Big Brother’s 18th season came to an end on Wednesday night (September 21) with returning player Nicole Franzel (Big Brother 16) winning the $500,000 grand prize over runner-up Paul Abrahamian by a 5-4 vote.
The 90-minute finale, which aired on CBS and Global, including the final round of the all-important HOH competition which saw Paul win and take Nicole to the final two instead of returning houseguest James Huling (Big Brother 17). Victor Arroyo, who managed to return to the house following two evictions, won the title of America’s Favourite Player, earning him $25,000. Runner-up Paul was awarded $50,000.
The TV Watercooler had the opportunity to speak with the final three houseguests. In this interview, James opens up his vote for Paul, what it was like returning to the house as well as his friendship with Natalie.
How was the experience the second time around for you?
The second time around was definitely a lot harder compared to last. I would say that this season was more controversial. There was a lot going on. A lot of twists, fights and calling people out. This season was Big Brother to the max.
Was it more fun?
It was definitely more fun. Honestly, this season felt like we were actually playing the game. In season 17, we came up with some games to keep us pre-occupied during to kill a lot of time but this season, it was more like “Let’s just call people out and see where the chips fall!”
Do you have a favourite season?
That’s a tough one. I would say this season because I met Natalie. She’s really special. I am glad that I was able to go in an play this season and meet her.
You got America’s Choice last year. Does meeting Natalie outweigh that for you? You’ve got some genuine feelings for her.
We definitely connected. I got some good vibes from her last but we haven’t had time together since because of the interviews… We’ve been separated but I’m definitely looking forward to some one on one time with her.
When you were leaving the house, you seemed more loyal to Nicole but then you went ahead and voted for Paul.
That’s crazy. Yeah. Expect the unexpected!
When did that change come around?
Honestly, Nicole was giving me the vibe that it was a toss up to her. She didn’t know if she wanted to take me to the end. I saw a lot of Paul and Nicole going into rooms together during the last couple of days. When Paul gave me his final two speech, it was kind of a stick in the back because he said that Nicole told him all this stuff and that I was just tossing Paul under the bus every chance I got and that’s the reason why he wasn’t taking me to the final two. I thought that if that was the case, then she could have really gone about it a different way. But she did what she thought she had to do to get to the end. I don’t blame her.
Who would you have taken to the final two?
I would have definitely taken Paul. I committed my loyalty to him. Let’s face it, if Corey and Nicole had won that last veto, there was no if’s and when’s that Corey would have voted me out. I would have been a dead man walking from there. Paul won that veto and Nicole got mad at him for winning it. It saved me. That’s when he had my loyalty.
What do you think made the jury vote for Nicole?
Oh man… Pink, glitter and unicorns. This was definitely a girl power jury. They wanted to see a female win this season. Those Spy Girls were all about girl power. The fact that Natalie voted for Nicole, threw me for a loop! I did not see that coming.
Who do you think played the worst game this season?
I would probably have to say the first person who got voted out. Jozea. I’ve never seen someone come in so strong and give out house chores to houseguests and call a 15 houseguest meeting where he’s just shouting targets out! “We’re going after this person and that person!” It’s like, what are you doing man?!
Who do you think played the best game?
I’d probably have to say, Nicole. She won it. We had a lot of strong players in this game. Mental, physical and Big Brother did a great job throwing in the right mix to get a full high-speed cast this season!