In the early weeks of Big Brother 17, Vanessa Rousso had a breakdown in the house. It was an emotional moment in the season’s first few days when Rousso expressed concern about playing the game. At the time, bloggers wondered if the unexpected tears were part of game strategy.
Rousso comes from the tough world of competitive poker, and many did not anticipate her to be an emotional player. As the weeks have progressed, however, Rousso has shown she thinks deeply — almost too deeply — about game strategy and takes its events to heart.
Wednesday night on the live feeds, Rousso expressed constant concern about how the vote will go down. According to Big Brother Network, at one point Vanessa was teary-eyed to Julia, expressing confusion as to why Becky and Jackie “hate her so much.”
But Rousso never denied she was an emotional person. In her official CBS biography, Rousso said it would be extremely hard for her to be apart from her girlfriend of two years. She said she’d chose to bring music into the house, because “music greatly impacts my emotions and can help me keep a level head when I’m stressed.”
Vanessa, a D.J. as well as a poker player, listens to music at the tables. No music or reading material, apart from the Bible, are allowed in the Big Brother house. Heads of household are often gifted music and headphones as one of the luxuries in the HOH bedroom.
Darren Franich, in his recap of Wednesday’s episode for Entertainment Weekly, pointed out that Rousso’s overthinking of the game gets to extreme points, and may be damaging her game.
“Vanessa, the player I thought was going all the way this season, has an uncanny knack for reading people—but the sheer amount of puppetmastering she engaged in during the first 50 days drove her into a state of constant paranoia.”
Franich also pointed out that the “blow up” Vanessa had just prior to Clay’s eviction helped shift the target to her and away from Shelli. Clay even said as much during his eviction interview with CBS’ Jeff Schroeder. He said Shelli is best to stay with Vanessa, but that Vanessa’s tendency to get emotional is creating a target on her back.
But as Big Brother fans know, being a target is a fine balance.
Many players stay under the radar so no one tries to evict them, and they go from week to week. But those players are potential “pawns” to get out a big target or are themselves evicted, as they have no alliances to keep them safe.
Big targets usually end up on the block and evicted. However, when a target gets really big, some players choose to keep that target in the house to keep the attention off of themselves. Spoilers for the events leading up to tonight’s live eviction indicate that that balance is crucial in determining whether Shelli Poole or Vanessa Rousso goes home first on Thursday night.
Big Brother 17 airs Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on CBS. This Thursday’s episode is a double eviction. Either Poole or Rousso will become the first member of the Big Brother 17 jury, and whomever goes home in the second half of the episode will join her.