Well, I had high hopes for Kevin as I thought that out of the three remaining houseguests in the Big Brother house, he was the one that played the best game. Apparently, that hadn’t gone unnoticed by Jordan, and it was she who got to decide who went to the final two with her.
Tonight’s finale, like so many BB finales of the past reunited the houseguests (except for Chima, who was kicked out by production and apparently not invited to participate in the finale). Julie wore a purple smock-like dress that looked a little bit like a parachute. Considering her ever-increasing baby-bot-bump was always an adorable addition to the live episodes this season, I was a little disappointed that she wore the ill-fitting garment but there were more important things at hand.
I have to give Jordan credit. I thought it might’ve been a major mistake for her to bring Natalie to the end. We saw diary room footage toward the beginning of tonight’s finale that revealed that while both Jordan and Kevin swore they’d take each other to final two, Kevin planned to stick to his word, knowing he stood a better chance of winning against Jordan than Natalie, while Jordan admitted she would probably take Natalie to the end. So despite the fact that I think Jordan’s a good person and deserved a shot at the final two, I hoped Kevin would win the last part of the head of household competition. Even if it meant Jordan lost to him in the final two, at least someone tolerable (and worthy of the grand prize) would have won. Any scenario that involved Natalie in the final two just didn’t seem favorable to me.
It amazed me that Natalie was still acting bossy toward Kevin during the days leading up to the finale. When Kevin was thinking out loud about his chances of winning against Natalie, she announced that he just “made her upset.” Getting upset is understandable as her fate lies in the hands of two other people but still, expressing irritation like that to him as though he’s wrong to be questioning his options is not only insensitive but it’s also kind of stupid. Her best play would be to buddy up to both of them and not make either of them feel like they have to take her to the end. In the end, I don’t think it would’ve mattered though as Kevin hasn’t been playing emotionally all season.
The final HoH competition had Jordan and Kevin seated next to each other with a barrier between them. Julie asked them questions that were asked to the five jurors and they had to guess which of the two answers given was the juror’s response. It came down to a 3 to 3 tie, forcing them to go to a tiebreaker. Julie asked them how many votes had been cast, including tie-breaker votes over the course of the whole seaosn. The answer was 51 and Jordan amazingly answered 50, which was much closer than Kevin’s answer (80). With Jordan as the winner of the final HoH competition, it was up to her to choose who she wanted to take to the final two.
Sure, Jordan said she was going to take Natalie but I was still hanging onto hope that she might take Kevin with her to the end. Before Jordan had to announce her decision, Kevin and Natalie had a chance to appeal to her. Natalie took up most of the time allotted, talking about how she stayed loyal to Jessie just as Jordan had stayed loyal to Jeff. By the time she was done talking, Kevin only had a few moments to speak and he used them to basically beg her to take him to the end. Jordan’s decision was made up though and after telling them she had to go with her gut and reminding Kevin that he won $10,000, she evicted him.
So Natalie and Jordan were the final two. Kevin lingered for a minute, seeming unsure of what to do and finally Natalie said “I think you have to go.” I know she was probably just trying to be helpful but still, wow. She just can’t help herself, can she?
As the jury questioning hadn’t happened yet, before the jury returned to the studio, we saw footage of Michele’s entrance into the sequester house. She told them about Natalie’s Pandora’s box lie and they revealed to her that Natalie was 24. Michele didn’t seem all that surprised by that. When it came time to discuss who deserved to win, Lydia was naturally Kevin’s biggest advocate while Jeff was pushing for Jordan. The two started bickering but Jeff, whose sense of humor seems to kick in even in the most tense situations, made a few jokes about Lydia being crazy and then they moved on. Seeing Russell crack up during the brief altercation was pretty amusing. Over all though, the producers did a nice job of keeping us in the dark as to where the majority was. Plus, not knowing who the final two would be, the jurors were all speaking mainly in hypotheticals.
After the jurors made their entrances to the applause of the audience, Julie revealed to them that Kevin was the final juror. Lydia was disappointed and declared that there were two witches in the final two. The live questioning was interesting as we got to see a more raw version of this procedure. In previous seasons we get the edited version as it takes place prior to the finale, which means the producers have the opportunity to mislead us by concealing facial expressions or cutting away them when comments are made. The other big difference in tonight’s juror questioning as compared to previous seasons is that with a live audience that didn’t always remain silent, the jurors might have had a sense of who the viewers were rooting for. Whether that’s the case or not, who knows? I know we definitely heard some laughter when Natalie answered Russell’s question about why she deserves to win with a mention about how she never backstabbed her allies. And Jordan got applause when she said she got herself to the end and didn’t need to rely on anyone to make it to the finale. So let’s say for argument’s sake that the jury had a general idea of which direction the audience was facing with these final two contestants.
Questions included things like “Why do you deserve to win?” and “What was your best move in the game?” Jordan made a good point in saying her best move was to get Kevin out because she didn’t think she could win against him. As someone who isn’t going to be seen as a master strategist, I think that was probably Jordan’s best answer. Natalie’s best answer was to Russell’s question about why she deserved to win. At least, part of her answer was her best. The backstabbing part probably hurt her but admitting that she allied with strong players was both truthful and flattering to some of the jurors (Kevin and Jessie in particular).
Natalie and Jordan both had a chance to make a final statement to the jury and it seemed that they were both too nervous to form any solid arguments other than to repeat most of what they said during the jury questioning. Jordan talked about winning competitions and being loyal to her alliances. Natalie also talked about loyalty to her alliances. It was a lot of rambling on both parts but as I’m thinking the jurors already had their minds made up at that point, it didn’t matter.
As the jurors cast their votes, each of them got to make one statement before putting their key in the box. Jessie said, “Hakuna Matata, Jordan,” which struck me as odd as I thought he was for sure going to vote for Natalie. Even with that comment, I couldn’t imagine that he’d really vote for Jordan. Lydia announced that she loved a good blonde, which seemed to imply that she was voting for Jordan. Russell said he went with the person who played the best game from start to finish. Jeff told Jordan he was proud of her, Michele said she was voting for the strongest female in the game and Kevin said his vote was strictly strategic.
Before the winners were announced, we got to see Ronnie, Laura, Braden and Casey return to talk about some of the things that went on in the house. Ronnie apologized to Michele for saying she was the worst human being and admitted that it was all strategic. Given that he hasn’t been very popular among fans of the show since his eviction, this was his best chance to try to make amends for his unnecessary meanness just before he left the house. Michele shrugged it off and smiled as she accepted his apology and admitted that she thought his attempt to put doubt in the rest of the house’s mind worked.
Kevin looked shocked and a little irritated when he found out that Natalie was really 24. Casey brought up the lie that Natalie and Kevin concocted to get Russell out, saying it was the biggest mistake in the game on Jeff’s part for believing it. Jeff, like Michele earlier, shrugged it off and said that Michele confirmed it to him earlier. I’m not sure if he meant she confirmed that it was a lie or that she confirmed that she and Russell did have a final-two pact, so the lie wasn’t really a lie. Either way, he didn’t seem bothered by it any more than he was bothered to know Natalie was 24.
Braden called Jessie a pimp, commenting on how he got so many of the girls in the house to worship him. Jessie looked awkward and uncomfortable at the remark but he seemed that way for most of the show. It didn’t help that they showed video footage of Jessie and Lydia’s HoH blanket-tent action. After that was shown, Julie pointed out the definition of “platonic” and got Jessie to admit that there was a little more going on with him and Lydia. When Julie asked Lydia if that had continued on in the jury house, she smiled but wouldn’t answer. Silence is golden. When it came time to discuss Chima’s exit, Laura said she was offended that Chima would throw the opportunity she had in the house away and offended on behalf of Chima’s alliance that she would abandon them like that. Kevin agreed with that and after that, none of the houseguests had anything to say in defense of Chima.
As the filler-portion of the finale began to wrap up, Julie asked Jeff what’s to come for him and Jordan outside of the house. His response was to smile and say, “We’ll see if she wins or not.” That got a lot of laughs. Afterward he basically gave a “We’ll see how things go now that we’re out of the house” answer. He still wouldn’t commit to taking her with him on his trip to Hawaii but he did say she was on the short-list. I’m sure fans of the Jordan/Jeff showmance would’ve wanted to see Jeff profess his undying love for Jordan but I think I preferred his humorous and rational answer.
Finally, it was time to get down to the votes. As Julie put America’s key in first, she drew that out and revealed that the viewers voted for Jordan to win. No surprise there. What was a surprise was Jessie’s vote, which was for Jordan. Again, even with his Hakuna Matata remark, I thought Natalie had his vote locked down. Lydia voting for Jordan wasn’t a surprised as I couldn’t imagine her voting for Natalie no matter who she was up against. Russell voted for Natalie, whom he mistakenly thought played the best game from beginning to end. When Julie announced that Jeff voted for Jordan, that sealed the win for her. We learned later that Natalie had Kevin’s vote but Michele also voted for Jordan, giving the perky blonde a 5-2 win.
The final revelation was the America’s choice prize of $25k. It was no surprise that Jeff won that and Julie said it wasn’t even close.
And that wraps up the eleventh season of Big Brother. Did the best player win? I don’t think you can ever say no to that when it comes to Big Brother. Getting to the end and winning over the jury is the object of the game and Jordan managed to do that. Where did Natalie go wrong? Honestly, I don’t think she had the personality to win over the jury after the lies she told. The key to being a villain in BB and winning, as proven by Will in season two and somewhat by Dan last season, is being able to convince the jury that while you may have lied and broken your word, it really was all for the game and not personal. Both Dan and Will used flattery to win over the jurors and I don’t think Natalie managed to do that nearly as much as she should have. Perhaps if she’d taken her argument about allying with strong players a little further and played that up, finding a reason as to why each juror helped her get to the end, they might have seen her as the right person to win. Or maybe nothing she said could’ve won over the majority. Above anything else, I’m most curious to know why Jessie voted for Jordan instead of Natalie. Did he foresee her winning and wanted to make sure he was on the right team once the winner was announced? Or did he sour toward Natalie at some point over the last few weeks? Hopefully we’ll find out once the interviews start going up.
In the meantime, congratulations to Jordan. Given the final two, I definitely preferred to see her get the grand prize. If anything, she stayed consistently likable throughout the season and while Jeff was right when he said the stronger players were all on the jury, the nicest player turned out to be the winner.