Just when we thought that COVID-19 was going to take everything near and dear to our hearts this summer, CBS saved the day with the announcement of a brand new All-Stars season of Big Brother, the first time since 2006 with a cast made entirely of returning players. Not only that, but it was announced that the cast would be announced live, as well as the first ever live move-in event.
It’s clear that the production team of the show is working hard to contain any possible spread of the virus, sequestering the cast separately, and testing them several times, and making it official that all live shows will be done without a studio audience. While the HouseGuests were wearing masks onstage before entering the house, they were allowed to remove them when host Julie Chen Moonves let them in.
The cast were let into the house in 4 groups of 4, and they were immediately put to the test, as they were asked to find an item inside the house, then run outside to a table maze, where they had to navigate a ball around a map of the house to land in the room where the item is. The 2 people to successfully do it per group were to compete for the first Head of Household competition. Once everyone was working on the maze, the background music was playing an incredible vamp that would happen during a Broadway musical while waiting for a scene to be over so the orchestra could continue. Not every group had 2 finishers, so only 6 people qualified for the Head of Household competition: Ian Terry (winner of season 14); Christmas Abbott (season 19); Nicole Anthony (season 21); Cody Calafiore (runner-up of season 16); Kevin Campbell (season 11); and Memphis Garrett (runner-up of season 10).
Before the Head of Household competition, the HouseGuests discover who they are going to be playing the game with. It was honestly hilarious watching them all laugh, hug, and get excited about who is around, and Julie was constantly yelling at them to sit down on the couches so she can explain the next set of rules, but absolutely NO ONE listened. Honestly, when this pandemic is over, that’s how I’ll be reacting to seeing my friends for the first time in months.
We then move to the first Head of Household competition of the summer (is it summer anymore? Who knows, but Julie kept saying “summer”). The 6 competitors had to jump across tiny platforms to the other side. Sounds simple, but some platforms were wobbly, causing people to fall. If you fall, you have to start over. Fastest time wins! Memphis was first, and I don’t know if it was his skinny jeans or the fact that he hasn’t played since 2008, but he struggled to get across, making gigantic leaps just to get to a platform maybe 2 feet away, and when he finished the course in about 75 seconds, he looked exhausted. Could’ve been stress of going first, or wiping out several times on national TV. Cody went next, and absolutely dominated, completing the course in 22 seconds. In the end, it didn’t matter what happened with everyone else, Cody wins and will be the first one to have all the power in the house, and nominate 2 people for eviction.
Now when a live broadcast is occurring, there will always be some, shall we say, technical discrepancies, or this case, house problems. 4 of the 5 losers of the HOH competition were made Have-Not’s for the week, which is a staple of Big Brother, where HouseGuests must eat gross food (known as slop), sleep in uncomfortable beds, and take cold showers all week. Ian, Memphis, Kevin, and Nicole all drew the short straw (Christmas’s neck was saved, and she won an early cash tip of $5,000), and Julie directed them to the room they will be staying in, which is entered only by a small crawlspace. After several attempts by all 4, the door to the room wouldn’t open, and Julie had to quickly intervene and cut to commercial, jokingly laughing it off saying that the doors were locked. It was a small uncomfortable moment, but in live TV, anything goes.
Julie reveals to the audience, and to the HouseGuests that throughout the season, special rooms will be revealed inside the house, which could heavily benefit their game. The first one is called “The Safety Suite,” which is going to save 2 HouseGuests this week, but more on that Sunday night, when Cody reveals his nominations!
My Current Winner Pick:
Dani Briones (maiden name Donato). Dani has unfinished business for this season, finishing as the runner-up in season 8 (losing to her father, Dick Donato), and coming in 8th on season 13 (where she met her now hubby, Dominic Briones). She’s a great player, both physically, and socially, able to stay behind the scenes if necessary, but can target people and get them out without losing sleep. I’m hoping she can pull something out, but in a game that’s changing every second, “expect the unexpected.”
Big Brother Finale Recap: History Made (23×37)
After 85 long days, iconic players, and historic alliances, it’s time to say farewell to season 23 of Big Brother. We have watched 16 people fight it out for a bigger grand prize, but only one walked away with all the money!
Tonight’s finale began with part two of the final HOH competition, which pitted Derek and Azah against each other to face Xavier in part three. This competition, called Four of a Kind, was competed individually, and they were asked questions about the previous HouseGuests, with each question having four correct answers. They then had to spin these giant roulette wheels to the face of the correct answer, and have them lineup with to a red line. These questions asked who won Wild Card competitions, who actually used the Power of Veto, and who survived eviction the first time on the block.
This competition was also a puzzle, because not everyone’s face was on one wheel. This messed up Azah’s strategy by going quickly, because Tiffany’s face was on one wheel, but not on another, messing up her answers. Derek struggled pushing the wheels, even scraping his knees, and flicking skin off of his knee, which was disgusting when the camera zoomed in on them.
In the end, Azah finished in 13 minutes, while Derek finished in 20. This officially made Derek lose every competition he has ever competed in this season. There haven’t been many people that have made it this far without winning at least one competition, but the people who have also have a decent strategy.
After the competition, Derek was saying some weird stuff about how Azah owes him a seat in the final two, since he’s carried her to the end for so long. The ridiculousness of Derek’s delusions continued when he started acting incredibly condescending towards Azah, saying that he contributed to the overall game more than she has. This argument between the two former allies got so bad, that Azah made the decision to evict Derek if she should win the final HOH. She said that Derek doesn’t deserve the second place money, and even though it would ruin her game, she would rather lose to Xavier, someone who deserves the win. This made Xavier incredibly happy, because there was literally no chance in the slightest that he would be going home in third place.
Azah told Derek about her now changed mind, and Derek continued to dig himself deeper, saying that she was acting emotionally, and that if he acted emotionally, Kyland would still be in the house. I can’t believe my ears when he said that, as he continues to cement his spot as one of the worst players of all time.
The final Jury segment was then introduced, with Kyland joining the jury, and they discussed the final three. The scene was edited enough that they were looking at the pros and cons of each player. They praised Xavier’s strategy of winning competitions when he needed to, but criticized his lack of sharing information. They loved Azah’s social game, but felt that her lack of competition participation was something to be desired. There weren’t may positive things said about Derek F.’s game, and Kyland had the AUDACITY to say that Derek F. and Hannah had interchangeable games. Kyland is already under fire for the comments about Xavier’s nephew, but comparing these two players games is the worst take I’ve ever seen. Hannah had a great social game, won competitions, and was part of The Cookout. Derek F. was carried to the end, nothing more to it.
Julie then began part three of the HOH competition. Xavier and Azah were shown a series of “BB promo videos” showing the jury members playing Vegas-like shows. Each video showed three statements about the person’s game, like when they won Veto competitions, or when they received punishments etc. Very specific statements that required a lot of meticulous study. One of the statements made was false, and it was the players job to identify the false statement. After 8 questions, the leading player won.
To make a long story short, Azah missed one question, ironically the video about her best friend Britini, and Xavier got every question right, giving him the final HOH win of the season!
With all that power, Xavier finally had to make the last eviction vote of the year. After Derek and Azah made very small speeches to keep them, Xavier said that he entered the house with Derek, it felt right to leave the house with Derek, and evicted Azah, sending her to jury. Sitting with Julie, Azah said she still would’ve taken Xavier, and has absolutely no regrets on the game.
The Jury then got to ask the final two their questions, and it’s always the part that makes me the angriest. When the jury knows who’s in the final two, they then have to ask questions written by the producers that are so scripted. Things like “what was your biggest move?” “What was your biggest mistake?” I wish they got to ask their own questions to keep the finalists on their toes during the interrogation. Things could get dramatic too!
What stood out was that Derek said that he invented The Cookout, which wasn’t the truth, the camera even panned to Tiffany after he said that. Derek didn’t create the alliance at all, and he took credit for it twice.
What was interesting was that Tiffany and Claire didn’t even get to ask their questions to them, which hasn’t ever happened before. Not sure if it was time situation since the show was live, but it threw me off that not every jury member could ask a question.
Xavier then gave his final speech that was so methodically thought out, it was so impressive. He talked his whole game through, why he threw competitions, why he won competitions, and how he managed to keep all of his alliances in tact as long as he could, while equally maintaining dominance over others.
Derek’s speech was only about The Cookout, how he created it, how everything he did was for the alliance, and the mission. This caused the jury to laugh at him, which is never a good sign for the game.
After the jury placed their votes, there were other matters to attend to. Travis, Frenchie, Brent, Whitney, and Christian were brought in over Zoom, where they talked about their perspective of watching the whole game unfold.
There was also a secrets segment, where different players of the year revealed secrets they held in all year, like Britini being a black belt, and Hannah being a medical prodigy. Derek F. revealed he is the son of Joe Frazier, the boxer, and Xavier finally revealed that he’s a lawyer. Britini then stood up and told everybody that at 22 months old, she was diagnosed with autism, and she didn’t tell anyone, because she wanted people to like her for her. It was a great moment with the cast, and incredibly brave and inspirational of Britini for coming onto the show with a great message.
Julie then asked Kyland if he regretted the way he was evicted. And he said no. Kyland has given a lot of opportunity to apologize for getting personal with Xavier, and he hasn’t. The game should never get personal, and no one should ever bring up a family member like the way Kyland did.
The votes were read, and for the fourth time, a unanimous vote was reached, and Xavier became the first Black winner of Big Brother!!! Congraulations, X!
With everyone out of the house, the even more important vote was announced, and Tiffany was the winner of America’s Favorite Player!! Congratulations, Tiff!
This season has a winner that will represent the game well, and an Favorite Player winner who had the greatest strategy in history. This season was a fun one, and I’m sad to see it go.
However, BB24 is coming soon, and Celebrity Big Brother is returning for a third season in February! There is plenty of Big Brother to come!
Big Brother Recap: The Final Push (23×36)
It’s the final episode before Wednesday’s big finale, where either Derek, Azah, or Xavier will be walking away with a $750,000 check. The final HOH competitions began this evening, with the rest of it on Finale night.
Despite it not being a live episode, Julie Chen Moonves hosted the show, foreshadowing the upcoming finale. Each finalist laid out their case to the viewers as to why they deserve to win the game.
Xavier went first, and described how he laid low as a physical threat, but kept a very strong social game, by being in alliances like the Slaughterhouse, Royal Flush, and of course, The Cookout. He also talked about throwing most competitions, because he knew that it was better to rely on his social game. He then talked about how he pulled Kyland’s strings to eliminate Tiffany, as well as Derek’s strings to eliminate Kyland. He then said that he targeted Brent in his first HOH reign, because with Brent being a strong threat (and not likeable by the whole cast), he could build a genuine trust level with everyone. He definitely has done the most work out of everybody in this final three (Tiffany did more, but I digress), and he has a strong case to win it all.
Azah was second, and she said that although she wanted to be a competition beast when she started the game, she discovered that she wasn’t even a competition beast. She had to completely readjust her game to make it all about personal relationships. Not just a general social game, but real connections that will last outside of the house. Those connections have not made anyone want to go after her, because of how good a person she is. Once The Cookout made it to the final six, she knew that she had to give some proper allegiances, like lying to Hannah during the Double Eviction about not targeting her. She knew that Hannah was a bigger threat to her chances of getting to the end, which is why she went for that target. She believes that it’s because of those connections, along with her ability to win competitions when she needed to, could get her the win.
And then there’s Derek. Oh, Derek is in for a rude awakening when he gets out of this house. He has not won a single competition all season long, and yet thinks that he’s been pulling the strings along the way. He said he has the best social game in BB history, which he certainly does not. He said he formed strong bonds with whoever was the HOH that week.
Then he said the biggest lie that I couldn’t help but laugh at: Derek said that HE created The Cookout. It’s utterly false, as it was Tiffany that formed the alliance, and Derek has been carried by that alliance this whole way through. I’m looking forward to when Derek sees how the jury will react to this whole situation. By the way, vote Tiffany for America’s Favorite Player.
Julie then introduced the first part of the final HOH competition, which is played in three parts. All players are allowed to play, with the winner of part one advancing to part three, and the other two competing in part two later on.
The first part of the final HOH competition has historically been an endurance challenge, and that was the case again tonight. The final three were balancing on big bouncy boats that shook left, right, up, and down, and they had to hold on for dear life. All this while freezing cold water, and fake fish were thrown at them.
Xavier had an interesting strategy of properly adjusting his body weight to the opposite side that the boat was leaning so that he was not too thrown off balance. From the beginning, Azah found a very comfortable position and was solid like a rock. Derek, however, well, let’s just say he was the first one to fall off. I do have to give him credit, he stayed on longer than I thought.
With the competition being between Azah and Xavier, it felt like it could’ve gone on for days, because they were both solid as rocks. However, Azah made a slight adjustment to her position, which was what knocked her off the boat, and Xavier won part one of the final HOH competition. Azah and Derek will face off in part two on Wednesday.
After the competition was over, Derek and Xavier solidified that they are going to be the final two, and that Derek wants to win the competition so that it doesn’t matter who wins part three. Later on, Azah and Derek also solidified their final two, mentally gearing up to take the shot at Xavier if need be.
Wednesday is Finale Night! Everyone’s reuniting, and of the winner will be crowned!
Who will win Big Brother 23? SPOILERS AHEAD!
Part Two of the HOH competition already happened, which Azah won, and will go up against Xavier live during the finale. This also means that Derek has gone through the whole season without winning a single competition.
The most interesting part of the finale will be that final HOH competition, because Xavier and Azah are playing for third place. It’s astounding that a player as bad as Derek will be sitting in the final two, as well as at least getting the second place prize.
That said, either Xavier or Azah is winning the game. They’re only going to sit next to Derek because they know that the jury does not respect him as a player.
Xavier vs. Derek: Xavier wins 8-1 (Kyland being the one)
Azah vs. Derek: Azah wins 7-2 (Xavier and Kyland being the two)
Xavier vs. Azah: Xavier wins 8-1 (Britini being the one)
I don’t see that last scenario happening in the slightest, because both Azah and Xavier understand that sitting next to each other might lose them the game. They are fully aware that Derek has the smallest chance of winning, and unless the jury got bitter, they’re going to vote for the strongest overall game.
Only a few short days before the finale. It’s gearing up to be an exciting conclusion to one of the best seasons in years.
Big Brother Recap: Two Jokers and a King (23×35)
Azah, Derek, and Xavier. The final three that not everyone saw coming. One of them will walk away with $750,000.
But before we get there, we have to do an annual tradition: the recap filler episode.
This is the episode where the final three reflect on their time on the house, and we see them eating a very staged dinner, saying very scripted things about things that have happened in the season. This would transition into showing montages of these specific moments. However, I was kind of excited for this one, because this season was full of fantastic people, with outstanding personalities that made this season so memorable.
Before all of that started, the finalists reacted to Kyland’s controversial exit, and Xavier was commended for keeping his cool while Kyland went on and on about Xavier’s nephew. It was incredibly admirable that Xavier stayed strong and calm, despite the fact that he was about to punch Kyland in the face. It’s a move that is going to bite him in the butt after the game is over, and according to Ky, he doesn’t regret saying those things.
Kyland’s gone, so it’s way more important for the final three to celebrate! While they dined on steak and potatoes, they talked about some of the people who left the show early. The biggest topic being the farmer himself, Frenchie. We basically got the whole rundown of Frenchie’s Funhouse, where he made the super Slaughterhouse alliance, destroyed the Slaughterhouse, tried to recreate the Slaughterhouse six more times, and targeted basically everyone in the house. Oh yeah, and it was only week one. It was great to reflect on him, because he was the craziest player that the game has ever seen, and it was fun to reflect on his crazy two weeks in the house.
We got to see the cast’s failed attempts at cooking, with the nightmare scenario being Hannah putting beans on rice.
There was a segment of everyone playing jump scares on each other, where people jumped behind couches, from behind walls, or sneaking up to others and scaring them. They showed each scare twice: once in real time, and once in slow motion.
With this regular episode also showed two regular staples: Diary Room exclusives. Diary Room sessions give the viewers the chance to know the contestants thoughts during the game, but there’s so much that they have to give us for the sake of fitting everything into an hour, so this gives us some of the leftovers! There’s always a montage of crying, because let’s be real, if you don’t cry in the Diary Room, you haven’t played Big Brother! The second montage is always when the players come into the room to ask the people behind the cameras for food, clothes, or any other amenities that they might want. Like every year, there’s usually an infestation of ants somewhere in the house, and the most popular request was for ant spray or bug spray.
The final three also reflected on the Cookout, and the impact that it had on the season. We got to see a segment of the famous alliance talk about how their life experiences being a person of color has fueled their fire to come to the game and make a change. It further solidified that this alliance has worked so hard to get this message out, and put an end to all of the stereotypes and norms that this game has seen in its 23 seasons.
To give them one final push to the end of the game, they were treated to video messages from home. Derek’s mom, Xavier’s parents and younger brother, and Azah’s parents sent a video to them congratulating them and wishing them luck as they enter this final stage of the game.
Part one of the HOH competition will play out on Sunday, with Wednesday’s finale soon approaching!
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