It's never too early to predict who looks like they're in it to win it, and who already looks like they're in way over their head.
The "Celebrity Big Brother" house is going to be no joke this season, and Julie Chen wasted no time in teaching these celebrities just how real things are going to get with a brutal first challenge.
This one was more about strength than anything else, so it was tailored more toward the younger and more athletic among the cast. Perhaps it's no surprise that when we got down to our final four competitors, it was the four youngest members of this group.
But it isn't always going to be that way, with competitions that will test their minds as well as their bodies. Still, in the closing moments of this competition we got an early assessment of where some alliances may emerge and who might not have as many friends on the cast.
We're not going to say it was harsh but-- Actually, we are going to say it was harsh. The third-to-last person out made a plea deal for safety and got it. Then, the second-to-last tried to make a similar deal and got stonewalled. Talk about a metaphorical slap to the face. Denied! See you when I put you on the Block!
Truthfully, we have no idea who the season's first Head of Household is targeting because there's been so little gameplay yet. So a lot of it might have to do with how well they know one another, what their reputation is outside the house and, honestly, what kind of game this HOH is looking to play.
Do you want to pick off the competition right away, which means you are looking at those people who were hanging in there with you the longest? Or do you maybe want to beat the best in the end, which means cutting off the dead weight early on?
Each episode, we'll break down the night's action, the competitions, the alliances, the backstabbing and the lies. Then we'll grade each contestant to see how they're doing in the game so far and how far we think they're going to go.
The first HOH competition of the season was both simple and brutal, with the celebrities hooking their feet into stirrups and then hanging suspended in the air while holding onto champagne bottles on ropes for balance. That was it. From there it was all about balance and endurance.
We're not entirely sure why Julie told them she needed a master of ceremonies to sit out the competition, but Todd Bridges volunteered. It was probably a good move, with him the oldest person out there, considering how everyone fared as the competition progressed.
While it also makes him vulnerable, we don't think anyone is going to punish him for that this early in the competition as he sacrifice safety for reasons we still don't quite understand. Did Julie not want to emcee the competition herself? She was still there announcing who dropped -- though that could have been dubbed in later. It was all very strange and seemed unnecessary.
In the end, it came down to Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu and MMA champ Miesha Tate eying one another, while Todrick Hall and Teddi Mellencamp were hanging in there with the athletes. In fact, they both outlasted Mirai, who slipped first from one stirrup and then lost it entirely.
It was here that Todrick made his deal with Meisha, who was more than happy to guarantee him safety and then turned around and could not offer Teddi the same thing. She and Todrick have some kind of prior relationship, so clearly those are going to mean something in the early going here.
That's certainly good news for Carson Kressley, who seems to know everyone, and less good news for someone like Mirai, who didn't really seem to know any of these people personally. She's not the only one, though, as there are definite social cliques based on outside relationships.
The night saw the emergence of the first official alliance, which was largely based on who's worked with who outside of the "Big Brother" house and who already knows who. That's not great news for those celebs who don't know a ton of people on this cast.
Carson Kressley was the first one in and seems to know the most people, quickly forming up with Todrick, Shanna Moakler and Cynthia Bailey in what he dubbed the "Girls and Gays" alliance. Day 1 alliances are shaky at best, but there is definitely something to this one because there is already mutural admiration and respect among them.
Throwing in the fact that Meisha also made a deal with Todrick due to knowing him, and that's good news for Todrick. He's already got a little more flex than some of the others, and could even bring her in if they want to bolster numbers a a bit. As a "BB" superfan, Todrick will probably take full advantage of these different options.
Other self-proclaimed superfans include Shanna, Chris Kirkpatrick, though the NSYNC boy bander downplayed his knowledge of the game, saying he only watched his pal Tom Green on it two "Celebrity" seasons ago.
With Shanna and Todrick together in "G&G," and Carson already displaying the best social game right out the gate, which we could have all expected, there's a lot of potential power in this early alliance. They understand this game and have a great social presence to keep everyone off balance outside of their core four.
Celebrities that don't seem quite as ready for the social side of things include Mirai, Todd, Teddi, Lamar Odom and Chris Kattan. Lamar and Shanna have some history through their Kardashian connection, but it isn't necessarily good history. It remains to be seen if that will make its way into the House (inevitably, these things seem to)
It's maybe a bit early to start grading the Houseguests, so we'll give them this one day reprieve. But we're still going to rank them based on our first impressions of them in this hour, speculating baselessly on how we think they might fare this season.
Carson Kressley (52) is a social butterfly, unafraid to talk to anyone in the House. He immediately formed up the season's first alliance, and knows Shanna outside the house, too. In other words, he's well-connected, already cracking everyone up in the House and savvy enough to know that it's important to have people who've got your back as quickly as possible -- especially in this season's accelerated format. We expect him to go very far.
Miesha Tate (35) came out of the gate strong and picked up the season's first Head of Household. She's going to be immediately seen as a threat in the house because she's probably the most physically impressive person there. What she needs to do is solidify allies with her reign so that she isn't immediately targeted and eliminated as soon as they get a chance, because she will become a target. Honestly, she probably would have benefited from an olive branch to Teddi this early, but we get she doesn't want to rock the boat if they're looking at Teddi this week. The first HOH is almost always about house consensus.
Todrick Hall (36) is yet another "BB" superfan, and someone who is clearly here to play this game and play it hard. He is already well-aligned with fellow superfan Shanna, as well as Carson and Cynthia. We're not sure if the alliance has the makings of a long run, but in a shortened season, it could well dictate the game. What we do suspect, though, is that Todrick is going to be a fierce competitor and he knows exactly how to play this game, which will make him a key asset to his alliance. Add to that strength in challenges and he may have to worry about putting a target on his back by coming on too strong.
Shanna Moakler (46) has history with Lamar that may or may not become a problem, but for now we'll consider it tabled unless they bring it up. Instead, she's got the advantage of sliding into the season's first four-person alliance and her own status as a "BB" superfan really helping her out. She's laying low right now, but you can see the gears turning in her head. She's certainly no stranger to drama and totally unafraid of it, which could help should things get a little tense as the month progresses. For now, she's in a good spot, but she'll need to take control at some point.
Mirai Nagasu (28) is quietly ferocious in her own way. She may not be a "BB" superfan, but she is definitely a student of competition, and a fierce competitor and physical warrior herself. She's also the youngest in the house, which puts her in an odd position when it comes to alliances as she has no true peers. She and Meisha could work something out as athletes over mutual respect, and it would probably be a good idea for them to do just that. Maybe pull in Lamar and have a whole lot of physical strength. We see her studying the game, but she hasn't made a move yet, so she's definitely one to watch.
Chris Kirkpatrick (50) has come out of the gate very quietly, but he is a student of this game. It's smart that he's keeping that bit of knowledge to himself in a game with some people who don't understand it at all. That should give him an edge up. He's also a fan of chess, which means he'll be strategic. What he's not doing, thus far, is aligning up and there's so little time he needs to make that happen before he finds himself on the outs. He's got the tools, he needs to implement his game plan.
Cynthia Bailey (54) lucked into a great alliance with Carson and superfans Shanna and Todrick. She seems much more out of touch than all three of them, though, which puts her in a more expendable position among them. She also quickly starts picking on Chris Ka for not knowing her or anyone else's name. She played it for laughs, but he was also clearly a bit uncomfortable and felt targeted. Early on, she's going to have to be careful that she doesn't ruffle the wrong feathers.
Todd Bridges (56) is the oldest member of the cast and while everyone knows who he is, it doesn't seem that any of them really know him as a person. That puts him on the outs a bit compared to some who are using their outside relationships to form strategic bonds inside. He does appear to have their love and respect, but we see him and Chris Ka in a similar situation where they're going to be able to charm their way to the middle, but will they step up and play the game to get further? Todd is a huge MMA fan, so if he's smart, he'll parlay that into working with Meisha, who also needs to firm up some allies in this game.
Chris Kattan (51) appears to be in all the way over his head. He might be too sweet for this game if the claws ever start coming out. He also seems to have no real sense of the strategy that it's going to take. All he wants is to be liked by everyone in the House. We can see that happening, as he's charming and funny, but that will only take him so far in the game, say to right around the middle. At some point, he's going to have to decide to play or he'll be in trouble.
Teddi Mellencamp (40) might know Cynthia as a fellow Housewives, but that wasn't the warmest or most excited reception we've ever seen. Add the cold shoulder from Meisha at the close of the first Head of Household, and it may well be that Teddi's reputation outside of this game is impacting perceptions of her inside. Early on, the flimsiest excuses can get people evicted, and it's certainly looking to us from this edit that Teddi might be among the first targeted. We also get the sense that she's going to have to work to solidify her place. Will she?
Lamar Odom (42) has no idea what he's in for when it comes to this game, but he's got a great attitude about life and what really matters coming into the house. We can see him getting frustrated when his athletic prowess isn't what it used to be. He and Shanna have some beef they may need to squash, but we don't think he'll become an immediate target because of it, despite not having an alliance of his own to protect him. What we worry about, though, is that he just won't be playing the game.
“Now where should I know you from?” --Cynthia (to Chris Ki)
“I think if anybody’s gonna win ‘Celebrity Big Brother,’ it’s gonna be me.” --Chris Ki (groan)
“I thought I was gonna be the only gay in the village.” --Carson (to Todrick)
“Is Chris Kirkpatrick from NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?” --Teddi
“I may or may not have called his fiancee a donkey on national television -- and it’s not one of my finest moments.” --Shanna (referring to Lamar)
“What are you, 9’10”?” --Chris Ka (standing next to Lamar)
“Do you know anybody else’s name inside this house?’ --Cynthia (to Chris Ka)
“Yes, Chris.” --Chris Ka (referring to Chris Ki)
“How tall are you?” --Shanna (to Lamar)
“Handsome doesn’t have a height, honey.” --Lamar (before telling her 6’10”)
“First of all, who put me in this outfit? And second, thank you to whoever put me in this outfit.” --Todrick Hall (dressed for HOH comp)
“After I looked up and saw these bottles and these stirrups, I was like, I don’t wanna do that.” --Todd (volunteering to be master of ceremonies for HOH comp)
“I should have gone to the bathroom.” --Carson (as HOH comp begins)
“I am.” --Chris Ki
“You don’t know who’s going to win, so you want to kind of kiss up to everybody.” --Carson (during HOH comp)
“Are we allowed to shower, or are we waiting for something?” --Mirai (after HOH comp)
“We’re waiting for Carson to change his stupid photo.” --Chris Ka (looking at memory wall)
"Celebrity Big Brother" has hit the ground running, heading toward its first elimination in just two days. The drama continues Thursday at 8 p.m. ET followed by a two-hour live eviction episode on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.