A packed premiere leaves little time for the Houseguests to get to know one another, but that doesn't stop Kandi Burruss and Tamar Braxton from unpacking old baggage.
That's right, "Celebrity Big Brother" is back and it brought along a wild array of celebrities for us to creep on over the next four weeks. Ironically, the first competition involved creating celebrity "power pairs," but there were already a couple of them in the house.
Olympian Lolo Jones was irritated the second she saw fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte in the house because they'd competed in the same Olympic games, creating an immediate connection in the eyes of their competitors. Much more under the radar was the duo of Kandi Burruss and Tamar Braxton, though theirs appears to be a maybe-not-so-friendly rivalry.
It didn't stop Tamar from picking Kandi as her partner in the first competition of the season, but that didn't go particularly well for them, which left a sour taste in Tamar's mouth. Perhaps the women will be able to talk out their issues in quieter moments. If not, well that's a lot of distraction when there's $250,000 on the line.
Honestly, there was so much to do in this first hour, we kind of wish it had been a two-hour premiere so we could get some genuine interaction from the Houseguests. They were introduced and then rushed into that first comp so fast Dina Lohan couldn't even remember enough names to pick a partner properly.
We're going to run this season like you'd run a department store. Each product, or Houseguest, 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 get them out the door.
With that said, let's take a look at our inventory, ranked from our strongest performer to our weakest. But first, let's take a look at a new spotlight item in stock this week.
SPOTLIGHT ITEM: Drinks On Us
Left out entirely from the first competition were O.J. Simpson witness Kato Kaelin and WWE Superstar Natalie Eva Marie. They got to sit on the sidelines and watch as Ryan partnered with "Mean Girls" star Jonathan Bennett, Tamar and Kandi hooked up, actor Joey Lawrence chose NFL star Ricky Williams, Lolo partnered with comedian Tom Green, and Dina could only remember Anthony Scaramucci's name.
We genuinely feel bad for these celebs who were tasked with one of the most challenging first competitions we've ever seen. They had to swing back and forth in tandem to transfer "champagne" from the glass of one Houseguest to their partner and into a giant novelty glass. First to fill it up wins.
It must have gone on for hours, with the first several spent just learning how to get their swing moving. Ryan was the first to figure out that slow deliberate moves get it going, which might just be an indicator of how much of an athletic threat the 12-time medalist is going to be this summer.
At stake was the first Head of Household of the summer, but Julie left out one important detail. While she told them only one of them would be HOH, she didn't mention that the other would instantly become the season's first nominee. And it would be a competition between the pair to determine who lands in which slot.
It was a neck-and-neck race, with Tom doing far better than Lolo thought he would, but they still fell short of Ryan and Jonathan. The hour ended before we could see them square off, so we honestly have no idea who is HOH and who is the nominee (Live Feed viewers know, but we're going to keep those spoilers out of these articles for the sake of those who don't follow those).
As such, all of our rankings will be wildly speculative for this first outing, but we're still going to feel way too confident in them. After all, there's no way we're going to get voted out of the house before the finale!
Ryan Lochte has proven himself the one to beat in physical competitions so far, and he definitely has an edge against Jonathan, unless it's a mental game. What? Don't judge us. He said himself he picked Jonathan for his brains to match Ryan's brawn. We just happen to agree with him that he's more lacking in that area.
Lolo Jones is another Olympic powerhouse, and we saw this week that she has an indomitable spirit and killer competitive drive. The fact that she's never won an Olympic medal to Ryan's 12 means she might just be a little hungrier than he is, and she'll certainly give it her all when competing directly with him.
Joey Lawrence has a lot of goodwill in the house thanks to how well known he is, and how beloved he's been throughout his career. Add to this the fact that he's incredibly fit and athletic, and seems to be pretty savvy, and we think he's going to be safe for awhile.
Natalie Eva Marie is a self-proclaimed superfan of "Big Brother," and even though we didn't get to see her perform this week, we think she'll prove to be one to watch as the season progresses. We'll definitely need to see how well she bonds with the other Houseguests.
Jonathan Bennett could be in trouble if he doesn't win his comp with Ryan, but even if he does, we don't think he's in any real danger (depending on who he's sitting next to). He's very likable and he knows this game well, which is hugely advantageous among so many celebrities who don't seem to know much about it at all. Plus, he was fully half of that physical competition, so he's got brawn of his own.
Tom Green probably surprised his own partner Lolo with how well he did, considering she chose him because she didn't think he'd do well at all. And yet, they almost won. On top of that, his goofy charm has softened over the years and he seems to be entertaining his fellow Houseguests in a way that isn't off-putting. We'll have to see if he can avoid crossing that line.
Kandi Burruss would be higher on this list, but we worry that she is getting pulled into a pointless and petty feud with Tamar. If that happens, it will prove disastrous for both women. And Kandi has "Real Housewives" instincts, which can be very entertaining, but won't do much to further her game in a situation like this. She seemed more ready to leave the past in the past, so she could rise if she is able to just leave Tamar be and use her wit and intelligence to navigate this game.
Ricky Williams is definitely not the physical specimen he was in the NFL but that competitive spirit is still there, paired now with a nurturing and "healing" side. That combination could make him a real threat if he pushes his social game to the forefront. With very little screen time in the house, this assessment is definitely one of our most random ones, based on what little intel we could gather on him.
Anthony Scaramucci might be getting an unfair tick from us here, but we worry that his Type A personality will get him into hot water with the more unruly people in the house. He seems to like things to be in order, and he's used to being in charge and getting what he demands. Will he be able to adapt to giving up all control in the "BB" house? We'll see.
Dina Lohan has the disadvantage of being an older female, and traditional "BB" rules -- and most reality television rules -- indicate she will be vulnerable almost solely because of this. But she's also incredibly intelligent, not easily rattled and capable in her own right. If she proves weaker in physical comps (and it's too early to tell), she'll need to rely on her negotiation skills to get ahead.
Tamar Braxton seems to be fixated on whatever her beef is with Kandi. Even after picking her, which was an olive branch and we acknowledge it, she proceeded to trash her performance in the confessional, taking on responsibility for the fact that she wasn't doing much better. If these two women can't leave one another alone, they'll be too distracted, and too much of a distraction, to make much impact. What they should do is partner up on the sly, and as a superfan, Tamar should know better. Here's hoping time heals whatever it is and she gets her head in the game.
Kato Kaelin is the oldest person in the house, and everyone seems to be weirdly uncomfortable around him as if they're not sure what to take of him due to his proximity to the OJ Simpson trial. If he can't figure out how to break that tension -- and his bad jokes are having the opposite effect -- he may get an early boot before people get the chance to know him.
OVERHEARD IN THE CHECKOUT LANE
"First time I had a key to my own place. I'm excited. "Kato
"They have sandwiches. Would you like a sandwich?" Tom (being very Tom Green)
"Why you guys set me up with another Olympian in the house. People are already like, 'Oh, so you guys know each other. You guys [were] in the same Olympics together. It's like target, target, target already." Lolo (referring to Ryan)
"I say later tonight we try and do a six-person bobsled." Kato (bombing terribly) "Already trying to get an orgy going." Tom (breaking the tension)
"I'm going on 'Celebrity Big Brother.' It's going to last longer than my stint in the White House, God willing." Anthony (telling his business partners)
"Kato Kaelin is going to be a tough one to beat because he survived the hardest Head of Household ever." Jonathan (he's got jokes)
"My girl Tamar, she's here. We have history together from the music industry. But we've had our good times and we've had our bad times." Kandi (how are you not going to elaborate on that?) "Am I excited to see her? Hmmmm, not really." Tamar (seriously, we are dying for context!)
"I'm so excited to talk to Anthony Scaramucci about our old boss. We both got fired by the president." Tom (competed on 'Celebrity Apprentice')
"Was Joey in Tim the Toolman Taylor?" Ryan (getting it all kinds of wrong)
"Power pairs. I had a power pair. Not anymore." Tom (referring to his bout with testicular cancer)
"Jonathan knows a lot about cupcakes, so he's pretty smart." Ryan (picking a smart partner to go with his brawn)
"I'm choosing Tom because I don't want to win. I feel like we'll be able to look like we're trying really hard, he'll probably be huffing and puffing and it will convince everyone that I gave an honest effort." Lolo (didn't quite work out that way)
"I'm on the pink team and it's Monday. We wear pink on Wednesdays. Regina is going to be so mad." Jonathan Bennett (do you get it?)
"I know I said I didn't want to win, but I can't help myself. I see Lochte over there and I want to destroy him." Lolo (and she almost did, too)
"Celebrity Big Brother" continues this week with new episodes on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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