You gotta hand it to CBS: It delivered one of the most engrossing Big Brother finales in recent memory.
After 85 days of competition, plenty of COVID-19 tests, and all the times Julie Chen promised to "expect the unexpected," season 22 of Big Brother: All Stars came to a close on Tuesday, Oct. 28 as the jury voted to crown the winner of that coveted $500,000 prize. During the two-hour finale, top-three contestants Cody Calafiore, Enzo Palumbo and Nicole Franzel participated in two live HOH (Head of Household) competitions that secured their fate in the game.
So what went down? Since Nicole had won the first leg of HOH comps in the penultimate episode, the second faceoff was between Enzo and Cody, which featured a challenge that involved swinging pig heads (oh, this game) and a balance beam. Cody swiftly beat Enzo, preparing him to go head-to-head against Nicole for a memory quiz. Given the comp beast that he is, Cody unsurprisingly defeated Nicole, granting him the authority to choose who'd get to sit next to him as final two.
For some fans, his decision came as a shock. For others, not so much. As someone who'd been in so many alliances (this season's included The Slick Six, The Committee, The Commission, The Wise Guys, The Other Wise Guys), Cody leveraged his good relationships and chose to send Nicole packing, which made her burst into tears during her live exit interview (we would have too—she was blindsided). Though he broke his final-two promise with Nicole, it's a game after all—and Nicole posed a bigger threat as a previous BB winner.
After a series of tense live interviews conducted by Julie and the jury, the former houseguests considered Cody and Enzo's resumes before ultimately crowning Cody as the winner of Big Brother 22 in a unanimous vote. (Enzo took home $50,000 as runner-up).
This makes perfect sense. Cody was often referred to as "the head of the snake," and he won four HOH competitions and four Veto competitions without being nominated for the block once. Sick game, sir!
Yes, Big Brother fans on social media are ecstatic about this win—especially those who look for a winner with a strong social game, solid strategy and athletic prowess. However, Twitter collectively imploded with joy (check out examples here, here and here) when Julie revealed that America's Favorite Houseguest, who amassed over 1 million votes from viewers, was none other than the instantly likeable Da'Vonne Rogers, making her the first Black houseguest to take home that title. As she gushed, "Don't make me ugly cry!"
While Da'Vonne's win earned her $25,000—pocket change compared to Cody's $500,000—it's not about the money. Just like previous seasons, Big Brother 22 was ripe with uncomfortable houseguest-to-houseguest altercations that raised questions about racism and a lack of diversity among the cast.
As the only four Black contestants this season, Da'Vonne, Bayleigh Dayton, David Alexander and Kevin Campbell were dead-set on winning and making history as the first-ever Black winner of BB. (Tamar Braxton won, but during Celebrity Big Brother). Of course, that didn't happen and all the Black contestants went home.
But it's Da'Vonne who specifically was the most vocal about Black Lives Matter, the death of Breonna Taylor and the injustices that Black people and people of color experience in the U.S.—on live television.
During Da'Vonne's final speech inside the Big Brother house back in September, she directly addressed previous Black contestants and explained why winning the game would have meant so much to her. The speech was hands-down among the most memorable in BB history.
"When I walked through those doors I had that desire, that determination to be the very first face to give hope to those behind me who have the desire to come in here and play this game," she said at the time of her elimination. "Because not seeing the face that looks like mine is very discouraging, it's hurtful and it does make me feel like maybe it's impossible. But I'm wrong about that because it's definitely possible. We can do it, it just hasn't been done yet."
Da'Vonne may not have won the entire game, but with America by her side, we'd say she did an excellent job of accomplishing what previously felt impossible.