BB18, Days 94-99 And Epilogue: Nicole Beats The Odds

Nicole (on the right) has now, amazingly, joined the list of Big Brother winners.

Recapping the last few events of the 18th season:

  • In the last HOH competitions of the season, Paul won the first part. Nicole then won the second part Friday night, making James one of the two technical nominees. Last night, Paul won the final part, which was the annual “guess what the juror said” competition with 4 correct answers to Nicole’s 3.
  • Paul then evicted James, who finishes in 3rd place.
  • In the jury vote, Nicole won 5-4 in a stunning upset.
  • Victor won the $25,000 as America’s Favorite Player.

Many people thought Paul had the season won when he won the last HOH competition. Many, including myself, were dead wrong. Somehow, someway, 24 year old Nicole Franzel, who two seasons ago was just a “superfan” like the rest of us, won the 18th season of Big Brother in her second attempt, and the $500,000 that goes with it. In doing so, she becomes the first woman to win a BB season in five years, the first to beat a man in the final vote, and only the third returnee in show history to win beyond her first attempt.

A year ago, I was sad to see BB17 draw to a close. There was no such sadness this year, as I checked out of BB18 before Labor Day. The heavy-handedness and frequent interference of production was easily traceable in the words and deeds of the houseguests as you saw them on the feeds. In fact, if you took somebody who primarily saw the feeds and put them in a conversation with someone who exclusively watched the TV show, it almost seems like each person was watching a different show from what the other person may have seen. The feedsters would probably have been fans of Michelle, Victor or Paul, while the TV fan probably enjoyed the two showmances that dominated the summer season. This season, more than others recently, it was a tale of two audiences.

The finale began with a similar but not identical set of circumstances as was encountered a year ago. Whoever won the last part of the HOH competition would be the winner, unless Nicole won and made the error of not taking fellow vet James to the final two. If Paul won, it seemed that it really didn’t matter who he took, as it seemed he would win either scenario. As we now know, Paul took Nicole to the final two and ditched James. Nicole did a Ginamarie from three years ago in her summation by seemingly being ineffective, removing any doubt she was a deserving winner.

Or so I thought.

Or so many thought.

The jury had other plans for Nicole by giving her the 5-4 victory, the first one vote margin since the jury went to nine members three years ago. Natalie, Corey, Paulie, Zakiyah, and Da’Vonne (another surprise) voted for Nicole to win, the others picked Paul.

Do I think the vote was rigged? Who knows. If they rigged it, it’s not illegal under the rules reality shows are governed by. Thus, a non-issue.  Other networks, that have their own reality shows and their own secrets to keep under lock, are unlikely to call out CBS and their producers for shenanigans. Plus, the structure of the season has favored and protected the vets all along, so why should the end of the season be any different?

I predicted big things for Paul back on Day 4, thinking he’d do the best among the men. I picked him finishing 3rd, but despite the seemingly boneheaded move of evicting James and not Nicole, he did one spot better than I thought he would.

Nicole’s luck (or help she got from production) ran good all season. It ran better than the wildest dreams of most last night. (I did have a dream that she would win Tuesday night, though Colette Lala over at the BB Gossip podcast had a similar and earlier vision.) I will be a good sport and congratulate her, though I will wonder eternally what she did on her own to win, other than lay in bed and canoodle with Corey most of the season. Many fans will likely think in the days and weeks ahead that she’ll be one of the overrated winners in show history, and I cannot say I disagree with the assessment.

In six days, BB’s first ever fall season begins. It is officially considered a spin-off of the Big Brother series, and not the 19th season of the main series. Since the show was announced while BB18 was going on back in July, I will not be covering the first “Over The Top” season. If there’s a second fall season in 2017, that may change.

The next season I plan to cover is BB19 in June of 2017. Until then, I’m taking a bit of a BB blogging break.


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