Big Brother host Julie Chen breaks down the finale

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Big Brother finale: And the winner is….

Each week, Big Brother host Julie Chen answers a few questions about the latest events inside the house. Vanessa Rousso, the 32-year-old pro poker player from Las Vegas, the schemer who plotted the exit of just about every house guest in “Big Brother 17,” was herself sent packing on this evening’s shocking finale.It was the longest season of Big Brother ever, and when tonight’s finale began, there were three players left still fighting for the half million dollars: Vanessa, Steve, and Liz.

At first, the “Big Brother” finale on Wednesday night looked like it might be a repeat of last year: A skillful contestant with an advantage from a job in the outside world would win the $500,000 grand prize. Vanessa, who made an alliance with just about everyone in the house before she plotted their demise and turned on them, found herself turned on by a nerd 10 years her junior.

No matter what deal Steve and Vanessa made together, taking each other over Liz would be an act of sheer lunacy that neither, both competent players in their own right, seemed to genuinely consider. Vanessa Rousso, a polarizing 32-year-old professional poker player who had been strategically manipulating the players, was the final person sent packing.

Moses had previously won the second and third rounds of the final head of household competition and sent his biggest competition, Vanessa Rousso, to the jury, choosing to take Nolan to the final two with him. Before entering the competition, Moses anticipated that he might have a tough time getting along with his fellow cast members. “The most difficult part would be dealing with stupid people who choose to completely disregard the consequences of their actions,” Moses wrote in his cast bio. It’s much harder to reason with people who are too nearsighted to even try to think strategically and be in the position where I have to deal with them will be a struggle.” He also identified himself as a “super-fan” of the reality series. Each week, one of the house guests is evicted, usually a person considered a strong game player and threat to the other house guests, or someone getting on everyone’s collective nerves. So Liz did what she was told because that’s Liz. (Of course, Liz’s weakness basically ensured she would be taken to the finals by both players anyway.) Steve then beat Liz in the second round, which involved scaling a giant wall while solving a Big Brother-themed crossword puzzle.

However, the ending illustrated the frustration with watching a show like “Big Brother,” a psychological minefield that traps competitors in a camera-filled house and makes them vote each other out, week by week. Did he sneak an invisibility cloak into his suitcase?) It takes some convincing of course. “Oh boy, this pain ain’t bringing me down,” Vanessa would shout at the top of her lungs while Steve watched.

After BB2 champ Will Kirby chatted with the jurors, we got to the live third part of the competition, which was the standard “guess what the juror said” game. The other contestants hated Vanessa because she controlled them throughout the entire game, switching back and forth so effortlessly between subtle and intimidating tactics that most didn’t even realize her power until it was too late.

Steve narrowly defeated Vanessa 5-4 to put himself in the finals with the power to decide whom he faced, and — not surprisingly — that person was Liz. The show was more about plotting and less about skin and shirtless hunks, but ratings remained high as the players took more cerebral turns backstabbing each other. It didn’t hurt that some of the contestants, namely Steve “the epitome of a super fan!,” dentist Johnny McGuire AKA Johnny Mac, and Austin Matelson, the tattoed hairy pro-wrestler, were lifelong fans who knew the game inside and out.

Fans of the show get hooked with three episodes on network TV per week, “Big Brother After Dark,” a live two-hour unedited “late-night” feed on POP (formerly the TV Guide Channel) and live internet feeds 24-7. Yet as impressive as it was to watch his strategy, and as much as he deserved to win … it was ultimately a pretty dull season since he was just so nice all of the time. This season featured the show’s first-ever transgender contestant (Audrey Middleton, 25, from Villa Rica, Ga.) as well as having twins Liz and Julia (23, from Miami) alternate for several weeks before the unsuspecting house guests started to notice subtle differences between the two and the secret was blown.

Vanessa may have turned everyone against her by the end when her fellow contestants realized her dirty tricks, but at least she was a wild card who infused the game with some much-needed drama. “How many people are here because of Vanessa’s influence?” former player Will Kirby asked the jury of evicted contestants during the finale. And even if the competition decides his fate, Steve looks more relaxed than he ever has (which, granted, still looks nervous) when he walks out into the backyard to see the competition. The audience also voted for “America’s Favorite House Guest,” and finalists included James Huling (the 31-year old Asian cowboy/retail associate from South Carolina), Johnny Mac (who channeled previous winner Dan Gheesling, even down to his speech patterns) and Jason Roy (the openly gay and quick-witted 25-year-old supermarket cashier who wanted to win the top prize, he would constantly say, “to get out of my mother’s basement.”) In the final tally, Liz got votes from Vanessa, Austin (no surprise since they made out most of the summer) and Julia, her twin. So even though Vanessa was the one to keep the show moving with her constant manipulations, she lost out on the prize at the last minute, an irritating ending for people who have been invested in the show for the last three months.

A few weeks ago, CBS chairman Les Mooves publicly slammed this season: “This wasn’t a great year for casting on ‘Big Brother,’” he told Vulture. “Usually you have one or two disappointments. I think we had five or six disappointments.” Really, the best way for “Big Brother” to avoid disappointment is to cast more than one real-life savvy, strategic player — ensuring that no matter who makes it to the end, viewers won’t leave feeling cheated. But Liz’s commentary on the game amounts to little more than “I have to climb and use my legs.” (Further evidence Steve was pulling out a win: the first clue he seems to get is OTEV’s dairy product of butter, while Liz cycles through everyone’s two other favorite dairy products, yeast and pizza, before landing on butter.) So… it’s no surprise Steve wins, but it is surprisingly by how small a margin. No one boils over with seething anger, Julia unsurprisingly says she’ll vote for Liz over anyone, and everyone admits to Vanessa’s continued control over their fates.

Shelli is the biggest supporter of Vanessa, which is no surprise as she’s mentioned the poker player’s name more in her short jury house appearances this season than she uttered Clay’s name in the Big Brother house itself. Becky is thrown off by her constant need to swear on family, friends, the gay community, her unborn children, and her lord and savior Pokey the talking poker chip.

Austin makes a sex joke and asks if he meant “rode” literally while sitting RIGHT NEXT TO HER IDENTICAL TWIN and suddenly the Thai food I had for dinner become instantly challenging to keep down. Even Austin says he would consider (read: admire because he’s holding a grudge worthy of a 5-year-old against Vanessa) voting for Steve in that case. Most are obvious (though wouldn’t it have been an amazing long con if Becky did in fact reveal the train-to-the-face story was all a lie?), but thanks to a few slip-ups Steve loses a lead to tie the game just in time for the final question. The latter’s name comes instantly spilling out of his mouth as Steve proclaims her perhaps the game’s best female player ever (Whether you agree, I’m fascinated to know who you’d say deserves that title).

Lo and behold he’s correct, and again wins points for jerk of the night by saying, with Vanessa inches from him, that Steve made an excellent decision. Asked about the biggest surprise of the summer, she says that it was how much of a nonentity Judas turned out to be. “You were just like Austin, in a hat,” she says, encapsulating a summer of Painful Austin moments in a few sentences that actually leaves the former wrestler speechless for a few minutes.

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