Why ‘Big Brother 18’ Fans Won’t See The ‘Battle Back’ Competitions Any Time Soon

'Big Brother' host Julie Chen

Several times in Big Brother history, some of the players sent out of the house have been given a second shot at getting back in. But this year’s competition, “Battle Back,” is touted as a new way to give a lucky former houseguest that chance. As Julie Chen revealed after the show’s first eviction vote — and second eviction — of Big Brother 18, in Battle Back, the evictees will not compete at the same time. They will compete one-on-one, in order of eviction.

That means second evictee Jozea Flores will battle Glenn Garcia, and the winner will battle whomever is evicted next week, until there is only one woman or man standing out of the first five. But Big Brother 18 viewers are to be forgiven if they were confused as to why the Jozea and Glenn battle wasn’t shown on Thursday night’s show. They were both out of the house, after all, and there was no apparent reason for the delay. Chen also declined to give details as to how the Battle Back competition would play out.

It turns out that no one will see those battles anytime soon. They will air during one special episode of Big Brother 18 on Friday July 22. That’s one day after the fifth houseguest is set to be evicted. This is a bit different than earlier returning houseguest competitions, particularly because it’s happening so early in the season. So far, Big Brother 18 has made no mention if this is the only returning challenge that will happen.

In previous years, returning challenges have featured the first few members of the jury, taking place later in the summer and at a time in the game when a houseguest returning causes significant disruption. Additionally, evictees competed all at once to get back in the game, instead of a round-robin style competition like Battle Back. On Big Brother 17, John McGuire participated in — and won — a competition with other jury members just moments after he was voted out. It sent him right back into the house after his initial eviction.

Given the round-robin style competition of Battle Back, it seems unlikely — although certainly possible — that it will be an endurance contest. The Big Brother 17 returning juror competition was designed to be one of endurance, but as Big Brother Network reported, was far shorter than that. The show has also, in the past, combined the Head of Household and returning juror competition, leaving open the possibility that the juror could also come back as HOH. That’s a bit less clear given this season’s team element.

The CBS press release did not disclose if the Battle Back special episode would air live or feature previously recorded segments. A live broadcast would suggest shorter competitions like question and answer games; but Big Brother frequently begins an endurance HOH competition during a live episode, only to show clips of how it turned out later on the following episode.

But even if an evicted houseguest comes back, are they in any position to go on to win the game? Past Big Brother history would show that not only is it unlikely that an evicted houseguest would go on to take home the top prize, it’s unprecedented. That would not be for lack of trying. Flores has already gone on record that he will battle back in and go on to win the game.

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

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