The 28-year-old attorney also addresses his fiery remarks to his fellow houseguests during the epic double eviction that ultimately sealed his fate.
Big Brother's house is open once more! Every week, Parade.com's Mike Bloom will be bringing you interviews with this season's houseguests as they get evicted from the game.
"What would Janelle do?"
That's what Michael Bruner asked himself during a pump-up speech back during Week 1 of Big Brother. And indeed, the lawyer seemed to resemble the Big Brother legend and fellow Minnesotan in many ways. Not only did he win that competition, but eight more, tying her record for most wins in a single season. He was an early outsider who became part of a counteralliance to split the house. And like Janelle, unfortunately, he was also not able to get the win, as he went out during an eventful, emotional, and tense double eviction.
Michael came into the house hiding a lot, hoping to obscure his career and superfan status. But Daniel Durston clocked the latter, deciding to make him one of the first nominees as a potential threat to his game. And Michael proved he could be just that when he won the first veto of the season. Now safe, he assumed a position he would have during most of his time in the house: The middle. But despite having his hands in multiple alliances, he was almost always on the bottom. So when an opportunity presented itself to join the "Leftovers," he gladly took the call. As part of the new majority, he won four more competitions and got revenge on his initial nomination by backdooring Daniel. By the end of the split house twist, Michael felt in a great position with his closest ally Brittany Hoopes and a plan for the Leftovers to cruise to the top seven. But it was the events of Dyre Fest that cried, "Objection!" to that idea.
Michael saw the other half of the house had caused the first Leftover boot of the season and was wary of a backdoor plan when Matthew Turner won HoH. Though he won the veto to prevent that, Michael and Brittany still wanted to go for broke. So they shattered the status quo when they revealed Kyle Capener's weeks-ago suspicions about there being a secret alliance between the BIPOC houseguests. Though they succeeded in their goal to get Kyle called out and booted, he and Brittany drew a lot of understandable heat for choosing to sit on the information until they found it helpful. Michael then won the next two competitions, setting a record for veto wins in a season and tying the all-time comp record. Throughout the week, Brittany encouraged him to backdoor Turner as his biggest threat. But Michael stuck to getting rid of Terrance Higgins. Unfortunately, her words proved to be prophetic. Turner won HoH, and Michael lost out on a crucial veto win by inches. In a whirlwind, the rest of the house knew they had to take the shot. As Michael felt the walls closing in, he once again shot for the stars, calling out Brittany's double-dealing in his speech and begging the women to keep him. But his reputation and resume overwhelmed his closing argument. And with the speed that won him so many challenges in the past, he made a mad dash for the front door.
On his way to the jury house, Michael talks with Parade.com about his aggressive tactics to try and survive the double eviction, the timing of his pitch against Kyle, and how he looks at setting a Big Brother record 24 seasons in.
Related: Everything to Know About Big Brother 24 (Including Who's Been Evicted)
Let's start with what went down during the double eviction. You had a vocal response to Turner nominating you, and in your speech, you made a plea to keep you to take him and Monte down. Talk me through your perspective during all of that.
Only three people were voting during the double eviction: Monte, Taylor, and Alyssa. I knew I wasn't going to have Monte's vote. Turner wasn't voting as HoH. So my best shot was to get Alyssa and Taylor's vote. So I wanted to pitch to them specifically why keeping me was good for their game. Ultimately, it didn't work. But I felt like that was the best shot I had to get the votes to stay.
How do you look back on your record-breaking competition run in the game, and how much do you feel that changed how you approached your relationships with everyone in the house, considering how much you wanted to play the middle?
Looking back on my run, I never expected to win so many competitions. It wasn't necessarily the game I wanted to play. I didn't want to feel like I had to win to stay in the house, which I think is why I did try to play the middle. Just in case I didn't win a competition, hopefully, I won't have enough people covering my back. I knew it was a long shot. And ultimately, it didn't work out that way. But I am proud of how I played.
You chose to go after Terrance, despite Brittany trying to convince you to nominate Turner. Why did you decide to temporarily reform the Leftovers, considering what ensued in the double eviction?
I decided to target Terrence mostly from a positioning standpoint. We see it season after season where somebody is a pawn all season, and then they get dragged to the Final Two. And I knew that having a player like that in the game was dangerous for me. I knew if I was up on the block, I had no argument for why I should stay over Terrance. So he was a threat to me getting to the end, which is why I wanted him out of the game.
Even if I had taken out Turner, I think I still would be sitting here. I think Monte would have ultimately won these competitions in the double eviction. And I still would be here. So I don't necessarily regret it. It was trying to position myself the best I could if I didn't win a competition. I knew it was a long shot no matter what, but I stand by my decision.
Last week, you revealed Kyle's suspicions about an alliance between the BIPOC houseguests to get him nominated. And while it accomplished that goal, you did get pushback for sitting on that information for a couple of weeks. How do you look back on your choice and the situation that unfolded?
Looking back at the situation, I completely understand why people were skeptical of my timing for revealing this information. In this game, no matter what information you're bringing forward, people are going to look at it as if you're using it as an opportunity to get ahead in the game. So I can't fault anyone for being skeptical and asking questions and getting pushback.
Ultimately at the time, with the information that I had, I felt like it was the right time to say something. I knew I would regret it if I just didn't say anything at all. And no matter when I said something, it always was going to be able to be spun that I was using it to get ahead in the game. So, looking at how everyone reacted and how they wish it had been handled, I wish I had spoken up sooner. Ultimately I don't regret speaking up. But I wish I maybe had gone about it a little bit differently.
To finish, let's get your rapid-fire thoughts on the remaining houseguest. Starting with Alyssa.
Sweet and funny.
Gracious and effortless.
Next, check out our interview with Terrance Higgins, who was also evicted in Big Brother 24 Week 9.