Celebrity Big Brother is set to wrap its three-week run with a live finale tonight, culminating with the announcement of the first-ever winner of the celebrity edition of the CBS reality show. With five celebrities—Ariadna Gutierrez, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Mark McGrath, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, and Ross Mathews—still in the running for the Celebrity Big Brother grand prize, it’s anyone’s game as the live finale plays out.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Celebrity Big Brother host Julie Chen revealed that the final two hours of the CBS competition will feature an “epic endurance competition” to determine the final Head of Household. The evicted houseguests, which include MMA fighter Chuck Liddell, reality star Brandi Glanville, NBA star Metta World Peace, singer James Maslow, and actresses Shannon Elizabeth and Keshia Knight Pulliam, will then vote to determine who deserves the $250,000 Celebrity Big Brother prize.
“We have the families and entourages of all the celebrities coming, so we are staging a big viewing party in a space near the stage because our stage can’t fit everyone!” Julie Chen told EW of the Celebrity Big Brother finale.
“There will be one epic endurance competition and that’s when we really get to see what these celebrities are made of!”
Chen, who has seen it all after hosting 19 previous seasons of Big Brother, revealed she thinks superfan Ross Matthews has “the clearest path to victory” in the Celebrity Big Brother finale. But Julie didn’t rule out Miss Universe runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez, either. Julie Chen thinks reality TV villain Omarosa, who is ineligible to compete in the next HOH competition, could be the next to go unless she wins the Power of Veto to save herself. Chen also downplayed a CBB win for Mark McGrath, who has no history of winning a competition on his own.
“Ross has the clearest path to victory. Followed by Ari,” the Celebrity Big Brother host predicted. “Ari can win competitions so don’t rule her out. If she wins a comp or two she may win this. She’s hard to beat in any final two. Ross is her biggest competition. [Mark] didn’t really win anything and openly admits he is not great at the competitions. He is also a self-described floater. This jury has a number of die-hard BB super fans. They would never vote for a floater to win.”
While they are no longer in the running to play the Celebrity Big Brother game, the evicted houseguests are back home and privy to the live feed action—as well as the Big Brother episodes that aired when they were in the house. In addition, the evictees are in the running for the $25,000 America’s Favorite Houseguest title. The most recent evictee, James Maslow, took to Twitter to thank fans for their support and to remind them that the game isn’t over.
“We still have America’s Favorite Houseguest to go for. Makes sure you let them know that #TeamMaslow is not gonna quit,” James wrote.
Watching episodes of big brother so I can decide who to vote and I’m now realizing I have zero jaw line????
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) February 25, 2018
— Shannon Elizabeth (@ShannonElizab) February 24, 2018
Meanwhile, past Big Brother winners weighed in on who they think deserves to win Celebrity Big Brother title and the viewer-voted America’s Favorite Houseguest title.
— Dan Gheesling (@DanGheesling) February 24, 2018
— Rachel Reilly (@RachelEReilly) February 24, 2018
YAY! ALL IN ❤️???????????????????????????? https://t.co/ZN9OBHw8nA
— Nicole Franzel (@nicole_franzel) February 23, 2018
— Andy Herren (@AndyHerren) February 22, 2018
Longtime Big Brother executive producer Allison Grodner told Entertainment Weekly the celebrity edition of the show has been a “crazy whirlwind.” And while she admitted she hasn’t historically been great at predicting the winner of the game, she added, “I think someone like Ross has a good shot, Marissa has a good shot, Mark and James and Ari… they all have a really good shot of making it to the end.”
The Celebrity Big Brother finale airs Sunday, February 25 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.