From the moment he entered the house, Big Brother Season 19 became the season of Paul. The sole returner in a house otherwise filled with newbies, Paul Abrahamian took control of the game, eliminating target after target, and making it all the way to the finale. But was he able to pull off the win? Or would Josh or Christmas swoop in and claim the prize?
Big Brother 19 finale spoilers ahead! Read no further if you haven't seen the episode yet!
And the winner of Big Brother 19 is... Josh!
By a vote of 5 to 4, Josh managed to win, and despite all of his efforts all season long, Paul came in second (again), by one vote. Wow.
Here's how the votes went down:
Josh beats Paul 5:4 - Expect the unexpected!
The episode began by recapping the first two parts of the last Head of Household competition. Paul won the unicorn endurance competition, and Josh (barely) beat Christmas in Part 2, which had them flinging things at targets based on events in the game. Part 3 was the typical crapshoot Scales of Just-Us competition, where the winners of Parts 1 and 2 (Paul and Josh) had to answer A or B to various responses the jurors gave to opinions they had about the game. It was close at first, but Josh managed to get ahead by two by the end of the competition, and secure himself the win. That earned him the right to cast the final vote for eviction.
I doubt I'm alone in hoping that Josh would make the ultimate savage move and cut Paul in Final 3. A few weeks ago, he might have, but as tonight neared, it was looking like Josh was more convinced that it would be better for him to be sitting next to someone with more blood on his hands than less. Turns out, Josh was right. I'm not sure how much credit he really deserves in terms of the actual votes, but he did make the right choice. When we saw the Jury segment with Will Kirby, it became very clear that this jury was super salty over the way Paul played them all season. Still, it's hard to say how the jury would react to a Josh/Paul final two, especially when they learned that it was Josh who brought Paul to the end, and not the other way around.
So where did Paul go wrong? We could argue that he fell to the same fate Dan Gheesling did in Season 14, in that he had to play much more aggressively his second time around, and in doing so, he was never going to be able to convince the jury that it was nothing personal. The problem was, Paul did make it very personal throughout the game. He had everyone on that jury (except for Cody) believing he had their backs... until he didn't. Had the jury been sequestered separately, maybe they wouldn't have put the truth together. But that's not how it goes, and Paul knows that. So we could argue that Paul failed at jury management. Maybe, had he owned his game a bit more with the houseguests in his goodbye messages, things would've gone better. Maybe if he'd been a bit more humble tonight with his answers, he could've gotten that extra vote he needed. Or maybe there was nothing he could've said to make Mark, Elena, Alex and Jason see what he had to do. Cody was probably never voting for Paul, so that was a lost vote. And by Paul's reaction as Julie came to Cody's vote during the big reveal, I think he knew that.
Now let's talk about Josh, because he showed up to play tonight. He unravelled a bit during his final speech, but up until that point, he answered questions candidly, owned his game, ensured that how he behaved was mostly strategy, and heaped praise on Alex for being a strong competitor. Maybe this jury came out already decided on who they were voting for, but if there was any uncertainty among anyone on the jury who did end up voting for Josh, I imagine his answers veered them his way. Meanwhile, Paul seemed a bit flabbergasted by Josh's responses. I imagine he was prepared for a more emotional, less strategic Josh in the Final 2.
Both of the final speeches were rambles about game moves, and I don't think either Paul or Josh changed any minds with their final words.
I'll be honest, looking at the season as a whole, I think Paul deserved to win this season for how he played to get to the end. But I kind of love that Josh managed to pull this off in the end, especially given that he chose to bring Paul, presumably banking on the jury being bitter. With this jury, I'm not sure he would've done better next to Christmas. That in itself is a big move, so he gets credit for that. Paul may have gotten himself to the end, but part of winning Big Brother is securing those final votes.
As for Paul, I admit, I'm a bit heartbroken for the guy, as it's been clear from the beginning of the season that he was determined to pull off the win this time around, and he put everything he had into making that happen.
Cody won America's Favorite Player this season, with Jason and Kevin the runner-ups. No surprises there. Well, Jason is a bit of a surprise, but he had a pretty good edit, plus he was massively blindsided with his eviction, which likely garnered him some big support among voters.
And with that, we close out another season of Big Brother. Count it down to Winter 2018 and Summer 2018 when we'll see Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother 20!