It’s hard to believe that Big Brother will be airing its 20th season in the U.S. this summer. The reality TV series, based on a Dutch reality competition, puts contestants from across the U.S., and from all walks of life, to live together in a house. Isolated from the rest of the world, they have no means to communicate with anyone but one another (and show producers, of course), no television, radio, or mobile devices, or books (the Bible excepted.)
So what do they do? They plot, scheme, forge alliances, compete, and dodge evictions to be the last person standing, who wins $500,000. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that their every move and word is captured on camera, where die-hard fans can watch them 24/7 along with the 3-4 times weekly edited televised episodes.
In season 18, which aired in 2016, Nicole Franzel, who was a returning competitor (originally playing in season 16) emerged victorious, beating out the season’s villain Paul Abrahamian by a final vote of 5-4, making her the first woman to win against a man in the final two.
The season was memorable for a number of reasons, including two houseguests were related to previous ones (Paulie Calafiore, Cody Calafiore’s brother) and Tiffany Rousso (Vanessa Rousso’s sister), along with four fan-favorite returning players (Da’Vonne Rogers, James Huling, Franzel, and Frank Eudy). A few players stood out for being the best that season, while some who were the absolute worst.
11 Best: Nicole Franzel
A deserving winner, she didn’t play hard and get in peoples’ faces (too much), but Nicole played smart. She’s likable, friendly, and laid back. She always seems to get caught up in a showmance every season – this time, it was with Corey. (Interestingly, she’s now engaged to fellow housemate Victor Orroyo.)
Aside from the “girl power” kudos for being the first female to win against a male in the finals, she made some big moves, including convincing Natalie Negrotti to target Paul and Victor instead of her, then shifting alliances back and forth to suit her game. It was partly the jury’s dislike of Paul that ultimately led to Nicole’s win. But she quietly made moves that justify her as one of the best that season.
10 Best: James Huling
Not the smartest player of the bunch, but James was simply the best because the season would have been boring without him. With a penchant for pulling pranks, he was loved by all in the house, and even made the top three to win America’s Favourite Houseguest at the end of the season. (He actually won the title in season 16).
While he wasn’t the one pulling any strings, he often found himself in the swong vote position, and thus it was his choices that led to several major players going home, including Zakiyah Everette, Victor Arroyo, and Corey Brooks. Getting out power players, even if it is simply by default, makes him worthy of this list.
9 Best: Frank Eudy
Anyone who can forge an alliance with former Big Brother winner Mike “Boogie” Malin and resurrect the Chilltown secret duo is a winner in our books, which Frank did when he first appeared in season 14. Both times he was on the show, the houseguests took every opportunity to nominate him, deeming him a formidable physical threat.
Considered to be one of the best physical competitors of the series, he was the first male ever to win six competitions, including three HoHs and three POVs, in season 14. In that season, he was also named America’s Favourite Houseguest. In season 18, he was sent packing early, placing 12th, mainly due to his blowouts with a few of the women on the show. Nonetheless, his amazing athletic ability puts him on the top of the list for competitors.
8 Best: Victor Arroyo
Sure, he didn’t win. But he kicked serious butt, being evicted not once, but twice, and winning his way back into the house through Battle Back Competitions both times. He then won several more competitions, and rejoined Paul for a new alliance.
While he did end up getting sent home (again) he was still able to take out his rivals before finding his own head on the chopping block. Not surprisingly, America rewarded Victor as America’s Favourite Player at the end of the season.
7 Best: Paul Abrahamian
A case could be made for Paul being dubbed both the best and worst player. He definitely had game play skills, and played aggressively, manipulating and scheming his way into the final two both times. But in the end, his cocky attitude trumped his great social game, and left a bitter taste in the jury’s mouth making him runner up not only this season, but season 19 as well.
Still, it’s hard to deny that Paul made the season interesting. And he taught us all that in order to win, you need to play strategically, but also maintain the respect of your housemates.
6 Worst: Bronte D’Acquisto
Catching a lot of flack from viewers following several racist remarks caught on camera during the live feeds, Bronte didn’t make many waves otherwise in the game.
She forged alliances, but then got blindsided and sent home third. She could have made it back, but lost out to competition beast Victor in the Battle Back Competition. We can’t say we were sad to see her, and her many hair accessories, go.
5 Worst: Glenn Garcia
Who? Someone always has to be first out, and Glenn was certainly deserving. He didn’t scheme much while he was in the house and wasn’t good at competitions. He even had the chance to battle to get back into the house but lost. Glenn wasn’t in the house long enough to show much of his personality, but from what we saw, he didn’t stand a chance.
4 Worst: Bridgette Dunning
Bridgette was sweet and innocent - totally the girl next door. But she seemed to focus too much crushing on Frank (though she denied she had any romantic feelings for him) and not on gameplay.
Nonetheless, being so close to enemy number-one led to Bridgette becoming a target early on. She helped make big moves once Frank was gone, but she was probably the least compelling person to watch on screen.
3 Worst: Jozea Flores
Annoying is one word to describe this player. He played too hard from the get-go, gunning for the returning players, and stupidly disclosing this plan to Da’Vonne, who herself was a returning player, and to Victor, who was close with the HoH Nicole and told her of Jozea’s plan. Naturally, Jozea was blindsided and sent home. He gets zero points for his non-existent strategic gameplay.
2 Worst: Corey Brooks
Dashingly handsome and one of the resident jocks in the house, Corey caught the attention of Nicole, and they quickly began a showmance that seemed to be more important to him than playing the game.
Flip-flopping with Nicole each week to get out who they wanted, he played more in her shadow than for himself. Which probably explains why he was sent home and she won. He does deserve some kudos, however, for making it to fourth place.
1 Worst: Michelle Meyer
She just cried. Too. Much. This girl cried at every single thing. And while we can understand that it’s probably easy to get really emotional in the house, dealing with constant paranoia and being away from your loved ones, Michelle, ak.a. “Big Meech,” took it to another level. Sure, she had allies, and played a strategic game. But enough of the crying, already!