By Mark Drum
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The 90-minute season finale of Big Brother 17 was an exciting finish; well at least for two people. But first, the final three houseguests were competing to win the final HOH as all three were holding on for their life to survive and win the first part of a three-part competition. Plus Dr. Will Kirby from Season 2 came back to visit the jury members to discuss about the final three and who they feel should win the half million dollar prize and title of Big Brother winner. If you missed last night’s finale, you missed a blindside, tears and the announcement of America’s Favorite houseguest. Which spoiler was James, who won over the other 15 eliminated houseguests as well as over John and Jason. Here’s my recap of last night’s roller coaster of emotions!

The Final Three Face Off

Liz, Steve and Vanessa all held on to their life for survival in the Big Brother house. The houseguests were holding on as they were being swung into a wall, dipped into liquid and being hit with powdered sugar and rock candy for the first part of the three-part final HOH competition. Each houseguest wanted to win this first part to secure their place in the third part of the final HOH, which would be taking place on finale night. This competition went on for hours. After the three-hour mark they houseguests were informed to move from their disc and down to the ball so sit on as they continued to be swung, dipped and hit. Steve was the first to be eliminated. After being eliminated he knew if he wanted to secure himself into the final two he would need to now win the second part of the final HOH competition. Vanessa being the poker player she is started to work over Liz into falling off, saying she could go on for hours. But secretly as Vanessa was stating in her DR, she was starting to lose her momentum, but told Liz she needed this win badly. Somehow Vanessa was able to convince Liz, assuring her she’d take her to final two if she won and thus winning the first part of the final HOH competition.

For the second part of the HOH competition, it involved a huge crossword from the BB Gazette, where Liz and Steve had to correctly fill out the crossword about events that happened this summer. I was pleasantly surprised it was about events rather than putting up the order of evicted houseguests. The real challenge for each houseguest was essentially time and without seeing how the other was doing, they each had to work fast to guarantee themselves a spot in the third part of the final HOH competition against Vanessa. In the end it was a few minutes apart that separated Liz and Steve. However Steve was faster and took the second part of the competition, leaving Liz’s fate to either Steve or Vanessa.

Dr. Will Visits The Jury

Big Brother legend Dr. Will Kirby gathered the seven evicted houseguests together to discuss the final three. But before he could discuss the final three, the jury members had to meet the eighth member and Julia didn’t want to see her sister walking in, while Becky didn’t want to see either Steve or John coming to join them. Sadly it was double evicted houseguest John that came to join them, which excited Julia as her twin sister was still in the game. The best part of Dr. Will coming to talk with the jury was to make sure none of them have BJS, which stands for “Bitter Jury Syndrome.” BJS has influenced the winner from many seasons past and so being an outside voice of reason and someone the houseguests who knows how it feels to win and lose the game, take the role of deciding the winner very seriously. However there were definitely a couple jury members that had some bitter feelings towards two of the final three competitors. The biggest person with BJS was Austin, as he wants to see Vanessa evicted from the house and in jury. I was surprised to see John have hard feelings for Steve but no surprise for Vanessa. Meanwhile Liz was a hugely debated topic about why she should deserve to win because it seemed as though for many of the jury members her game moves were solely made to help other houseguests in their game as opposed to her own. Another surprise was how Meg was being an advocate for Liz making it to the final three. After Dr. Will finished his chat with the jury, it only made my excitement to see what they’d ask the final two houseguest even more surprising and which final three member would be sitting with them. Would the final evicted jury member have BJS and that answer is yes, that person DEFINITELY had some BJS when it came to crowning the winner.

How Vanessa Lost The Game

For the third and final part of the final HOH competition it was a matter of balancing the scales in their favor as Steve and Vanessa faced off. As I predicted but know from knowledge from previous seasons of Big Brother, the two houseguests had to correctly guess how a jury member would finish a statement. The very first question split Steve and Vanessa as each chose the answer opposite answer from the other. Steve guessed correctly earning him a point. The second question both of them got wrong, the third both got correct and by the seventh question they again were split, but this time Vanessa answered correctly. So the eight and final question would determine the winner and this is where Vanessa ultimately lost the game as Steve guessed correctly.

From watching after Steve won, Vanessa’s head was spinning and sadly could see her game fall to the wayside. Vanessa knew that she needed to win the final HOH to ensure herself a spot in the final two. But leaving it in the hands of Steve in deciding whether he should evict her or Liz was difficult decision. However this decision could cost him a half million dollars or ensure himself as the winner. HIs speech was very well thought out but also filled with nerves and excitement, as he not surprisingly voted to evicted Vanessa. The biggest reason is he didn’t want to pull a “Cody,” from last season when Cody took Derrick to the final two and cost him the game. Steve being the super fan of the game knew he could not win with Vanessa, whom he called “one of the best female players, in Big Brother.” So Vanessa Rousso, the 32-year-old, professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV joined the jury in crowning the winner of Big Brother 17. Her admission to the jury members that she was professional poker player didn’t come across as a shock but rather a “don’t forget about me,” scenario to myself and to many other audience viewers. Vanessa shouldn’t be sad about losing the money since she has plenty, but Vanessa knowing she lost Big Brother definitely gave her some BJS and it read all over her face. Also I really wanted to burn that green hat she wore.

Steve’s Strategic Win

Liz was completely shocked at Steve’s decision to keep her in the game over Vanessa. Liz was thanking him for keeping her and ensuring one of them at least $50,000. This was ultimately where Steve won the game. As a super fan, Steve had been practicing what he would say to the jury all week if he had the opportunity to be int he final two. He himself knew that if Vanessa won, she would have evicted him and admitted so during her post eviction interview with Julie Chen. Meanwhile Liz’s downfall was the lack of preparation in answering jury questions. One by one, each evicted jury member had their opportunity to ask a question to either Liz or Steve. Steve had to answer a lot of questions that involved him being seen as a floater in the game, what were some of his biggest game moves and most importantly why should he win Big Brother over Liz. This is where Steve really shined as he took the jury members back in the season to key points of the game where he made big game moves that helped himself advance, how he really wasn’t a floater, but in my opinion slightly still was and it was clear he was a student as well as a fan of this game. His preparation was very reminiscent of Ian Terry, winner of Season 14, where he won over our Michigander Dan Gheesling. Steve was very eloquent and genuine about his time in the game, that he knew he needed to really tell the jury how he deserves the win. This is because Steve knows the jury could have all had BJS and just awarded the game to Liz.

The voting took place and it was clear by some of the statements the jury made whom they were voting for. When Vanessa cast the final vote, it was a commercial break before we would know who would be crowned the winner and going against the norm of tradition, Julie Chen decided to start with Vanessa’s vote first. Vanessa stated she was voting for the person that best represented this season and her vote was for Liz. So Vanessa was either saying it was a season of “strong women,” or a case of BJS or a little bit of both, and my prediction is the latter. By a vote of 6 – 3, Steve Moses the 23-year-old college student from Gouverneur, NY won the crown of Big Brother 17 over Liz Nolan the 23-year-old Marketing Coordinator from Miami, FL. With a wave of emotions Steve walked out of the Big Brother house victorious and very excited to see his mom and dad.

Thank You

It has been a roller coaster of a season; from 14 houseguests it turned to 17 with a few twists from Big Brother Take Over and a Twin Twist. There were three double evictions, a returning jury member return but then get evicted from the game and finally a winner being crowned. I want to say thank you to all who’ve continued to read my recaps for this season as well as past seasons here on the CBS Detroit website. It’s always a pleasuring getting to give my insight, passion and love of the game to readers. Big thanks to CBS Detroit for continuing to have me come back every season to write again and lastly thank you Big Brother. My summers would be boring if I didn’t have it to watch! So stay tuned, I’ll hopefully be back next year to give my recaps or who knows you might just see me in the house. I just got to get through casting, hey Robyn Kass, where’s my invite? Let Alison Grodner and the other executive producers as well as CBS reps that I’m looking to be on the show! Until then connect with me via social media, email or in person! I’m looking forward to next summer already for Big Brother Season 18!

Mark Drum is a Farmington Hills, MI native and Big Brother fan since 2000. Mark is a graduate from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Theatre Arts.