Big Brother U.S. All-Stars – “I’m Not Going Out Without A Fight”

After taking a week off and catching up on Big Brother All-Stars, Reality Review brings a double shot of Reviews on this unexpectedly straight-forward season!

Week 6 and 7 are recapped and reviewed today, as we explore how The Committee alliance thrives in power, even when setbacks and some outsiders hold some power. Fan favourites are sent to the jury, powerful speeches shed light on reality, and Julie Chen teases a special twist leading into Week 8. It’s all covered, here, on Reality Review!

WEEK 6 RECAP

After Bayleigh’s eviction, the jury phase has started, with the remaining 11 houseguests either joining the jury to decide the winner, or becoming a finalist and have a chance to be named the winner. An endurance battle begins, with outsiders Da’Vonne, Ian and David dropping early, sealing the fate of power in the hands of either Kevin or one of The Committee alliance members. When four remain – Cody, Nicole, Dani and Tyler – Dani is elated to find out Tyler has dropped next, seeking to enact revenge on his actions to throw her under the bus over the couple of weeks prior. In the end, it turns out Dani herself will have a chance to take him out, when she is soon after named the new Head of Household.

Dani quickly gets to work on possibly sending Tyler to the jury house this week, running through the possible scenarios that see him head out the door. Tyler attempts to charm Dani into not nominating her, but she sees through his attempt. The only thing holding Dani back on making the move is the flack she will receive from her alliance for blindsiding him, possibly putting her at risk in future weeks.

Given the risk of taking out Tyler, Dani instead opts to go down the easiest path and nominate David and Kevin. These nominations are quickly thwarted however, as David secretly plays his ‘Disruptor’ power, saving himself for the week and forcing Dani to name a new nominee. David acts surprised, claiming he didn’t use the power on himself (there’s fake tears too). Having to name a replacement, Dani chooses Tyler but presents it as an opportunity for him to win and use the Power of Veto. It’s wishy-washy gameplay from Dani, but nevertheless, she’s got her chance to strike.

The ‘Disruptor’ power is played, saving David and forcing HOH Dani to name a replacement nominee.
IMAGE: CBS

At the POV competition, the houseguests must use tweezers to stack mini beer cans to win the mini-sized Power of Veto. Tyler is close, but when taking a breath, drops his entire stack. This eventually grants one of the best moments of the season to air – freaking Da’Vonne Rogers manages to win her first competition in three seasons! LET’S GO DA’!!!!!!

Ecstatic to win, Da’Vonne wants to use her power wisely but usefully, to ensure she can make something happen with what might be her only instance of possessing power in the game. This creates much chaos for Dani and The Committee, who try to sway Da’Vonne into not using the POV, promising to vote out Tyler and not her ally, Kevin (but they’re lying). Dani in particular has much hesitation to name a fourth nominee in her HOH reign, putting out all the stops to persuade Da’Vonne to not save Kevin.

Da’Vonne’s wise enough to know she needs numbers in the game, and rightly and accurately chooses to save Kevin. Dani, now needing another nominee to face eviction, reluctnatly chooses the only outsider left of the alliance, Ian. Making Tyler, a former finalist who needed one more vote to win, and Ian, a former winner who had all but one vote to win, face the first juror eviction of the season.

This is a devastating result for Nicole, who feels close to Ian personally and as the only former winners in the house, but aware she must evict him to save Tyler for The Committee. She rehearses her eviction speech, hoping to garner sympathy from the audience during the live eviction. But we have receipts, Nicole, you’re not fooling anybody. Ian’s only an advantage to your game, and that’s why you’re upset.

Ian pleas with his fellow houseguests to vote for him to stay at the eviction.
IMAGE: CBS

With The Committee determined to keep Tyler in the game, and Dani ending her barely-even-started war against him to save face with her alliance, they agree Ian is the week’s sacrifice (even though he benefits practically nobody). So come time for the live eviction, Tyler tells everyone to buy girlfriend, Angela’s, cookbook and support their jewellery business, while Ian puts in an emphatic plea to stay. Of course, the cookbook plugger stays in a 5-3 vote, evicting Ian. Ah, how we love Big Brother.

WEEK 7 RECAP

With Ian solidified as the first member of the jury, the houseguests compete in a puzzling 3D Head of Household competition, but it’s what happened before the eviction that’s the real talking point. Da’Vonne, Kevin, and David all voted to evict Tyler, but blind to The Committee alliance and believing Nicole isn’t as much of a snake as she has been her entire Big Brother career, Da’Vonne and Kevin are under the impression David had flipped, not Nicole, preventing the vote from tying 4-4, with Dani to break the tie and evict Tyler. In actuality, Dani and Nicole never wanted Tyler to go, and Nicole’s plan to fool the outsiders is working oh, so well.

Memphis manages to win his second Head of Household competition.
IMAGE: CBS

Memphis ends up winning HOH, the first of the season to claim it twice (despite never claiming it once in his original season, BB10). This solidifies a combination of Da’Vonne, Kevin, and David will face eviction – because not one of these damn majority members want to make a move in this game. THIS IS ALL-STARS, WTF?! Because David is super untrustworthy, Da’Vonne refuses to believe him when he tells her he evicted Tyler. Now the outsiders are targeting each other, and not looking at this giant damn six/seven person alliance.

Wanting to set himself up in case his plan doesn’t work, Memphis makes a “deal” with David, to keep him safe this week and instead nominate the other two minority houseguests, hoping David won’t use the POV if he wins. But Memphis really just wants to backdoor David, if the opportunity presents itself. So at the nominations ceremony, Da’Vonne and Kevin are nominated.

Memphis rubs everyone the wrong way, much like he did with his first HOH reign, by asking his alliance to throw the POV competition so he can backdoor David. Meanwhile, Da’ and Kevin are still super pissed at David for something he didn’t do. So if you were loving this season when we were looking at the decimation of Janelle and Kaysar, then I bet you’re absolutely thriving when you see these three target each other and The Committee skates by, yet again.

At the Power of Veto Competition, a timed maze challenge sees it come down to Memphis and Tyler, but it’s Tyler who claims victory, pissing Memphis the hell off. Tyler uses the win to try and convince Memphis David isn’t dangerous, with everyone in the house against him. Instead, Da’Vonne and Kevin pose a bigger threat for seemingly working together, but also possibly having a side alliance with Nicole and Dani.

This leads to Tyler’s decision to not use the Power of Veto, with Memphis’ partial blessing, and either Da’Vonne or Kevin will be evicted at the live eviction.

With power on his side and looking to the future, Memphis attempts to set himself up with many little alliances once The Committee is forced to turn on each other. These includes various combinations of Enzo, Christmas, Tyler and Cody. On the outs of that core group (although unknowingly), Dani let’s slip to Christmas she wants to keep Da’Vonne in the house. This news isn’t received well, so Christmas tries to pull David on her side for an eventual showdown between him and Dani, keeping that inner core protected even longer.

Da’Vonne and Kevin face the live eviction.
IMAGE: CBS

At the live eviction, Da’Vonne makes a passionate and incredible speech about the game and how black players are presented in it (much to the dismay of many white fans on the Big Brother Facebook page). Dani and Nicole decide to vote out Kevin, although it’s likely they knew the result would land in his favour anyway. As expected, Da’Vonne is evicted in a 5-2 vote, only beating her previous placement by one (11th to 10th).

After her eviction, a new twist for the week is revealed by Big Brother legend and former winner, Dr Will Kirby, where he informs the houseguests there will be various instances where they can choose between prizes or power…. LAME. But perhaps more exciting is when Julie teases a first for Big Brother USA, the live eviction will be a two-hour TRIPLE EVICTION. That’s right, three houseguests will leave in a matter of hours. Meaning the house drops from nine to six, and at least one Committee member is guaranteed to be shown the door.

It’s an exciting potential prospect, although I, as we all should be, am prepared for much disappointment.

REVIEW

A triple eviction? How exciting! It’ll be interesting to see how the producers choose to play this one out. There’s two possibilities. Much like a double eviction, the houseguests will quickly play a week’s worth of Big Brother in an hour, with an HOH, POV and eviction all played out immediately after the general week’s eviction. Then after that’s done, we rinse and repeat, with a third evictee decided. Or there’s another potential option, with the USA format adopting something from their sister, Big Brother Canada. After the general week’s eviction, the instant HOH winner names THREE nominees instead of two. The house plays the POV competition, and at the eviction, instead of voting to evict, the other houseguests vote to save. The houseguest with the most votes to save stays in the game, while the other two are evicted together. Personally, I think we should expect the first option because it’s a two-hour episode, and I don’t think this production team could quite pull off the Canada style triple eviction. But, it’ll be something to watch either way. The houseguests surely won’t expect either.

Da’Vonne competes in the Head of Household competition, which would ultimately seal her fate.
IMAGE: CBS

Ian and Da’Vonne were evicted in these last two weeks, so let’s look at what went wrong. Ian was most certainly a victim of circumstance and a lack of balls. The Committee didn’t have balls to target their biggest player (Tyler), even though there’s only two people sitting at the end together, and once David, Da’Vonne and Kevin were all rendered safe, Ian was the only option. Ian was absolutely blindsided, and I’ll give The Committee credit for continuously keeping their alliance hidden from the other houseguests, even Ian. Although, I think it’s more of a tell on those outside of that alliance and how bad their reads have been this season than it is the majority has been so smart to keep it hidden. I hate to see Ian go out the way he did, with Dani backing down from a fight against Tyler and completely backdoored, even from deemed best friend Nicole. Who’s pity party for voting him out falls flat on my ears. Now Ian gets to enjoy what it’s like on the other side of being a winner, voting someone to win. That’ll be interesting. For Da’Vonne, who was about the only saving grace to this season we really had, it sucks to see her exit through those doors. But she failed to recognise many key moments and plays that put her in this position. The Committee, David’s non-flipped vote, trusting Nicole so much – it’s all misguided and Da’Vonne knows that… now. It seems like Da’Vonne has the impression she has a great read on a lot of people – which for the most part is true – but she trusts that primal instinct too much, that when she’s wrong, she has a hard time finding out why or just how much. That’s ultimately why she was targeted, because the house knows she CAN have a good read on the house, something Kevin has not so much proven. I put blame on Da’Vonne for her eviction much more than I do on Ian for his, but both had little shot to progress much further. This alliance just doesn’t wanna break even when there’s cracks, and I think five or six are going to have many regrets once this season is over, even if one won’t.

We saw David and Kevin emerge as the only outsiders to stay in the game, and I think the former has a much better chance of lasting longer. Kevin is as much done as Da’Vonne was, his time is up once he loses. Because, and I need to say it again, The Committee is not going to break up. If Kevin loses the next HOH competition, he is for sure nominated (unless, maybe, David wins). Kevin has no allies, no room to wiggle, and nobody trusts him enough to keep him even if he’s a lone agent. David on the other hand does bring some benefits to many others. Christmas has her tie with him, I think Tyler and he are still somewhat good despite David trying to evict him a couple of weeks ago. Once it’s the seven majority members and David, there’s a possibility one or two beat out David to the jury house. But David remains an easy nomination option, for everyone. Nobody will side with him all too much, and will just create smaller alliances within their big alliance (it’s already happening). If David was somehow able to accelrate his game to a much higher level than it’s been all season, and form an opposing alliance somewhere, MAYBE he has a shot. But if you ask me, both of them are as good as done as this triple eviction. It’ll take a miracle for both to survive, let alone one.

I’m really disappointed with Dani and how she handled her HOH. She was very scared, unwilling to take a shot against one of her own. And I think it just hurt even more than she realises. Now her alliance doesn’t trust her and she’s next on the hit list. Her side happenings with those on the outs have put many off, so while she kept an eventual enemy in Tyler in the house, she also created some new ones. She was probably screwed either way, but at least taking out Tyler would have brought a number down and maybe Dani/Nicole/Ian/Da’/Kevin/David could have been an all new six-person alliance. But, of course, nobody saw that opportunity rising. So yeah, Dani’s pretty much screwed too and it’s her fault for it.

The trio alliance of Dani, Cody and Nicole might just be the final three.
IMAGE: CBS

Luckily for her, she’s got Nicole and Cody attached to her. Nicole is her closest ally, so if the house does turn against Dani, they’ll turn against Nicole as well. I don’t like Nicole, or her antics, or her gameplay. But I do think her gameplay is a good one. She’s keeping so many shields in front of her. I don’t imagine her winning or getting to the end though, I think it’s too far out of reach this time even if she’s done it before. Right now, Nicole and Dani are next on the hit list after Kevin and David. For Cody, who is central to every alliance and probably playing the best game so far, it’s hard to predict where he might go. He’s clearly got a trio thing going with Dani and Nicole, but he’s been brought in on the plans with Memphis, Tyler and Enzo (and somewhat Christmas). So he’s got that side connection there as well. If people were smart, they’d take out Cody before it’s too late, but they won’t… they never do. Cody clearly wants to keep Dani and Nicole around so if he has any say with how this game progresses, perhaps he’s the key to those girls staying a little longer than it may be expected.

I’m not impressed with Memphis, or how he handled his HOH. He just rubs everyone the wrong way and he’s going to be so easy to beat in the final two. He has little actual gameplay that’s respectable, and what he does make gameplay, it comes across as rude and entitled to the other houseguests. I don’t see him having many chances to win going further, but there might be elements he can turn around against the right people. He’s tricky to assess. I’m also pretty disappointed with Christmas, who’s just annoying and selfish. Named a have-not by Da’Vonne this past week, she’s pissed and taking it personally (despite the fact she told Da’Vonne not to take her NOMINATION as personal). Give me a break. Christmas has such a “me-me” attitude, it’s just an ugly side of her, and I question why she was even brought back in the first place. I don’t think she has much of a shot to win either, if she sticks with the boys she’s pretty much screwed. Only Tyler is likely to take her to the end, the others won’t. So good luck to Christmas, because she’s gonna need it.

We’ve got Tyler, who next to Cody, is playing the best game. The only problem is Tyler is long regarded as a threat for much of this game, it’s easy for someone to say “that’s enough” and just take him out straightaway. Tyler can win competitions though, so if he survives the triple it’s only going to take a few to make him sit at the end. If he does, I think he can beat everyone (even Cody), because a lot of people will respect his gameplay. A lot of The Committee members anyway. Probably not Da’Vonne and her influence. But at least Tyler is likeable compared to many of these houseguests. Finally, Enzo. He’s not an official Committee member but I lump him in anyway because he just as much plays a role in their decisions as any of their own do. He’s got a great social game, and a legit shot at winning. He’s in some inner alliances, maybe Enzo can outlast them. If there’s anyone I’m sure can survive the Triple Eviction, it’s Enzo. Everyone else has SOMETHING that can be used against them. Enzo? Unlikely.

I’m pretty disappointed with this season, and even the houseguests know how this rinse and repeat week-to-week game is just boring television. The underdogs don’t get a chance (even if it’s fairly justified). It falls flat. Even though this is supposed to be All-Stars. Who am I rooting for? Underdog stories Kevin and David would be fun to watch get to the end and win, even if they aren’t all too likeable. Likeable houseguests Enzo and Tyler would be a satisfying win, although a pretty predictable ending with no big celebration. But I’m most rooting for Dani, she annoys me at times, but I’m a longtime fan and now she’s slowly becoming on the outs, making her an underdog. If she can survive these threats to her eviction and win, it’ll be pretty damn satisfying to watch. Everyone else (Christmas, Nicole, Cody and Memphis), I couldn’t care less.

An observation to make thus far, each week at least one Person of Colour has been nominated at the Nomination Ceremony, with the only time two white players were sitting together as nominees occurred at the Ian vs Tyler eviction, which wouldn’t be possible unless David played the ‘Disruptor’ people. This is a startling discovery from this season, proving there’s much to do with racial biases and casting in shows like Big Brother, around the world. Just something to consider.

The final nine houseguests:
Christmas, Kevin, Memphis, Tyler, David, Nicole, Cody, Dani, and Enzo.
IMAGES: CBS

Stay tuned if you’re surviving with this season, the triple eviction might just be the thing that can barely save the season. That’s the hope anyway.

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