Dalton Ross
September 21, 2017 AT 11:20 AM EDT

The most predictable Big Brother season finished in the least predictable way. In perhaps the most shocking final vote in Big Brother history, meatball lover Josh Martinez defeated self-proclaimed puppetmaster Paul Abrahamian by a vote of 5-4 to be crowned the winner of Big Brother season 19, taking home the $500,000 that comes with it.

Josh shocked fans by eliminating Christmas at the final three and putting himself against the person that socially and strategically controlled the house from day 1. But his instincts proved correct, as Paul’s poor jury management came back to bite him at the end. Jurors like Alex and Jason resented being lied to and discarded by Paul so joined Mark, Elena, and Cody in voting for Josh to win.

How do both elated winner Josh and mystified runner-up Paul feel about the final verdict? What would have happened had Christmas been in the final two? And what went down between finalists and jury members after the cameras turned off last night? The final three called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) to discuss everything that happened, and you can now hear the entire interviews right here on the EW Morning Live podcast. (You can also read what Julie Chen said about the finale here.)

Some of the highlights:

Christmas on getting voted out so close to the end:
“It’s really crushing. It hurts my heart. It was really, really difficult for me.”

Christmas on voting for Paul over Josh:
“Paul was always five steps ahead. Josh also said he was going to take me to final two. When he did not take me to final two, I knew where I had to put my vote.”

Christmas on how she would have done in the finals against Josh:
“I believe the jury would have voted for me.”

Christmas on how she would have done in the finals against Paul:
“I definitely believe people would have looked at me versus Paul and at least a majority of the jury would have given me the votes. So knowing that, it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow.”

Paul on what was going through his mind as the final three votes against him were read:
“It was pretty gnarly. Coming that close and falling short by one vote was definitely not easy.”

Paul on how he thought votes would go before they were read:
“I thought it would probably come out to like 6-3 [in his favor] or something of that sort. Alex gave me her word to give me her vote and she said she would fight for me in jury, but she didn’t. She did the exact opposite, it seems like. So I guess I had the numbers wrong in my head. I don’t know who I could have been up there with and won seeing as how all the things that I did managed the jury to be upset with me.”

Paul on if he thinks Josh played a better game and deserved to win:
“It’s not that I don’t think he played a good game. It’s that countless times during the season he admitted that if it weren’t for me he wouldn’t even be there. And I definitely flipped the house to keep him a few times and kinda kept him safe under my wing. So arguably, if you’re looking at it from his perspective, he attached to the vet and made it to the end, so you can’t say he didn’t play a good game, but I definitely think I put in more footwork during the season.”

Paul on if Josh’s parting words to voted-out contestants was a smart move, a low blow, or both:
“I guess it was a little bit of both because he won. But, at the same time, in that same moment admitted that I was the mastermind behind the plan, so it’s kind of ironic that they would still toss it to him. But I guess he had a better understanding of the jury and their emotions or whatever it may be, and I guess throwing me under the bus was the best gameplay for him. So it worked.”

Paul on whom he would have voted for had Josh taken Christmas to the final two:
“I probably would have voted for Christmas, just because I think she made more strategic moves in the house and her broken foot still making it to the end I think was pretty impressive.”

Paul on how he would have done against Christmas in the finals:
“Seeing as how this outcome came out, I probably would have lost as well. I would have lost regardless, really.”

Paul on who he would have brought to the end had he won the final HOH:
“I was going to bring Josh. I thought I had a better chance with him, because he had so many crazy arguments with jury members and they didn’t like him and always bad-mouthed him, so I went ahead and assumed, ‘Okay, the jury is going to be pissed at me, but I know they definitely don’t like Josh. And hopefully they can see my gameplay and get rid of the emotions.’ ‘Cause I thought that was the point of jury roundtables. I guess not.”

Paul on Cody being awarded America’s Favorite Houseguest:
“Very, very bizarre. I think there were a lot of other houseguests that showed a bit more of their personality and just based on the way Cody kind of treated houseguests and carried himself in the house, it’s not something that I really thought was impressive. But kudos to America, I guess.”

Josh on how he felt going into the final vote:
“To be completely honest with you, I knew that me and Paul had both pissed off the same amount of people on the jury. I did not think at all I would beat Christmas because she literally killed everybody with kindness, she handled every eviction that she had with grace, and people didn’t leave pissed off at her. With me and Paul, I was a bit more straightforward, I said how it was… I was in shock. I thought once Christmas’ vote came in I was like, ‘I’m done.’ I’m like ‘Christmas didn’t vote for me? Paul won the game.’ And then the votes started dropping and I couldn’t believe what was happening. And then I get Cody’s vote and I was like ‘WHAT?!?’ I was in complete shock.”

Josh on getting Cody, Elena, and Mark’s votes even after tormenting them in the house:
“It was completely shocking because I thought Cody, Elena, and Mark are going to vote for Paul. I thought I would have Kevin, Christmas, Matt — like, for some odd reason, I thought I would have Matt. And so Cody, Elena, and Mark, it was so insane for me to think I’d even have those votes, but I think that they respected my game and how I played a fearless game. And I spoke my mind and was straightforward to their face. I wasn’t doing manipulating or doing things behind their back. And I think Mark and Cody appreciated that, and that’s what got me the win.”

Josh on if he regrets banging pots and pans and getting in people’s faces after being egged on by Paul:
“I honestly don’t regret anything. The funny thing is that Paul would tell me things like that, but I never did anything if it wasn’t good for my game. I wanted to be completely underestimated and wanted people to think they had control over me, because if they have control, I’m not a threat, I’m an ally… In the fifth week, I woke up at 9 in the morning with pots and pans to throw Mark and Cody off of their game, and Elena. It wasn’t because Paul told me. I did it for my game. Yeah, he would egg me on and say things like that, but if it didn’t benefit me, then I wasn’t going to do it.”

Josh on brain-freezing during his final plea to the jury:
“I instantly thought I had lost the game, I completely went blank because I thought, I can’t believe that this is happening. I literally stood up and I was like, this is really happening. As I’m speaking, I go blank and I’m like, Josh, snap out of it. I didn’t even have the words or thoughts. I was in shock mode. I completely froze and I couldn’t even speak.”

Josh on if he would have voted for Christmas or Paul had it not made it to the end:
“I was going to vote for Paul. I think Paul, he played a great game. He had no choice but to play an aggressive game because he was a vet. People can feel what they want, but he had to play that game.”

To hear our entire interviews with the final three, you can listen to the EW Morning Live podcast above, which also includes our interview with Better Things creator and star Pamela Adlon. Or subscribe on iTunes right here to listen on the go. And for more EW Morning Live podcast news, follow us on Twitter @EWMLPodcast.

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