Last Week’s HOH: Shelli, with Liz being dethroned after a 90s-themed Battle of the Block
Last Week’s Original Nominees: John (naturally) and Jason
Last Week’s Veto Winner: Vanessa
Did they use the veto?: Of course she did, and took Jason off the block
Replacement Nominee: Audrey, FINALLY
Votes for Eviction: 10-1 to evict Audrey (with a penalty vote for eating regular food as a have-not; Austin/Judas was the only vote to evict John)
New Heads of Household: Jackie and Vanessa
Any new twists?: For the second week in a row, there’s no announced takeover. The producers might have forgotten about the whole Big Brother Takeover thing. Something might come up during the week, but don’t hold your breath.
JAIME: It took four weeks, but Audrey is finally out of the house. But of course Audrey’s nomination and subsequent eviction couldn’t go normally. This was one of the most dramatic weeks they’ve had in the house: first our two HOHs, Liz and Shelli, had absolutely no idea who to nominate. So Audrey suggested Jason’s name as an option, saying that she’d heard him say that he was gunning for Clay and Shelli. It gave Shelli a clear reason to put him on the block, but then Jason came to her and explained he never actually said that. It was, once again, Audrey lying for the sake of lying and trying to create a bigger target than herself. Frustrated with Audrey’s inability to lay low and trust her alliance not to turn on her, Shelli finally had enough. She threw a (untelevised, for some reason) house meeting, save for Audrey, to ensure that everyone in the house felt the same way. It was all to minimize her own guilt, really – if she felt like it was a house decision, then it wasn’t as personal for her to turn on her friend.
And then that’s when things got weird. After a 90s-themed Battle of the Block, where the players had to find four keys in various grunge band-themed challenges, Jackie and James saved themselves from the chopping block (and Johnny wasn’t even trying to throw it this time!). Jason, Johnny Mac, and Liz, as dethroned HOH, received a punishment: they were now part of a boy band called the Wackstreet Boys, and whenever they were called, they had to run and perform a choreographed dance. And you know what, I’ll just say it: Johnny Mac doesn’t look so terrible with a chinstrap.
Once the veto competition became the only step between the houseguests and eviction night, it became clear to Audrey that she was the target. After a huge fight with Clay, Shelli, and Vanessa about her inability to trust them, and how many lies she’s been telling, the group completely turned on Audrey. Ultimately, Vanessa won veto, where the players were quickly shown a list of colors, then had to add one of the colors shown to a beaker. Add the wrong color, the whole thing (rather literally) blows up in your face.
And then, with Vanessa intending to use the veto, Audrey just kind of…broke down. Most days, she spent 3+ hours in the diary room, and whenever she was out, she stayed in the have-not room under a blanket, in total darkness. The few times she got up, the other houseguests acted like they’d seen a ghost. On Wednesday night, she finally told Shelli she’d had a panic attack, but no one had any idea what was going on. After she spent five hours in the diary room one day, they were sure she’d self-evicted. They assumed she was doing it all for attention or sympathy (and honestly, panic attack or not, she probably could have found a way to communicate to everyone that she was genuinely not well), and while they all worried about how she was feeling and making sure she was eating, it didn’t detract from their plans to evict her. If anything, her not showing up to the veto ceremony (ostensibly because she was too sick – again, true or not, nobody in the house had any idea that she was sick at that point) strengthened a lot of people’s resolve to get her out.
And ultimately, that’s exactly what happened. The other houseguests (and Julie Chen) weren’t even sure if Audrey would show up to the live eviction, but she was present, and, of course, was evicted. Ten votes, including one penalty for breaking her have-not diet, to one, which was planned to throw a little chaos into the house (which is an incredibly stupid idea, but what do I know).
It was a huge week in the house, and a lot of players really stepped up and came together to get rid of the house’s biggest target. It was less about the Sixth Sense controlling everything this time, and ultimately, some of the power finally made it to some people on the other side of the house. So let’s get to this week’s power rankings.
JAIME: Needless to say, John is the best person in this house. He’s been nominated every single week, and it was such a bad move to put him up again this week. He doesn’t really work as the go-to pawn once it starts becoming obvious that he’s a pawn, and part of the HOH’s larger plan. I’m still waiting for him to win an HOH and take control of his own game, but the longer it takes him to do that, the longer it takes for him to become a real threat. Still, like we’ve been saying, I think he’s got a few more weeks before anyone starts targeting him, so he’s got some time to turn things around.
GARRETT: I’m #teamdentist until the end, but he just needs to start winning. He’s held two vetos, but has only used them to take himself off the block as part of someone else’s larger plan. He’s absolutely beloved by everybody in the house, which is still an advantage for him at the moment. But soon, the lines will be drawn, and that likability will no longer trump alliances. I want nothing more than a John HOH, so here’s hoping he slides right through this week and can gain some power next week.
JAIME: As Garrett so eloquently put it, “Becky cleans a lot.” That’s…about all she’s got going on lately. She was one of the strongest supporters of Shelli’s plan to evict Audrey, and had actually been pushing the idea for a while. But she could have stepped up and become a key part of the eviction, and she just didn’t. She sat back and once again, everything happened as a result of Vanessa, Shelli, and Clay’s gameplay. Becky is pretty close with Jackie, though, and apparently they talk game a lot together, so maybe this week she’ll step up and become a real presence in the house? Maybe? Please?
GARRETT: Becky has had zero diary room appearances in the last three episodes of the show. That’s honestly impressive. CBS views her as a non-factor, and even Jason cracks jokes about how invisible she is. A lot of times, this invisibility can work in your favor and you can find an attachment down the line. But what I’m fearing for Becky is a double eviction. If the suspicions of the houseguests and the online community hold true, it’s coming next week. Becky needs to be careful and really start working hard in the game to avoid that fate.
JAIME: I still love Steve, and very much want to adopt him and bake him cookies while he serenades me on the trombone. But he just has nothing going on. He made deals with Vanessa and John this week to watch each other’s backs, but nothing’s come of those. He’s lost memory competitions that the other houseguests assumed he would have had in the bag. Maybe part of that is because they find his intelligence more intimidating than it actually is, but if he can’t win the competitions that have to do with his strengths, what is he going to do? I’m still hoping for a turnaround, and even a joint Steve/John HOH, but come on, Stevie, you’ve got to do a little better.
GARRETT: It doesn’t help Steve’s cause that everybody believes he’s throwing all of the competitions. I don’t think he is, but he’s clearly overwhelmed by the social pressure cooker of the competition. He’s trying too hard to fit in, and people are getting sick of him. I’m still rooting for him, but it’s starting to come from a place of pity rather actually wanting him to win.
Oh, and apparently he doesn’t flush the toilet. The drought in California is bad, Steve, but I don’t think it’s THAT bad.
GARRETT: James is someone that I greatly enjoy in this game. He’s funny, lively, and pulls some pretty hilarious pranks for us to enjoy on the live feeds. But he can’t keep a secret. Anything that gets told to him will be transferred along to somebody in power – Shelli and Clay, or Vanessa – and they’ll give him the runaround. His allies, Jason and Meg, have recently begun to detach themselves from him because of it. I hope he fixes the issue, but for now, he’s got jury written all over him.
JAIME: It worked in his favor this week, because he was part of the reason that Shelli turned on Audrey, but moves like that don’t work when they’re not being pulled against the biggest threat in the house. He can play smart when he wants to, but when he doesn’t want to, his game can be sloppy. If he wants to play double agent, okay, but you need to pick your sides clearly if you’re going to do that. James will share info with anyone, and that’s just not going to fly. He was close to winning HOH this week, which would have been okay (and Vanessa probably would have just pulled his strings the whole time), so I’m glad it ultimately went to Jackie. He’s at least solidified himself as a pawn, so I think he’s got a few more weeks left, but he’s definitely a clear jury member.
GARRETT: So I’m a wrestling fan. I enjoy it. The pomp and circumstance mixed with the athletics, combined with the over-exaggerated fakeness of it all, really makes for a great bit of enjoyment. I bring up wrestling because, as you know, Austin is a wrestler. But outside of his general size as a human being, I can’t possibly see how he’d be any good at it. The guy doesn’t know how to lie and get away with it. His over-the-top antics with the Judas thing is terribly annoying. And outside of being a professional (in the Big Brother sense) and trying to win the game, he’s completely lost sight of the end goal. All the guy does is try to get in Liz’s pants. It’s honestly ridiculous. He’s torpedoed his game and any likability he ever had. On top of it all, he’s mean to Steve for no reason. I can’t wait until he’s gone.
JAIME: I don’t even know what’s happened to Austin over the last two weeks. He was loyal to Vanessa until he got close to Liz, and now suddenly he’s willing to overturn his whole game for Liz? Liz is great (and Julia is better), but come on, bro, you’re not even trying anymore. On the feeds, whenever the two of them are in the same room, he’s always got a hand on her back or shoulders, and then there’s the occasional kiss on the top of her head…It’s gross. And on top of all that, he’s giving out information without consulting his alliance first, and they already had doubts about how much they could trust him. Their doubts from last week were further cemented this week, and let’s be real, they could get him out in a second if they told him either he or Liz had to go. I think maybe he thinks he’s being charming and romantic by being so willing to throw his game for her, but there’s a time and place for chivalry (well, okay, there isn’t really, but work with me) and the Big Brother house is not it.
GARRETT: Jason had a great turnaround this week, and with his back against the wall, got Vanessa to use the veto on him. He went into the week the number one target and emerged with loyalties on both sides of the house. People like having him around, and he’s just sublime on the feeds, making all of us laugh with a devil-may-care NC-17 sense of humor.
JAIME: And Jason knew he was in a really vulnerable position at the start of the week. He knew he would go home against Johnny Mac, and even once he became aware of the plan to evict Audrey, he knew he wasn’t even totally safe against her. He had to come off the block, so he started working with Vanessa and her side of the house. I can definitely see that relationship continuing this week, and with Jackie and Vanessa in power, something big could definitely happen with Jason on their side.
GARRETT: We had Jackie at the very bottom of our list heading into the week. But after watching the feeds, she’s shown herself as a very perceptive, strategic player. Simply put, Jackie does not buy anybody’s bullshit. She’s good at playing dumb and appearing to let people walk over her, but has a clear goal in mind and is setting herself up as a quiet, ruthless player as we move forward. Good riddance for Jeff being gone, because now that he is, Jackie is quickly rising up the list of houseguests. I’m hoping she stays Head of Household and causes some major damage this week.
JAIME: The feeds have made me love Jackie. I don’t know if she was actually standoffish before Jeff’s eviction or if it just seemed that way, but she seems to be interacting a lot with everyone, to the point where she was one the only attendee of a Wackstreet Boys performance (much to their delight). I’m so thrilled that she won HOH, because the Sixth Sense alliance is already crumbling and they know it. Now that she’s in a position to make some moves and work alongside Vanessa, they might be in a better position to get out some of the weak links in the Sixth Sense (aka Austin).
JAIME: Clay is a weird fixture in the house. Obviously his loyalty lies with Shelli foremost, and then Vanessa and Liz, but he’s still got ties to the other side of the house that he uses to their advantage. I think everyone expected him to be running things between him and Shelli, that she’d just go along with whatever plans he came up with. And yeah, he is coming up with a lot of plans, but Shelli’s not following him blindly. If anything, he’s kind of her lap dog – finding out where Audrey’s head is at, asking John to be a pawn because Shelli doesn’t want to have that conversation. If Shelli was more ruthless, then I’d say Clay was in a position to be evicted at the drop of a hat, because he’d go along with anything she said. Still, he’s on the powerful side of the house, and he’s been instrumental in just about every eviction so far. He’s definitely going to stick around for a while.
GARRETT: Clay plays a fantastic social game, which is actually very difficult to do if you’re in a showmance with somebody. He and Shelli are actually the first showmance that focuses on the game before their own relationship, which is truly a breath of fresh air. A lot of people find Clay to be boring, but I think he’s very intriguing, and clearly possesses the power to charm people into doing work for him and Shelli. He fits in with everybody, and everybody trusts him. He’s also smart enough to deflect blame and doesn’t open his mouth when he’s given a piece of information.
GARRETT: Shelli gets a lot of crap from the online community for being so open about her showmance in the house and for setting herself up as a target with her attachment to Clay. But she’s maybe the best social player in the house – she’s friends with absolutely everybody, and she’s adored by everybody. We’re only four evictions in, but Shelli held Head of Household for two of them. She’s in on nearly every alliance and knows exactly when to shut her mouth. Right now, she’s my pick to win – if, of course, she can avoid the showmance target. For now, it seems like she and Clay are safe until well into jury because everybody wants to work with her.
JAIME: But for as powerful as Shelli is for winning two HOHs, she’s also smart enough to know how dangerous that is. She didn’t want any blood on her hands, and pretty much begged Jason to win the Battle of the Block so that she wouldn’t have to make any more decisions. And once again, she’s done the impossible: she managed to get out one of her closest friends in the house, after turning on them in the span of a few days, and absolutely nobody is judging her for it. She’s not going to be seen as ruthless or uncaring for turning on Audrey because everyone wanted Audrey out. Shelli is absolutely golden right now, and maybe it’s too premature to say this, but I absolutely can see her in the final three, if not final two. She’s playing such a great game – she makes some mistakes, definitely, but most of the time, she’s brilliant.
GARRETT: Vanessa is a talker. She talks and talks and talks. She uses the terms “straight shooter” and “ride or die” a lot. From outside the house, we can see how she’s manipulating and it seems like people would be able to perceive it from the inside. But they can’t. She’s deflected all of the blame away from her. She’s won three competitions. She’s clearly an intelligent, formidable player. And people constantly run to her with any information they have. It’s surprising she isn’t anybody’s target yet, but she’s just so intimidating with all that talking that it seems like she may just run roughshod over all of her opponents.
JAIME: Vanessa also doesn’t like lying, which she’ll tell you right before she lies to you. It’s beautiful to watch, honestly. As predicted, she once again controlled the house this week: she gave Liz and Shelli ideas for who to nominate when they were completely clueless, and her veto win meant that, essentially, she controlled who was going home. Saving Jason guaranteed that his replacement would leave; saving John would pretty much cement Jason’s eviction. Audrey could not have been evicted without Vanessa, just like most decisions in the house could not have been made without Vanessa. And now she’s in power again, but this time, she’s got more friends on the other side of the house. She really could pull anything and she’d probably walk away clean, especially with Jackie next to her. She’s definitely going to make it far in this game because for the last month, no one has ever had more power than her.
That’s it for week 5 of Big Brother! As always, we’ll be back next week with updates on Jackie and Vanessa’s reign as HOH, an annotated essay on how much our love for John has grown, and an analysis of how we feel about Steve. See you then!