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Fights, expulsions, silly game moves and secret siblings. Here are 25 of the wildest 'Big Brother' moments as the 25th season kicks off
Yes, Big Brother is still on! In fact, the long-running CBS series is celebrating its milestone 25th season this year.
The reality competition show, which puts 16 strangers in a house to live and compete against each other for a $750,000 prize, continues to be a hit for the network and doesn’t seem to have an end in sight, even extending the upcoming season into fall due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.
"I like to take one season at a time. Going into season 25, I'm like, 'I never want it to end,’” host Julie Chen Moonves recently told Entertainment Weekly about the future of the show. "I think you know when it's time to go, whether as a show or me as a host, and I just don't see signs of that right now.”
Given the 25th anniversary season approaching, which will include twists and throwbacks to fan-favorite moments from previous seasons, it may be the perfect time to tune back in.
Chen Moonves tells PEOPLE that she is "most proud of ... the staying power and loyalty of the fans," and that even after 25 years, the show still manages to surprise her. "Sometimes I know [I’ll] see elements that I'm about to see in that night show. And sometimes I want to stay in the dark — I'm like, ‘No, no, don't tell me.’ There's always at least a few surprises," she says. "So, I get to enjoy it from two angles, as a fan who had nothing to do with two episodes, and then on the inside who has to know everything and more about the eviction episode and the houseguests."
From self-thrown funerals and blowout birthdays, to bizarre punishments and shocking evictions, Big Brother has had its fair share of wild moments since its debut back in summer of 2000. Read on for 25 of the wildest moments in Big Brother history, in no particular order.
Season 25 of Big Brother premieres Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
1. Dan’s Funeral (Season 14)
Ask any Big Brother fan to name the wildest, most epic moment from the show, and you're pretty much guaranteed to hear this one in response. Dan Gheesling, already a winner and with his back against the wall during his second season go-around, concocted an insane plan to convince his biggest enemy in the house, Frank Eudy, to save him after he not only nominated him but took punishments in the Veto competition to ensure he had no chance of staying in the game. Dan threw his own “funeral” with fake tears, fake accusations, weird compliments (Shane as Captain America?!) and a risky and wild pitch with swears on the Bible to a man dressed in a carrot suit that ultimately paid off. Despite coming in second place, Dan’s Funeral will forever be remembered as the wildest and most impressive move in the history of the show.
2. Nakomis and Cowboy Find Out They Are Related (Season 5)
Imagine entering the Big Brother house unaware that your own flesh and blood is living and playing alongside you? Michael “Cowboy” Ellis never knew his father, and after asking a few pointed questions to fellow player Nakomis Dedmon, realized they shared the same biological dad. It was a sweet but shocking moment to see these two half-siblings connect for the first time on national television. The show dubbed this “Project DNA” and is still considered one of the better twists from over the years.
3. Marcellas Doesn’t Use the Veto on Himself (Season 3)
Never forget when Chen Moonves smacked contestant Marcellas Reynolds on the back of the head after he won the Veto and didn’t even use it on himself because he was so confident in his position in the house. In fact, he didn’t use it at all, and Head of Household at the time, Jason Guy, cast a tiebreaking vote to evict the fashion designer. Reynolds later went on to compete in the first all-star edition of the series and reconnect with former ally Danielle Reyes who notably also voted to evict him after he didn’t use that Golden Power of Veto.
4. Keesha’s Birthday (Season 10)
While there have been a lot of memorable birthdays in the Big Brother house, nothing can top Keesha Smith’s big blowout. It all began when Libra Thompson expressed that she felt underestimated by fellow houseguest April Dowling. A napping Jessie Godderz overheard Thompson’s frustrations, fanned the flames by revealing that information to Dowling, and a huge house fight ensued. Renny Martyn and Jerry MacDonald also started going at each other – “It’s inappropriate!” – and Thompson accused Godderz of stirring the pot. Can’t keep up? Neither could we, and it was a glorious night that ended with a rather sad and forced “Happy Birthday” singalong. Anybody want cake?
5. Jeff’s Coup d’Etat and Chima’s Expulsion (Season 11)
Oof, this is a tough one to look back on. Fan-favorite at the time, Jeff Schroeder, won a special power from America’s vote called the Coup d’Etat, which essentially allowed him to remove and replace up to two nominees. He used it to overthrow Chima Simone’s Head of Household reign and nominated her ally Natalie Martinez and Jessie Godderz, the latter of whom went home. Simone was rightfully upset that her HOH was rendered pointless and started ignoring production’s instructions and rules. She ended up throwing her mic pack into the hot tub and was expelled from the game.
6. Aaryn’s Eviction Interview (Season 15)
This has to go down as one of Chen Moonves’s best and most anticipated exit interviews, and it all happened on live television. Contestant Aaryn Gries continuously made racist and homophobic comments while living in the house, much to the horror of fellow houseguests and viewers at home. Once she was evicted in eighth place, Chen Moonves took the opportunity to confront an oblivious Gries who deflected the questioning and even tried to blame it on being from Texas. She lost modeling gigs and job opportunities as a result. Winner Andy Herren’s victory was ultimately overshadowed by all the ugly and negative moments from the season.
7. Sam’s Robot Punishment (Season 20)
In a bizarre week one punishment, houseguest Sam Bledsoe was forced to play the game as a robot on and off before the first live eviction. Any time “Robot Online” came on the screen, she would disappear into a production room somewhere on set and an actual robot would roll around the house as she voiced it. Read that sentence again.
8. Jen Cries Over ‘Ugly” Memory Wall Photo (Season 8)
There are a few wild moments to consider from contestant Jen “Jenius” Johnson, but the reaction to seeing her memory wall cast photo has to take the cake. She instantly burst into tears after noticing the “horrible” picture production chose, and even tried to hide it by taping a potholder to the wall as her fellow housemates looked on in confusion. “I’ve never taken a worse picture,” she said through sobs in a pouty (and hilarious) diary room session.
9. Kaitlyn’s Puzzle (Season 20)
Upon being evicted from the house, life coach Kaitlyn Herman was given an unlikely chance to re-enter the game by competing in a live challenge, which consisted of what looked like a simple puzzle and two and a half minutes to complete it. She essentially had the puzzle done on the floor, but with the clock ticking by, she panicked and couldn’t get it together in an upright position, effectively sealing her fate as the fourth person evicted that season, all while the audience looked on in disbelief.
10. Paul Places Second Twice in a Row (Seasons 18 and 19)
Still considered one of the best, most well-rounded players to play the game, Paul Abrahamian first lost out to Nicole Franzel in a close 5-4 vote during season 18. The fan-fave returned – and arguably dominated – the following season to somehow make it to the final two chairs once again. As Chen Moonves read the votes aloud in the live finale, Abrahamian’s slow realization that they were about to lose a second time in a row in a 5-4 vote, this time against Josh Martinez, was nothing short of tough to watch.
11. Rachel vs. Ragan (Season 12)
In one of the most vicious, biting and utterly entertaining fights we’ve seen over the years, Rachel Reilly decided to taunt have-not Ragan Fox with cookies after she returned to the house for 24 hours in a Pandora’s Box twist. The college professor was not in the mood and proceeded to lay into her about her hair, her job, her laugh and more, telling her, “You’re a wicked witch. Why don’t you get on your broom and fly back inside?” More than a decade later, these two seem to be on good terms but the digs from that fight will forever live on.
12. Dr. Will’s “I Hate You All” Speech (Season 7)
Instead of giving a speech about why Chicken George should use the Veto to save him, season 2 winner Dr. Will Kirby took the opportunity to famously shade his fellow all-star houseguests in an eloquent, devilish speech, which elicited giggles and confusion from the rest of the players. “I can’t find an individual to hate because I hate you all,” the dermatologist told them before threatening to throw every competition if they didn’t “remove” him from the game. The risky reverse psychology actually worked, and Jase Wirey was later voted out in what is still considered an iconic move in the game’s history.
13. Jessie’s Eviction (Season 11)
Back to the controversial Coup d’Etat that was the catalyst for Simone’s expulsion and Godderz’s eviction, the season 11 houseguests – namely Martinez, Simone and Lydia Tavera basically eulogized him – “He had such a good spirit!” – and cried to each other as if the professional wrestler had died. Even their own friend, Kevin Campbell, had to say, “Please girls, the guy was an idiot.”
14. Josh vs. Mark (Season 19)
Martinez, who went on to win the season against the aforementioned Abrahamian, had his fair share of arguments in the Big Brother house, but his big blowout with Mark Jansen was downright comical. Martinez initially started going off about Cody Nickson before Jansen got involved – all while wearing a neon green tutu – and that’s when the Miami native broke out the pots and pans. “What’s funny?” Josh yelled while banging the kitchen tools together. The feeds quickly cut, and production had to split them up.
15. Christine’s Eviction Boos (Season 16)
Arizona-based barista Christine Brecht famously walked out of the house to unexpected boos from the live audience who didn’t love seeing a married woman flirting with single houseguest Cody Calafiore on national television. Her husband wasn’t a big fan of it either and the two later divorced.
16. The Cookout Makes the Final 6 (Season 23)
The CBS series went 23 seasons without crowning a Black winner (unless you count Tamar Braxton winning season 2 of the celebrity version). With a collective mission of breaking that record, houseguests Azah Awasum, Derek Frazier, Hannah Chaddha, Kyland Young, Tiffany Mitchell and Xavier Prather formed an alliance called The Cookout to make sure they all made it to the final six, effectively crowning the show’s first Black winner. The most impressive part? They never met all together in one room until day 65 when they could celebrate the success of their secret pact. Prather ended up taking home the win, and the six helped set the show on a right path moving forward.
17. Joseph’s 25th Birthday and the Leftovers Alliance (Season 24)
The summer was starting to get ugly as Taylor Hale, eventual winner – but more on that later – was the target of bullying in the house. It seemed the tides started to turn on Joseph Abdin’s 25th birthday, which has since become forever memorialized in the Big Brother lexicon. The quiet lawyer helped form an alliance called The Leftovers with Hale, Matthew Turner, Michael Bruner, Brittany Hoopes, Monte Taylor and Kyle Capener to blindside the house majority and evict Ameerah Jones. It was a wild night of live feeds for fans to watch as the group slowly formed together in the Head of Household room.
18. Janelle vs. Beau (Season 6)
Even though they’re besties now, back in 2005, houseguests Janelle Pierzina and Beau Beasley had it out in a rather funny, wine-fueled screaming match that included memorable digs like, “You date older men!” and “You polyester-hair bitch!” While they laughed through the argument, the fight did become physical and they had to be split up. “No drunk wants to hear the truth about themselves,” Ivette astutely noted.
19. Andrew’s Messy Eviction Speech (Season 12)
In a desperate plea to stay in the game, podiatrist Andrew Gordon stood up and made what can only be described as a messy Hail Mary speech during which he accused eventual winner Hayden Moss of having a secret romantic relationship with fellow houseguest Kristen Bitting. “They would do massages, they’re kissing, they’re doing more,” Andrew said on live television, adding that they would talk badly about the other houseguests too. The last-ditch effort was admirable but didn’t work, and Captain Kosher was promptly voted out in a unanimous vote.
20. Devin Blows Up His Own Bomb Squad (Season 16)
Talk about watching a train wreck in real time: Houseguest Devin Shepherd was all over the place in his season. The former professional baseball player created a big alliance of six people early on in the game and proceeded to add two more names without letting anyone else in the alliance know. His unpredictable behavior and emotional house meetings started worrying others, and when he heard people weren’t thrilled with him, Shepherd announced his formal exit from his own alliance. The jokes write themselves. The Bomb Squad indeed blew up in his face.
21. Justin’s Expulsion (Season 2)
New Jersey native Justin Sebik only lasted 10 days in the Big Brother house. While making out with fellow contestant Krista Stegall, the bartender held a knife to her neck and asked, "Would you get mad if I killed you?" He claims it was all a joke, but production wasn’t laughing, and he was expelled from the game.
22. Austin’s Barefoot Eviction (Season 17)
Head of Household at the time, poker player and all-around cutthroat gamer Vanessa Rousso chose to blindside her closest ally Austin Matelson by evicting him live on television. He was so confident he was staying over eventual winner Steve Moses, that the professional wrestler didn’t even wear shoes to the eviction and had to walk out to his interview with host Chen Moonves completely barefoot. “You can’t win the game,” Austin told Vanessa as he left. Sadly, for her, he was right, and Steve pulled a similar move when he took Liz Nolan to the final two over Vanessa, one of the most strategic players to never win the game.
23. Jackson Michie’s Underwhelming Celebration (Season 21)
Let’s just say Michie wasn’t a fan-favorite, and he could clearly feel that when he walked out of the house $500,000 richer with a big frown on his face. His body language alone exuded discomfort that almost projected out of the TV screen. After accusations of racism, bullying and misogyny, it wasn’t exactly a celebration. He later revealed he was struggling with drug addiction withdrawals in the house.
24. Lawon’s Special Power (Season 13)
Oh, Lawon [Exum]. For some reason, the California native was convinced that if he was evicted, he would come back with a special power. So, he actually volunteered to be nominated by his own ally Kalia Booker. There was no twist – and never was – and he missed even making the jury. Chen Moonves had a field day with that exit interview, and it’s still considered one of the worst moves of all time.
25. Taylor Hale’s Finale Speech and Win (Season 24)
After the aforementioned bullying toward her, former pageant queen Hale stood and gave a powerful speech on finale night – “I’m not a shield, I’m a sword” – that perfectly encapsulated her resilience in the game. She sealed her victory and became the first Black female winner of Big Brother, in addition to winning America’s Favorite Houseguest and taking home a record $800,000, much to the chagrin of her doubters.
Chen Moonves recalls this as one of the most iconic moments on the Big Brother set: "The moment that Taylor Hale won, you know, counting the votes that night, I was like, this could go either way," she tells PEOPLE. "And she came in as such an underdog from day one in that house. That was an unforgettable moment."
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