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posted Sunday, 20 September 2015

It's definitely been great for me not posting all that frequently this year, but an awful lot can happen in a week. Since I last wrote, we had the mid-week eviction, and thanks to both Vanessa and Johnny's incredible ability to be opaque, we went into the feedblock with only a hope of what would happen. But the dreams of many livefeeders came true when a split vote and Vanessa's tiebreaker delivered the most epic blindside of BB17. Both Austin and Liz were truly shocked, and according to an interview Julie Chen gave, Austin even tried to talk Vanessa into switching her vote after she cast it. Too bad we missed that.

Steve won HOH, securing his spot in final 3, and then Vanessa won the POV, with John as a close second. It was pretty much win or go home for both of them, but Johnny Mac still made a valiant effort to stay in the house. But Vanessa's no fool and knew Liz was a much better bet for her. Going when he did gives JMac a decent shot at America's Favorite, so that's something. It's pretty much a horse race between him and James, and I'm not even going to speculate on who will take that one.

We got a pretty respectable endurance comp out of the final 3, swinging, dipping and wall-whacking on "candy apples" that looked more like bloody balls to me. They were all in pretty solid shape, despite complaints from the girls that the rope was getting way too up in their business, until BB switched it up and had them sitting directly on the balls, rather than little disc-seats. Steve slipped off after about 3 and a half hours, and then about 10 minutes later Liz rather inexplicably handed the win over to Vanessa.

They got a day of rest and recuperation, then Liz and Steve played part two on Friday night. It was some sort of a crossword theme. They came pretty close, but Steve pulled out the win and will face off with Vanessa in part three. It's starting to seem more and more like Liz is a shoo-in for second. Steve has been practicing his "cut Vanessa" speech for days; he knows he can't beat her. I think there's a slight chance Vanessa would take Steve to the end for a couple of reasons. First, they do have the longest standing of all her F2 deals and second, I think her ego would like her to have a shot at being the first woman to beat a man in the jury vote. But I also think Vanessa's an analyzer at heart, and if she thinks the math shows Liz is the easier win she'll take that route.

I'm not going to do my full "jury analysis" like I have in past years (though I did go pull week 1 screen caps) in part because I'm never right anyway, and in part because this year's HGs are harder to predict than most. But bottom line, despite Liz's two guaranteed votes from Julia and Austin, plus the bitterness factor that whichever of Vanessa/Steve is booted by the other could easily vote for Liz, I think she still loses to either of them. She would have to pull at least two votes from the rest of the jury and I think most of them see that Vanessa and Steve both played a better game. Vanessa had her strategy and manipulation, and Steve got to where he is without all the advantages that Liz had. Steve also has the advantage of having pissed off very few people. And the few that would be the most upset with him are voting for Liz no matter what anyway.

If it's Vanessa versus Steve, I would have said Vanessa has the win on lock, but recent events have made it less certain. Vanessa was basically behind every eviction of the season. But with the first five jurors it wasn't exactly a betrayal. With Shelli, Vanessa was on the block against her, and with the next 4, they weren't aligned. But the last 4 (regardless of whether it's Steve or Liz who goes at F3) Vanessa was actively going back on a deal. And with all her proclamations of her integrity and loyalty, there are going to be some hard feelings there. Depending on who sees her moves as strategy and who sees them as dirty, votes really could go either way.

Personally, I'd kind of like to see a Vanessa/Steve final 2. I think they've played the best games of the final 3, and it would be interesting to see which one would actually manage to pull out the win. Vanessa has certainly played the better strategic game, but Steve probably wins on the social front. Which is ironic considering how awkward he's been. Vanessa's done more backstabbing, whether she admits it or not, but that's mainly because she has had some sort of deal with practically every single person in there. And the fact that had all those deals and made it to the end despite people being "on to her" for many, many weeks is pretty impressive. Steve's game is a lot more subtle, and in some ways was a lot easier. While Vanessa was working practically every day in the BB house, Steve mostly just lived his life and got to the end. However, at the end, Steve seems to have been doing better. Vanessa worked so hard to get there, I'm not sure she thought about what would happen when she arrived. If she makes F2 she's going to have to face the jury and if she doesn't own up to the way she's played, it could cost her the win.

So that's where we are. There's been almost no gametalk the last few days. It could change in the next few, if the DR lights a spark under them to get some footage for the show. Steve is pretty clear he's taking Liz, and for good reasons, despite the fact they have never really talked about it. I think Liz believes Vanessa would take her to the end, but she's not so sure about Steve. And Vanessa probably will take Liz, unless she manages to convince herself that she has a better chance to win over Steve. My choice order, knowing everything I know and having zero personal investment in the game, would be Vanessa, Steve, Liz. But the truth is any one of them could win, and it wouldn't be a total upset. Though I think Liz has the least shot, she's not out of the race. And at the end of the day whoever gets the votes deserves the win.

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