There are a lot of paths one can take in order to go far in the game of Big Brother. Some people are social butterflies. They often use their fun-loving, easygoing personalities against their opponents. They disarm their fellow competitors with their charm until their guard is down, then they strike! Some Big Brother players are masterminds. They use their cognitive abilities to think one, two, three steps ahead of everyone around them. When people are focused on this week, the masterminds are already considering three weeks down the road. Other Big Brother contestants are competition beasts. They hope to outmuscle the competition by winning the most competitions during the last couple of weeks in order to stand out.
Winning Big Brother is difficult, but any path that it takes to get there is worth analyzing. This is part one in a series of Top 10 lists where we are going to take a look at the best of each style of game play.
To be on this list, your game must be heavily based on competition wins. That doesn’t mean you’re not a mastermind. Nor does it mean you’re not a social butterfly. In fact, a really well rounded player might make all three lists. Additionally, the ranking is not based solely on the numbers. While the sheer amount of competition wins matters, we will also be considering how much of the player’s game is based on competitions, how well they compete under pressure, and who they were against.
10. Johnny Mac (Big Brother 17)
Johnny Mac is a modern Veto King! Despite lasting until the final four, Johnny Mac never had the pleasure of holding the HOH key. He did, however, hold the Power of Veto on four separate occasions. For being one of the most nominated people in the history of the show, it’s a good thing too! Of the nine times Johnny Mac was nominated for eviction, he saved himself four times! Three of those were due to POV wins and the final one was due to a Battle of the Block win. Being eligible for eviction so often and staying cool enough under pressure to come out with a win is always impressive. Doing it several times throughout a season makes you a competition beast.
9. Frankie Grande (Big Brother 16)
Frankie Grande is not everyone’s favorite Big Brother houseguest. He is over the top in just about every way to an excruciating degree at times. There is no denying, however, that the social media mogul is a competition beast. During his time on Big Brother 16, Frankie won 5 HOH competitions and 3 POV competitions against fierce competition in Cody Calafiore, Caleb “Beastmode Cowboy” Reynolds, Nicole Franzel, Donny Thompson, and Derrick Levasseur. His most notable win comes in the form of Battle of the Block. Everyone’s fan favorite twist! During this season, two HOHs were crowned each week, they would nominate two people each, then those four would compete in duos to save themselves.
In week 7, Frankie was nominated by Nicole. His alliance had turned on him and were ready to evict him. Frankie’s partner in the competition, Caleb, full on decided to sit out and told him he would not compete with him. What does Frankie do? He competes by himself. With the whole house rooting against him, Frankie wins the Battle of the Block by himself, guaranteeing he’s safe for the week. Even for people who don’t like Frankie, it is a moment to behold and a great example of someone performing well under pressure.
8. James Rhine (Big Brother 6/Big Brother 7)
The original Veto King! James made a name for himself in Big Brother 6 due to his ability to win power in the form of the Veto. He and his partner, Sarah, were a part of the Sovereign Six alliance, one of the two large alliances that went head to head throughout Big Brother 6. James’s biggest downfall was being seen as sneaky. Even those in his own alliance didn’t trust him which made it imperative for him to secure his own safety. And secure his own safety, he did! James won four total Power of Veto competitions during Big Brother 6 – a record at the time – several of those coming when he needed them most. If you were looking to save yourself during a POV competition circa 2005, you would be praying that James was not picked to play against you.
7. James Zinkand (Big Brother 9)
From one James to another, from one Veto King to another. James was on one of the least liked Big Brother seasons in history so don’t be surprised if you don’t remember him. Bearing the nickname “Crazy James,” Zinkand was evicted halfway through the season, only to return to the house minutes later due to a twist.
Coming back, James had a massive target on his back. Luckily, he was able to win HOH and the POV the same week. The week after, he was nominated and targeted for eviction. Luckily, he won the POV! The week after that he was nominated and targeted for eviction. Luckily, he won the POV again! Am I sounding like a broken record? What makes this Veto King stand out from the others previously mentioned is his ability to survive just another week. He was targeted over and over and over once returning to the house and managed to last several more weeks based solely on his ability to win under pressure. It’s truly amazing to watch.
6. Frank Eudy (Big Brother 14/Big Brother 18)
Frank’s Big Brother 14 story is very similar to that of James’s Big Brother 9 story. The massive difference being that Frank was winning HOHs and POVs. It’s pretty wild when you look at the stats. Frank lasted eight weeks in the Big Brother house. During those eight weeks, Frank was the HOH and/or won the POV during five of those weeks. Any week that he was not holding one of those powers, he was sitting in the chair come eviction night. To put this in perspective, Frank did not even have the ability to vote on eviction night until week 6! Most people on this list can be praised for some strategic chops or their ability to make allies, but Frank’s biggest, and arguably only, strength out of those three is his incredible physical ability, while makes him one of the show’s true competition beasts.
5. Jackson Michie (Big Brother 21)
The most recent person to win on their first season has been in the news recently due to some controversial information he has shared about his time in the Big Brother house. While he was there, Jackson was known for a lot of things – both good and bad. Mostly bad. In terms of the game, however, Jackson is a genuinely well rounded player. He made good social connections with people in and out of his alliances which helped keep him safe despite being a threat, he had the strategic wherewithal to know when he needed to cut allies and how to pit people against each other to benefit his game, and of course, the reason he is making this list, Jackson is great in competitions.
There have been plenty of young, muscular guys who have come on the show and absolutely embarrassed themselves in the physical aspect of the show. Jackson, however, lived up to his physique. During his run on the show, Jackson won four HOHs and four POVS, tying the record. It’s uncommon to see people that look like Jackson on a list like this because people can easily target them as competition threats and it’s just a testament to how well rounded he is that he was able to last to the end, despite being a clear physical threat.
4. Daniele Briones (Big Brother 8/Big Brother 13/Big Brother 22)
Despite being one of the youngest to ever play during her first season, Daniele made quite the impression. She was a part of the season’s twist, alongside her dad. The season featured some couples with bad blood that were reunited in the house. Unlike the other pairs, Dani and her father, Dick, decided to work on their relationship and utilize it in the house, taking them all the way to the final two. While some people claim that Dani was riding her father’s coattails, Dani actually made a huge mark on the competition side of the season. During her run, she won 2 HOHs and 5 POVs. While competition wins aren’t everything, they can make a huge difference between winning and losing. Dani’s competition wins helped to keep her and her dad safe, which ultimately helped pave their way to the final two.
3. Paul Abrahamian (Big Brother 18/Big Brother 19)
Looking solely at the numbers, Paul should be #1. Across two seasons, Paul has won HOH or POV 14 total times – the most of any Big Brother player. What makes Paul tricky to rank, though, is considering how much of their game is reliant on competition wins. If we look at Big Brother 18, early on, they were on the outs and won a POV to save themself when they needed it. Then, as the season went on, they laid low, relying on their social game to get in the good graces of the majority alliance, before finding themself back on the defense in the second half of the season, where Paul and his #1 ally, Victor, had to turn it up and win HOH or POV to guarantee their safety. Paul kept surviving all the way to final two, where they lost 5-4.
Fast forward to Big Brother 19 where Paul was never on the bottom. From the very beginning, Paul was surrounded by a cast of newbies, many of whom adored them. They were, in theory, the biggest target, as they were the “head of the snake,” but they were never really in danger of going home. That didn’t stop Paul from flexing their physical abilities though. By the time the season ended, Paul had won 3 HOHs and 5 POVs. Important to note though that just being a competition beast won’t seal the deal. Paul made it to the final two again, where they lost 5-4. Again.
2. Rachel Reilly (Big Brother 12/Big Brother 13)
Despite the fact that both of them played two seasons and Paul has won more competitions than Rachel, she is ranked higher due to the focus on competitions. During her short run on Big Brother 12, Rachel won 2 of the 3 HOH competitions she competed in. Her and boyfriend, Brendon, were quickly on the outs of the majority and were seen as a collective public enemy #1. This resulted in her being nominated and evicted as the first member of the jury.
When she returned the next season, Rachel was in a much better position and given more wiggle room, which allowed her to win 4 HOHs and 2 POVs on her way to being crowned the winner. Rachel ranks so high because to be frank, her social game leaves a lot to be desired. And while she isn’t actively bad strategically, she also isn’t a mastermind. She thrives in competitions and it’s her potential to win them that makes people want to align with her and makes people fear her.
1. Janelle Pierzina (Big Brother 6/Big Brother 7/Big Brother 14/Big Brother 22)
There was 0% chance that this list was going to be made without Janelle near the top. If you were to ask 100 Big Brother fans who they think about when you say the words, “competition beast,” at least 3/4 of them would say Janelle. Across her four seasons, Janelle has won 6 HOHs and 7 POVs. Most of these wins occurred during Big Brother: All Stars. She won either HOH or POV (sometimes both) during 8 of the 12 eligible rounds. Sure, she was playing against Chicken George, but she also beat Erika Landin, Mike Boogie, Veto King James Rhine, and a host of other formidable competitors.
Unfortunately, she has not been as successful during her last two seasons. Everyone else is too scared of what she could do that they get her out as soon as possible. Since she first appeared on Big Brother 6, Janelle has been the face of the Big Brother competition beast. Chances are high that that will never change.
Which competition beast would you be most scared to see in the Big Brother backyard? Let us know! Don’t forget to read part two of this series: Top 10 Big Brother Masterminds! And while you’re at it, check out some of these other great Reality TV articles: