Spoilers ahead for the Season 23 premiere of Big Brother.
Big Brother Season 23 is finally here, and the CBS series wasted no time in hitting players with a ton of twists. The Houseguests found out for the first time about the big team twist and the news that the grand prize would be raised from $500k to $750k for the first time in the show's history. They also learned about an unprecedented "double or nothing" twist that will shake up the game for all Heads of Household this season.
Before we get into that though, we need to talk about who won the first HOH of Big Brother Season 23. While some players try to lay low early game, Cody Calafiore proved last season that the first HOH can lead to winning Big Brother. The same could be said for Season 23, so who was the first to capture the honor?
Frenchie And The Jokers Won The HOH
Farmer Brandon "Frenchie" French and "The Jokers" took the first HOH competition, but since he's team captain of the foursome, the honor went to him. Per the rules for this season of Big Brother, French's win guaranteed safety for his teammates Azah Awasum, Derek Frazier, and Britini D'Angelo. As members of French's team, they cannot be put up for nomination, though I'd doubt any HOH would want to cull their own team this early in the game.
With those players off the table, Brandon "Frenchie" French will need to nominate a member of the Aces (team captain Whitney Williams, Brent Champagne, Derek Xiao, and Hannah Chaddha), the Kings (team captain Christian Birkenberger, Xavier Prather, Sarah Steagall, and Alyssa Lopez) and the Queens (team captain Claire Rehfuss, Kyland Young, Tiffany Mitchell, and Travis Long). Of course, one of those teams will be able to compete for safety in the upcoming Wildcard Competition, which could grant an additional team safety at the cost of some punishment.
The Double Or Nothing Twist
Big Brother threw another curveball at Brandon French shortly after his HOH win and gave him an irresistible offer I'm sure will be repeated throughout the season. French was given the option to go "double or nothing" and play a short game which would've netted him and the rest of the Jokers two guaranteed weeks of safety from eviction. If he took the offer and lost the challenge, though, then he would lose his HOH, and Claire Rehfuss would be crowned HOH as the runner-up in the original competition.
French ended up passing on the offer but did the challenge for fun anyway and managed to win with just under three seconds to spare. Ultimately French said some things were more important and decided to play it safe and take the week of safety rather than gamble on a big jump start in the game. It's unclear if every future Head of Household's "double or nothing" offer will be the same offer of safety, but I know I personally would love to see that continue as it could be an aggressive player's saving grace in the coming weeks if they lose teammates.
How Frenchie May Run His HOH
I have to be honest – Brandon French stunned me in his decision to turn down the double or nothing offer. Sure, losing the first Head of Household would've been rough, but the advantage his team would've gotten early on with two weeks of safety could not be understated. Two weeks from now, two houseguests will be gone, and the good farmer and his team would've been sitting real pretty with all four of the Jokers still in the house. He really only had a 1/16 chance of eviction even if he lost. The move just felt way safer than he claimed he would be in his bio and interviews.
I hate to be the Debbie Downer this soon into Big Brother Season 23, but I have a suspicion that based on that game move alone, Frenchie is going to try to make the fewest waves in the house with his nominations. Obviously, it's hard to make a firm prediction on who may go on the block with the Wildcard Competition able to remove another four Houseguests from nomination, but I'm leaning towards this superfan doing what so many Houseguests have done early in the game the past few years. He's going to go for who the house wants, but who does that mean exactly?
That also is a hard question, but if I had to wager where the early tension in the game will start, it'd be in the Kings. Christian Birkenberger almost got the Head of Household quickly, but someone on his team couldn't keep the puzzle balanced long enough for him to buzz in. I couldn't quite tell who exactly was the one who wasn't pulling their weight in the group, but the team dropped the puzzle so often that they ended up becoming the first Have Nots of the season by the end of it.
My guess is that Birkenberger will talk with Frenchie and ask for safety in return for cutting one of the members of his team. Again, this is all hypothetical because we still have another chance for safety and so much house drama that can go down between now and nominations. This may be me partly manifesting the fact that I believed Sarah Steagall would be first out of Season 23 from the moment I saw the cast bios. Quiet players are often easy targets in the early game, and if they can't win safety, it's not all that hard for the house to band together and send them home without much drama.
If Frenchie was smart and looking to make a big move as he promised, I think his smartest nominations would be any of the opposing team captains. Of course, that may be a dangerous precedent to set early on, seeing as he'll be unable to compete the following week for the title, which is why he should've taken the "double or nothing" challenge. Ultimately, we can only wait and see what the coming days bring and who the first two nominees of the season will be.