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Big Brother 21


Big Brother 21 Spoilers, Commentary, and State of Play

Let the feed-watching begin.

Big Brother 21 has arrived, and not a moment too soon.

We had Big Brother in the winter, but we’d be lying if we said it was one we enjoyed. Sure, Tamar Braxton is fine and all that, no tea, no shade, but the summer season is the main event. BB21 has some shoes to fill after Big Brother 20, one of the best seasons in a while.

If there was a knock on that season, aside from the action tapering off once the dysfunctional “Foutte” alliance became extinct, it was that the so-called “best” player did not win. (For the record, Kaycee was the second-best player on our scorecards. No, we did not have scorecards, but if we did, that’s where she would be.)

Will the “best” player win Big Brother 21? Who will be the victim of the biggest blindside? Which player will become infamous for being the first boot? All these questions and more will be answered no later than the end of September 2019. Meet the Big Brother 21 houseguests with us, get our preseason take, in-season take, and post-season take.

Big Brother 21: State of the Season

Through the September 19, 2019 episode — scroll all the way down for the latest update

Big Brother 21 state of play - 3 houseguests remaining

Big Brother 21: Meet the Houseguests

There are sixteen houseguests, assuming two or more returning players do not pop out of life-sized cakes on premiere night.

Source for cast ages, hometowns, and occupations is Entertainment Weekly (“Meet the cast of Big Brother season 21” by Dalton Ross, published June 17, 2019)

1 Analyse Talavera 22 Northridge, CA Athlete
2 Christie Murphy 28 Staten Island, NY Boutique Owner
3 Cliff Hogg 53 Houston, TX Petroleum Engineer
4 David Alexander 29 Atlanta, GA Photographer
5 Holly Allen 31 Lander, WY Wine Safari Guide
6 Isabella Wang 22 Mount Olive, NJ Public Health Analyst
7 Jack Matthews 28 Chicago, IL Fitness Trainer
8 Jackson Michie 24 Nashville, TN Server
9 Jessica Milagros “30ish” Chicago, IL Plus-Sized Model
10 Kathryn Dunn 29 Irving, TX Digital Marketer
11 Kemi Faknule 25 Elkridge, MD Marketing Strategist
12 Nick Maccarone 27 Sewell, NJ Therapist
13 Nicole Anthony 24 Long Island, NY Preschool aide
14 Ovi Kabir 22 Oak Ridge, TN College Student
15 Sam Smith 31 West Nanticoke, PA Truck Driver
16 Tommy Bracco 28 Staten Island, NY Dancer

The United States of Big Brother 21

Have you wondered where all the houseguests are from in relation to one another?


We’re going to tell you, anyway.

BB21 houseguest hometowns

Big Brother 21: Houseguest Preseason Interviews

Analyse Talavera

  • She seemed very nervous at the start, wringing her hands.
  • The “easier to lie or tell the truth” question is inane.
  • Really don’t feel like we learned a lot about her. I got the sense she’s going to be herself inside the house, but she came off as a little shy in this setting.
  • The question: Win and be hated.

Christie Murphy

  • Literally started crying immediately.
  • “Lay low.”
  • Is trying to be a Derrick. Sure, why not.
  • She’s going to be a dollar-store BB20 Kaitlyn. Man they need to bring her back for the feeds.
  • Her downfall could be that she’s “emotional.” Really? I didn’t get that at all…
  • “The Time of Christie.” Is that anything like the “Summer of George?”
  • The question: Lose and be loved.

Cliff Hogg

  • Appearances are deceiving; who would guess a middle-aged Texan is a superfan since BB8?
  • I think if they don’t boot him first in a fit of ageism, he’s going to have some fun stories to tell. Seems like an entertaining character. Knows he is going to be an early target and he’s correct.
  • I don’t see him doing well in physical comps, of course, but could be a decent overall player.
  • Unloading the dad jokes right away.
  • Not on the show “to sell t-shirts.” Swwwwwwwwipe!
  • The question: “One giant mosquito.” (“$500K buys a whole lot of “don’t give a damns.”)

David Alexander

  • RECRUIT! (“I became a fan recently.” As in, a few weeks ago.)
  • Everyone wants to “lay low” at the start but someone is going to win those early HOHs. Let’s see how that works out for him.
  • Says he’s a very honest person and it’s hard for him to lie.
  • VERY glad Jeff made the George Costanza reference (“it’s not a lie if you believe it.”)
  • As an obvious recruit, it’s easy to get the sense he’s got no idea what he’s getting himself into.
  • The question: Win and be hated.

Holly Allen

  • She’s a vineyard safari guide. Okay.
  • Does anyone ever realize they’re in the diary room?
  • Did you know she’s from Wyoming?
  • Smooching Jeff’s ass isn’t going to help in the house.
  • Admits she’s “not very trustworthy.” Very interested to see how that plays out inside those doors.
  • Hey, you hear about her being from Wyoming? On a ranch?
  • She’s totally going to blubber through the season.
  • Milk those 15 minutes.
  • The question: Lose and be loved.

Isabella Wang

  • Wants to connect with everyone every day. Very noble, but probably not feasible.
  • Already knows the memory comps will be a problem. Enjoy the jury house.
  • If she tries the handwashing seminar, that’s either going to be really funny or piss off half the house.
  • I don’t get timid but I do get even-keeled.
  • The question: Win and (waffled through the rest of it).

Jack Matthews

  • He is NOT Jason Momoa. Repeat, NOT Jason Momoa.
  • Another “lay low” to start. HOHs not a priority in general, but beasting vetos is. Seems averse to getting any blood on his hands.
  • A control freak who doesn’t want an HOH. That’s actually for the best for his game as if that’s true, a Jack HOH could be a real reign of terror.
  • He’s a big, attractive, philosophical man. Will probably be seen as a threat just because of his build.
  • His cat’s name is Celine Dion. And that’s the way it is.
  • The question: Win and be hated.

Jackson Michie

  • He has a very, very square jaw.
  • A fan, not a superfan, but tried out for the show.
  • NOT going to lay low to start. Respect that he’s not afraid of the proverbial blood on his hands. I see him trying to be a Tyler 2.0. Might end up being a Winston 2.0.
  • “Social media has ruined this generation.” Probably not getting a BB care package if they do that this year.
  • Says he’s a man of morals and says that ends where BB begins, but we’ll see, won’t we?
  • Totally going to end up in a showmance unless he’s a pre-jury flop.
  • The question: Asked way too many follow-ups and didn’t directly answer the question. Implied he didn’t want to besmirch his name.

Jessica Milagros

  • Hey, another person who wants to “lay low.” No alliances early, either. The “Joey Lawrence Strategy” isn’t a good one.
  • Bold personality, which can (as we have seen many times) can be a double-edged sword.
  • Not sure she feels like a “first boot” but if she doesn’t lock into an alliance, or more accurately, the RIGHT alliance, she’ll be easy pickings.
  • The question: “Can’t you have both!?” (Not an option)

Kathryn Dunn

  • Will miss her dog more than her family. Kudos for owning it.
  • Going about 100 mph when she speaks.
  • They’re on your radar after they blindside you. I mean, if you’re in the jury house by then, will it matter?
  • Not going to be a comp beast, but wants to win the first HOH.
  • “Scotch-free.” The BB house is a no Dewar’s zone.
  • “Aspiring influencer.” Influence the other 15 people first.
  • The question: Win and be, er, um, hated? Nobody will hate me.

Kemi Faknule

  • Binge watched ten seasons. That’s dedication. Hope they were good ones.
  • Wants to be in two or three alliances. Looks good on paper.
  • “Hard for me to bite my tongue sometimes.”
  • Fakeness is probably going to get her going after a while.
  • Proudly admits she will stab in the back. Give me the cutthroat gameplay.
  • The question: Win and be hated. (“I just won’t win America’s Favorite.” “I”m not running for office.”)

Nick Maccarone

  • Has only watched since BB17, so has seen maybe two good seasons.
  • “Not going to sit around and eat 500 boxes of cereal.” You have been called out, Matt.
  • Not feeling the hairdo. Not judging, just saying.
  • He is totally going to say the wrong thing to someone and make himself a target. (“I like to break balls a lot.”)
  • The charm offensive is his strategy, which only works if you’re not going double-barrels breaking said balls.
  • Seems reasonably intelligent and genuine.
  • The question: Lose and be loved.

Nicole Anthony

  • Seems like it will be hard for her to hide she’s a superfan.
  • “Lay low.” Very popular strategy.
  • “My mouth can get me in trouble.” Would love to take that for a spin; would make for great TV.
  • Wants everyone (on the outside) to know she’s smart. And quirky.
  • The question: Wasn’t asked; I think Jeff had lunch reservations.

Ovi Kabir

  • Going to be in the nerd alliance, should one exist.
  • Just here to have a “good time.” Winning is good, too.
  • Wants others in his “team” to do his dirty work. Good luck.
  • Go Vols!
  • Not a bad guy and seems genuine. I worry that he could get played.
  • His dog has an Instagram. Oy.
  • The question: Win and be hated.

Sam Smith

  • Seems to have a distinctive personality. I don’t get fakeness from him at all. Endearing and a family man at that.
  • He’s going to have to suppress the neat freak thing to avoid pissing off the HGs.
  • Thinks the social threats are going first – and I see him as a social threat. That’s going to have to tone down as well, but I think it’s going to be difficult for him to keep under wraps.
  • Easily one of the most likeable based on the interviews.
  • The question: Win and be hated.

Tommy Bracco

  • Fan since BB14. Good season to get on-board. He’s an Ian stan, and not a bad guy to want to emulate.
  • “Fun, crazy, energetic, loud.” The loud part…er…
  • Plans to throw comps early because he’s a physical threat. Meh.
  • Being a traveling performer may well have prepared him for the game.
  • “A nice, tasteful kiss.” Make it happen!
  • The question: Win and be hated.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: David is the First Boot

Well, they did it: production picked off a houseguest two episodes into the season. There was no need, Grodner. NO NEED!

Poor David was the first to go home after Jackson ran for the Camp Director power, won it, and then was forced to banish four people. Three of them would win the ensuing comp and get back into the game. Jackson told David he was a “pawn” of sorts, which makes no sense but okay. Of course, Big Brother legend Cliff was the first to make it back into the game, followed by Kemi and Jessica. David is back in sequester, as CBS has promised we will see him again during next week’s eviction episode. (Four-piece puzzle, anyone?)

The season is still early and as this is being written, the feeds are still a few hours away from coming to life. I’ve still been able to add some thoughts to my initial reactions of the houseguests.

  • Jackson is coming off as super serious. Too serious. I would not call him hateable, though he does have villain potential. My read of him is of someone who will be too aggressive and make a lot of enemies pre-jury. He has to pivot quickly.
  • Kemi is great. The “mean girl” attitude is just what this season needs and she’s going to claw Jackson’s eyeballs out with her bare hands (not literally). Feeds gold incoming.
  • As stated, Cliff is already a BB legend, point blank and the period.
  • I want to like Jack but I’m struggling to read him. He’s going along and bro-ing out, which is fine for early on, but I haven’t yet seen a glimmer that he’s got a killer instinct. We’ll see.
  • I will maintain that Sam is likeable, but there is no off switch.
  • That Jessica was miffed that people lied to her doesn’t give me a good feeling. Maybe she will surprise us.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Ovi Is The Second Boot, First Eviction

But Ovi did NOT leave the Big Brother house! Thanks to the Camp Comeback twist, Ovi and David, despite being out of the game, will still live in the house as they await a battle back in a few weeks. They are kind of like non-voting delegates to Congress — they sit there, smile and nod, but have no power except to stir things up at their discretion. Hopefully, that’s what happens.

It has been about two weeks since our initial look at the houseguests in the Jeff-erviews. It’s time we updated our reads on these people after having feed-watched them for over a week. To keep it simple, let’s go in alphabetical order.

  • Analyse: Uninteresting and irrelevant, and too close to Jack.
  • Christie: Messy, probably not a bad person, and all over the place when it comes to playing the game.
  • Cliff: Future winner of America’s Favorite Player. Exudes awesomeness from every pore.
  • David: No idea how some are calling him the “villain” of the season when he basically just got there and has hardly spoken to anyone.
  • Holly: Too close to Jack.
  • Isabella: I fluctuate between liking her and not liking her daily.
  • Jack: The singularly most unlikeable houseguest this season by a mile. Obnoxious, condescending, and controlling, and that’s on a good day. Who could have guessed he would be the villain?
  • Jackson: Still not likeable but his position has improved because Jack is so toxic that he looks better in comparison. His imagery (“time to take some souls,” “you’re going to get us killed”) is bizarre and way too serious for a reality show in a parking lot.
  • Jessica: Needs to let it go with the all-girls alliance. Has not made any waves.
  • Kathryn: This is not her game; paranoia is fine but it’s almost comical at this point. She’s not holding up well.
  • Kemi: Ready to see her come out of her shell. She could be one of the leading anti-Jack forces if she saves herself from his HOH.
  • Nick: A little sketchy and his mouth is as big as New Jersey. I stand by the comment that it will eventually land him on the block and out.
  • Nicole: She doesn’t cut an imposing figure but there is hope for her game as she seems to have a good read on the situation.
  • Ovi: Seems like a great guy on a personal level but he was not cut out for this game. Not every superfan is. He bought the fake alliance hook, line, and sinker and got played as we suspected he might. It just happened a lot earlier than predicted.
  • Sam: His personality is exactly what we thought it would be. Tip of the cap to him for throwing Jack’s name out there last week.
  • Tommy: I want to like him and think he can go far, but he’s still too close to Jack. He needs to make inroads with others for when “Jason Mimosa” goes Chernobyl and smokes that alliance.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Kemi Is The Third Boot, Second Eviction

Camp Comeback is in full effect, and Kemi is the newest member of it after getting bounced on a 10-1 vote. Jackson, of all people, was the only rogue vote for Jessica to stir up the house. He then proceeded to tell people within half an hour of the East Coast live eviction episode’s end. That’s not how this works.

Kemi was always the target and though I do not think she did a great job campaigning, there is nothing she could have done, anyway. The miserably-unlikable Gr8ful alliance is in complete control of the game and she was their preferred boot. Speaking of the alliance, they have won all three HOHs so far and have virtually all the power in the house. Sam, who just realized he is not part of the eight, has won some vetoes. However, Christie allegedly won the Diamond Power of Veto in the final Whacktivity Comp, which she will no doubt use to further screw the marginalized side of the house.

At first, the Camp Comeback twist looked like a plus. We suspected that the evicted houseguests staying local would cause the inevitable stirring of shit. Very little of that has occurred. In fact, it has had the opposite effect: as the houseguests know there is a battle back, nobody is interested in the slightest in making a move. Even Nick with his nominations as the new HOH went the safe route with Jessica and Cliff. Perhaps this changes once someone returns, but if Gr8ful keeps winning, it does not matter.

And finally, this week’s player evaluations:

  • Analyse: Attached to Jack and invisible as a player.
  • Christie: Tolerable in small doses, but since the feeds are 24/7, not happening. As her love and respect for Jack increase, mine for her decreases.
  • Cliff: Not so much the AFP King this week. Sucking up to an alliance that has no use for him lost him points.
  • David: If he comes back, he better make it worth our while and shake up this moribund house.
  • Holly: Still too close to Jack and not particularly likable.
  • Isabella: Playing the “rat” game will eventually catch up to her.
  • Jack: Undeserved favorable TV edit.
  • Jackson: Selfish but in denial of said fact.
  • Jessica: The new BB blockstar. She’ll be up frequently until she finally goes.
  • Kathryn: Jackson dumping her for another girl was the best thing for her game.
  • Kemi: Had a disappointing week. If she wins the battle back, I want to see what she does with that second chance.
  • Nick: He needed this HOH as he’s already getting the side-eye from his ingrate Gr8ful buddies.
  • Nicole: She has the house clocked but has no power.
  • Ovi: The person I least want to see win the battle back. You don’t need validation from the Jacks, Ovi.
  • Sam: Surprised he is not a bigger target considering he has won two vetoes.
  • Tommy: Sitting in a good spot but is not #TeamGoodFeeds at all.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Cliff Booted, and Then Returns

For little sensible reason — but we all hoped it would happen — the Six Shooters alliance of various baddies turned on Nick and Bella. They blindsided Nick on his HOH, evicting Cliff and saving Nicole. Someday, Nick and Bella will get out of that studio in California and realize Nicole told them the truth. Perhaps they will still hate her for it, which would make a lot of sense considering what we have learned about them on the live feeds.

Cliff then won the battle back, and it was not close. He housed David, Kemi, and Ovi in the challenge rolling balls down the twisted plank. At first, the consensus was that Cliff, who had been kissing Six Shooters/Gr8ful/H8ful ass, would not make any waves. Instead, he goes on to win the HOH and then puts up Jack and Jackson on Friday. A comp beast with brass cojones — this is our guy.

The house is starting to split, with Nick and Bella against Jack’s alliance. There is an opening for the outsiders plus Nick and Bella to work together. Whether or not they can is one thing, but sometimes in this game, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. You may have to put up with people you don’t like short-term in order to let things play out in your favor long-term. Unless the veto competition ruins everything, one of the Jacks is going home and we will have our first big shot taken this season. It feels like BB21 began with the July 18 episode.

This week’s player evaluations:

  • Analyse: She has the appearance of someone who will get dragged far into the game but with no shot of winning it.
  • Christie: An absolute mess.
  • Cliff: Boss Hogg is back in the saddle and he’s taking shots.
  • David: A shame he did not get the chance to play the game. First-night evictions should not be a thing.
  • Holly: Maybe the most likable person in the Salty Six, which is not saying much.
  • Isabella: Just awful.
  • Jack: Finally got dragged by the TV edit. If this is his week, his downfall will be glorious.
  • Jackson: Same as above.
  • Jessica: Her reads on the game are comically bad.
  • Kathryn: From an early nominee to sitting in a surprisingly good spot while the groups attack each other.
  • Kemi: Sad to see her go, but she’s still very much on Jack’s brain.
  • Nick: His HOH was a failure but he got lucky one of the six didn’t follow him, as he would be on his way out.
  • Nicole: Surviving a backdoor attempt is a resume bullet point.
  • Ovi: Sad to see him go as well, but only because he demonstrated character in standing up for Nicole. Not a good BB player, but a decent human being, unlike most of them.
  • Sam: Hitched his wagon to a failing Nick/Bella showmance but is fine for now.
  • Tommy: He’s dropping; play your own game and don’t waste your energy trying to save a cracking alliance.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Bella Is The Fourth Boot, Third Eviction

Not much to say about this week, aside from the fact that Cliff blew his HOH in titanic method. BB21 continues to be a long slog with a cast that goes beyond testing the limits of our tolerance; a more unlikable amalgam of people I have seldom seen.

I thought I would be happy to see Bella go, and she deserved it no doubt, but we could have been rid of one of the Jacks once and for all. This is a steamroll, and not even an entertaining one like BB20. Most of them are there for Instagram followers and it shows, not personality contests and for certain not gameplay.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Sam Is The Fifth Boot, Fourth Eviction

Big Brother 21 putts along, this time with Sam going out the door and talking to Julie. It was yet another week where the main alliance got its way in the face of little or no organized opposition. Things have gotten so stale that certain houseguests who know who they are began campaigning for America’s Favorite Player. Newsflash, Mister Fake Jason Momoa: someone is going to win, and it will not be you.

Sam going is sad in the fact that he appears to be a genuine guy. Whatever transgressions he may have had were not on the same plane as others like Jack and Jackson. When one of the few decent people in the house leaves, it is notable. Do I feel sorry for him and his game, however? No, and that’s because for long enough, he was content to be the ninth wheel in an eight-person alliance. He was content to be the seventh body in a six-person alliance. It was not until the end that he went for them, when it was too late. Instead of working with people on the outside to fortify opposition to the six, he let them pick him off. Hopefully, someone learns from his mistake, but in fairness, he is not the only person who made it.

Somehow, Jessica won the subsequent HOH. Let’s manifest this: #NominatetheJacks

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Jack Is The Sixth Boot, Fifth Eviction

On August 8, we heard the words we’ve waited over a month to hear: Jack, you are evicted from the Big Brother house.

Give Jessica major props. Until this past week, she was irrelevant. She had no sense of the game and even worse reads on people. So, what does she do? Jess goes in, wins HOH, nominates the Jacks, and then locks her noms by winning the veto. Where King Cliff failed, she did not. She made the biggest move of the season so far and finally, we have a game. (The bad news is that Tommy won the subsequent HOH and will play it as safe as possible and try to Krazy Glue the Six, er, Five Shooters back together so he can hide behind an alliance again.)

During the week, Jack turned up the disingenuous politeness to an 11. He laid it on thick in his final speech. Then he got outside and met Julie. Oh, you didn’t hear what happened? In the post-eviction interview, Julie Chen brought the receipts and clocked him for “ugly” comments about Kemi and Bella. In reality, it could have been a lot worse for him. Much like in the Aaryn interview from BB15, Julie could barely hide her contempt for Jack.

There will be no early jury buy-back, either. That’s the best news of all. So, we at The Bracket Yard’s pop culture depot hope you enjoyed today’s #JackEvictionParty.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Kat Is The Seventh Boot, Sixth Eviction

Well, I had a feeling when Tommy won the HOH that this would be a bad week. Things took a brief uptick when Christie, punished by America, lost the field trip and got nominated. Things returned to crap when Tommy won the veto and saved his secret friend from the outside world. In the end, we lost Kat, a number for the outsiders.

One way to look at it is this: the people you don’t like, it will only make it sweeter when they go home. If they go home.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Analyse Is The Eighth Boot, Seventh Eviction

It was almost a #ChristieEvictionParty, but the vote flipped in the final days to send Sis to the jury house. Please, put out of your filthy minds what she and Jack are doing right now. No doubt, Christie sees this as vindication from the universe, as though the universe has a deep investment in Big Brother 21.

Queen Nicole and King Cliff have officially slid into the second half of the season, at least as far as headcount goes. Two-thirds of the calendar season is over, but the numbers will shrink fast, in particular after the double eviction, which one can expect soon.

Jackson had a good week but not a great one, failing to take out his target. He got A target, not THE target. Meanwhile, Tommy remains untouchable; it would take some real double-eviction hi-jinks to get him out before finale night.

Big Brother 21 Spoilers: Cliff Goes Out Final Four

There is not much I have to say here, but there is this: Cliff and Nicole made a massive strategic error keeping the showmance in the house. Nicole knows it, and now Cliff knows it. Holly and Jackson are running the end game and they let it happen.

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