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.
Red Utley has never had a good birthday. The salesman made that clear as the fortuitous day was approaching while in the Big Brother house. For what it's worth, the rest of the house--at the time--tried to change that, throwing him a party as lavish as a peacock eating caviar. Unfortunately, everything that came before and after it proved the initial point. After a week that saw Red go on the block next to his closest ally, and subsequently "break up" with him, he was caught red-handed and evicted in the first blindside of the season.
On the first night, Red declared to all who would listen that he was going to wait before kicking off the strategy. But in the hyper-gaming house of season 25, that left him in the dust quickly. Luckily, he was picked up as a number in the outsider "Professors" alliance. But as the weeks went on, it was clear his main loyalty was to Cameron Hardin. The two men became as thick as the beards they both sported, and they became more noticeable than a vegetarian in a steakhouse. When Cameron won the "Pressure Cooker" HoH, Red took notice of Izzy Gleischer's visual disappointment. And after Red won the veto, the duo held all the power, and debated knocking the wind out of the flute player. But they elected not to, ultimately staying loyal to their actually-fake "Legend 25" alliance, in particular Red's immense trust in Cirie Fields.
It was a decision, but a week later, they would look back on in shame. The new "Power of Invincibility" saved Cameron's target in Jag Bains, and soon he and Red went from the penthouse to the "turlet" as they got nominated. Additionally, HoH Jared Fields told Red that Cameron had been throwing him under the bus, something that rocked him to the point of tears. For the rest of the week, he was chilly to his fellow "Chiller," much to the latter's confusion. When Cameron won the veto, the target changed, as the majority concocted a plan to re-evict Jag one week after saving him. But once again, it all came back to Red and Cam. When Red alluded to Jared that he wanted to sit down and hash things out with his former ally, it stoked paranoia about a rekindling of the two. As such, the house flipped, and it stuck. The "chillbilly" was frozen out, as he was sent out in a blindside wearing nothing but his overalls.
Now out of the house, Red talks with Parade.com about how surprised he was by his eviction, his breakup and attempted reunion with Cameron, and his controversial comments about America while in the house.
Related: Everything to Know About Big Brother 25
Hey, Red! How's it going today?
It's going good. I mean, all things considered, I'm feeling really good about heading home, see the family can't wait to hug my babies. And looking forward to that for sure. I mean, it would be nice to still be in the house. But other than that, all thanks.
Well before you get back home, I've got a few questions for you. Let’s start with where things ended. This was the season’s first non-unanimous vote, and it seemed to be a blindside on you, Cameron, and Bowie Jane. How surprised were you when the votes came in?
I'd say was about 60/40. 6, that I would stay in, 40 that I would go. There were definitely some inclinations that there was something going on. You see little pockets of people discussing things and mannerisms and such like that. But, in Big Brother, you really can't let some of that stuff get to you that much. So you kind of just take it with a grain of salt and move on. So there was a fair bit of surprise when my name was said there. But as soon as I heard eight, I knew that I was walking out the door.
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, and Felicia referred to this in her goodbye message. But the vote was originally for Jag to be nominated as a pawn, only for him to go home. But once you expressed to Jared that you wanted to sit down with Cameron to hash things out, the chance of you two getting back together was enough to flip things back. What’s your reaction to that?
I mean, in as far as Big Brother goes, that's good gameplay. You know what I mean? It was some next level of deceit, honestly. And pitting two friends against each other, out in the real world, I would definitely look at something like that negatively. But obviously, Big Brother is not the real world. So, as far as gameplay, you have to applaud such things and give credit where credit's due, in that sense. I mean, it sucks. It hurts to be on the receiving end of that. But watching it unfold, I mean it makes good TV.
So let's look back on this week and the the bromance breakdown of you and Cameron, now that you have a bit more information, a bit more time to reflect. I know Julie asked you a bit about this last night. What ended up happening with Jared communicating to you that Cameron was throwing you under the bus, when that wasn't really as explicit as maybe he was alluding to, leading to this real chilly demeanor that you gave Cameron leading through you walking out the door. How do you look back on all that a very tumultuous week for you in more ways than one?
Oh, absolutely. And it's my birthday week, and it's never good. The bad luck monster follows me on my birthday, it truly does. I even predicted before coming into this house. I was like, "Oh Lord, I'm gonna be in there on my birthday, I'll probably be on the block. And that'll be the week I get evicted." And I have to say I called it. But I did have some concerns about it. And I did go back to Jared and we had another conversation, and things seemed to change up a little bit, which led me to tell him, "Well, I am going to have this conversation with Cam." And ultimately, I think after I left that, I was like, "That could have put me in a spot." But I kind of ignored that, because I still felt like I was doing well with the Legend 25 alliance, and then I was a part of the majority.
Last week, you and Cameron had all the power. And despite seeing Izzy visibly upset over Cameron winning HoH, and you winning veto, you and he ultimately decided not to put her up. Talk to me about the logic behind that decision, and how you look back on it now.
Well, honestly, it was to maintain the majority. We had the numbers in the house, and it made sense to keep those numbers. We had already made a move with Hisam where we turned our sights inside our alliances, and I felt like that may not have been the best move. It bred a lot of mistrust in that. So my concerns when Cam actually suggested putting Izzy up as a replacement nom, and then potentially getting her voted out, were that she was part of our alliance. And even though we did have a bit of a tumultuous relationship, I wanted to work harder on fixing that, because she was a challenge for me. So it was a personal challenge in my own self to just be a better person. When I come across challenging people, one of my goals is to try to make it easier to deal with them and learn more about those people so that I can learn more about how to live a better life honestly.
You said in the house that Cirie is the person you trusted the most besides Cameron. Talk to me about that relationship, especially now knowing she was one of the people to try to keep you before eventually flipping the vote, and the revelation that she's playing with her son.
Honestly, that's a tough one. I mean, I can only give an answer based on what I experienced and what I know with her. And honestly, I felt like a lot of it was genuine. And I don't know to what degree she was playing into that. And like you say, you know, she was trying to keep me there, and she was telling me that. So it's really hard to say. I feel like she's playing a really solid game, if she was able to deceive me in that manner. I think she could go really far in this game.
We need to talk about your thoughts and comments about America. Over the past couple of weeks, you have criticized the way she dressed, calling her “fast,” and you even said, “The closest I want to be to her is sitting next to her in the nomination chairs.” These comments can definitely be perceived as misogynstic. Can you talk about your feelings on America, and why you were so vocal about her choices in the house?
Well, again, it was a majority thing. A lot of people felt mistrust for, and it definitely was not misogynistic in any way. I think my observations on her movements throughout the game were based on maybe playing other males in the game,to her benefit. So I felt like maybe she was playing Cory a little bit in a sense. And I felt like she was maybe playing Cam a little bit in a sense. None of it was ever personal. It was all very gameplay-related. I'm sure on the outside, me and America would get along just fine. But as far as my interaction with the pretty girls in the house, it was more of a personal thing and a respect for Ali Mae, my own lady. So it was really hard for me to be able to in a situation to where I could get close in general to any of the single girls that are in the house.
Give me your rapid-fire thoughts on each of the houseguests. Starting with America.
Fast track to deceit. [Laughs.]
Oh, Blue is all about Blue. Blue and you are not her, in a sense.
Awesome. Just a really awesome person.
Honestly, brother, that'd be the first word that comes to mind. I really did have a close personal connection with that guy. And it's unfortunate the way it turned out.
As a bit of an aside, how do you feel about him winning HoH this week?
Awesome. I mean, I'm rooting for Cam, especially with a lot of the new information. And even if I didn't have the new information, I still want to see the guy go far. He's a single dad. He made a lot of choices coming into the game. I'd really like to see him go far in the game.
Back to the rapid-fire thoughts: Cirie.
Oh, deceiver. She told me that I aligned with a snake, and I kind of wondered if she was talking about herself.
I would say game player. Superfan, that's the first word that comes to mind for Cory.
The Queen! Honestly, she really is. Queen Mother is the best way to describe our. She's really somebody that everybody respects.
Izzy Tizzy. That girl is a mass, a tornado if you will.
Jag's just cool. That guy's cooler than the other side of the pillow. He really is. And in other situations, had he not have ended up on one side of the house and me on the other, I think me and him would've work well together.
Slick. That's the word I'll use for Jared: Slick.
Awesome. I mean, how could you say anything else about an Olympic athlete with such a great personality? I mean, he is a great-looking guy, but he's so down to Earth. Awesome is the best word to use for Matt.
And finally, Meme.
Middle Meme! [Laughs.] And Meanie Meme in the morning. She is definitely just kind of there right now. I feel like she's playing a very middle game.
Next, check out our interview with Hisam Goueli, who was evicted during Big Brother 25 Week 3.