BUT FIRST Friday – Your Weekly Big Brother Power Rankings: Week 7

SPOILER ALERT: Like last week, the HOH competition didn’t end with Thursday’s episode. But we know who won, and are including this knowledge in this week’s rankings.

Last Week’s HOH: James

Last Week’s Nominees: Shelli and Clay (BLESS)

Last Week’s Veto Winner: James

Did he use the veto?: No, thankfully, and Clelli remained on the block together.

Votes for Eviction: 8-0 to evict Clay. Thank GOD.

New Head of Household: In the world’s biggest plot twist, Becky

Any new twists?: Absolutely none. Does anyone but us remember that we were promised a takeover a week? Come on, Julie Chen, don’t lie to us. There’s a double eviction on Thursday, but it’s been expected for a while, so we aren’t counting it as a twist.

Our thoughts:

JAIME: This was one of the most exciting weeks we’ve had so far this season. Finally someone who wasn’t Vanessa or controlled by Vanessa was running the house. James’ HOH win gave us the potential for drama in the house, and he absolutely delivered. Sunday’s episode showed us the end of last week’s HOH endurance competition – it got down to James, Shelli, and Johnny Mac, and after two hours of enduring a perpetually tilting wall, bird attacks, and artificial rain, Shelli’d had enough. She made a deal with James to keep herself and Clay safe, and then she jumped, giving him the power for the week.

Once the competition was over, James met up with his alliance to figure out their plan for the week. His target? Clelli. He didn’t care about the promise he’d made her because, after all, she and Vanessa had made him a promise the week before that they didn’t keep. Unable to figure out who to put up as a pawn, he decided to bypass the idea of backdooring one of them entirely and just put them both up on the block right away. It was a bold move, and I’m so glad he did it. Having Battle of the Block sort of requires the HOH to backdoor their target, and once Julie announced that particular part of the game was over, I was excited to see how the houseguests would adjust their games. And, thankfully, James adjusted quickly.

Of course, not everyone in the house was as excited to see Clay and Shelli up on the block as I was. The Sixth Sense sort of…fell apart as soon as James took control of the house. Shelli whined to anyone who would listen about how she and Clay were targets. Vanessa was scrambling to try and figure out what James was thinking. And Austin was busy kissing Liz again (I don’t want to talk about it). After a fantasy-themed veto competition, complete with a Game of Thrones pun, James won the power of veto, and chose to keep his nominations the same. That meant a member of the Sixth Sense was definitely going home – and naturally, Clay petitioned the house to vote to evict him rather than Shelli. Because, like, true love or something. The house went back and forth for a bit, and at one point there was almost a unanimous decision to evict Shelli instead. But they swayed back and ultimately, Clay was evicted.

GARRETT: The decision to evict Clay was up in the air for quite some time, and it looked like the house was headed for a 5-4 decision until about three hours before the live eviction. At that point, a (low volume) fight erupted, the result of which was the house deciding on Clay unanimously as the one to evict. I won’t give too much information, because the fight is sure to be shown on Sunday’s episode, but the fight’s consequences will be reflected in the rankings.

Before we get to it, though, I’d like to talk a little about Clay. Clay was an attractive guy who got asked to appear on the show because he met the casting director at a Lakers game. I get that recruits are a part of the casting process, but it was clear from very early on that Clay was not in the house to win Big Brother. He was there to enjoy himself and to enjoy his showmance, and once he was out of power, he gave up entirely. It made a mockery of the game and I’m glad to see him gone. I would tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out of the Big Brother house, but thankfully, he’s gone and we can move on from his stupidity once and for all.

All in all, it was a pretty great week in the Big Brother house. And Clelli has finally been separated! So let’s get to this week’s power rankings:

11. Vanessa

JAIME: Vanessa’s been controlling the house since week 2, and while she’s definitely capable of coming up with big plans to keep her alliance’s hold on the house, she’s also paranoid and prone to overthinking every move she makes. And of course, the second she lost power, she spiraled. She tried to get eight people to band together and give their word that they wouldn’t put each other up in the double eviction, and, most importantly, she picked a huge fight that got the entire house’s attention. People have finally started to see where Vanessa stands in the house, and she’s losing people’s trust. Right now she’s the main target for the week, and even if she somehow manages to escape the first eviction this week, I can’t see her surviving the second.

GARRETT: People who talk too much always get figured out sooner or later, and it’s usually by the people who stay relatively silent, waiting for their opportunity to strike. This fight was one too many for Vanessa, whose paranoid antics seem to be sealing her fate. She’s smart enough to possibly steal a Veto this week and maybe an HOH during double eviction, but as Jaime said, I wouldn’t count on her slithering her way through the game much longer.

10. Shelli

GARRETT: Shelli has gotten an absolutely brutal edit on CBS, and is not looked upon favorably by many people watching the show. I think a lot of that had to do with her relationship with Clay. When a power couple holds dominion over the house for as long as they did, they’re bound to become targets at some point. CBS’s edit showed her kicking and screaming all the way to Clay’s eviction, and made it look like she was a selfish person unable to see that she had simply gotten outdueled by James in the HOH competition. But I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt now that she’s in a really rough spot. Hopefully, without Mr. Prissypants by her side, she can restructure her game moving forward.

JAIME: I had a lot of problems with how Shelli handled herself this week. She kind of acted like no one had ever been put on the block before. Actually, maybe more like eviction wasn’t even a usual part of the game. Compare her to Vanessa, who can at least acknowledge when something is a game move and thus doesn’t take things personally. Shelli took her and Clay’s nominations incredibly personally, and acted as if James was the first person in the history of the show to ever go back on his word (which just proved how little she understands the show, but I digress). This week revealed to her that she’s a huge target in the house, and in return she revealed to the house that she cannot handle losing control. That’s something every Big Brother player has to go through. The thing about being the game, and being a strong player, is how you climb back up. Shelli could not handle losing her spot and her precious Clay, and the way she handled herself this week really gave the houseguests zero incentive to want to keep her around.

Steve

9. Steve

JAIME: I still want to love Steve. I think in real life I’d be friends with him, and probably baking him his favorite cookies every week. At face value, Steve’s at a pretty okay spot in the game: he’s got alliances with Vanessa and John, so two people with a lot of sway on both sides of the house have got his back. And even though we know he’s not Becky’s target this week, he’s not exactly in a good position, since the HOH hates him and he hates her right back (also, can we talk about how Steve and Becky randomly loathe each other and how hilarious it is?). He’s also still afraid to really step up and find out for himself what’s going on in the house. I think he spent a lot of time being pushed aside and being told to trust other people to make plans, and now he’s accepted that as his role in the house. He needs to get his head in the game because right now, he’s still the easiest target in the house. He’d be the first one to go if an HOH didn’t want to get blood on their hands. If he can prove himself to be valuable to more people in the house, he’d be in a much better spot.

GARRETT: Steve is also extremely slow on the comeup, and doesn’t understand a lot of the reasons why certain people should and should not be trusted. He talks to the camera a lot trying to figure things out for himself, but even with worlds of information, often comes up short way too often. Steve needs a competition win, and badly, as we said last week. His situation won’t change until he wins one and sees who starts running to him for deals and alliances. Being on the offering end of those deals hasn’t put him in a fantastic spot. And with Vanessa sitting squarely in the bullseye, his main confidant won’t be able to drag him much farther.

Meg

8. Meg

GARRETT: Meg is fortunate that James won HOH last week and Becky took it this week, because she gets to have a say in the nominations. I think she’s a lot better socially than she’s given credit for, and seems to have a solid relationship with a lot of people in the house. And sometimes people advance really far in the game because others know they can’t win competitions. But that’s not the honorable way of getting to the end in my mind. I know Meg will be in the final four, but of everybody left in the house, she’s the one with the smallest chance of getting jury votes based on her own individual efforts.

JAIME: Oh, Meg. I think I have said every single week that I’m waiting for her to do something. Anything. And no, getting drunk and grinding on Clay doesn’t count, though that is the kind of content I like to see. I can acknowledge that she needs to stay in the game for now – her side of the house needs her as a number, so while she doesn’t really take up much of a role in the house, she’s not going to be a target any time soon. And because she’s not a target, she wouldn’t be the first person the other side of the house targets, meaning she could stick around for quite a while. Please, Meg, for me, use your position in the house and actually do something. Win a veto comp, I don’t care. Just do something because right now, she’s the only person in the house who hasn’t done anything.

7. Liz

GARRETT: We have Liz ranked below Austin and Julia because she’s the glue that ties the three of them together. The other houseguests know this, so she’ll always be option number one to put on the block from anybody trying to break up the three-headed monster. But she’s been off the radar for a couple weeks now. I’d watch out if I were her during double eviction, however. That’s usually the opportune time to take out a power couple. With Clay gone, her and Julia are the last one left.

JAIME: Liz still has the disadvantage of being so closely associated with Austin and Vanessa. She was never quite as social as Julia, and spends a lot of her time either with Austin or with Julia. Like Garrett said, she’d be the first person to target from her group with Austin and Julia, and she hasn’t really given anyone a reason not to target her. So far she’s kind of content with coasting, but I just can’t see that working for her for too much longer.

6. Austin

GARRETT: Austin is still solidly in the middle of the pack after his miracle save a couple weeks ago. He’s calmed down quite a bit and seems to be thinking a lot more with his brain than he used to be. His ally Vanessa is still the major target, but he’ll readily sacrifice her for the sake of the twins. Surely, the target will land on his back soon, but for now, he’s doing just fine.

JAIME: I swear to god if I have to see him kiss Liz one more time, or talk about kissing Liz, I might shoot myself. He’s still a definite target because of his role in Jason’s eviction, but with Vanessa and Shelli being more vocal about their feelings on everyone else’s gameplay, Austin’s managed to shrink his target with no real effort. He and the twins will always be a threat to everyone, but I think they can manage to get by for a few more weeks pretty easily.

5. Julia

GARRETT: Julia is just about as middle-of-the-road as I think you can get as of now. She’s not the target, but isn’t totally safe because of her association with Liz and Austin. This week she’s fine, but, as we said for Liz, she could be a target for double eviction night. I feel bad writing pretty much exactly the same thing for her as I did for Liz, and while there’s humor in that, I really can’t come up with much else to say about her this week.

JAIME: Julia’s been pretty mellow since she officially entered the house. I think maybe it might have been smart for her to come in and continue with the connections she’d been building with people whenever she was pretending to be Liz, but instead she’s mostly just spending time with Liz and Austin. Still, she’s probably the smallest target out of the three of them for now, which is why she’s above them in our rankings, but by staying so loyal to them, she’s not really giving the other houseguests a reason to want her to stay. Hopefully she steps it up soon, because right now she’s not a real threat to anyone, and I’d hate to see her be evicted just because of her ties to Liz and Austin.

Jackie

4. Jackie

GARRETT: Jackie definitely wins the Most Improved Player award, rising from our least favorite week 1 to one of our most cherished houseguests at the halfway mark. Jackie is quick to call out bullshit and won’t hesitate to make a big move. She hasn’t had power at any point in the game (besides holding co-HOH for eight hours), but has sat close to it in recent goings. She seems to be in every new deal and alliance, but isn’t a big target either. She’s definitely the dark horse to win the whole thing, and if people don’t start paying attention to her strong gameplay, she just might do so.

JAIME: I just love Jackie’s complete willingness to openly call people out. It was something we didn’t get much early this season, with Vanessa controlling the house for four straight weeks and subtly creating situations in which someone gave her a valid reason to publicly react. But Jackie is pretty open about her concerns, and isn’t afraid to shake things up. She and James are the best chances their side of the house has to get rid of the remaining members of the Sixth Sense, and with their brazenness, it’s going to be so fun to watch.

3. Becky

GARRETT: Becky has played so many different roles this summer that it’s hard to predict where she’ll fall in the rankings each week. She’s up to third this week because of her HOH win, and seems to be rolling with the momentum and targeting the Sixth Sense. But it was just last week that Becky was ratting out James, Jackie and Meg to Clay and Shelli. John has protected her loyally, but she’s still attempting to play both sides of the house. Perhaps with this HOH she’ll be picking a side for good, but I wouldn’t count on it.

JAIME: First of all, can we just talk about how Becky got kale and a One Republic CD in her HOH basket? Like, I’m glad she’s going after the biggest targets in the house, but oh my god Becky, could you be more basic? Anyway. I was worried when she won HOH this week because last week, she was telling Jackie that she was unwilling to make any big moves before the double eviction. She definitely could have played it safe, but thankfully she decided to really play the game, and I like anyone who’s willing to play the game. I think after last week, she’s officially on the good side – especially with Clay gone, that’s one less person willing to protect her (I mean, not that she was ever high on Clelli’s list of people to protect), but after working with the other side to get out their targets, I think she’ll be solid with James and all them from now on. Also, please keep up the random hatred of Steve. It might be my favorite thing about this season besides Johnny Mac’s diary room soundbites.

John

2. John

GARRETT: Johnny’s been our favorite since just about the start of the game. And while I give Jaime credit for turning me into a fan of his, I still had doubts about his gameplaying abilities. Jason called him out multiple times for never doing anything, and he was right about that. John basically let others play his game for him and avoided conflict. But finally, on Thursday, Johnny woke up and started playing. Vanessa confronted him in the way that she does, with the fast-talking, scream-crying thing that she’s perfected over 50 days, and he sat stone cold and let her put the target on her back. And then he brazenly began to pick apart her game to the other houseguests. John became aware that he’s Vanessa’s number one target, but with his close ally Becky in power, he might have gotten ahead of her, as so many players failed to do before they were sent out the door.

JAIME: I am just so happy about the week Johnny has had. I’ve been waiting for him to step up as a gameplayer so that I can be justified in calling him my favorite, and finally he’s becoming the rock star dentist of our dreams. With Clay gone and Vanessa finally revealing the cracks in her game, John’s free to stick with the people he genuinely trusts. With Becky in control this week, he’s totally safe, and I could not be more thrilled.

1. James

GARRETT: James may just be the most brazen houseguest since Evel Dick. He’s worlds different from Season 8’s winner, but unlike anybody in recent history, has just been so unafraid of conflict when it comes to game moves. He was a bit slow to the step in figuring out the power alliance of the Sixth Sense, but grabbed his opportunity to make a major statement and ran with it. Shelli was his target last week, but he seemed content with breaking up the couple, and exited the week with more friends than foes. When you make such a big move in Big Brother, it’s difficult not to put the target on your own back. And when he was drawn into Thursday’s fight, he stirred up the animosity just enough before backing out and letting Vanessa take the target away from him. Major applause from us, and a well deserved spot at number one on the power rankings.

JAIME: I’m so thrilled with how James handled himself this week. He was so unapologetic about breaking his word to Clay and Shelli, and so willing to stand up and make it clear that he was intent on tearing down the main alliance in the house. And he got in two major fights this week, something that often can ruin a player’s game and make them an immediate target. But he knew exactly how to handle himself, so after fighting with Clay and Vanessa, they were the ones who looked bad, not James. He refused to back down, and stayed consistent to his plan, something that we haven’t seen much of this season. He wasn’t on my radar much until a few weeks ago, but after what he accomplished this week, he’s absolutely one of my favorite houseguests, and definitely deserving of his spot in our rankings this week.

So that’s it for week 7, kids. And week 8 is going to be a fun one: we’ve got Becky as HOH and don’t forget that the double eviction is happening on Thursday. Things are finally starting to heat up in the house, so check back next Friday for our updated rankings!

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