It’s roughly 8:45pm on Wednesday night. I’m driving in my work rental car on I-65 South heading back to Huntsville from Nashville. My good friend and fellow Big Brother fan Jordan had called me prior to the votes being announced and put me on speaker phone so I could hear the results.
It was around this time that I realized that my life has lost any and every since of positive direction, but that’s for a different post.
I drove in silence as I heard Julie read off the jury votes one by one.
Throughout the whole thing I figured we’d end up with the inevitable conclusion to an extremely predictable season: Paul would win BB19 outright with least 6 of the jury votes, but as a crazy thing happened. He didn’t.
I couldn’t hear the final vote being announced because the people in Jordan’s house screamed so loud when the final vote was revealed that I actually initially missed it. It wasn’t until I heard Jordan’s dumbfounded “how” that I realized what had transpired.
“WHAT HAPPENED? DID THE MEATBALL ACTUALLY WIN?”
“YO, JORDAN, DID JOSH ACTUALLY WIN?”
“I don’t understand how”
“JORDAN, WHAT HAPPENED?”
He sounded so bewildered, but all I could do was laugh, it was so unbelievable that I had to take a second to compose myself. The funny part of this is, I had a feeling that Josh could pull off the win around the Final 6 or so, this after I was SO sure after the first week of the game that he wouldn’t even survive until jury.
I ultimately came to the conclusion that as kind of a kid as Josh seems to be, it’s easier to explain why Paul won rather than try to figure out how Josh lost. Here’s why:
1. Paul overplayed horribly during the final weeks of the season
There’s quite a popular phrase in my generation: “doing the most” which accurately describes Paul’s endgame this season. In the beginning of the game, Paul has a firm grasp on the house, solidifying his role in a relatively large alliance after being given 3 free weeks of safety by Production (masked by an “America’s vote” offering two episodes where he was the only recognizable face to the audience) and a way to make 8 new friends with his “friendship” bracelets once he was unleashed into the house as the season’s “twist”. He used this grip on the house to secure who he wanted for virtually every HoH, veto and vote through the season. As the houseguests dwindled and his paranoid began to creep up to him, he started lying for no reason to various people. He routinely setup a plan to blindside one of his many alliance members and then managed to spin it and pin it on another houseguest going rogue. As he continued this ruse, he began to show a few cracks in the armor as houseguests definitely began to compare notes in the jury.
2. Matt and Raven
This one kind of feeds into an upcoming entry, but Matt and Raven played a major part in Paul’s loss. Maven was an obnoxious pair and their giddiness and overt fondness of Paul and his game rubbed people the wrong way, for right or wrong.
3. Jury mismanagement
I don’t care how well you play the game, if you fail to manage the jury, you lose the game. It’s not just about outlasting and outcompeting everybody, it’s about making the people you eliminate understand and appreciate your game more than the person you take to the final 2. Not only did Paul pile on lie after lie even after the jurors knew the truth, he didn’t seem to gather the understanding that he pissed them off royally, they gave him clues to such, and he never bothered to rectify it. It’s a cringy way to lose, and it’s the reason why the best player of the season doesn’t always win.
4. Josh’s game was underrated
Paul was under the belief that the jury would see Josh’s presence in the Final 2 as proof that he had to drag him there. What he failed to realize is that Josh made amends with a large majority, if not all, of the jury for any ill will and misfortune he provided in the house. Josh knew Paul was using him during the backhalf of the game, so he made whatever deals he could to secure himself a spot in the finale, including doing Paul’s dirty work for him. Josh has stated across multiple interviews that he used goodbye messages as an active strategy, banking on Paul continuing to lie to the evicted houseguests. It was risky, but it did work.
All in all, while it is a shame that such a solid season of gameplay from Paul went down the train, it IS of his own doing that this happened. He was so obsessed with keeping the house in order, that he actually failed to keep his jury in order and in check. Right now, people are calling Josh’s win a fluke, but he played a solid game and is probably better than 3 or 4 winners (Lisa, Jordan, Adam for sure).
I for one, am happy for the meatball.