One of the changes made to Big Brother 2 was the introduction of the "Head of Household" concept. Mike was the first, and his plan backfired. Krista, the second, is using a different strategy. Is the concept a good idea, or should they have stayed with the voting from last season?
CBS has tried to generate more ratings for Big Brother 2 than they had for the original BB. They fixed up the house so it no longer looks like a showplace for Ikea; it looks like something that would appear in a home decorating magazine. They also spiced up the cast, trying not to have such banal people as they did in the first BB house. They filled the house with gorgeous people, all photogenic (well, mostly). And they changed the rules. In this new version of BB, the title of “Head of Household” (HoH) has been invented.
Here is a synopsis of how HoH works. The first HoH was picked by the contestants. They answered questions until only two of them were left in the running, Mike and Sheryl. The voting then went toward Mike, making him HoH. Being the HoH means you have your own bed in a room that is, well, sweet. It’s a beautiful room (I wish my bedroom looked like this). Huge bed, all yours, little dorm refrigerator stockpiled with alcohol and soda. (We found out tonight it has Dr Pepper, which appears to be Krista’s favorite soda), and other goodies. You even get your own maid service. But it’s not easy to be the head who wears the crown – the HoH has to make a rather important decision: pick two people for nomination. It’s a shame, because personally I think the other rules where the house guests decide who should be up were fairer.
The first HoH, Mike, nominated two women: Nicole, a 31-year-old personal chef from the South, and Sheryl, a 43-year-old interior designer and mother from Florida. Mike’s rationale for this was that at the time of the nominations, Nicole was the least-liked member of the house. This was true at the time of the nominations – she gave a very bad first impression, but turned it around. The other nominee, Sheryl, was the most-liked member of the house. I personally believe that Mike wasn’t completely honest in explaining why he picked Sheryl. I think Mike felt threatened by Sheryl – who almost won the first HoH instead of him, so he nominated her out of spite. After all if you are playing to win, you want to eliminate the people who may be threatening to you later on down the road, and Sheryl’s popularity could have caused problems for Mike later in the game.
Mike told the BB cameras he nominated Sheryl because he wanted Nicole gone. And as we all know by know, the mood has changed in the BB house, so that Sheryl was voted out as a strategic event. Nicole is more of a person to be reckoned with, and what she does in her stay there should be most interesting.
On Saturday’s show we saw Krista winning the HoH contest. Up until tonight, Krista had pretty much stayed under the house’s radar. She had been on TV a couple of times, once topless in the hot tub – or as topless as you can be on American television. And she was seen kissing Justin in the infamous knife-to-the-throat episode that got Justin evicted. But she has not been seen either nasty or nice, which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on your perspective. And Saturday’s show took pains to show the agonizing decision Krista was forced to make: who to nominate for Thursday’s eviction. Krista picked Autumn and Kent. I can see her picking on Autumn. Autumn strikes me as a very needy child who wants to be constantly told she is okay. She is also sleeping a lot, and I can’t help but wonder how she will fare if she stays too much longer. Autumn also said she wants to go home, and be with her child. Therefore nominating Autumn was a smart move. But I fail to see the logic of nominating Kent as well.
Now, if CBS had not changed the rules for this season’s BB, the houseguests would have nominated their own for eviction, and Will and Shannon would most likely be up for eviction. When Krista asked who should be evicted to each of the remaining houseguests, the majority of them replied “Will.” But Krista waffled on who she nominated, and as Kent said, “went down the middle” to appease everyone, thus nominating Autumn, who wants to leave, and Kent, who badmouthed Justin to her.
This seems like one of CBS’s “fine tuning” of BB to get better ratings. By creating HoH they are forcing the BB houseguests to publicly nominate each other and thus start cannibalizing each other. This is naturally creating more tension in the house. When they just nominated each other as a group, they didn’t know if their nominations would stick or not. And they did not know how the viewing audiences would vote for the two marked for eviction. I think with the Chicken George/Britany fiasco from last season, CBS went for this thinking the voting could not be manipulated. (For those who may have forgotten, the Chicken George/Britany vote went like this: Britany and George were put up for eviction halfway through last season’s BB. Chicken George’s wife got her entire town to call the 900 number to evict Brtitany, thus skewing the vote. It is possible had Mrs. George not done this, George would have been evicted, since Britany was the only real interesting person in the house.) On both the American version and in other countries, the contestants who were nominated the most usually made it to the final 2 or 4 (look at Paul in Britain’s version, who has been nominated four times but won the viewer vote handily each time so far). The jury is still out for this season’s BB. I think that is why we will continue to watch, to see how CBS concludes this show. The idea of a final jury picking the winner is intriguing. It will be interesting to see how that will play out after all of the infighting and backstabbing are said and done.
Susan Schechter works for a multinational Financial Markets/News company as a Research Analyst/Biographer covering the UK, Australia and other Commonwealth countries.