‘Big Brother 18’: Julie Chen Reveals Why Da’Vonne Rogers Is Her Favorite Player So Far This Season

'Big Brother' host Julie Chen

When Big Brother 18 debuted last month, long time fans suspected something might be up. The announced cast contained only 12 names, too few for an entire season, especially one scheduled to last for 99 days. Rumors swirled that some veterans of the game would come back, and sure enough, on premiere night Da’Vonne Rogers, James Huling, Frank Eudy, and Nicole Franzel emerged from a trunk in the kitchen to surprise the new houseguests.

Turns out viewers at home aren’t the only fans of these veterans. Host Julie Chen revealed to Entertainment Weekly that she has a soft spot for poker dealer Da’Vonne Rogers, whose time on Big Brother was cut short by her elimination just last season.

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“I like Da’Vonne a lot. I liked her last year. Her diary room sessions and facial expressions when Jozea was spouting off his theories were hysterical.”

Jozea Flores, of course, was the first Big Brother 18 player voted out of the house – the season’s first evictee, Glenn Garcia, lost an early competition. He was blindsided when kicked out, apparently oblivious to his own vulnerability in the game. Chen told EW she had no desire to drive the knife even deeper in her exit interview with Flores, although she did ask him to explain the use of the word “messiah” to describe himself in the house.

“I don’t like to see them squirm. But Jozea seems like a harmless guy who just had no game, so I had to call him out on it.”

As BuddyTV recapped early on, Jozea told Da’Vonne he was “the Messiah of the Newbies” and proceeded to list off his house targets, including then-Head of Household, and Da’Vonne ally, Nicole. Although it was unwise game play, Flores often said he wanted to put his true feelings out in the open.

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It was Da’Vonne’s reaction to Jozea that in part impressed TV Guide in its roundup of the Big Brother 18 power rankings after Week 2.

“It’s so great to see a vet return to the game having learned from their mistakes. The old Day would not have been able to keep her mouth shut around Jozea, which would have gotten her in serious trouble. Now, she’s able to play both sides of the house while still giving us great soundbites in the diary room.”

Da’Vonne Rogers was the second houseguest voted out on Big Brother 17. She had quickly discovered that Liz and Julia Nolan were swapping places in the house as part of the “Twin Twist.” She failed to keep the information to herself, however, and was not able to use it to her advantage. This season, she figured out that not one, but two, of the so-called “new” houseguests are in fact former players. Paulie told the house he is the brother of Big Brother 16 runner-up Cody Calafiore on premiere night. Tiffany Rousso is the sister of last year’s third-place finisher Vanessa Rousso, but she has only confirmed or revealed that information to a few people, including Da’Vonne and Paulie.

During her Big Brother 17 post-eviction interview with Big Brother Network, Da’Vonne revealed she perhaps made a poor move by talking to fellow player Jason about the Nolans’ secret. That regret may explain the more tight-lipped Da’Vonne viewers have seen on Big Brother 18.

“It was definitely a bad move [letting everyone know]. I felt like me and Jason at that point had become one player. That was my ride or die. If I had tea, I was giving it to him and vice versa. “

On another note, Chen predicts no showmances during Big Brother 18, although she believes it’s possible sparks may fly between Nicole and Corey.

Big Brother 18 airs Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays on CBS.

[Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images]