Whether or not Paul Abrahamian wins Season 19 of Big Brother, there can be no denying that this is season has been the summer of Paul. Since being swapped into the house at the cost of a newbie, Paul has grabbed this game by the horns and steered it in pretty much every direction he's needed it to go in order to secure himself a much more stable place in the house than he had last season.
It's entirely possible that the tides will turn against him as these final weeks play out, but for now, with seven people left in the house, Paul still appears to be on a steady course to the finale.
How is he doing it? Some will credit the producers for "rigging" the game in Paul's favor, and to be fair, he is a veteran of the game, who did benefit from a pretty massive twist at the beginning of the season. But let's give credit where credit is due and break down some of the things Paul is doing to earn his rising status as one of the best contestants to play this game.
Making The Most Of A Massive Advantage
This needs to be the first point, because that four-weeks-of-safety (or safe from three evictions) Temptation was undoubtedly the biggest advantage a player could receive, and it was destined to fall into Paul's lap. As the only houseguest with a pre-existing following --- especially considering he played Big Brother last summer, and is still relatively fresh in fans' minds --- he had the highest odds (by a long shot) to be voted to win safety from the first three evictions. When he got it, he didn't coast. In fact, I actually thought he was overplaying the game early on.
Instead of trying to fly under the radar and let these houseguests forget he's a veteran of the game, Paul used his veteran status as a strategy to earn trust. Cody (and by proxy, Jessica) was the only person who actively tried to target him early on, and that backfired hard thanks to his Safety temptation. But if Paul hadn't been safe, and went up on the block, I'm not convinced Cody would've had the votes to get him out. In fact, Matt/Raven and Mark/Elena's willingness to evict Jillian over Christmas strongly suggests that Paul had already succeeded in winning enough of the majority's loyalty.
Unable to even consider Paul as an option for eviction in those first few weeks, the houseguests essentially had to choose between biding their time until his safety ran out, or trying to work with him and use his experience in the game to their advantage. In turn, Paul used that time to establish trust with enough people in the house to set up his strategy for the season. For that, he needed numbers...