A Passion for Music

Without the million-dollar prize in the bank, Baskauskas is supporting himself with his music. Calling himself Odd Us, he has released an album, “The Tree and the River.”

“It’s been a challenge getting people to listen, because they think of me as simply a Survivor winner, and I get it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to a reality star’s music either,” he says. “So that’s why I go by Odd Us, which is actually the way my name is pronounced. I love Survivor, but obviously my music is something entirely different.” (See one of his videos here.)

The music career is going well. Last month, on back-to-back nights, Odd Us opened for Edward Sharpe and then played the Troubadour, opening for Brandon and Leah, the pop duo formed by Bruce Jenner‘s older son, Brandon.

Odd Us’s music has been heard on TV shows like Buckwild and NBC’s Mercy. “The feedback has been tremendous,” says Baskauskas. “It’s really gratifying to see people responding to the music, having moments with it.”

And what about the baby? Although he’s apprehensive about midnight feedings and diaper duty, he’s says he’s completely ready for fatherhood. “I’m most looking forward to having the baby fall asleep in my arms. We can’t wait to meet this little soul.”

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