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Nick and Christie have played very different, but equally masterful, games of "Big Brother," but only one of them could survive eviction Thursday.

It was a battle of "Big Brother" bosses as Christie and Nick found themselves on the block and squaring off before eviction night. Honestly, we wouldn't have been surprised to see this scenario on finale night.

Alas, Taco Tuesday eliminated that, with Nick preemptively blowing up his own game to prevent Christie from doing it. It was the move that saved Christie last week, but would it spell his doom this week or could he work his magic this time and get her out the door on her third nomination in three weeks?

These are two master orators with very different strategies. Nick is very low-key and strategic. Christie is erratic and wild and very in-your-face. Both are huge targets, so who is the better one to get rid of? Each has won two competitions, so they're fairly even there, though Nick has acquitted himself better in comps they've both lost in recent weeks.

It turns out it was a lot of fun watching the nominees scramble and make their pitches, and it really did feel like it could go either way despite HOH Holly making her wishes clear: she wanted Nick to go home. But the HOH doesn't always get their way.

And after Nick revealed himself as America's Prankster in an effort to earn trust with Michie (Jackson), that plan may have backfired. After all, he just admitted to withholding information until his back was against the wall, so what else might he be holding?

The Great Pie Battle

Nicole may not be doing much in competitions, but she's endearing herself to audiences as this season's "America's sweetheart," taking center stage in both of this weeks non-game segments. First, the pie prank continued throughout this week culminated in an epic battle between the petite Nicole and Michie.

She was determined to get him in the face with a pie after he subverted her at the Veto meeting. Alas, he got her several more times, making her more determined and needing to be even more sneaky.

Finally, in a moment of triumph, she got him coming around the corner in a nearly perfect execution. Even Michie had to give her props.

It's worth noting that even as she's endearing herself to America, her fellow HouseGuests are falling more and more in love with Nicole as well, which is good for her game.

Killer Clowns

As mean as it may have seemed, it was genuinely hilarious watching all of the HouseGuests hide out in the HOH room after Nicole emerged from the Diary Room in the midst of the "killer clowns" prank.

This one saw "Big Brother" changing the lights behind the one-way mirrors all over the house to expose people dressed in frightening clown costumes waving and making threatening gestures toward the HouseGuests. While most of the HGs got spooked in a jump-scare sense, Nicole seemed to be genuinely freaked out by them.

Finally, she was cowering in the kitchen as "Big Brother" continued to torment her with clowns and the rest of the HGs were laughing in the HOH room. Then "Big Brother" turned out the lights.

Eviction Notice

Let's make it three for three as Christie continues to build a very compelling case for a final jury. She's been on the block over and over and over again and keeps escaping eviction. The longer the other HGs keep using this, the more likely it could blow up in their faces and she could slide into the end.

Especially as we learned that next week is the long-awaited double eviction. Those always lead to surprise HOH wins and unexpected eviction. In other words, if Christie escapes the traditional eviction next week -- which all depends on who wins HOH (an endurance comp was started but remained unfinished at the close of the show) -- she could well rise to power and throw a total wrench in everything.

Nick's campaign may have actually backfired as it proved only what a huge threat he is in the game. That said, it's impossible to gauge fully if he was a bigger threat than Christie is. She is playing an incredibly strong game, and yet she remains the biggest target in the house. If she makes it to the end, she wins "Big Brother." Hands down. Will they stop her?

HouseGuest Report Cards

Holly had a successful reign as HOH and got her target out (second time's the charm). She now has the numbers, if she stays true to Nicole and Cliff, to run the game, but everything depends on who wins the next HOH. Michie is the comp beast in the house, but the leaning wall comp favors smaller-framed people. Holly would have killed it. As it stands, Nicole and Tommy probably have the biggest advantage. Grade: A

Cliff is sitting pretty and smart in this game. He is not on anyone's radar as a target, has a tight final two with Nicole (who he could beat in a heartbeat on finale night) and is aligned with the two strongest physical competitors in the house (Michie and Holly). He had to play a little dirty to get there, but his integrity remains mostly intact as well, which is incredible. Grade: A-

Michie is a beast in this game. He's calmed down his rough social exterior, despite Zingbot's zing, and is actually playing a very respectful game. But he's also a huge target and will be for as long as he remains in the house. In other words, he needs to keep winning and he needs his allies to keep winning and stay loyal. His advantage is he's capable of doing just that. Grade: A-

Nicole is kind of in the middle of the house still, but she is beloved and she is aligned properly with the three players above. She's also in a comp that could suit her -- and she could really use a win to start building a case for finale night. Regardless, though, she's not really seen as a threat by anyone. Grade: B-

Tommy is hurting his game by his unflinching loyalty to Christie and the fact that he seems to betray his loyalties with every vote, as Nick pointed out. People notice that. Tommy was poised to really take a run at this game, but Christie might be hurting him. Her eviction could be his saving grace, provided he can be flexible. Up against her in the end, he can't win so he needs to cut her loose at some point. Grade: C+

Christie is incredible, but she's also incredibly vulnerable. She hasn't won a competition in a very long time at this point and she's going to start needing to win those if she wants to stay. Right now, she's being used as a pawn and a shield and a vote, but she's too big of a threat to win the game for anyone intelligent to keep her too long. She could beat everyone in the house right now on finale night, so she's gotta go ... and they know it! Grade: C-

Jessica has gotten tight with Christie, but has said she's willing to be flexible and shift to any of the other couples in the house after Nick gets evicted. We'll see if she's able to do that, depending on who wins this next HOH. She definitely needs to prove a willingness to shift gears if Tommy and Christie do not gain power, as right now she is seen as with Christie and coming after the four, which makes her a huge target as well. Grade: D+

Nick did everything he could, but Christie outplayed him plain and simple. She doesn't appear to have done enough to save her own game, but she definitely wins in the battle between two of the slickest strategists in the game. Taco Tuesday was his downfall, so now he can only hope his arch-nemesis follows him out the door. Grade: F

House Chatter

"I feel pretty confident going into the eviction. Nick has displayed himself as a huge threat. And if he didn't display it for himself, I kind of displayed that for him last week. I'm hoping that the rest of the house sees it that way and they want to send him packing." --Christie

"If I would be the sole reason that Christie got out of this game, it honestly would be the biggest poetic justice. She would get what she deserves, and I would get what I deserve." --Nick

"Christie and I have been in an alliance since Day 1. Last week, Christie was almost out the door, but it looks like I'm going to lose Nick this week, so now Christie is all I have left. We are going to make it until the very end, that is my goal." --Tommy

"It's going to be the Nick and Michie show." --Jessica (why she wants to keep Christie)

"If you were up with any other person on the block you would 1000 percent have my vote." --Tommy

"But you don't know now?" --Nick

"I don't know now."

"Why are you so adamant on keeping her."

"Because I made a promise."

"You're saying essentially that you have to vote me out." --Nick

"Yeah. And I can't break a promise." --Tommy

"Why does he want Christie here so adamantly? There must be more going on. Obviously they're a duo, that's a no-brainer. But I feel like there must be another piece of the puzzle. There's something going on there. I see it." --Nicole

"This might be the day that Nicole actually cracks, because I am freaking. I am freaking." --Nicole (not a fan of the killer clown prank)

"Out of everyone in the house, the people that are the most scared are Nicole, Nicole, Nicole and Nicole." --Tommy

"Don't follow me out this door." --Nick (to Nicole after his eviction)

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