Who's Going to Win the Big Brother Final?

I was worried, when I heard Channel 5 were going to have a crack at screening Big Brother, but I must say that the current series has been excellent, as has Brian Dowling. Of all the series to date, this topsy-turvy one is probably the most difficult to call, but here's my take on it;

Louise, at the centre, is more of a gameplayer than she lets on.  In the early weeks, she sat back, without doing or saying too much. She has looks and personality, and decided to stay out of trouble, hoping to emerge from the pack, when the field narrowed a bit.

She saw Jay as her golden opportunity to reach the final. He's besotted with her, but although she has developed some true feelings for him, she's not quite genuine. The biggest giveaway was when she dumped him one Sunday, because she thought he was going to be put up for eviction against Aaron, only to take Jay back the very next day, when she realised he wasn't going anywhere, because Anton and Aden were put up for eviction as well. I'm sure that outside the house, she'll keep it going with him for a while to get magazine deals, but she'll eventually discard him, and will end up a footballer's wife.

Louise is nevertheless a nice person, and since emerging from her shell, she has demonstrated top-girl personality and looks. But apart from her ongoing association with Jay, she hasn't really done or said much. The relationship with Jay has also revealed her to be a little shallow and vulgar, so I don't think she can win. May well be evicted, this coming Thursday night.

Tom was in terrible trouble in the early weeks, as all too often, he often couldn't hide his true bitchy, backstabbing nature. In the early running, he was fortunate not to be put up for eviction, which gave him just enough time to formulate his one and only attempt at true gameplay - his engineering of the 'fun' partnership with Alex. He would have been gone a long time ago, but for that, and he knows it.

To be fair, the pair's antics have often been good to watch. Tom's good fun, when the mood takes him, but still struggles on occasion to contain his spiteful streak. The nasty side of Tom means he can't win, but he might just make the final, surviving eviction over Louise on Thursday.

Alex, on the left, has in truth contributed little more than her smile. The long hair extensions were important to her, because they are the only thing that disguise her mediocre looks, which are as plain as her airhead personality, and often unintelligible speech.

But she may well win. She was quiet in the early weeks, but the 'fun' partnership with Tom gave her the change to emerge a little. She knew it as well, and once the partnership had started, she began to visit the Diary Room more often, to tell the public how she was doing. Like Mark, her efforts to entertain often feel a bit forced, but her happy-go-lucky nature could win the series, because consistently smiling through all the conflict has made her look good, against the other housemates.

People who sit on the fence, paint a smile, and don't do or say very much can win Big Brother, look at Rachel Rice and Sophie Reade. Alex has contributed even less than they did, but might win by default, as she's the only one who has steered clear of conflict, which has possibly generated enough reasons why the others can't win.

The producers are trying to bolster Alex's chances, by giving her more coverage this week. But the one thing that might hurt her chances was the revelation that she once short-changed a blind person to buy her own lunch, a tale that indicates she's not as squeaky-clean as she seems.

Jay, a brash, but likeable Northener. He's been playing a game, from the very start. He formed and led the 'Wolf Pack', in an attempt to dominate others and subtlely influence nomination voting, with the aim of eliminating housemates from the series, one by one.

Jay always perceived arch-enemy Aaron to be his greatest threat. He employed a strategy to eliminate those around Aaron first, before concentrating on the main target. But the plan didn't work out, so Jay cleverly struck up an awkward friendship with Aaron, after the last Wolf Pack member was evicted. As part of his gameplay, Jay also consciously cut back on swearing, from the point he was first put up for eviction.

He's the most genuine of all the housemates, and has often been entertaining to watch. He has a large female fan base, and a small chance to win. Last night, he finally resolved the latest conflict with Aaron, which erupted over the purchase of birthday presents for Tom and Alex. It was hard for Jay to swallow his pride, and discuss it again with Aaron, but I think he knew he had to do it, to keep any chance of winning alive.

Jay's vulgar side will probably prevent him from winning the series. In particular, wiping his bum on Louise's pillowcase didn't do him any favours.

Aaron is trying to win it for his son, and is the biggest gameplayer in Big Brother history. He's very cleverly put himself at the centre of most things, almost from the beginning. The flirting with Maisy, then Rebeckah. The conflict with Tom, who thought Aaron fancied him. Taking on Jay's Wolf Pack, when they forced his friend Mark out. Deliberately failing shopping tasks, to deny Jay and Anton food. The tumultuous relationship with Faye - I think he developed some genuine feelings for her, but she was also part of his game to reach the final. The conflict with Faye's sister, who arrived as a newcomer, to stir the relationship up. The character assassination of the friends' and families' nominations. The electric shock nominations, when he voted contrary to the other housemates' plan to stage a result. The conflict with Jay and Louise, over birthday presents for Alex and Tom.

Originally, I thought Aaron was making a big mistake, when he objected to Louise and Jay spending £1,000 of the prize money on Tom and Alex. Jay and Louise were trying to gain viewer votes by displaying generosity, but there was also a genuine warmth to their desire to purchase the presents. Ignoring them for a few days initially made Aaron look isolated and bad, but then he very cleverly turned the situation around. He began to regularly play Tom and Alex's silly games, which eventually made Louise and Jay look isolated instead, and perhaps a little guilty of trying to buy votes. Eventually, Aaron reduced muscleman Jay to tears, forcing him to make the first move to reconcile the situation, which in turn made Aaron look good, for agreeing to bury the hatchet. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that Aaron had engineered the situation, to re-ignite the conflict with Jay, providing one last opportunity to push his buttons. And the fact that Jay eventually got warned by Big Brother for becoming too aggressive makes Aaron an even bigger schemer than 'Nasty Nick' Bateman. 

You see, sometimes it's been upfront, and sometimes it's been underlying, but the simmering battle between Aaron and Jay has been the defining feature of the series, and Aaron knows it. The winner of the battle is not quite yet decided, but Aaron's clearly had the upper hand to date.

If winning Big Brother was judged by the contribution of individual housemates, Aaron's got it won, hands-down. But gameplaying is unpopular in many circles, and Aaron's strops and sulkiness when things don't go his way might cost him. From an early stage, I thought the ongoing conflict between Aaron and Jay would ultimately determine the winner, but there's also the danger it might scupper them both, and let an agreeable neutral through to win.

So who is going to win the Big Brother Final? Although I want Aaron to win, my final prediction is;

1. Alex (up 2 from last week).
2. Aaron (down 1).
3. Jay (down 1).
4. Tom (up 1).

For all my previous November, October and September posts on house dynamics, please check out the right-hand sidebar, towards the top of this blog.

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