Is someone in the House starting to smell something on the grill? Is The Cookout in trouble?
As stealth alliances go, we've not seen one as strong as The Cookout in a long time, but it definitely hit a bump in the road this week on "Big Brother" when it came time to pick the actual target.
As far as Christian was concerned, he was fine with either Hannah or Whitney going home. That wasn't the case even within the Kings. Both Alyssa and Sarah Beth were keen on getting Hannah out of the House, with Sarah Beth particularly adamant about it.
Christian, though, said that he thought getting Whitney out would be better for his game. That's primarily because Hannah gave him a solid pitch of protection before he put her up as a pawn. That was good news for Xavier, who was trying to protect his Cookout ally -- but maybe he responded a little too quickly.
Certainly, his reaction raised even higher red flags Sarah Beth already had about his loyalties. If nothing else, she's beginning to wonder why he's so enthusiastic about Christian wanting to target Whitney. There's no reason that SB can see for X caring who goes home.
It doesn't mean she's onto The Cookout completely, but X and Hannah are now on her radar as something to pay attention to. She's smart enough to lay low about it, but also very observant. The question is if she could rally enough support to do anything about it ... assuming she can confirm anything quick enough.
As much as X screwed up a little bit by revealing his enthusiasm a little too directly, but that was nothing compared to another foot-in-mouth moment that might just go down in "BB" history as one of the absolute worst.
Before we get to that, we'll give Whitney credit for putting on one hell of a show when it was becoming clear to her that she is the intended target this week. She adamantly denied ever targeting the Kings, though she did so quite cleverly.
In talking to the House before the HOH comp, she said one of the Kings should be targeted no matter what, to even out the Teams. Now, to each King individually she was telling them their name never came out of her mouth.
She never said any of their names individually, so that's technically true. Lawsuits have been won and lost over technicalities, so kudos to her for finding a way to use truth to cover the lie. Too bad no one was buying it.
Whitney has no idea just how outside the numbers she is on this. The only person equal to her outsider status in this game is Britini, so if alliances decide to hold strong she's probably going to be on the Block again next week.
Whitney even went so far as to offer up an alternate target to Christian, with a compelling argument, but she of course didn't know that those people were already aligned. Eventually, they'll turn on one another, so her words were food for thought ... for later. For, now, she's definitely in trouble.
Britini noted while watching Christian do a combination of burpee into backflip (her idea) that he is not shy about showcasing what a huge physical powerhouse he is. For now, that's not caused him any problems, but it's early yet and he's building a massive resume.
There's only one other person close to his level this season, and that's Derek X. This week's POV comp was the classic one where a ball is rolled up a ramp and over a hump to roll down the other side. Catch it for a point. Miss it, reset to zero. First to 100 points wins.
Hannah picked Derek X to play for her, which set him up for a tough position with a win. Hannah would want him to save his teammate (her), while Christian (his alliance member) wants nominations to stay the same. Derek X wanted the power to choose.
Impressively, Azah (who joined the competition with Claire) had a great showing in the early going. Unfortunately, one dropped ball was the only difference because it looks as if neither of our competition beasts EVER dropped their balls.
Derek X had the early lead, but his strategy of slow-and-steady quickly faltered with Christian's speed strategy coupling with his own accuracy. After an early start, Christian finally caught up, passed him and ultimately beat him, though Derek X was within ten.
Christian has now won the past two Vetos and is current HOH. He's dominating Derek X in wins right now, but Derek X continues to be right there every time he gets a chance to compete, so these are still the biggest comp threats in the game, and everyone can see it. That's dangerous.
With Christian holding the Veto, there was no drama about what was going to happen; he was going to keep nominations the same. That meant the hour had time to show us Azah's adorable "middle-school crush" on Xavier, as well as her terrible moonwalking skills.
It also gave us time to really dig into the moment Derek X painted an even bigger target on his back. Luckily, he did so with the House's current target, so it may not mean much by tomorrow night.
Still, while talking about which Team might end up on slop next week, he casually threw out that it would be him and Hannah, dismissing the fact that Whitney was still on his Team and still in the House. And she overheard him.
It was about the most insensitive thing he could say in that moment, and when she confronted him publicly and asked him if he knew for sure she was going, he hemmed and hawed and said nothing. It's clear that Derek X is a calculated, thoughtful player but not nearly as effective when he's caught and on the spot.
As we said, though, with Whitney the target, his biggest fear is her trying to blow up his game with what she does or doesn't know on her way out. With the Royal Flush starting to show signs of wear, like The Slaughterhouse before it, that could be a problem for him, but probably no bigger than the target he's putting on his own back with his comp prowess.
Tiffany Mitchell (40) is keeping it together and she's onto Sarah Beth starting to sniff out that something might be cooking in the house. The challenge for her, as she put it this week, is to keep it off her face, keep her cool and keep killing it in this game like she has been. It's her House if she can keep it. Grade: A+
Derek Xiao (24) slips slightly in grade, but not position, with his Whitney mix-up. He should recover from it, and if he learns from it to be more careful with his words, that could benefit his game. With Christian winning more comps than him now, that also helps his profile lessen, which will help in the long run. His only flaw is not being in The Cookout, because if they stay strong they may just be Top 6. For now, he's good, though. Grade: A-
Xavier Prather (27) slips as well for revealing to Sarah Beth his enthusiasm when Christian said that he'd prefer Whitney as his target this week over Hannah. He'll recover because The Cookout has his back and SB hasn't figured it all out yet, but she's now dangerously on the trail of something. Grade: A-
Azah Awasum (30), Derek Frazier (29) and Kyland Young (30) continue to play the right game. Azah really impressed with a great early showing in tonight's POV competition, which could benefit her as this game progresses. Plus, we loved all her personal moments this week. Derek F and Kyland laid real low, but all is good when The Cookout is grilling. Grade: B+
Claire Renfuss (25) is safe this week with the Queens and safely with the Royal Flush, for what that's worth. Her overall standing is less uncertain, but she's in a good position to ride for awhile and even without knowing about The Cookout, she needs to start hoping things crack or change for her later game ... to even have one. Grade: B
Hannah Chaddha (21) is about as safe as you can be on the Block. Her Cookout allies have her, and the House seems pretty on board with just targeting Whitney and getting her out. Crazy things have happened with pawns, but we don't think they will this week. Grade: B-
Christian Birkenberger (23) is in a showmance, he's a physical powerhouse, the bona fide comp beast of the summer so far, and he's on the only Team with four members. Honestly, it would be foolish not to target him sooner rather than later. He's just made himself too tempting to get rid of, and the House is surely noticing. He might be hard to get rid of, though, when they do decide to start taking shots. Grade: B-
Alyssa Lopez (25) won't be nearly as hard to get rid of, based on what we've seen from her so far. It wasn't a showmance yet when it got her on the Block in Week 1, but Frenchie was apparently ahead of his time. When they go to take a shot at him, there's a good chance it'll at the very least take her out by proxy. Grade: C+
Sarah Beth Steagall (27) needs to be careful that her smarts don't get her booted from the game. She's got the goods on what's going on in the House, but she's also on the verge of exposing The Cookout, or parts of it. She just doesn't have the support in numbers to pull this off. With Teams sure to end soon, and the Royal Flush vulnerable, her threat level may be rising too fast among those who do have the numbers. Grade: C+
Britini D'Angelo (24) is on the wrong side of every number. She's basically just floating out there alone. She's yet to prove she can win comps to save her butt, so if the allied in the House aren't ready to take shots at one another just yet, she's the obvious target. Even if they do, she'll likely get picked off soon unless it all explode and alliances reform and this time she's in one. Grade: C
Whitney Williams (30) looks to be the target this week. The only question we see left is whether or not she can do some damage on the way out. We're not even confident she has the intel about how the House is aligned to do that much. Grade: D-
"Aw, Husband. I'm sad." --Hannah (to Derek X after getting nominated)
"I personally think for my game, Hannah is a way better target, so I'm gonna fight for it." --Sarah Beth
"Between the two of them, Whitney going is best for my game." --Christian
"Oh, well then that works." --Xavier (too quickly)
"You literally have been my favorite person in the House. Your name never came out of my mouth." --Whitney (to Xavier; technically true as she said a member of the Kings)
"Every single person in the House wanted to target the Kings, so I don't know why I'm the scapegoat." --Whitney
"Christian is an absolutely athletic beast. But if he isn't careful, he's going to be flipping on everybody's radar." --Britini (after Christian does six burpee/backflip combos)
"I got a little middle-school crush on Xavier and I don't like to share." --Azah (not liking Whitney massaging his hands)
"Is it kind of petty that I want her out of the House? Absolutely. Call me petty because that's what I am." --Azah (about Whitney)
"I feel like a little kid ... I have a little crush on you." --Azah (to Xavier)
"Oh snap, stop. On me?" --Xavier
"Azah is stunning, she looks like a goddess, her personality is amazing, but I didn't come here for a showomance. I'm not a hopeless showmantic. I came here for $750,000. I can't get caught in my feels, I gotta keep my eyes on the prize." --Xavier
"I'm on the Block now. I'm gonna mope." --Hannah (to Derek X)
"Just do what you do, then." --Derek X
"I've got it, I've got it." --Azah (moments before falling while trying to moonwalk)
"That was the weakest moonwalk." --Xavier (helping her up)
"Did you see her face when she didn't get picked for the Veto." --Tiffany (to Hannah about Sarah Beth)
"People were more concerned for her than me and Whitney being on the Block." --Hannah
"I don't know how much longer I can hide my face. I'm trying." --Tiffany
"Me and Chaddha are going to have to do it." --Derek X (talking about who's going to be on slop next week)
"Hey, I'm still here." --Whitney (cleaning up outside)
"Do you straight up already know I'm going home? That was a dick move." --Whitney (to Derek X)