We have our first winner of Celebrity Big Brother! And if we’re being honest here, Marissa’s win was equal parts surprising and expected. You can never deny the power of a social game. Being genuine, upfront and owning your game – whatever it may be – is a sure-fire strategy towards winning a season. We saw this happen in Big Brother 18. The strategy happened again in Big Brother 19, and now Celebrity Big Brother has completed the trifecta. Marissa may not have been the best game player or physical competitor, but she had the best social game and it got her the title. She’s deserving of the prize for getting the jury votes, plain and simple.
Having a final five finale was an interesting concept in theory; however, the style would work a lot better only keeping it to three or four people competing at the end. The footage which captured Omarosa’s elimination week felt complete and gave an overall story to her character’s demise. We saw the strategy, campaigning, and the challenges which ultimately led to the vote. Her elimination had a story, but the double elimination by Marissa’s sole vote at Final 4 didn’t have the same punch. Two people got the axe and they had to share the limelight, which limited their reasoning going straight to the finals.
While this may have been a four week season, there could’ve been a second double eviction at any point. There was a lot of time to have this gimmick added in so that two people would be leaving at the same time instead of rushing during the final hour. Hopefully this tactic doesn’t happen again in the future. Though, Big Brother U.S. could take a book from Big Brother Canada and try the “Instant Eviction” (i.e. an elimination round that only consists of an HOH game, an instant nomination and then an instant eviction). This twist is shocking and it shakes up the game immediately.
Omarosa made it farther than expected and she did an amazing job. Before the season started, her odds of winning were pretty low, but as she made it farther in, she proved that she could’ve taken the title – the other celebrity houseguests seemed like they would’ve voted for her. While she may not have won Celebrity Big Brother, Omarosa did win in repairing her image (mostly). We saw a new side to her, one where she said genuine things and she wasn’t the devious villain who destroyed lives on reality TV. Her appearance on another show, even if it wasn’t reality TV, would be welcomed – she has great personality on camera.
Out of all the challenges featured in the final hours of Celebrity Big Brother, the “#Hash It Out” challenge was the least favorite. Too much was going on with the texts and it felt like it went on forever with the fake acting. Don’t get me wrong, new challenge ideas are always appreciated, and seeing them try a new approach to incorporating an “A or B” trivia style method was fun. But, this one paled in comparison to the skiing endurance competition and the computer challenge.
Marissa had the best reaction to winning the final Head of Household. She is so animated and dramatic; watching her is like seeing a kindred spirit animal. That moment no doubt became a GIF by the end of the finale. Mark had no chance to make it to the Final 2 once Marissa won the title; they were probably the least closest out of the group and she couldn’t risk taking him. Ariadna had a decent shot, but she didn’t go for the jugular to get Marissa to take her. She went the emotional angle and accepted her fate, which was a shame to see. If she had pushed the women’s alliance angle, there may have been a shot. Though, on the other hand, Ariadna could’ve won if taken to the end. Marissa made the riskier choice taking Ross, but it worked out in the end.
There was a clear theme running through the jury members and it seemed to be one of honesty. Many of the questions were pointed toward Ross’s moves and the shadiness he made to get to the end. He had an uphill battle to climb and part of it was that the jury members got to go home and see footage of the season. (Seriously, let’s sequester the jury! This started happening after Big Brother 3 and it needs to be a thing in Celebrity Big Brother, too.) Though, Ross failed in addressing any of the questions and didn’t own his game. He blamed pivoting and going with different moves when the time came, but he didn’t take ownership, like back-dooring Shannon or deceiving his alliances. Marissa, on the other hand, had leeway to move around since her positioning was following Ross and being mostly genuine already.
I’m not calling Celebrity Big Brother a season of bitter jury members. As I’ve discussed in the past, there is no such thing as a bitter jury. The rules were outlined right from the beginning and the concept of evicted players going home to watch the season was known. It is up to the power of both Ross and Marissa to make sure that every person who walked out those doors would want to vote for them in the end. Ross screwed people over, talked bad about them and deceived them more than he should have; people saw what he was saying and they were hurt by it. He may have been friends with people and manipulated them, but he failed in the social game. Marissa benefited from that mistake and her relationships with the jury secured her the win.
The first season of Celebrity Big Brother was a great time. The casting succeeded in filling the house with celebrities who actually wanted to play the game, even if some of them did quit. We had a good mix of older houseguests and younger players, the drama ramped up right from the beginning, and we had interesting twists to keep us entertained for a short amount of time. Though, many of the twists (like the HOH recast) were completely unnecessary and should never happen again. Another season of Celebrity Big Brother should happen again in a few years, but with a few tweaks to fix the format. We got an enjoyable ride and a series that delivered a shocking season.