In a good, old-fashioned showdown of Good vs. Evil - Good prevails and Jordan Lloyd is crowned the winner of Big Brother 11.
People all across the Nation are hurting right now. The economy, recession, job loss, and Healthcare – if one thing isn’t affecting you, another one is. So it’s no wonder that Big Brother 11, CBS’ summer time guilty pleasure, had it’s best ratings so far. While there are avid fans of the show since it first aired, it gained quite a few new viewers. In times like these, people want to suspend reality, even if only for an hour a night. This season was no disappointment with villains, romance, lying, cheating, stealing and an all out Good vs. Evil ending that rivals any Hollywood script.
Early on, Jordan Lloyd, a waitress from North Carolina, showed that sweet Southern charm. I think most were surprised when it continued throughout the game. I know I was. She was a breath of fresh air in a world of the cynical and jaded. While she may not have been the smartest one in the house, she didn’t pretend to be either. She knows her limitations and owns them.
From the beginning, Jordan had everyone in the house pegged. She was on point. When the entire house was against Jeff, she was the only one who went to him. In her interviews, when asked about this, she said that it was because she knew Jeff was a nice guy. They had similar qualities and would rather hang out with him, even if it turned people against her, than be involved in the bitterness that was carrying on. Obviously, this was the foundation of Jeff’s allegiance to her and vise-versa. In a house full of schemers and liars, you never know whom you can trust, even in your own alliance. Jeff and Jordan had the most solid alliance in Big Brother history. They knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they could trust and count on one another completely. In this game, that’s as good as gold.
The house continued to be against Jeff, however they couldn’t send him packing because of the cliques. Instead Jessie, Ronnie, Natalie, Russell and Chima picked off his friends in the game one by one, their heads growing ever larger with each eviction. Big Brother proclaims, ”Expect the Unexpected” as their tagline, but doesn’t always live up to the hype. Occasionally, America is able to be a part of the show. After all, we are Big Brother, watching the house guests’ every move; we should be able to pull a few strings here and there. When the Coup D’etat was announced to us, Americans voted in droves to award the power to Jeff. The “good guys” were at the bottom with no ladder in sight. The power couldn’t have come at a better time for Jeff and Jordan.
To the average viewer, Jessie, Chima, Natalie and Ronnie appeared to be merely power hungry. It seemed unfathomable that Jessie’s ego could get any larger than what he walked in with, but, shockingly, it did. For those of us with the live feeds, we saw just how much this power was going to their heads; they wrapped themselves in it like it was a warm blanket.
When Russell decided to go against the group and get rid of Ronnie, they had a huge wake-up call, but still fought for him to stay. It was amusing to watch Natalie and Jessie stammer their pleas to Russell. Natalie really wanted Lydia to go and I think it had more to do with her jealousy over her relationship with Jessie than anything else. Chima fought for Ronnie as well, although she did it while basically laying on top of Russell. Ronnie ran around to everyone in the house, begging, all the while thinking he was so masterful. But, his secret was out – he was a rat. He thought he knew everything about the game and wasn’t even all that clever. How he thought he was a mastermind is beyond me. Perhaps he meant at Dungeons and Dragons? Natalie came up with a lie that involved Michele campaigning for Ronnie to somehow take the heat off him and place it on Michele as if she had some super secret alliance with Ronnie. Russell called a house meeting to get to the bottom of it and we were introduced to Michele’s response of “I don’t remember” – a phrase that would ultimately be her downfall.
In the end, Russell stuck to his guns. America knew that Jeff had the power to change the nominations, but he chose not to since he was sure Ronnie would be leaving. Jessie, Chima and Natalie all voted for him to stay thinking that someone might just throw him a sympathy vote, which didn’t happen and he was sent packing as the last person evicted before the jury house.
When Chima won the following HOH competition her first instructions to the house guests were that they better not go against her. Apparently, even her enemies. Her target was Russell and she made no bones about it, acting like a woman scorned. The previous week, she yelled and screamed at Russell and he yelled back. He didn’t like her advances and according to Chima, “Americans don’t like Middle Easterners” expanding to call him a “terrorist”. The edit on the regular broadcast version made it appear that she said he was “terrorizing the house” but those of us who watched it unfold live, know that is not what was said. In fact, the footage that was shown actually happened days later. I imagine after she had a talking to due to all the enraged fans’ emails and phone calls. I personally don’t much like being smacked in the face with racism when I tune in to a mindless reality show for entertainment.
Jessie was the only one who knew he could be heading to the jury house because of the special power. Chima didn’t believe, for even a split second, that anyone would go against her commands. Jessie relayed to Natalie how important it was to be nice to Jeff and thus they began a crusade to befriend him and Jordan. Everywhere they went Jessie and Natalie were right behind. Jessie and Natalie thought they were genius and it was “working” while Jeff and Jordan found it irritating and weird.
As Thursday night rolled around, millions gathered around their televisions for the outcome of the power we granted. We knew Jeff would use it. We knew he would do the right thing for himself and evict Jessie – he just had to, right? We let out a collective sigh when Jeff stood for his chance to turn the table on the power in the house. No one seemed more surprised than Jordan. Hell, Jessie expected it so much he wore a special shirt for the occasion, ripping off an over-layer when Jeff placed him on the block. Unveiling a tee with a picture of himself. Flexing. Shirtless. With a caption reading, “The man, the myth, the legend.” The legend of what? Tools?
We didn’t get to witness the aftermath live as CBS and production took Chima’s threats of “I’ll ruin your live show” seriously. But, Chima was fuming. During the HOH competition that followed, comment after comment flew about just how mad she was. Thankfully, Michele pulled out the win and the power shift was on an upswing as Michele had aligned herself with Jeff and Jordan. It really couldn’t have worked out any better. Well, Chima, Natalie and Lydia obviously didn’t feel this way. They held some sort of weird funeral for Jessie - crying and toasting him as if he died. Chima was furious that Russell wasn’t gone and that her power had been usurped. Stating that “Russell is a terrorist and I’m the Twin Towers”. Yes, folks, came right out of her mouth. There was even that annoying giggle directly after.
Chima’s self-destruction was upon us and I loved every minute of it. Her self-entitlement knows no bounds and she believed that she could behave in any manner she pleased. She went through Russell’s belongings, found his Rosary from the Vatican and hid it. Natalie joined in as well, pulling Jeff’s clothing from his drawers and dumping it on his bed. Chima continually disregarded production requests while Natalie, Lydia and even Kevin laughed about it, adding fuel to her fire. After repeated attempts to get her in line, the last straw for Big Brother was when she threw her microphone into the hot tub. Natalie and Lydia immediately ran to retrieve it, with Natalie proclaiming, “It slipped out of her hand.” Huh? Is Natalie aware they are being filmed by hundreds of cameras at all times? Someone explained the premise of the show to her, right? It slipped? I believe this gave the producers the ammunition they needed to remove Chima from the game, which they thankfully did. She thought she owned them; she could do anything she wanted, not follow the rules within the game. But, in the end, it was she who was owned with a simple line of, “No need to sit down.” I’m pretty sure DVRs all across America worked overtime rewinding that little bit over and over again - I know mine did.
Lydia flipped out, got drunk and became a raving lunatic. Natalie seemed pleased with this behavior with that smirk of hers in full display at all times. Lydia suggested they put a red M&M in Michele’s drink since she is allergic to red food dye. Kevin suggested whispering in Michele’s ear directly before the competition about her brother’s recent death. Natalie wanted to replace their belongings with other things: sour cream in the tanning lotion, something in their contact solution – things that have nothing to do with the game at hand and more about physically and emotionally hurting the others on a personal level.
In the end, Kevin and Natalie came up with a lie to tell Jeff they overheard a conversation Russell and Michele had regarding “splitting up the couple”. That they were going to try to get Jeff out before their Final Four deal was in play. Oh, how they were excited. Kevin laid it out to Jeff, giving Jeff food for thought. Jeff and Jordan confronted Michele about it and she gave her now standard response, “I don’t remember”, immediately casting doubt on herself. Later, she even furthered it by saying that Russell wanted Jeff out next week. This is the moment that Jordan began to go against her gut. She became confused and mistrusting of her own thoughts about people. Had Michele not been in Jordan’s ear already in regards to not trusting Russell and repeating and making up things he said negatively towards her, this wouldn’t have worked at all. Michele unknowingly laid the groundwork and the “Last Minute Lie” gained momentum. In the end, Jordan chose to evict Lydia keeping the numbers in their favor for the next week.
Jeff won the next HOH and we were thrilled. The affable, genuine, funny and entertaining Jeff, finally truly had the power he needed. We cheered as a whole and then immediately cringed as one when Jeff made a deal with Natalie and Kevin. Well, okay, I screamed a little. But, Jeff doesn’t have the live feeds as we do, he can only go by what information he’s given, so he made his decision based on that. He took Russell out, which wasn’t such a terrible move, however he should have waited a week.
With Russell gone and Kevin winning the following HOH competition, we were able to see the lengths he and Natalie would go to in their despicable behavior. I mean, Natalie cheated in pool and chess and that didn’t even have anything to do with the game of Big Brother. She lied and rationalized every one of them. She believed them. She bossed everyone around as if she owned the place.
Jeff and Michele were placed on the block with Jeff, of course, as the target. Before the POV competition, Natalie and Kevin, once again, rummaged through Michele’s belongings, found her competition gloves, took them and stuffed them in Natalie’s bag. And loved every minute of it. What’s interesting about this is that Michele was asleep in the HOH room at the time. She wanted to talk to Kevin, but fell asleep and he ran out of the room as soon as he saw her. When she awoke, she saw the Rule Book and decided to read it. Directly underneath it was the famous calendar that Natalie and Kevin made from Play-Doh. Michele looked at it, moved a couple of things around and simply shrugged. In the meantime, Natalie and Kevin were back outside playing pool when Kevin thought about the calendar being up there and how Michele could find it. Natalie’s response? “That crazy bitch better not go through our stuff. Who would do something like that? I’ll cut a bitch.” Yes, Natalie goes through Michele’s drawers, find her gloves, steals them, then two minutes later says that she’ll “cut a bitch” for doing the exact same thing.
Michele won the POV and removed herself from the block. Jeff and Jordan were crushed. They knew Jeff would be the one leaving and both of their heads were spinning. Jordan truly believed Jeff deserved to be there over her and Jeff felt the guilt of wanting to stay over his best friend in the house – a person he developed genuine feelings for. As Jordan cried and drank an entire bottle of wine and started on another, Natalie and Kevin came up with a new plan to hurt Michele for no apparent reason. Natalie wanted Jeff to pretend to like Michele romantically. It was apparent to all of us that she had a huge crush on Jeff, but seriously, who didn’t. The difference is that she fawned over him and followed him and Jordan everywhere they went at an uncomfortable pace. Natalie wanted Jeff to use Michele’s feeling for Jeff to get her to use the veto on him instead of herself. I almost threw up listening. Who behaves this way? They knew that Michele would never do it; they just wanted to really hurt her and Jeff in the process. Poor Jordan stepped into the lion’s den when they told her about it. She was wasted and vulnerable and Natalie and Kevin knew it. Jordan agreed that it was a great idea and when Jeff came out and Natalie told him about it, Jordan went right along with it.
I don’t care what your feelings about Jeff were at this point, the moment he opened his mouth you knew the character of the man. He wouldn’t agree to do anything like that for a million dollars, much less $500K. He let them know that he wasn’t that guy and shut them down instantly. While Natalie kept trying, Kevin seemed to back away when he knew Jeff wasn’t going for it. When Jeff stormed into the house, Natalie continued to work on Jordan, with Kevin and finally Jordan saying it was a lost cause.
Jeff was evicted to America’s dismay. He was the good guy! But, he lost, it hurts, he gone. While Jordan cried, Michele comforted her and assured her that she had her back. It would be her and Jordan against Natalie and Kevin until the end. Jordan let Michele know that Jeff told her to “stick with Michele” and that’s what she planned to do. But, she was heartbroken. Somewhere, during the two months they were there, Jordan fell for Jeff. I’m pretty sure the feelings are mutual. I don’t think she realized how much she really did like him until it was apparent that he would be leaving. I commend them on not putting their feelings on display for all of America. Of course, we are all clamoring to know what’s going to happen with their relationship in the future. But, honestly, that’s why I think the feelings are genuine. They are protecting them. What they have is special to them and is their life outside of the game – not for public consumption.
Natalie went on to win the HOH in a tiebreaker. And apparently did so “without breaking her word”. I’m not exactly sure how that works though – Julie asked questions and they answered “Fact” or “Fiction”. In fact, no one except Julie even spoke.
So, while Michele and Jordan gave each other pep talks, Natalie and Kevin cheated each other at chess and schemed of ways to pull pranks on the girls. The kitchen water-spray trick, Saran Wrap on the toilet seat, and oh yeah, bleach in Michele’s contact solution. Blindness always gets a laugh. The things Kevin and Natalie have said throughout the game are horrific. Natalie is no villain. A good villain has redeeming qualities. They have to make you see something else in them to be interested enough to want to watch them – to hope they change their behavior. Natalie is no villain; she’s just straight-up evil. She’s a pathological liar and from everything we witnessed 24/7, I believe she’s a sociopath – she’s a liar and believes those lies as truths, a thief, a cheater, is self-righteous, homophobic, believes she’s entitled to everything, including others’ belongings, thinks that everything is about her and for her and cannot control her behavior. I find nothing redeeming in Natalie.
Natalie dressed as Flava Flav for her nomination ceremony and practiced her speech for hours. What wasn’t shown on the regular broadcast, was her repeatedly telling Michele that she wasn’t a good Christian. That Michele aligned with the devil and now she would face the consequences. She repeated what a good Christian she was and how Michele was now the devil. Confused? Believe me, I watched it live and still don’t understand. In the end, Michele went up with Kevin alongside as a feeble attempt to throw the girls off Kevin and Natalie’s alliance.
Kevin won the POV, saving himself and Jordan went up in his place. As Kevin was the only vote, Michele was out - but not before one last awkward speech on Michele's part including devil horns. To no one’s surprise, it didn’t help her at all and Jordan was left - Cinderella vs. the two evil stepsisters. Well, I guess, stepbrother, but it doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?
Going into the final HOH competition, we knew of Kevin and Natalie’s plan. Kevin was to win the first round of the competition, with Natalie winning the second round – she “guarantees she’ll win” as apparently, “Jordan is stupid and has nothing on her.” So, once again, a Nation of Jordan fans collectively held our breath as the log rolling competition began. She had this in the bag – we just knew it. Natalie was in trouble almost immediately. She twirled around and almost slipped off, only to save herself. She knew she was in trouble yet again, so her only tactic was to distract Jordan. It began with “I bet Michele’s loving being in the jury house with Jeff. Finally, all alone with him.” When she didn’t the reaction she was looking for, she began telling Jordan how cold she looked all the while blue and shaking. Most of us have seen the screen capture of Natalie’s hand only on the rope and not on her key as they were instructed. I truly believe she should have been disqualified for this. She cheated at pool and chess when there was no reason for it. She admitted to cheating during the OTEV competition. I imagine she cheated in anything she could. Why this behavior was allowed is beyond me and frankly beyond the game. Kevin was turned to the side, with his back completely facing Jordan when they were told to face to pool when Jordan asked if she could turn around. He bragged about watching the gears on the mechanism controlling the log and it was apparent just watching that that was what he was doing. And all the while, Jordan just continues to play the game on her own merit within the rules of the game. Just before the four-hour mark, she slipped and was out of the running for the first round of the three-part series.
As soon as she walked inside, Natalie made Kevin confirm again that he would take her to the end no matter what and he obliged. She jumped off with Kevin winning the first round. I was crushed. I wanted so badly for Jordan to win and gain her self-confidence back. Leading up to the second round, Kevin and Natalie continually blew Jordan off as a competitor. Apparently, she didn’t matter – she was only “1/2 a competitor” anyway. Again, Natalie guaranteed she’d win. At the same time, everyone made deals with each other. It seemed like Kevin would take Jordan if he won, Jordan would take Natalie and Natalie would take Kevin. But who really knew with these three?
When Thursday’s show rolled around, I was on the edge of my seat. Jordan repeatedly said she became nervous on the live shows and this was the one time she couldn’t give in to that - the difference is this time Jordan knew it as well. She knew she had to win this game to stay in the running to make it to the Finals. Natalie went first and was almost instantly thrown off when she accidentally got the wrong ball into the wrong hole. But, that’s a part of the game. You take it into account and move forward from there. She didn’t and even put another one in the wrong spot. The total she had right were five. Jordan was up next and we knew she had it. If she didn’t make the same mistake as Natalie, she would most certainly win. She started with a bang, but then accidentally got the wrong ball in. However, she realized where she had to go from there and it became her only mistake, making her correct answers: nine. The studio audience couldn’t contain their enthusiasm for Jordan – even though I imagine they were instructed otherwise. And we, at home, were cheering right along with them. I actually felt proud of her - a person I don’t even know. Good had triumphed and it was about time.
Fans of Big Brother can agree that the next five days were filled with anxiety and impatience – I can only imagine what Kevin, Natalie and Jordan felt. Natalie continued on in her smug way, assuming that whomever won would take her with them in the Final Two. Kevin worried about Jordan taking him as she said she would and Jordan worried about Kevin doing the same. However, I think Jordan was less worried at this point. She seemed to know that it didn’t really matter what he said – she needed to win the final round for herself. Don’t get me wrong, of course she wanted Kevin to take her, but she knew it was in her hands to take herself.
Almost 7-1/2 million households tuned in to see who would win Big Brother. Would it be Kevin, who floated and lied his way through the game to get to his position? Would it be Natalie who didn’t deserve a single penny as a reward for her behavior? Or would it be Jordan, the sweet and generous girl who made it to the end without lying and scheming at every turn and her true self intact?
The final round of the last HOH were questions on how the jury would answer. Jordan took the lead and Kevin tied it up on the next one. We groaned at home, along with the studio audience, when Jordan got Jeff’s answer wrong, even though he’d said it hundreds of times. But, in the end, Jordan won in a tiebreaker question and her fate was in her own hands.
In choosing Natalie as her final opponent, she chose wisely. During the jury’s questions, Jordan was her sweet, honest and ditzy self. Natalie stayed true to herself as well and continued lying and taking credit for other people’s actions in the house. But, this time, she didn’t get away with it. In a final vote of 5-2, Jordan won the 11th season of Big Brother and the crowd went wild!
Some Big Brother fans say that Jordan shouldn’t have won and it’s a travesty to the game itself. “She didn’t have a strategy.” “She didn’t make any big moves.” I’m left to wonder why you have to lie to be considered a decent player. Jordan was Jordan and won the competitions she needed to win at the time she needed to win them, all with a huge smile on her face. Natalie lied and schemed, but never won, she counted on others to do it for her. She lied, cheated and stole and in this day and age, it seems that is what gets you ahead. But, you know what? We’re sick of it. We see it everyday and Natalie Martinez didn’t deserve to be rewarded for her atrocious behavior. She already sees nothing wrong with it and winning would have only fueled it. If we can’t personally take on Lehman Brothers or AIG, we sure as hell can cast a vote for someone who represents what we’d like to see in this world – simple, old-fashioned good. It’s time for the people who work an honest job, scrape by, help and love their family, friends and neighbors to get a leg up for a change. I think that’s what Jordan represents to many Americans. You couldn’t have watched her for over two months and not fallen in love with her. The kindness and generosity she showed towards everyone in the house, including her enemies, are characteristics that seem to have long been forgotten in today’s society. I, for one, am glad that someone has shown that you can get ahead without resorting to despicable behavior.
Jordan Lloyd came in to the Big Brother house with a smile on her face and left with an even bigger one. The sweet Southern gal defeated someone who took pride in the pain she caused others and did so without stooping to her level. For me, Jordan did more than give me a guilty pleasure this summer; she gave me hope that there are still decent people out there. She proved to America that winning at all costs is never actually winning. But, most of all she proved that good could prevail over evil. I’m sure that in the not so distant future, Natalie will get what’s due to her. But, today, Jordan got her due and she’s $500,000 richer for it.
So, congratulations, Jordan! I’ve never felt a contestant deserved a win more than you and I doubt none have ever appreciated it more. Now, go get mama that house!