On the finale of Big Brother 16, 30-year-old undercover cop Derrick Levasseur won the game, a decision fans have known was coming for a long time. Since week 2 or 3, it was obvious that Derrick was playing the best game, and even after losing to Cody in the final HoH, he still emerged victorious.
The show has been drawing parallels between Derrick and season 10 winner Dan Gheesling for a while. For most fans, it’s generally agreed upon that Dan is the best winner ever, the only one to score a unanimous jury vote. Does Derrick really deserve the comparisons?
Sure, he made plenty of history. Derrick is the first person to win the game without ever winning a Power of Veto competition. He’s the first person to win after making it all the way to the Final 3 without ever being nominated. He’s only the second person in the last 10 seasons to win without also winning the final HoH and he’s only the third person over 30 to ever win.
However, I’m not ready to declare him one of the best winners ever, on par with the likes of Dan or Dr. Will Kirby. He’s certainly near the top of the list, maybe even in the Top 5, but declaring him one of the best players ever seems like he’s being overestimated. Here are three reasons why he’s NOT the best player ever.
The Final Speeches
The final jury vote was 7-2, which wasn’t the unanimous vote some people may have suspected. Season 10’s Dan is the only person with a unanimous vote and five other winners only lost one juror, but Derrick lost two, which gives him the same final vote that Andy Herren won with last season.
Jocasta obviously didn’t respect Derrick’s “fake praying” while Donny seemed more willing to vote for Cody because he knew Derrick’s game, but was surprised and impressed that Cody was also playing so hard. He may have also held it against Derrick that he lied to him so much, especially about the Skittles. More importantly, I don’t think Derrick’s final speech helped him.
Based on Frankie’s jury question to Cody about Cody being the puppet to Derrick’s puppet master, it’s quite obvious that they had made up their minds before the finale. While Cody definitely made some mistakes in his answers, I don’t think Derrick was that great, and he continued to exhibit my biggest pet peeve: lying to us.
Lying is fine during the season, but on finale night, you’re supposed to come clean and take responsibility for your actions. When Derrick was asked about using his family to manipulate the HGs, Derrick flat-out denied it. That’s a lie to the jury, the viewers and himself.
After Zach told Victoria everything, Derrick sat him down and explained that he was taking food out of his daughter’s mouth by hurting his game, using his fatherhood to intimidate Zach into keeping his mouth shut. And as Frankie said in the jury deliberation, Derrick repeatedly brought up their dead grandfathers as a bond they had, only to have Derrick stab him in the back.
I know Derrick is a family man and a good guy, but his claim that he didn’t use his family to emotionally manipulate people on a personal level to help him in the game is clearly a lie. Once again, he was more concerned with not looking like a jerk than taking responsibility for his actions.
The Dumb Competition
Another reason I’m hesitant to declare Dan one of the best winners ever was his competition. Following a season filled with controversy and racism, everyone was on their best behavior not to offend anyone. But even worse, many of them had no idea what game they were playing.
Derrick is an admitted live-feed watcher, but the rest of the people he played against were far from superfans. Victoria has said she never watched the U.S. version before joining the cast. This past week, Cody, on the live feeds, said that when he watched season 14, he had no idea who Janelle, Boogie or Dan were or why they were coaches. Alleged “superfan” Frankie was unaware of Dr. Will and Janelle’s legacies. People like Caleb, Zach and Frankie were more concerned with what the exposure of the show could do for their future careers or Instagram accounts than they were with the actual game. Early evictees like Joey, Paola and Brittany were all recruited for the show.
In interviews, Julie Chen has said she don’t think there will be another All-Stars season because people like seeing newbies who watch the game from home try to play it. That would be true if they actually cast people who are fans. Instead, they routinely recruit good-looking models with big personalities, but no understanding of the game.
Heck, even Derrick gloated about making it to the Final 3 without ever being nominated, something he doesn’t think ever happened. Real fans know that both Danielle Reyes and Jason Guy pulled off the same feat back in season 3.
As much as I hate the Battle of the Block twist and think that it lasted too long and ruined the season, it was fair in that it applied equally to everyone. But the same cannot be said for Team America. A secret twist that only three people know about is a huge advantage, especially for Derrick.
By putting him in a secret alliance with Frankie and Donny, it ensured that those two wouldn’t and couldn’t directly go after him. It also gave Derrick a huge advantage because Frankie, who won more competitions than anyone, was handed to Derrick on a silver platter. In the early stages of the game, Frankie formed a Final 2 deal with Zach and seemed committed to him. But as soon as Team America started and Frankie realized Zach wasn’t on it and wasn’t one of the more popular HGs, things fell apart.
Just look at the timing. Team America was formed in week 2, just before Devin put up Zach as a replacement nominee. That week, Frankie started turning on Zach, trashing him to thr girls and using him for the first mission by starting a rumor that Zach was Amanda Zuckerman’s cousin. From that point on, the Final 2 deal Frankie had with Zach was essentially dead as Frankie started gravitating towards Derrick, talking to him about everything Zach told him and sharing information.
That was huge. That allowed Derrick to drive a wedge between Zankie and, ultimately, convince Frankie to backdoor his BFF. If Derrick didn’t have Team America, I do not believe Frankie would’ve done this. Instead, Frankie probably would’ve sensed that Derrick was the real threat and targeted him.
As I wrote when Rachel Reilly won Big Brother 13, I don’t respect winners whose games rely on outside influence or things outside of their control. For Derrick, Team America, which was handed to him and not earned, gave him a massive leg up in the game.
Obviously Derrick did play a great game on his own. He manipulated everyone, convinced them to vote against their own best interests and kept himself safe. But he was invited into the Bomb Squad on day 2, an alliance that won nearly every single HoH, and he rode that, and Team America, to the end with relative ease. You may argue that he played the best game because he never had to struggle, but I think having to overcome some type of obstacle tests your real abilities. Derrick was never tested. Instead, Big Brother 16 looked like a cakewalk for him.
Where do you think Derrick belongs on the list of best winners?
(Image courtesy of CBS)