Known Unknowns

Vanessa Rousso leads a motley cast for season 17 of the US version of Big Brother.
Poker pro Vanessa Rousso leads a motley cast for season 17 of the US version of Big Brother.
The 17th season of Big Brother here in the USA began Thursday, although fans won’t be seeing any footage online or on TV until the CBS debut this coming Wednesday. As this season begins, and the number of former and current houseguests goes over the 200 mark with a minimum of 14 fresh faces (with two more in tow yet to be revealed), there is a lot of rumors in the air, because presently that’s all fans have to go on.

It is clear as the season starts that it is not hyperbole that the “Fresh 14” this season are more high-profile than the previous 195 houseguests combined. This year we have a well known poker professional, a fledgling professional wrestler, a former college football player from a prominent program in Texas, and the first transgendered houseguest in show history. What we do not know is the identities of the 15th and 16th houseguests, and whether or not they are from previous BB seasons or from previous CBS reality shows, or something else altogether.

The twist for the season is that there will be scores of twists, with one taking place every week. After the third season of Big Brother Canada put so many twists in the game that it became unrecognizable, this was the last thing I wanted to hear. As is the case with the BB17 cast, what the initial twist entails is yet to be known as of this time this blog entry goes to press.

I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’ll get the feeds this season, although I’ll probably cave in once I see the first episode. As I predicted three weeks ago, if there’s going to be a new twist every week, it just makes sense that the amount of live feeds will somehow be reduced at least a little bit, if not more, unless the twists are revealed on the live show every week. Why should I get the feeds if they may be heavily blacked out to preserve the integrity of the twists? It kind of defeats the purpose of getting the feeds, right?

I also saw Julie Chen mention that the reason why they change things up every year is to keep the houseguests guessing. I don’t necessarily think that’s entirely true. My guess is she said that to cover up the fact that the show recruits some of its contestants, and if they keep things the same, the “super fans” would have a huge advantage over those who’ve never seen the show. Why not just be honest about it?

As I poured through the cast on Tuesday, the first thing that came to mind is that this is a cast designed for a woman to win the season. We haven’t had a first-time female winner since Jordan Lloyd on BB11 (Rachel Reilly won BB13 on her second try), so the ladies might be overdue to win one. Without knowing the twists or the remaining houseguests, I’ll give you my three picks to click amongst those we DO know at this juncture:

The first contestant I look at as a possible winner is Vanessa. (Also came out as a lesbian on Twitter recently, which is neither here nor there in terms of my picks.) The key for her success will be one thing: will other houseguests recognize her? If not, she will be scary good at this game. If so, she’ll back at the poker tables back before you can say Omaha Hi-Lo.

Secondly, I’d pick Da’Vonne, who looks like she’ll not be afraid to speak her mind. She’s also a poker dealer, so will she work with or against Vanessa, and what will be menagerie of twists do to hurt or help any deals they want to make? Will they be forced to team up, or not team up? Like Vanessa, I think she can keep the house off balance and take enough risks to go far this season.

Thirdly, I like Becky, the Denver retail manager. How often do we see people who interact daily with scores of people in their lives win BB? College students, financial planners, cops, teachers, and the like. They usually have a huge advantage over the athletes and the male/female model/actor types. This year may be different, though, as luck may have a bigger hand at finding who wins this season.

It’s going to be an interesting ride, that’s for sure. More next week.

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