BUT FIRST Friday – Your Weekly Big Brother Power Rankings: Week 6

SPOILER ALERT: For this week, we’re including our knowledge of the HOH winner, even though the competition had yet to complete in Thursday’s live episode. The winner will be revealed on Sunday, but, to keep consistent with our previous posts, are including the HOH status for the rankings.

Last Week’s HOH: Vanessa and Jackie

Last Week’s Original Nominees: Clay and Becky (after losing the Battle of the Block to James and Liz)

Last Week’s Veto Winner: Clay, in his first comp win of the season

Did they use the veto?: Of course he did.

Replacement Nominee: Jason

Votes for Eviction: 7-2, with only James and Meg voting to keep Jason

New Head of Household: SPOILER ALERT – James won this week’s endurance comp, making him the first solo HOH of the season

Any new twists?: Let’s see. For, what, the third week in a row, there’s no takeover, so that’s probably over. Maybe. Battle of the Block is also officially over, which means we’re back to only one head of household for the rest of the season. Oh, and after surviving five evictions, Julia has officially joined the house.

Johnny Mac

Our Thoughts:

GARRETT: Paranoia and Nomination Roulette was the main theme of last week, as the houseguests spun themselves into a frenzy thinking about what to do. We left off last week with Austin squarely on the chopping block with his poor thinking skills leaving him vulnerable, after he spilled the twins’ secret to Jason and left himself as an untrustworthy member of the dominant Sixth Sense alliance. At the beginning of the week, Vanessa and Jackie won Head of Household, and Vanessa made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with keeping it. So she persuaded her close ally Clay and willing participant Becky into going on the block as volunteers, hoping they would win the Battle of the Block Competition. The two Heads of Household, along with Clay, Shelli, Becky, Meg, Jason, and James, made an eight person alliance they called “Dark Moon”, enlisting James to throw the competition with Liz as his fellow nominee, which would ensure that Jackie could stay in power and Austin would be put up as the replacement.

Unfortunately, the Dark Moon never rose (I’ve wanted to use that pun all week) and through sheer determination and an inability to spell on Clay and Becky’s side, Liz dragged James to victory in the Battle of the Block, keeping Vanessa in power as the Head of Household. Vanessa was distraught, and quickly exploded into a fit of raging paranoia. First, she told Liz what her plan was in order to keep her from being surprised, and Liz began persuading her not to make the move. Austin then caught wind of the plan and began his own pleading for safety. Eventually, Clay won the Veto competition, and Austin was able to convince Clelli and Vanessa that he was a loyal ally who simply made a poor, emotional decision in telling Jason about Julia.

So began the next rounds of Nomination Roulette. Clelli and Vanessa went through every single houseguest, and for fifteen minutes at a time, seemed sure that they had made up their minds. But they kept changing what they wanted to do, and unfortunately for one of our fan favorites, landed on Jason as the backdoor choice.

Jason was completely blindsided by the move, as were his allies Meg, Jackie and James. He made a few last-gasp efforts to save himself, and while he was unsuccessful in doing so, he managed to expose Shelli and Clay in playing both sides of the house. They took the brunt of the blame when Jason was evicted, even though it was Vanessa who put the knife into his back.

After the eviction, Julia came into the house as expected, and Julie Chen let them know that the Battle of the Block would be coming to an end. The subsequent HOH competition was an endurance challenge, and after over two hours standing on a tilted ledge, James emerged victorious. Shelli made a deal with him to save herself and Clay, but it seems as though James may be willing to break that deal to split up the power couple. Nominations will be set later today (Friday the 31st), but we’re going to rank the houseguests before knowing who will be on the block for sure.

As more houseguests leave the game, it became necessary for us to change how we do our power rankings every week. So rather than having a top and bottom 5, starting this week, we’re going to rank all of the houseguests. So here’s how we think everyone stacked up this week:

Meg

12. Meg

JAIME: Oh, Meg. Once Jason was put on the block, it started looking like maybe this could be a big week for Meg: her friend’s nomination finally gave her the fire to start playing the game and putting pieces together, and she realized that there’s a powerful group in the house who’s been controlling everything the last few weeks. She even called Clay out for lying to her about where his and Shelli’s loyalties truly lie. And then….nothing. Actually, she forgave Clelli, and now she’s tight with them again. She spent a few days realizing that she, James, Jackie, and Jason were just extra numbers alongside the Sixth Sense and then promptly forgot all about it and eagerly signed up to become a number again. Good job, Meg.

GARRETT: She’s safe for the week with James in power, but really hasn’t been a figure of any importance in the game. She discarded Audrey’s warning of a six-person alliance by saying she didn’t care, because she and Jason would be better off regardless. She’s just as much to blame for Jason leaving as Jason is, having done nothing but sit on the patio talking crap for the majority of the time she’s been in the game. She’s lucky her minority alliance is in control this week, and may just be brought to the end on virtue of her inability to pose any kind of a threat. But she brings very little to the table.

11. Becky

JAIME: Becky’s still a weird presence in the house. She gets along with everyone, so the only reason she’s a target in any way is because of her gameplay. They’re all threatened by her success at competitions, except, as she points out, she’s been losing comps pretty consistently. Losing the veto this week shook up her confidence and made her question what gives her a leg up in the game. And then, like Meg, she spent part of the week railing against the Sixth Sense and then wound up joining them. Without hearing her in the diary room (which, when was the last time we saw Becky in the diary room?), it’s hard to say if she’s truly changed her loyalties or if this is just a plan to win them over and then break up the alliance, but for now, it looks like she’s pretty loyal to Clelli.

GARRETT: Earlier this morning, Becky supposedly ratted on James’s plans to take out a Sixth Sense member to Clelli. So her loyalties to them have been confirmed. She’s trying to play the role of the rat that Andy Herren rode to victory in Season 15, and seems to have a decent perception of what’s going on gamewise. But she doesn’t seem to know that she’s firmly on the outside looking in on the Sixth Sense, and isn’t fully trusted by Shelli and Clay. She’s a sitting duck for them, and should be pretty shocked when her turn comes for eviction.

10. Steve

JAIME: Okay, can we talk about Steve’s weird ass comments about Becky during the veto comp? Apparently Steve hates Becky. Who knew. He’s still not in a great place: he’s working with the Sixth Sense but none of them really have his back, or at least have him as a priority. He’s still a pretty big target for a lot of the houseguests, even though I don’t think his gameplay is really anywhere close to being a threat. Still, he’s made deals with Vanessa and John that hopefully will let him stick around for a few more weeks, and hopefully in that time he’ll finally get it in gear and find a way to actually gain some control of the house.

GARRETT: Steve and James had an interesting discussion last night around four in the morning. Steve wanted to know if he was a potential nominee, and James told him no, because he wanted to get “a big player” out first. That’s good news for Steve in the short term, but looking down the road, his inability to win competitions will come back to haunt him. He’s put a world of pressure on himself to perform, and just can’t do it. His final two with Vanessa is dependent upon him picking up some of the slack, and if he can’t, she’ll probably dump him as the game moves forward.

9. Shelli

GARRETT: Shelli was unable to do what Vanessa did this week, and took almost all the blame for Jason’s eviction, even though she wasn’t the one who actually blindsided him. She’d played a phenomenal social game up to this point, but when the evidence was finally presented to James, Meg and Jackie that she was the leader of the Sixth Sense, she wasn’t able to take the blame off herself. Her attempts to assuage Jason were laughable, and now, with James in power, Shelli is seen as the number one target. For someone who’s won two HOHs, that’s a tough situation, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles in Big Brother.

JAIME: Shelli had been playing a pretty great game so far. If she wasn’t directly in control, she was at least a huge part of the decision making process, but her social game has been strong enough that no one put any of the pieces together. And even if they did, no one figured out just how much power Shelli has had this entire game. Clelli may have won Becky and Meg over again, but the house is finally aware just how strong Clelli’s hold over the other houseguests has become. Thankfully James won HOH this week, because of that side of the house, he might be the only one in a position to do something about breaking up the Sixth Sense.

8. Clay

GARRETT: Clay is ranked above Shelli because he’s done a slightly better job of lying than she has. He’s not seen as the number one threat in the game, and while James wants to split up the showmance, his target is Shelli because she’s seen as the brains. Clay may be able to skate through the week, but not before taking some serious damage. He was able to win over Meg, though, so we’ll see where he stands after (presumably) losing an ally this week.

JAIME: His charm is definitely what’s carrying him through this game, and probably a big part of the reason that it took so long for anyone to figure out his and Shelli’s game. He’s carrying out Shelli and Vanessa’s plans but isn’t really creating any moves himself, so if James is successful in getting Shelli evicted this week, that’s going to be a huge blow for Clay. He’s got enough friends left that he’d still be in a comfortable spot, but without Shelli, his long-term chances definitely shrink. Also, he’s won exactly one competition the entire season. He’s a physical threat, sure, but so far he hasn’t been very threatening.

Julia

7. Julia

JAIME: I’m so excited that Julia has finally joined the game, because while she comes in with a natural partner, she and Liz are at odds about one pretty huge thing: Austin. Julia doesn’t trust him at all, no matter how much Liz does, so is she going to want to work with him at all? She’s also closer with people on the other side of the house than Liz is, which creates the chance that she might choose to work with them instead. She’ll probably stay loyal to her sister, but if she’s wavering on the Sixth Sense, then we might start to see the end of the alliance that’s ruled the game so far.

GARRETT: She’s ranked below Liz for me simply because she doesn’t have the first-hand information as to what went down this week. She wears her emotions on her sleeve a bit more than her sister as well. A blowup with Austin would be worlds of fun for us at home, but could come back to haunt her as well. It’s clear that Austin doesn’t value her as strongly as Liz, so later in the game, her fate may be decided by the large man’s heart.

6. Liz

JAIME: Overall, Liz is pretty comfortable in the game. Her alliance is in control, and even now that they’ve more or less been exposed to the entire house, Vanessa and Clelli are the real targets. She got to avoid the blowup after Jason’s nomination, and with Vanessa and Clelli as bigger targets, she might go unnoticed for a little while longer. Of course, now that she’s spending all her time with Austin, she’s gotten back on people’s radars. People were angry that Austin wasn’t put on the block when that was the plan; their anger at him might carry over to Liz, so while she’s still probably protected behind the bigger threats of Vanessa, Clelli, and Austin, she’s probably not too far behind in people’s minds.

GARRETT: Liz is in a fine spot if she can avoid the block this week. She could definitely become a target later on as the center of two solid alliances (Liz/Austin and Liz/Julia), but seems in the clear for now. Her best bet is to lay low while the bloodbath ensues this week and hope for a shift in power moving forward. The numbers are still on her side, and she’s smart enough to play them correctly.

John

5. John

JAIME: John’s in a pretty good spot. Much to his joy, he wasn’t put on the block this week, finally breaking his streak that started the first week. And he got close to winning the HOH competition, something that’s probably not going to escape the other houseguests’ attention. They’re starting to realize how good he is at comps, and now that he’s finally broken his nominations streak, I don’t think he has any desire to go back on the block. He’s definitely not going to agree to be a pawn again, and he’ll be safe this week. Our favorite rock star dentist has got some life left in him, and personally, I could not be more thrilled.

GARRETT: I’m not worried about him this week, but he may crop up in people’s minds come double eviction night. Hopefully, there’s some larger twosomes to split up by the time that rolls around and Johnny will continue to slide right along. He’s the most widely liked person in the house by a large margin and knows exactly when and when not to open his mouth. I still don’t think he’s going to win, but he’s got a great chance of putting himself in prime position as the numbers start to dwindle down.

4. James

GARRETT: James needed to pull out an HOH victory, and did so this week, coming up clutch for his minority alliance. James has always been unafraid to break his deals and take out major players in the game, so I’m excited to see the bloodbath when he takes his swing at Clelli. He has the tendency to be won over by Clay’s charm, but with Jackie in his ear this week, should move forward and make the right decision. He’s still not in the best spot moving forward, as next week should include a Double Eviction. But if he can work some deals this week and perhaps swing the balance of power back to his side, he should greatly improve his standing in the house. He’s also the first guaranteed jury member!

JAIME: James definitely can be swayed but he’s ultimately loyal to the people he knows have his back. I loved how during the HOH competition, when Shelli tried to make a deal with him, he immediately ensured that Johnny Mac, the only other person left in the game, would be included. He’s looking out for his people and doing what he can to keep them safe. A huge move this week definitely would make his chances of surviving the double eviction smaller, but hopefully this week he’s able to set things up for his people so they’re in a much better position moving forward.

3. Austin

GARRETT: Austin is definitely my least favorite character still left in the game. He’s a bumbling fool that thinks with the wrong part of his body, making decisions that hinder both him and his majority alliance. But dammit if I won’t commend him for the efforts he made last week to save himself from what was once a certain backdoor. Austin pulled a Dr. Will Veto Speech, practically bowing down to Vanessa, Clay and Shelli, and guaranteeing his loyalty and his willingness to be used as a pawn moving forward. He saved himself, and scooted right by the blame for Jason’s eviction in the process. He’s still despised by Julia, as well as James, Jackie and Meg, but has set himself up to stay in the house as the de facto “big target”.

JAIME: First of all, they did not need to show the clip of Austin kissing Liz so much. Seriously, they showed it like three times in two minutes. We get it, it was gross enough the first time, please make it stop. It was a pretty smart move to appeal to Vanessa by promising to essentially become nothing more than a pawn or a number for their alliance – in his full speech, as shown on the feeds, he also said he knows he’s not going to win now, but he just wants to make jury. Of course, he probably only wants to make jury so that he can be in sequester with Liz which, ew, but if he’s willing to throw his chance at half a million dollars just to get a girl who doesn’t even like him to sleep with him, that’s his decision. If the other side of the house plays it right, I can see a few different ways they could play the rest of the Sixth Sense to get them to turn on Austin, but for now, he’s pretty solid. Which is annoying.

Jackie

2. Jackie

JAIME: Jackie was absolutely out for blood this week. She had zero problem directly questioning Shelli’s loyalties, and unlike some other people, she didn’t let go of her anger after Jason was nominated. She’s playing Vanessa hard, and if anyone’s in a good position to blow up the Sixth Sense, it’s her. Jackie winning HOH again this week probably would have resulted in a more cutthroat game, but she might have the most influence over James than anyone. She’s become ruthless and I love it. After spending the first few weeks more or less in the background, she’s emerged as one of my favorite players to watch because she’s so unapologetic about her moves.

GARRETT: She was the first to see through the Sixth Sense last week, and, as Jaime said, has really come on strong as a formidable player. We had her ranked at or near the bottom for a large portion of the rankings, but once Jeff left, she came on strong and started to figure the game out. She’s in no trouble this week with a James HOH, so I’m looking forward to how she maneuvers the bloodbath that should ensue this week.

1.Vanessa

GARRETT: Vanessa was able to make a big move last week, evicting Jason, while also shielding most of the blame away from her and onto Shelli and Clay. I’m not a fan of her inability to make a decision, and her paranoia is something that may be her undoing in the future. But I think she makes a much better player with the ball out of her hands. I don’t think HOH is something she’s going to want or hold in the upcoming weeks, but she’s still extremely skilled at deflecting blame away from her while keeping a core of allies. I think Shelli and Clay may blow up at her this week if they become the targets (and it’s likely that’s what happens), but Vanessa has played a solid social game outside of their alliance and remains a decently trusted person. With the amount of blood she has on her hands, that’s not a small achievement.

JAIME: Considering that she and Clelli have been in control of the house since week three, it’s a huge testament to Vanessa’s game that it took this long to have her decisions questioned. She made the decision to draw a line in the sand by putting up Jason, and she’s a very rational player. She gets that putting up Jason will probably result in her being nominated. But when someone does something that’s not directly rational or causal, she gets frazzled. Vanessa could understand being put up this week, but if Shelli or Clay is put up instead? That’d be a much bigger blow to her game. She’s still got numbers on her side but she needs to be more careful from now on now that the rest of the house is on to her.

That’s it for week six of Big Brother! Rumor has it the double eviction is coming up, so things are going to get dramatic in the house over the next couple weeks. Will James succeed in blowing up the Sixth Sense? Will Julie Chen’s fashion sense remain surprisingly on point? Will Johnny Mac remain the best person in the house? Check back for next week’s But First Friday to see what happens!

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