One of the wildest nights yet sets up an epic finale where almost anyone could legitimately walk away with the prize -- Sorry, Dina Lohan.
It was double eviction night on "Celebrity Big Brother" and long-time fans know this is the night front-runners often find themselves shockingly shown the door. And this season proved to be no different.
There were several strong players left in the house heading into tonight's wild two-hour episode, but by the end of it, two of the Houseguests with the best argument to win the whole show found themselves a part of the jury. And the remaining five are heading to finale night.
The night started off with Tom Green still sitting atop the heap as Head of Household, having just nominated Natalie Eva Marie and Ricky Williams for eviction, And then, in true Tom Green fashion, he started overthinking everything and over-strategizing. Tom has a keen mind, but he needs someone rational to rein that in, and with Kato gone the role fell to Kandi Burruss.
Tom's Epic Self-Destruction
And yet, despite listening to her in choosing his nominees, he went against her counsel in considering what to do once he also secured the Power of Veto. The simple move would have been to just keep the nominations the same. That way they not only break up the Athletes Alliance of Lolo Jones, Natalie and Ricky, but they keep their own alliance strong.
Tom was sitting pretty, but paranoia was beginning to get the best of him and he started lecturing Kandi about doing what was best for his game, theorizing putting Tamar Braxton on the block to effectively force Kandi's vote toward Ricky so he could get his number one target out. But that's not trusting in your alliance.
And in all honesty, with both Ricky and Natlie on the block, either would be a good target to get out of the house. Both are great competitors with very good social games, so both should have been effectively equal threats. Instead, Tom sowed doubt and mistrust in his own alliance by targeting Kandi's friend and ride-or-die way too early.
Of course Kandi told Tamar and of course Tamar told Tom off for his terrible plan. And even though he ultimately didn't go through with it, he still blew his game all too hell. As a hail mary, he pulled Ricky off the block in hopes that might earn him some good grace with the former NFL player, but that's not how this works.
Instead, he burned too many of his own allies before the numbers were in his favor. It's the same thing that doomed Kato's game, and Jonathan and Ryan before him.
And so Lolo went up against her ride-or-die and Tom did manage to break up one of the two strongest power duos in the house. Alas, he broke his own game in the process.
Whirlwind Head of Household
In typical "a-week-of-'Big-Brother'-in-one-night" fashion, what happened was an absolute whirlwind. Lolo scored the Head of Household in a very cool looking competition that filled the house with living art, with Tamar right on her heels with the Veto win.
This came right after Tamar scored the win in the first-ever Safety Competition, assuring her safety on the night, but she was never in any real danger. The truth is Tom needed to win something on this whirlwind night of competition and he just couldn't do it.
Lolo had no problem throwing Tom up as a nominee but then she balked so long at coming up with someone to put next to him, Julie nearly had to strip her of her HOH powers -- what would that have done to the game? Finally, she got it together and tossed Kandi up there.
Then, Tamar seemingly surprised everyone by not taking down her biggest ally in the house, but it was a shrewd move. The only other person up there who would have still assured Tom's eviction would have been Dina, but Kandi was fine, too.
Neither woman has won anything and Tom already had a cool four competition wins under his belt. He was a huge threat to win the game and he proved over and over again that his paranoia would keep him from effectively working as a team player in any capacity. And so his time in the house came to an end.
We would be remiss if we didn't at least acknowledge the adorable mini-episode of our favorite new sitcom starring Ross Matthews and Metta World Peace, "Cousins."
The adorable sketch was the basis of a competition, but we found ourselves enjoying its corny humor as Ross just wanted to be invited to one of Metta's parties, while Metta just wanted to go to sleep and leave Ross to clean up his mess.
Every joke was so hackneyed and the laugh track was so obtrusive, you'd swear you've actually seen this sitcom on a network. Or maybe we will see it on CBS next season. Either way, both "Celebrity Big Brother" Season 1 Houseguests were clearly having a lot of fun, and it carried through to the viewing audience, too.
Final Player Report Cards
There are only two episodes of "CBB" left this season, and with Monday night's episode being mostly a recap of the season with unseen footage, that's when we break down who we think has the best shot at winning the game, and who we think is the most deserving of winning. These are rarely the same person.
Then we all come back Wednesday night to watch the next HOH, POV and eviction narrow the finalists to four. And then, as Julie Chen explained to the Houseguests, the final HOH is crowned and immediately evicts the final two people from the house, setting up the final two who will face the jury for the top prize.
Tamar Braxton is absolutely killing it in this game, now that she's past her early emotional outbursts. She sees more than anyone what is going on with every alliance in the house, and she's got the best position in the house with Kandi by her side and Dina in her back pocket to take on the remaining two athletes. Obviously, competition wins can change everything, but she's got the most of those out of the remaining HGs as well with three. Grade: A+
Ricky Williams has verbally said he'll remain strong with Lolo to the end, but we still see him as someone who will make whatever moves are necessary to navigate to the end. Tom was the only one really gunning for him hardcore, so it's more likely that Lolo would be booted before him should the other side of the house secure power. Grade: A
Kandi Burruss seems to be playing a very strong game with Tamar. She has still won zero competitions in the game and so she has absolutely no blood on her hands, which is very good for a bitter jury. But she's also played a very savvy game, shifting as needed to ensure she's not at the bottom of whatever alliance is courting her. Grade: B+
Lolo Jones needs to win some competitions, or hope her boy Ricky does, because these two athletic powerhouses are the biggest obvious threats in the house to their fellow Houseguests. And for some reason, they seem to see Lolo as the bigger threat, with her recent HOH win only cementing that status. That makes her a huge target right now, and with Dina probably swinging away from her and Ricky, they need to win or will probably face the block. Grade: B-
Dina Lohan has managed to float almost into the finale, and there's every chance she'll make it all the way there. The only way that wouldn't happen is if the two power duos remaining decided to play an honorable game and boot her next and may the best HG win. But that almost never happens, and we don't see it happening here. This group is way too competitive for that. That's good for Dina to stay alive, but how could she possibly convince anyone to let her win? Grade: C-
Natalie Eva Marie fell victim to Tom's wild megalomania and weird hail mary. But she was also a huge threat to win the game thanks to her strength and likability. Plus, that Athletes Alliance had to get broken somehow, and she was just the unlucky first strike. Grade: F
Tom Green doomed his own game by playing too hard and refusing to trust anyone. Alliances are key to navigating all the way through "Big Brother," and yet Tom systematically burned every ally he had. His strategies were mostly sound -- when paranoia didn't run rampant -- and he was one of the strongest and cleverest competitors in the house, he just sucked at managing his social strategy. Grade: F
"Look, here's the thing. I'm all excited, 'I'm gonna play, I'm gonna play, look at me, I'm gonna play,' but in the back of my mind it's like, 'You gonna play but you not gonna win.' I'm doing a lot of lying and I'm not happy with myself." Tamar (picked for first POV comp)
"Don't spit fire, Lolo." Tamar (after Lolo is the only one not picked for first POV comp)
"I really don't have the best memory. I have to make up little memory tricks. I start bobbing my head side to side. I have a little hip-hop beat going in my head and I start to rap it." Tom (explaining his winning strategy)
"Did you have to use all the paint, though?" Tamar (after getting blasted in first POV comp)
"Tom's biggest flaw is that he overthinks and then it makes him look like a mad king." Lolo (she's not wrong)
"Trust, me, I can see who is influencing who. I need to get out the one that is in charge. Get out of my house." Tom (talking to Kandi -- better check that ego!)
"Are you just threatening my friend now?" Kandi (after Tom suggests putting Tamar up)
"You know what I'm not going to do is beg anybody like a Tom Green to save or do anything for me in this life for me. I'm tired of Tom, I'm tired of his bullshit." Tamar
"I'm not even going to tell you what I'm doing anymore." Tom (after Tamar lashes out at him for his idea of putting her up to force Kandi to vote Ricky out)
"I really only have one more that might potentially take the target off my back." Tom (blowing up his game one mistake at a time)
"Everyone in here knows that I'm your main target so I'm not going to waste my or anyone else's time." Ricky (refusing to give a save-me speech at Veto meeting)
"Wow." Ricy (after Tom removes him from the block with the Veto)
"I'm all about voting out the best player and Natalie's the best player." Kandi "Not really." Tamar (not on the same page)
"You just gonna have to suck it up, because can't nobody do it for you." Tamar (telling Natalie to lobby for votes)
"I sadly vote to evict my friend Natalie ... Tom Green is crazy, thank you Jesus." Tamar
"Lolo, are you ready?" Julie "No, I don't want this HOH." Lolo
"I can't." Lolo (unable to make a second nomination) "You're about to lose your HOH if you don't." Julie
"In the name of my homegirl Natalie, who went home tonight, and my new friendship with Kandi, and trust, I will not be using this Power of Veto." Tamar (shocking everyone)
"Thank you Tamar for the dance. That is so nice." Tom (after being evicted)
"Celebrity Big Brother" wraps up Monday and Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
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