Big Brother’s 18th season came to an end on Wednesday night (September 21) with returning player Nicole Franzel (Big Brother 16) winning the $500,000 grand prize over runner-up Paul Abrahamian by a 5-4 vote.
The 90-minute finale, which aired on CBS and Global, including the final round of the all-important HOH competition which saw Paul win and take Nicole to the final two instead of returning houseguest James Huling (Big Brother 17). Victor Arroyo, who managed to return to the house following two evictions, won the title of America’s Favourite Player, earning him $25,000. Runner-up Paul was awarded $50,000.
The TV Watercooler had the opportunity to speak with the final three houseguests. In this interview, Nicole opens up about winning the game, the biggest difference between both her seasons as well as her ideal first date with Corey.
Where you genuinely surprised that Da’Vonne voted for you to win?
Yes, I was because she was on the team with Paul and I thought that they were closer in the house. I’m still shocked.
Was that your most surprising vote?
I was also shocked that James didn’t vote for me. I would have expected James to vote for me and Da’Vonne not to.
Had you won that final HOH, who would you have taken to that final two?
I would have taken Paul. It was a constant struggle between my heart and my head. Strategically it was smarter to take James but since I’m such a big fan of the show, I told Paul that “If I had to lose to someone, I would want it to be you.” He played a great game. We both worked very hard this season. I loved sitting next to him.
You were compared to Geppetto — was it your intention to be this puppet master with the men of the house or did that just happen naturally?
I dig it [Laughs]. I definitely wanted to take a bit of Derrick’s strategy going into the house where I wanted people to think that it was their idea and their plans. I never wanted it to fall back on me. I had to work but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I started doing it on Day 1 when I had to convince Corey to let me have the first HOH but I had to make it seem like I didn’t want it. I felt that it just got easier and easier throughout the season.
Who’s behaviour shocked you the most in the house?
As a person… Michelle. I just don’t understand her behaviour.
Is she still crying right now?
Probably… She has not said congratulations. She has not made eye contact. She has not said one word to me after I won.
Yeah — talk about bitter.
I guess you guys aren’t hanging out after this.
Other than winning, what was the biggest difference playing this time around?
The atmosphere was a lot more stressful. Everyone wanted to cut each other’s throats. Everyone wanted to talk bad about each other. The atmosphere wasn’t ideal. I realized that very early own and honestly, that’s why I just hung with Corey because he wasn’t somebody that wanted to talk bad about people. I could get out of gave mode and all that negativity by hanging out with him. I was a little nervous because it meant that I didn’t have a great social game, but I think that it was better for me to do that option than to try to fit in with everybody and talk crap all the time. I didn’t plan on hanging out with just one person all season, but it was best for my emotional wellbeing.
So you didn’t have a plan to come in and do a showmance?
Oh no, I avoided it at all cost! I did not want that going in.
But then it happened with Corey.
I know! And he had sworn up and down that he wasn’t going to play that way either. And then look!
What would be the perfect first date with Corey outside of the house?
I think we should go get some margaritas and eat some Mexican food! Something chill like that.