The Big Brother 23 finale has made history with the recent crowning of its new winner. Big Brother U.S. revealed its first-ever Black winner and the first Black male to reach the Final 2 in the main series. And, if you include Tamar Braxton’s win on Celebrity Big Brother 2, Big Brother 23 marked the first Black male to win Big Brother in the U.S. (Tychon was the first Black male to win a North American Big Brother during Big Brother Canada 9). It’s an important moment for the series that took two decades to achieve, and the formation of The Cookout alliance for the sole purpose to band together and make history. While who won was a predictable outcome, the overall finale captured a fun night of drama and secrets.
Making the Big Brother 23 finale two hours was the right call. Whenever the finales tried to fit the drama inside an hour or 1 ½ hour, the momentum felt rushed as the show kept breezing through everything. There never seemed to be enough time for the challenges, results, and the reunion; Big Brother, arguably, doesn’t have a well-structured finale. Two hours helped to divide the different sections, and it gave the segments more room to explore storylines and topics. For the first time in many years, the reunion section felt like a reunion where the houseguests were asked questions, spilled the tea, and caused some drama. If anything, the show needs to give the reunion section EVEN MORE time. But in the case of Big Brother 23’s finale, I loved that the show gave extra time for a bigger reunion.
The same goes for the jury segments. More of these segments, please! It’s always great to hear the jury members discuss the finalists and analyze their gameplay. We learn a lot about their thoughts and how they view the remaining players, as well as how they’ve changed outside of the game. The most shocking moment came from Kyland still believing that Derek F. and Hannah were interchangeable and on the same level. As mentioned during Hannah’s eviction, she had done way more for The Cookout than most members of the alliance; she was a threat and very deserving of a Final 2 spot.
The mood of the finale also made it a bright spot. Let’s face it: these houseguests were having a great time! Cheering, gasps, calling each other out, and general merriment brought the energy up considerably. Sure, it’s a finale and there’s $750,000 on the line, but the jury and players can have fun along the way. There were a few times I genuinely smiled or laughed because the houseguests were getting into the fun and dropping zingers. The outcome might’ve been set in stone, but there was some fun to be had with what the houseguests would say next.
One key issue with the finale came from the pre-planned jury questions. Why did they have to be scripted again? Let the houseguests plan their questions or have them say the questions in their own tone of voice. You could tell that some of the houseguests didn’t care what question they had to deliver because it wasn’t what they wanted to ask. Where were the questions about drama? The men of The Cookout undervaluing the women? This section could’ve been so much more. Big Brother should consider letting the players be spontaneous and ask hard-hitting questions—it would bring even more drama.
When it came to the Final 3, Azah and Derek F. were going to lose the season regardless. Azah had a better chance against Xavier if she had made it to the Final 2. She had good relationships with the jury, she played her part for The Cookout, and she won some challenges. The problem, however, was that she was going to bring Xavier to the final, which would’ve guaranteed her to lose. She could’ve snagged a few votes, but there was no way she could beat Xavier. Whereas Xavier used his power (sometimes) to make a move for his benefit, Azah never felt the agency to gain power or use it properly. Her plea would’ve paled in comparison to his, and she didn’t care about winning, which hurt her chances to begin with. Why play Big Brother if you don’t want to play to win?!
Derek F., on the other hand, had zero chance. None whatsoever to convince a jury of his peers to vote for him as the winner. Derek F. may be one of the worst players to make it to the Final 2 AND to have one of the worst Final 2 performances with the jury. We’re talking about a player who spent his last week in the house being so terrible and rude to Azah that he convinced her to take Xavier to the finals. Wait, let me reiterate that: his behavior toward her was so disrespectful that he convinced Azah to value knowing that Xavier would win $750,000 over her taking Derek F. to the finals and guaranteeing her the win. The last few days before the finale are usually dull; all the houseguests have to do is sit back and make pitches to get a spot. Instead, he tore his BFF down to the point that his only chance rested on Xavier winning the last Head of Household (HOH)—the 24/7 live feeds were dynamite, but his performance was bad.
Speaking of performance, Derek F. sunk his game further by his jury answers. Did he truly think the jury members didn’t know better? That they didn’t talk amongst themselves and reveal truths? His claiming of moves he didn’t make and him taking credit for creating The Cookout were some of the bad calls he made that failed to win the jury. If the jury is openly laughing at your answers or giving you the death glare, you have no chance of getting their votes. Derek F. was another case of someone over-inflating their ego and not playing to win.
Xavier had this game in the bag. He won the most challenges all season, he had good relationships with the jury, and he provided good answers to the jury questions. Xavier would’ve defeated many other houseguests if he was sitting next to them at the finals; the others faltered by not evicting him earlier since he was the frontrunner for many weeks. Xavier will go down as a good winner, falling somewhere in the middle group. He could win challenges and he easily joined groups, but he never took action to push himself further. And, he benefited strongly from The Cookout; if the alliance hadn’t been formed, he would’ve most likely gotten evicted weeks prior.
The best surprise came from Tiffany winning America’s Favorite Houseguest. Her claiming the title was a very deserving win! She dominated the diary room confessionals, she had some of the best feeds/gameplay, and her strategic prowess launched The Cookout into being one of the most successful and best alliances in Big Brother history. The AFP title provided a great recognition for the hard work and sacrifices she made all summer. Tiffany is one player who needs to return for a future season.
The Big Brother 23 finale was an upbeat night that delivered a predictable outcome. The expected results summed up much of the season overall, but even with an expected winner, plenty of action and drama still happened. It was a fun night and a good season overall; a season that Big Brother fans needed after a few terrible summers from the mainline series. Hopefully, this starts the momentum for equally good and better seasons to come.
Big Brother 23 airs on CBS on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8/7c.