Big Brother, Week 9: O Paulie, Where Art Thou?

Well the worm has certainly turned since we last checked in on the Big Brother house. If you had been watching only the show, you would suspect that Paulie and “The Executives” alliance was clearing an easy path to a “Final Five” deal, but those who had watched the live feeds realized it had been a tumultuous week in the Big Brother house, details of which didn’t fit within the double eviction episode, but were spelled out during the next airing.

As we learned, there was a reason Bridgette mentioned the way Paulie had treated Natalie in her final speech before eviction. And oh what a blow up it was. During the lead-up to the double eviction, Natalie took it upon herself to approach Zakiyah and let her know some of the shenanigans that Paulie had pulled when she wasn’t around, including a not so subtle flirtation despite the established showmances between the pair with Z and James. Natalie also used this information, letting James know about some of Paulie’s flirtations. Unfortunately for Z, she ran straight to Paulie thinking Natalie was trying to get in her head and Paulie went on the offensive, calling out Natalie for “being as fake as the things on her chest.”

This led to some really uncomfortable confrontations with Bridgette initially sticking up for Natalie who wasn’t in the room, calling his comments a personal attack rather than gameplay, but Paulie wasn’t having it, doubling down on her. This all happens in front of Paul and Victor, who were already starting to suspect Paulie of not being true to their alliance thanks to James earlier revealing that Corey was Paulie’s true final two partner. And seeing the writing on the wall, Paul and Victor teamed up with James and Natalie to send Zakiyah, a Paulie ally, packing instead of Michelle. The Bridgette eviction likely came about with Corey in power because she had stuck up for Natalie and Corey was not going to go against his boy.

But this was just the first salvo as the house starts to maneuver against a perceived Paulie-Corey finals pact. During the week, Nicole was granted “Supreme Safety” and an awesome orange cone unitard as part of America’s Care package, which made it pretty easy for Victor, the new head of household, to make his big game move. Initially Victor considered Michelle and Natalie until Paul got in his ear that they had the numbers to make a big game move and now was the time. Initially Victor wavered on the idea, but Paul convinced him by reminding him how Paulie backdoored him earlier in the season.

And by the time the nominations came about, Paulie and Corey found themselves on the block, a move that shocked Paulie and moved him to tears at the idea of his bro going home. Paulie pleaded with Victor throughout the week to take Corey off the block so that he could campaign against someone else, but Victor wouldn’t do it and Paulie essentially decided that his only chance to stay was to win the Veto himself. While there were some sad faces knowing what was possible, those quickly turned to smiles with the return of Zingbot. The zingers included a Hayden joke at Nicole’s expense, calling Victor a douchebag and a shot at Michelle for crying and throwing up before Zingbot led the houseguests into a prize-based competition.

Victor ended up winning the competition, keeping the nominations the same, while James took home a $5,000 prize finishing second. Corey ended up in a red, white and blue unitard and was required to be holding one of two props throughout the week. Paulie was required to be a chef and bake pies for the house upon command, and Paul, well, he was sporting sunglasses and a snazzy suit, supposedly being a secret service agent required to pat down the houseguests and survey set up “checkpoints” in the house every time it was commanded.

As the week came to a close, Paulie was set to go home and the houseguests obliged, ousting him with a 5-0 vote, but there was still the matter of that “Round Trip” ticket, which had yet to be revealed and was in its final week as a possible benefit to the houseguests. Did Paulie have it? No, it turns out that Paul, who was the first to discover the twist, picked the exact right ticket, but it does him no good as he’s still in the game and the twist has expired. So Paulie ends up a reminder of how quickly things can change in the Big Brother house, especially if you don’t keep your cool.

Let’s take a look at where the houseguests stand heading into this next week. And be sure to tune in Friday for a bonus episode that reportedly features a concert performance from Ziggy Marley and a longtime Big Brother favorite returning to host a competition.

Big Brother Rankings

1. Paul – Who would have thought this was possible? But after making a wrong alliance early in the season, Paul redeemed himself in the eyes of Paulie as he was gaining power in the house. The bearded one may be loud, but he’s also likeable, and he used his gift of gab to extract information from others that he ran back to Paulie, leading to Paulie’s reign in the Big Brother house. But when Paul saw his “friendship” with Paulie was not met with a tit-for-tat game moves, he began to question the alliance and knew exactly when to flip his loyalty. And let’s not forget, even though it was Victor’s HoH this week, Paul was the one who initiated the big game move of getting Paulie out. He, Victor and Michelle reportedly are in a final three deal and appear perfectly positioned to pull it off. And of those three, Paul appears the most able to manipulate the others in and out of his alliance as needed.

2. Victor – He’s been a competition beast, winning his way back into the game and being the HoH on multiple occasions since his return. He and Paul are perfectly positioned within the house to make the power moves left in the game, and aside from them turning on each other, it’s hard to imagine them not making the final two together. Should James, Natalie, Nicole or Corey win a competition, they would be wise to go after Victor given his recent strength in all battles, otherwise he might just be on an every other week victory lap to the finals.

3. James – He made the first move against Paulie and led to the current Victor/Paul uprising in the house. But he has to know that he’s on the outside looking in with those two and likely senses he’s not Michelle’s first choice either. But he appears to have a good enough relationship with Nicole to mend any fences caused by the eviction of Paulie and could scoop her up for his side if he catches on to the Victor/Paul/Michelle collaboration. And it’s not out of the equation that he could flip Michelle either. But pulling in Corey might be a tough sell as James’ past move is likely viewed as betrayal and the reason he’s currently fighting for his Big Brother life.

4. Natalie – If she and James somehow come to power instead of Paul and Victor, anything is possible. And let’s not forget what a key role she played in the ousting of Paulie and the breaking up of the Paulie / Zakiyah / Corey / Nicole showmance foursome. She’s made smart moves of late after coasting through the early part of the season, and is likely being underestimated at this point. Was that strategic? We’ll see.

5. Michelle – She thought she was out, they pulled her back in. While it’s no surprise to see Michelle on the block, she appears to be the pawn in most scenarios. In fact, Paul and Victor are already talking of taking her to the final three. And why not? She’s not shown much with the competitions, has let her emotions get in the way of her game play and any strong allegiances, and would likely not be voted to win it all by any of the jury members as she has floated along. But she’s still in good position in the house with Nicole and Corey expected to be the next two targets.

6. Nicole – She’s viewed as less of a threat than Corey, who has used his physical prowess in competitions when it was needed. With Paulie ousted and Corey likely next, Nicole’s only hope at this point is to be snatched up by either James and Natalie or Paul and Victor as a number for their voting and then hope to win some competitions along the way. Ideally, she would be pulled in by James and Natalie, as James could promise her a final three deal and it actually be true.

7. Corey – He was the backup nominee this past week and aside from Nicole, the rest of the house is ready for him to go. An HoH win would be needed to ensure his safety, and the power of veto could also help him out. But it’s safe to say that Corey is in the most tenuous position in the house.

Remember, there is a special bonus episode Friday night on CBS, which will help set the table for the next week. Be sure and tune in.

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