Big. Brother. All-Stars. Words not uttered together since 2006. Despite all the ups and downs getting to this point, Big Brother All-Stars 2 is here and is a much-needed distraction from the tumultuous world around us right now. So let’s get into all the action from last night’s season premiere.
With locked “have-not” doors and broken air conditioning units, the live premiere was not without some minor mishaps. Still, that wasn’t enough to distract from the cast itself. As expected, a cast of 16 returning players ranging from winners to first boots have entered the Big Brother house. It is surreal to me that we’re finally getting a new All-Stars season for the first time in 14 years, and seeing these veterans re-introduce themselves to the Big Brother community is exciting and thrilling.
The cast itself is a mix of old school players and iconic new school players. I’m personally very excited to see the resurgence of Keesha Smith, Daniele (Briones) Donato, and Kaysar Ridha competing against the new generation’s favorites like Da’Vonne Rogers, Bayleigh Dayton, and Nicole Anthony. Overall, the cast is quite impressive. Everyone brings something to the table, even previous first boot David Alexander has an interesting story. Although I’m not sure he qualifies as an “all-star,” I appreciate the idea of redemption for players like David and Christmas Abbott, who broke her foot in her original season.
Other returning players include now four-time player Janelle Pierzina, one of the most popular Big Brother contestants of all time, former winners Ian Terry and Nicole Franzel, runners-up Tyler Crispen, Memphis Garrett, and Cody Calafiore, and third-place finalists Enzo Palumbo and Kevin Campbell. As I say, overall, it’s a solid cast, especially taking into account all the behind the scenes drama in the lead-up to the season with sequestering and coronavirus testing and god knows what else.
After the introduction videos, the new cast arrived in front of the brand new Big Brother stage (an impressive LED backdrop) in groups of four. I personally love the new stage, and it’s easy to forget that there is no live audience with the eye-pleasing graphics. However, I was distracted by the houseguests wearing masks before they entered the house and Julie Chen continuously announcing how they have been quarantined and safely social distancing. I get that CBS wants everyone to understand their protocols for COVID-19 prevention, but it came across as really awkward and distracting.
Speaking of awkward, while the cast itself is amazing, the live premiere did not go smoothly, especially with the first HOH competition. The houseguests competed in groups of four, alternating between women and men. I, among others, noticed a clear discrepancy between the women having to complete a far more difficult table maze than the men. In both women groups, only one person was able to even complete the maze (Nicole A. and Christmas) while the others timed out. This just seemed to be completely unfair to the women. The HOH comp just didn’t seem well thought out, and watching four rounds of table mazes isn’t the most riveting television.
Cody ended up winning the first Head of Household of the season in a competition that seemed designed to rebreak Christmas’s foot. What does a Cody HOH reign mean? To be honest, I would have preferred to see Memphis or Kevin win this first one, just because we haven’t seen them play Big Brother in over 10 years. Cody himself said he didn’t want to win the first HOH initially, but ended up going for it because he “hasn’t talked to most of the cast before.” I would love to see these old school players go far, so I hope Cody doesn’t take the safe option of nominating them this early, that would be a bummer.
Julie also hinted throughout the premiere that the houseguests would be playing a version of Big Brother like never before. At the end of the night, our long-time host told us about different rooms that will be open to the houseguests throughout the season. The first one, the Safety Suite, will open its doors this week (as long it doesn’t get stuck like the have-not room). I am sure it will be something similar to “The Cloud” twist from Big Brother 20, where players can make themselves immune from that week’s nominations.
Despite the live mishaps and Julie’s awkward jokes, I am still so excited for this season of Big Brother All-Stars. It is a dream come true to see so many of these players return and play this game we all know and love. Do I think this season will be the best of all time? It’s way too early to say, but I do know that with a cast like this, it’s not impossible.
Let us know your thoughts on the season premiere in the comments below!