Unexpectedly, both conflicts became major talking points on the night as Omarosa took the media to task for its presentation of her, while James finally reached his breaking point and stood up to Brandi's near-constant bullying.
On top of all that, there was still a lot of game to play in a two-hour live double-eviction episode. By the end of the night the Final Five would be revealed, and as Julie Chen explained, all five would make it to finale night (this Sunday!). They'd play one more traditional round of "Big Brother," to reveal the Final Four. But then, the very next HOH will immediately evict two houseguests, selecting who stands next to them for the final vote. That's a ridiculous amount of power, and a move CBS only made to keep these ratings-gold celebs in the house as long as possible ... at least, that's our theory.
We're going to run this season like you'd run a department store. Each product, or celebrity, may have come in with equal value, but pretty quickly you start to see that certain ones aren't working. First, you try discounting them to see if they can turn things around and become solid performers again. But if that doesn't work, it's time to put them on clearance so you can sell them out (the door). With that said, let's take a look at our inventory, ranked from our strongest performer to our weakest ... after we spotlight some wonderful items in stock.
SPOTLIGHT ITEM - "Omarosa vs. the Media"
Omarosa has been vilified by the media since her time on "The Apprentice," and a lot of that is totally earned. That said, her grievance with the media this week wasn't even personal. It was more an observation on the state of the fourth estate based on how she's been presented. The topic came up when Marissa Jaret Winokur revealed that she hadn't actually known that Omarosa worked in the Clinton White House prior to working for Trump.
"The press intentionally edits my background to mock and to make light of people around [Trump], because the whole narrative is Donald Trump does not have qualified people around him," she said. "So why would they give my full credentials, my experience, when they tell my story. They never do. They're like, 'Omarosa from “The Apprentice.”' I'm like, 'Okay.'"
"The narrative for me was how does she become the Director of Communications. Well guess what my undergraduate degree is in? What's my master's degree in? What's my doctoral studies in? Communication. Every article I read that does not mention my background makes me go … hmm. I think it's the clearest evidence that journalism and true journalists have faded away." Mark McGrath's take was that journalists are more concerned about getting it first than getting it right.
This was perhaps the most civil battle of the ongoing war between Brandi and James, and it would prove the last. Her problem with him has been his arrogance (which we've definitely seen on display). His problem with her is that she so openly has a problem with him and thus gives him crap constantly. We were beginning to think it was how she kept herself entertained and sane in the house. Finally, he snapped back ... in a surprisingly civil way.
"You poke all day, every day," he told her. "You've been doing it since day one and I do my best to not poke you back because I don't think that's ever going to accomplish anything. But you really do, and you've apologized one time, and I thought that was really big of you. I really did. And I accepted that apology because it seemed sincere. It seemed genuine."
"But then you have just so many more times poked and poked and poked and been rude and done things that aren't really funny that maybe you think are funny, but obviously I don't and most of the house doesn't, because you do it and everyone else goes like, 'Oh my God, we can't say anything,' and I've chosen to just not say anything, 'cause there's just no point. But, if you don't see that, there's an issue. If you see it, and that's just what you think is okay, then, that's too bad."
Ross Matthews ("Chelsea Lately") emerges again atop the heap after the surprise double eviction shatters the existing power structure in the house. He still hasn't been caught in his double alliances, and remains both loved and respected in the house. Even better, almost the entire jury think he has just played a hell of a game, and that bodes very well for how it could end for him.
Marissa Jaret Winokur ("Hairspray") survived two evictions tonight, and in doing so solidified that she and Ross remains the only power duo left in the house. Every other partnership is broken, which means the remaining players would need to figure out quickly that they need to work together in order to try and win the game.
Ariadna Gutierrez (almost Miss Universe) may be the most underestimated player in the house. They think she's a weak competitor, though she's won two challenges now, and are totally underestimating how adored she is in the jury house. Ariadna has played a very smart game, strategic when she had to be, and winning when she had to. She's got as strong a case as anyone for finale night.
Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) had his HOH handed to him on a silver platter by James, but no one hates him in the house. The problem is that no one absolutely loves him, and he doesn't have a strong alliance with anyone anymore. His best bet would be to partner with Omarosa and Ariadna to try and get rid of either Ross or Marissa, but these three will have a hard time coming together. And, to exacerbate Mark's problems, no one thinks he's really done much at all to actually win the game.
Omarosa ("The Apprentice") remains on the outs with the rest of the house strategically, even as they're getting along with her better personally. But, that is totally her strategy. If she wants to win, she needs to become more likable even as she convinces them she's so unlikable that every one of them could beat her in the end. That may not be the case, as the sheer unlikeliness of her making it that far coupled with a compelling speech could sway votes her way.
We don't know how it happened, but the entire wine aisle sold out tonight, as did the feud between Brandi Glanville ("The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills") and James Maslow ("Big Time Rush"), in this surprising and sad double eviction. They were a joy to watch hate one another all season long, and they even managed to fight during one another's evictions. We'll miss them both so much. The house is going to be so quiet now.
"I think my best day in this house will be the day that Brandi goes home," James said before her eviction. "She can go and insult her friends, insult her own family. She can insult anybody she wants. But it won't be me for once, and I am just ecstatic. Looking forward to that day."
That day turned out to be today, and James even taped a farewell message for her. "Brandi, I have enjoyed absolutely none of the time I have spent around you," he said in it. "I'm ecstatic. It's the best day I've had in the house thus far. Bye-bye."
When Julie asked Brandi if she thought her mouth did her in, Brandi immediately said yes. "I'm 45. And if I could change and think before I speak, I would have done it by now," she said. "Trust me, I've tried. It just doesn't happen."
It was certainly no surprise she had an immediate response to James' farewell message, saying, "I hope that he gets to see the one I made for him at some point. I don't know if it's possible, but it was way worse than that." And we are so mad at Julie and CBS that James didn't get to see any of his goodbye videos ... but mostly this one! Come on, this would have been ratings gold!
As for James' farewell, he simply said triumphantly, "At least I beat Brandi!"
“We can finally get the wicked witch of the 'Big Brother' house out. That's Brandi.” Omarosa
“I can't save Brandi from Brandi.” Ross
“Brandi went so crazy there's no saving her now.” Marissa
“So the only person I don't want picked for the veto competition is Omarosa, because if she does win the Power of Veto, I may have to someone from my alliance.” Mark (moments before selecting Omarosa by random draw)
“The last person I want to pick for this Veto is James because he annoys me and he's stupid.” Brandi (moments before selecting James by random draw)
“THERE'S NO TOMATOES.” Marissa (awkwardly trying to change the subject as someone walks in the storage room while she's talking strategy)
“This is not going well. Can we get Trump to pardon her?” Ross (watching Omarosa's disastrous POV performance)
“Don't you want to sit next to me in the final two?” Omarosa (trying to woo Ross into working with her)
“I've spent 22 days sharing a bathroom with Omarosa and I still don't know who the real Omarosa is.” Ross
“I've never looked at a man's face and just gone, 'Wow, I could really get lost in those eyes.' Now I get it.” James (looking at his own eyes on a BB action figure ... we see what Brandi's talking about)
“I can't picture Marissa's nose right now and I only go to her mouth 'cause she's always talking. Did I ever really look at Marissa's nose or has it just always been her mouth … and boobs.” Brandi (playing a face-matching game)
“I love Ross. You can't stay mad at him for long. And he bribed me with free alcohol for the rest of our friendship.” Brandi (explaining to Julie Chen that she won't hold a grudge)
“I dare you to say something bad about me.” Julie Chen (to Brandi, who'd dared others in the house to do that)
“Hi Julie, it's been a day!” Ross (before making his second eviction vote of the night)