Big Brother Australia 2020 – “To The Diary Room”

Television’s biggest Reality TV format returned to Australian screens with three massive nights of Big Brother turned upside down.

Over three nights, Big Brother Australia came back to television with a brand new competition every night, and an eviction every night. There were tears, arguments, strategic prowess and strategic downfalls. 20 housemates entered, but only 17 walked away into Week 2. This is the Week 1 Review!

WEEK 1 RECAP

EPISODE ONE:

Flashing lights, an eye staring down the barrel of a camera, Big Brother Australia officially returned with host Sonia Kruger welcoming the first housemate to the brand new game and brand new house: Big Brother unloads a secret mission for his first housemate Kieran. With the bedroom locked, Kieran can open it if he can complete a series of tasks with each new housemate that enters. New housemates Zoe, Daniel, Ian, Marissa, Casey, Allan and Mat enter the house, but Big Brother is displeased with Kieran’s performance so far, so he upgrades the mission when Laura, Xavier, Talia and Angela walk into the house. As Angela takes ownership of the house, the twelve toast to being the first set of housemates, and Kieran succeeding his mission and the bedroom becoming unlocked.

As the housemates make themselves comfortable, Ian gifts each of his new friends (or foes) a fossil, which doesn’t entertain Angela in the slightest, who is neither enjoying the lack of tea in the kitchen. Already, Talia isn’t feeling the vibe with Daniel, hoping he will come around soon. During the first night, Daniel’s snoring already stirs Allan and others before Day 2 begins. Already fearful there’s a target on his back because of it, Daniel hopes to damage control while Allan sets his sights on the early target for the first eviction.

The housemates learn they are living on daily rations, needing to earn money to budget for food luxuries. Already, there’s tension when Laura takes the rations menu away from Marissa, not that it isn’t helped by Angela stirring the pot slightly. She also signs herself up as a target by Allan, who vows to play a strategic game to get to the end. Before long, the housemates prepare for their first Nominations Challenge, where the winner will decide which three housemates are on the block for the first eviction.

At the Challenge, momentum and strength is put to the test as the housemates must place five balls on pedestals to win the right to nominate. It’s between Talia and Laura right the way through, but Talia is victorious and wins the first Nominations Challenge and the right to nominate three of the other housemates.

Laura prepares for the first Nominations Challenge of the season.
IMAGE: CHANNEL SEVEN

Talia enters the Diary Room to make her nominations, holding so much power already so early in the game. She selects Laura, Kieran and Zoe. With the rest of the day for the three to plead their case as to why they should stay, Kieran believes Zoe has a great chance of staying, and his target should be Laura. Laura thinks she’s seen as a threat, which is echoed by Daniel and Casey. Kieran’s already working to secure the votes, pitting Zoe and Laura against each other, but Kieran’s strategic enthusiasm and paranoia is beginning to annoy his housemates, who see him as a potential strategic threat and annoying scrambler.

As the first eviction begins, Sonia makes the first ‘live’ cross to the house and discusses the already forming social bonds and importance of making an effort with everyone early on. Kieran declares himself as a dead man walking and throws Laura under the bus for being disconnected from the group. She asserts her one-on-one conversations have been key, which Kieran might be missing. The housemates vote, with Talia unable to do so as the Nominations Challenge winner. Zoe received three votes, Kieran received two, and Laura is the first housemate evicted with six votes against her.

EPISODE TWO:

As the housemates sleep, four new campers sneak into the compound with a secret mission on their hands. Chad, Garth, Sarah and Sophie must find their secret bedroom without being detected by the others, and winning will grant a roast for lunch on the next day. They succeed, quite hilariously, and the original housemates are overjoyed with their lunch news and the arrival of four new faces. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as Talia and Daniel discuss the unknown element of the new housemates and their detraction from the first group.

As the day continues, a large pool gathering is forming where Ian works on his social relationships with Sophie, but Talia demands respect from the newbies for the relationships they’ve built over four days. Garth already senses trouble with her, while OG Kieran still feels isolated after being nominated a day prior. Allan tries to sus out who the threats are in the new group, while painting Kieran as a target and attempting to convince the newbies to win the Nominations Challenge. This rubs Garth the wrong way, who quickly works out Allan is a threat and dangerous to the game.

A snowey Nominations Challenge asks the housemates to retrieve a flag trapped in a large ice block that they must melt to win. Everyone struggles to decipher a solution to the challenge, with Talia first to innovate a strategy by using her high heels. Garth’s technique provides a few laughs, and one hour passes already. Big Brother gives Allan tea, much to Angela’s disappointment. Daniel decides to pee on his block, but can’t bring himself to the occasion. Garth, Daniel and Talia reach their flags, but it’s newcomer Garth who wins the challenge meme moments before Daniel can, and becomes the second Nominator for the season.

Garth nominates three OG housemates: Kieran, Angela and Allan. While Allan tries to strategically work out who Garth nominated, he’s confident he can win over the votes from Kieran upon learning they are nominated. The game is on between too strategic and confident Allan and outsider and paranoid Kieran. Garth tells Angela to put her trust in him, but she’s unsure about her potential to stay in the game and gets emotional over her nomination. After a pep talk from Big Brother, Kieran works hard to sway votes in his favour. While Allan sits back thinking his votes are locked in, Kieran attempts to rebuild relationships with his fellow housemates. And with Garth in his corner trying to turn the vote onto Allan for strategic purposes, the original housemates hold the power for which casualty will be next.

Angela and Allan sit as nominees preparing for the second eviction of the season.
IMAGE: CHANNEL SEVEN

At the eviction, Sonia quizzes the house over the arrival of four newbies, as Allan starts to unravel from his confident front, Kieran asserts a calm exterior, and Angela breaks down at the thought of Kieran going home without a second chance. Angela and Kieran both received one vote, but Allan claimed twelve and became the second housemate evicted from Big Brother Australia.

EPISODE THREE:

As Daniel’s snoring continues to keep everyone up, Marissa adds to the noise by exercising early in the morning. After escaping eviction for a second time, Kieran’s developing a new strategy to not be strategic at all. With food still a major problem for the housemates, they’re yearning for some supplies. And it comes in the form of four new housemates (Hannah, Danni, Shane and Soobong) descending from the air in a cage. For every hour these housemates are left in the cage, $50 will be added to the shopping budget. Already, Hannah rubs Sarah the wrong way after interacting during the audition process. The established housemates meet to decide how long they want to leave the newbies in the cage.

Stuck in the cage, four new housemates are locked inside until the established housemates choose to let them go.
IMAGE: CHANNEL SEVEN

Sarah continues to target Hannah for her interactions with her before the season, and Talia joins in on the battle as she eyes off Hannah as a threat, especially when Hannah jokes Talia’s profession may be a stripper. Soobong proves he’s a fitness powerhouse when he exercises in the cage, as Mat and Xavier confirm he’ll be a challenge threat. After three hours, the housemates agree to release the newbies from the cage, earning $150 for their shopping budget. Talia and Hannah don’t get along – AT ALL (just saying, I called it in my pre-season assessment). With shopping complete, Angela is over the moon to finally getting tea.

At the Nominations Challenge, the housemates will work in pairs to stand on a small podium. The last pair standing wins and can nominate three housemates. Danni & Casey drop first, Shane & Chad next, and then Xavier & Garth. Despite a counting strategy, Hannah & Kieran drop out, much to the delight of Sarah & Talia. Angela & Soobong drop, as do Zoe & Daniel. Marissa & Ian fall, leaving Sarah & Talia and Mat & Sophie as the final pairs remaining. But it doesn’t last long when the latter pair fall, with Sarah & Talia claiming victory and holding the power to nominate.

Reaching a consensus on three nominations, the girls decide on newbies Hannah and Soobong, as well as OG Marissa. But their main target is Hannah, unequivocally. Marissa is MAD, she sees the two girls as fake and is ready to call them out. Claiming she won’t scramble, Marissa is starting to rub people the wrong way for how she’s reacting to the nomination and interacting with others. Marissa is targeting the power group, and has a heart to heart with Hannah about these players, specifically Talia. Hannah’s a threat to Talia, even if she won’t admit it, but the boys and Daniel are looking at Soobong as a real target for his physical capability.

At the eviction, the talk of another group of new housemates is discussed, as Marissa makes it known she’s coming after the dominant groups that are forming in the house. She’s not afraid to tell it like it is, while Soobong equally is up front in claiming he’s a physical threat in front of all the housemates. While Hannah and Marissa pick up two votes, Soobong gains a majority with 12 and is the third evictee of the season.

REVIEW

THE THREE EVICTEES

Let’s look at first three evictees of the Big Brother revival. Laura rubbed a few people in the wrong way early, and by performing so well in the first challenge, she didn’t help her chances of staying in the house. Laura’s personality wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t for everyone. She didn’t play the game strategically so didn’t work hard to get the votes to fall in her favour unlike Kieran. And I really wanted Kieran to go, because it would have been fun to see the downfall of someone trying too hard to play strategically. In the end. Laura didn’t make much of a connection with viewers or her housemates. But how she would have fared if she stayed is probably predictable. She’d only go in the next few evictions anyway. For Allan, I had high hopes he’d actually play strategically but he handled his nomination way too wrong. But he was just way too confident and also way too aggressive. It clearly rubbed people the wrong way. Additionally, if you’re going to play a strong strategic game, then you can’t come across as a strategic threat. Otherwise, it’s a bad strategy and gets you targeted. Allan was quickly called out by Garth and others for being too strategic in the game, so Allan flopped massively when he ushered the votes towards Kieran so aggressively. His talk with Angela, it was just ugly to watch and I think Allan lost sight of how to play the game. I liked Allan, but he failed. Especially over someone as strategically problematic as Kieran. Finally, Soobong. Perhaps there were some issues with him just connecting with other housemates, but physical prowess is what did it for him. He should have kept it on the down low and not claimed he would be a threat, he’d likely stay. All three evictees showed their cards to the others, whether it was for physical or strategic reasons, these three were evicted for making it known how they’d fare in the game and what their strengths are. They failed to play the game correctly, and that’s ensuring you’re not nominated and could be evicted. The fact they are all POC is intriguing, and while I don’t think any of them were voted out for that reason, it’s not hard to notice it. That’s another topic that’s already been wildly debated. And with a lot of heat, so I won’t dive into it right now.

Soobong and Marissa are nominated, and hold hands before learning who is evicted from the Big Brother house.
IMAGE: CHANNEL SEVEN

HOUSEMATE HIGHLIGHTS

We’ve seen a lot of some housemates and little of some others. That’s alarming in terms of editing, but we’ll get there. Nevertheless, there are some housemates that are really making waves early. Angela is hilarious and fun to watch. Despite promising to play aggressively and own the house, she hasn’t delivered yet. But that’s what makes Angela entertaining. She doesn’t come across is fake, her personality despite being pretty abrasive, is genuine. And fun to watch. She’s survived an eviction and has made her intentions known. Great to watch. I also like Garth, he is a fun personality and adds a nice dynamic to the game. Winning that second challenge was big for him and his game, and I think it established himself into the main group of housemates early and has probably kept him safe for a few more rounds than before. He’s playing the game well, and is mixing with others great – great to watch. There are some strong personalities too, Daniel and Talia, the king and queen. I really liked them in the first two episodes, but Talia’s Episode 3 attitude towards the newbies wasn’t fantastic to watch. I still like her, I think she’s a great physical asset to the house. But I think the power has gone to her head a little too quickly, maybe she needs to be brought down a peg. I can see that turning around, but she started the week as my favourite, and now is in the middle for me. It just wasn’t a great episode for her. Daniel has stayed a little more likeable, and I’m not surprised he’s entered the alpha role of the game. I’d love to see where it gets him. Sarah had quite a turnaround from Episode 2 to 3, she seemed lovely and sweet when she arrived but as soon as Hannah walked in, she was done. Didn’t want a bar of it. By winning the Nominations Challenge, she’s also cemented herself firmly in the power group of the house. Chad and Sophie are certainly hitting it off, and they’ve both got really fun personalities that I enjoy watching. I do want to see more though, and I think we will see their time come. They’re laying low, and that’s pretty smart for right now.

Kieran isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I still think his handling of his nominations was not great. But he may have found his spot on the backseat for a while, and he could be a threat down the road if he can float by. Time will tell, but I don’t mind him. I also like Hannah a fair bit, probably because she was so targeted by the girls just for being new and having a former relationship with Sarah. That put her at a huge disadvantage, and I’d love to see her bounce back from it. She said she’d be aggressive in her bio which I didn’t quite like, but her appearance in the house so far has turned me the other way. I really like her. I think Marissa‘s entertaining to watch even if her handling of the nomination wasn’t all too favourable. She’s otherwise a great competitor and fun personality, and I also really hope she comes after the dominant group, let’s flip the power scheme. I appreciate her hard fight so let’s go Marissa! Bring it! I think Ian is a pretty fun personality too, and he could be the biggest threat to win Australia’s vote if he makes it there. I’d love to see more form him though. We’ve seen lesser of them, but I like the rest of the housemates based on what we’ve seen so far. But I don’t think any of them have made quite the impression to really make me root for them, and that speaks to the editing. But ranking these remaining housemates from Week 1 alone: Shane, Mat, Danni, Zoe, Xavier and Casey. Nothing against them, just don’t know what to comment on.

THE EDITING

Episode 1 was not cut well in my opinion. We didn’t get a proper introduction to each housemate, and we still haven’t really gotten to know some others. Even Day 1 housemates like Casey and Xavier. But we just need more time. The premiere should have been split in two, while I think Episodes 2 and 3 were cut a lot nicer. The format is clear for each episode, and I think the editors build up the game well and find some clear reasoning for why each nomination might be evicted. Although before the nominations are made, who goes up can be a little obvious. And again, it’s time. The show doesn’t have time to really put up some red herrings, from the start of each episode, you can tell which housemates are key players – whether that’s who nominates and wins the challenge or who is nominated. I hope this eases up now. The speed of the game is fine, it’s just not enough time to condense nicely. I’m not entirely sure how this can be solved, because there’s just so many people to really break it down. We also needed an explanation of the game format from Sonia during the premiere, I was left wondering why for a lot of things. But my main concern is getting to know all these housemates. If we can balance things out, we might be solid going forward with a really great show.

Allan and Casey sit together after entering the Big Brother house on Day 1.
IMAGE: CHANNEL SEVEN

THE FORMAT

Even if the editing can be judged harshly, what’s more important is the format. And I love it! I think the few days for an eviction keeps it all tight and the ability to change the power spectrum pretty quickly. That’s fun to watch. I really like the challenges, they’re already putting the housemates to the test and establishing who’s threatening and who isn’t. Strategy is a key part to the season, which really dials up the fun and intensity of living with people. Nominations now have a really exciting element and strategic aspect that just nails how the game should be played. You can’t JUST be likeable now, you’ve got to find strengths in a lot more areas. Only the best will be able to do so. Evictions are fun too, although the discussion beforehand is a little long. I also don’t like the announcement of the votes, and I think Sonia should stick to American BB style and read them out all in one hit. The suspense is lost when you’ve cleared two housemates from being safe based on the number of votes cast against them. I also don’t like the selection criteria for which housemates were in on Day 1, Day 4, and Day 6. Why are some at a disadvantage and others not? It feels very strange and I’m not too sold on it. But from a production standpoint, I get why. It keeps the show fresh with new faces. But why it’s THESE four on this night and THESE four on another seems odd. In the end, it’s a new game, and while I was hesitant at first, Episodes 2 and 3 really sold the format on me and I’m enjoying the season. Next season could add some good elements on it too, but for now, this is a great start and it keeps me glued to the screen right the way through. That’s a nice revival after six years out. Well done BBAU.

All in all, this is a really great start to Big Brother Australia, we’ve got friends, enemies, people we love to love and people we love to hate! I hope these all stay as the season runs through, and we see some big moves and plays come out even as early as Week 2. What we need most is more time devoted to the other housemates so I can really pick some favourites. Right now, no one is my all mighty, protect at all costs housemate. If we divulge into other characters and see some fun sides of them as well, then the season will really take off and be a hit. While Episode 1 was a bit on the brakes for me, Episodes 2 and 3 returned with a punch. I’m looking forward to next week and seeing the house flip on its head. Please.

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Big Brother Australia continues tonight (Sunday) at 7:00pm, and runs through on Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm on Channel Seven!


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