Secrets From Big Brother 16 Press Day

Gathering my puzzle pieces during the Veto comp (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

I recently went into the ‘Big Brother‘ house for Press Day,which is always one of my favorite days of the year. This was my 5th time going in (I believe a new record, surpassing Reagan Alexander’s four consecutive stints). I thought I might be done with Press Day, but I was fearful of what happened a few years ago. I was on a trip to New York city, so I couldn’t attend two years ago, and that just happened to be the year that Big Brother sent in Rachel Reilly (AKA my favorite HouseGuest ever) and her husband Brendon Villegas. I was so bummed I missed spending 12 hours in the house with Rachel and all her glitter!

So you can imagine my sheer delight when Rachel popped into the green room at CBS and I realized she was going into the House again this year as well! It was a smaller group than usual, only 8 journalists when it traditionally had been 10 or so. The participants this year besides myself and Rachel were: Patrick Gomez (People), Kerry Maller (KCBS), Kelli Green (K-Frog), Nina Parker (The Insider), Roz Weston (ET Canada) and Brian Haug, (WIBW in Kansas). A nice enough group, seemingly, but I had to think quickly in the green room on who to align with and who to target. This is Big Brother, after all!

We went into the house in different groups, just as if we were a real cast. The first group in was myself, Patrick and Kerry. Now we had all competed at Press Day before, so we quickly formed a “Returners Alliance” after quickly throwing our bags onto beds.

The rest of the HouseGuests entered and we quickly marveled at what the house looked like. It’s a very active house this year, with a bird/treehouse upstairs next to the HOH bedroom. (Perfect for spying from up top via a bird’s eye view). The HOH bed even is built like a bird’s nest, complete with wood planks and bird-shaped pillows etc. I’m not sure how comfortable (or safe?) this even is, but there is definitely a bird theme going on this year.

Competing against the great Rachel Reilly for HOH (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Other impressions of the House: You do NOT want to be a Have Not. One of the bedrooms literally looks like hell. There are flames on the bedsheets and multiple fire alarms positioned above all the beds. I can only imagine the BB 16 cast in there and the alarms going off in the middle of the night…

After a quick tour of the house, we all decided to gather in the living room and introduce ourselves. Having participated in Press Day four other times, I got a sneaking suspicion not to be so forthright with my past experiences. Patrick and Kerry both introduced themselves before me and touted themselves as veterans. I was the last to introduce myself and mentioned that I had played before, but not how many times. Something inside me told me to downplay the experience. And it was mainly due to Kansas Brian, or Brian #2. He looked like a competitor. My impressions of the cast otherwise was that everyone was so nice! Nina was fun, Kelli, although a little quiet initially, was very sweet, and Rachel was everything I could have hoped for – sassy, sequined and gorgeous! (Yes, I might have been a bit starstruck at first). Roz was very cool as well, and reminded me physically of a younger Evel Dick. And then there was Brian – he was playing up the whole “I’m a huge Big Brother fan from Kansas” but I could sense he was probably the biggest threat to do big things in the house.

Sooner rather than later, it was time for the most important competition of the day: the Head of Household competition. As we anxiously awaited being allowed into the BB backyard, I knew more likely than not it was going to be a “majority rules” game, which they’ve done in the past on Press Day.

Sure enough, that’s what it was – and oh look who’s that hosting the competition? Ugh, my least favorite BB player possibly ever, Mike “Boogie” Malin. I should have known right then that this was NOT going to be my competition to win.

We then had to select answers to questions Boogie asked us. We would have to decide “A” or “B” to questions, and not to what we thought was the right answer, but what we thought the majority of the house would pick. After multiple questions where we all answered the same (or tied, thus eliminating no one), Rachel, Patrick and Kerry finally got knocked out, leaving five of us left. Following a tiebreaker question, the new HOH was…Brian H (Kansas Brian). My suspicions on him were right – this kid is player!

Scheming with Rachel Reilly in the BB house (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Then immediately after the win, Boogie says he has to put three people on slop. And who does he choose? Myself, Patrick and Kelli. Ugh, why me? I had successfully avoided being on Slop all four times in the past on Press Day, so I guess I was due, but I was not happy. And yes, this further proves my hatred for all things Boogie is legit and justified.

Upon re-entering the house, we were greeted by a big steaming pile of Slop. Gross! The three of us unlucky Sloppers tried it, and man was it not good. It looks like oatmeal, but definitely doesn’t taste like it. More like industrial strength, gritty gruel. I tried many things throughout the day to make it tastier, but the only thing that mildly worked was sugar. It’s amazing how a lack of food can affect you. Granted I was only on Slop for maybe 7 hours, but it totally made me lethargic and weak. I don’t see how regular BB contestants survive on this – sometimes for weeks at a time?

After the HOH comp, we had the Nomination Ceremony, and it looks like my keeping quiet on my past experience in the game paid off, as Patrick and Kerry were nominated by HOH Brian and he said it’s because of their previous experience. (I definitely dodged a bullet there).

Then we had plenty of time to kill, so with Rachel’s help we got a rousing game of “Big Booty” going as well as “Would you Rather”. We also had to talk like a pirate whenever Big Brother told us to as one of the consequences from the HOH competition. This basically added up to us all saying “Argh,” “Matey,” and “Ahoy” for a few minutes. Um, yeah, not good!

After the Veto comp with Mr. Pectacular himself (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Soon enough it was time for the veto competition, hosted by none other than Mr. Pectacular, Jessie Godderz! (Looking damn good I must say in all his shirtless glory). We go to the backyard again and – it’s a puzzle. I don’t think this will be good for me, but am cautiously optimistic.

My puzzle is set up next to HOH Brian and he is just killing it. I’m struggling hardcore, and keep looking over as he’s placing piece after piece. Damn, sure enough Brian #2 kills the competition and romps to the Veto win. He now has all the power. Does he want to save one of his nominees and shake things up?

I start to get a sinking feeling when we are leaving the backyard and I see him whisper something to Rachel. Is he planning to put me up as a replacement? Panic mode sets in!

I quickly go to Rachel and ask her if something is up. We’ve bonded throughout the day and I feel like she will tell me. She says I should go talk to Brian H (uh oh!). I do so and he mentions that he might be saving someone but he is thinking through all his options. (Typical Big Brother/HOH double speak). I instantly know I’m in trouble! I quickly start to talk to the other HouseGuests and see what they’ve heard. It sounds like Brian is indeed considering putting me up as a replacement. I tell Rachel this can’t happen, and she says she is going to try to convince him to not put me up. Will BB’s greatest player come through for me?

After a tense hour or so it’s time for the Veto meeting. Brian says he has decided to use the power of Veto …to save Patrick! Am I sunk? I am all but resigned to sitting on the dreaded nominee chair when he says he is putting Roz up. Phew! Rachel worked her magic!!

Roz is then voted out 5-0 and that’s the end of a throroughly entertaining Press Day. (He was Canadian, we had to vote to keep Kerry :)

So after all this, I’m officially announcing my retirement from Big Brother Press Day. After setting the record for most appearances in the house (5) and having done it all (I’ve been evicted, won HOH, been on the block but not evicted, and finally thwarted a bid to be put on the block), it’s time to gracefully bow out.

That is unless next year I’m told that Rachel and Janelle simply HAVE to have me back in the House with them next year. After all, you have to expect the unexpected!

Big Brother 16 premieres this Wednesday at 8/7c on CBS.

Meet the Big Brother 16 HouseGuests:

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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