In the beginning of Big Brother 17 there would be very little debate if Vanessa Rossou was playing a good game. She was consistently in the majority alliance, in a place of power, while maintaining good relationships with the other side of the house and winning competitions. As the Big Brother summer has gone on though, Vanessa’s game has cooked itself in a paranoid stew of tears and desperation. Vanessa is a far cry from the calculated manipulator that she started but that doesn’t mean her chances of winning are completely gone. As Julie Chen loves to say in her dead-eyed delivery, “expect the unexpected”. It doesn’t look good currently but Vanessa could still make a turnaround and might still be playing the best Big Brother game in the house.

The Case for Vanessa

It certainly seems like Vanessa’s game is crumbling around her. John and Becky, up for nomination, are leading the charge in exposing her erratic nature and constant lies. Her closest allies think she is a snake midst their ranks and her beanie has to be soaked with the salty smell of tears. The fact remains though that Vanessa has survived two evictions since all this started and looks to survive a third. Vanessa’s back might be up against a wall but she still has enough wits about her to know how to bring people onto her side. There is really no reason that Shelli should’ve gone home before Vanessa but the latter convinced the entire house to evict Shelli. Not only to evict Shelli but to do it unanimously.

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There is also another factor at play here that helps Vanessa’s case. She seems like the number one target in Big Brother but there is another. There is another group, or three headed monster, that deserves to be put in some crosshairs. The threesome of Austin and the twins is as dangerous in Big Brother as it is disgusting to watch. Couples that connect throughout the summer are dangerous. Couples who have literally been bonded for life like Liz and Julia might has well be considered apocalyptic. When you combine that with Austin’s sycophantic “love” affair with Liz it’s insane that no one in Big Brother is seeing this unbreakable alliance as a threat. 

Vanessa has no problem throwing her friends and alliance members under the bus in the past. If Vanessa does end up on the block and it is someone other than Austin and the twins who put her there, it would take very little convincing to put one of them up instead or against her. If Vanessa turns cloak yet again she could be a very useful number in evicting the alliance of Austin and the twins, thereby ensuring her survival. Vanessa could go from the most wanted person in Big Brother to the most valuable. 

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The Case Against Vanessa

The above scenario requires a lot more perception and social acumen than Vanessa has shown lately. In the beginning of Big Brother 17, Vanessa had just the right amount of paranoia. She was wary enough to understand what moves to make and who she should trust. She was comfortably teetering on the edge of a paranoia pit and it made her savvy player. The Clay and John argument, shortly before Clay’s eviction, pushed her right into that gaping abyss and she just is keeps falling. 

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Vanessa who had a pretty good poker face, being a professional player, wears every one of her many emotions on her sleeve. She’s constantly crying, constantly feeling attacked and desperate to see everyone else but herself as the bad guy. It’s not a problem that Vanessa is targeting John, he clearly wants her out of the house and hasn’t tried to hide it. John is a natural target for Vanessa. The problem is in the way that Vanessa targets John. Vanessa is going around the Big Brother house telling anyone who will listen that John is some arch-villain who will destroy them all just because he wants to see the world burn. The same goes for Vanessa calling Becky heartless for going back on her “word” when Vanessa is lying constantly herself. Vanessa is becoming tone deaf and unable to read a room. The more paranoid she gets the more clouded her judgement becomes and it’s just getting worse. 

Vanessa managed to pull herself out of her tailspin when Becky nominated her. She didn’t collapse into an Audrey Middleton blanket but that was the first shock that woke her up. A few weeks later Vanessa sees enemies everywhere and is clinging to her alliance of Austin and the twins not realizing that they no longer trust her. By the time Vanessa does stumble onto this new information it might already be too late. 

Final Verdict

My track record with judging Big Brother games isn’t the best. I wrote an article declaring Audrey being in the best position in the house, only to have evicted the very next week. On a personal level I’m not particularly fond of Vanessa so I’d love to say she’s playing a great game and for that to be the kiss of death that sends her to jury. I can’t do that though because quite simply I think Vanessa is starting to explode. It’s possible that she could cut the metaphorical wire and give herself some more time on the countdown clock. It’s more likely that Vanessa will packing her bags the first week someone that Austin or the twins is not Head of Household. Vanessa might not be playing the worst Big Brother game but she’s certainly not playing the best.

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You can catch Big Brother on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday nights on CBS. 

(image courtesy of CBS)