Jennifer Vasquez: Cliff Lipson
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July 08, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Big Brother”: Meet the hot new cast

Okay, give me a minute…I’m not quite sure how to feel here. About an hour ago, I was all giddy and excited that the sixth edition of my favorite…reality…show…ever was finally debuting and Julie Chen appeared to have kicked the glitter habit for good. And even though I could have done without another firefighter named Eric (not to mention having Beau remind me how much I miss Marcellas), I truly enjoyed seeing the new two-story house, the spacious head-of-household room with the private bath, and that goofy Howie in a freakin’ bra (see next week’s previews).

And then this Rachel chick comes out of nowhere, wins HOH, and nominates Kaysar for eviction. You heard me, she actually picked the Iraqi-American guy. And how does Kaysar react in the diary room? ”From this point forward you’re going to watch me get a little bit more aggressive.” I’m sure he said a lot more for the cameras, but funny how the producers chose to air that little gem instead, along with ”I’m not here to take this lying down.”

And if that weren’t bad enough, Julie put some glitter in her cleavage for the closing shots.

Cry me a stinkin’ river.

I know, I know…the first HOH never really knows who to pick for the inaugural eviction. I mean really, do we care that Ashlea is on the block? But did the other nominee have to be the first Arab-American ever to play BB? Did he have to be a deeply spiritual guy who’s obviously praying for something other than a week without PB and J and a chance to shower with one of the gals? Why him? And why now?

Enough with the political hand-wringing; Kaysar could survive next week’s eviction, and then we can spend our time worrying about the persecution of a certain personal shopper. ”He’s one of the girls, as far as I’m concerned!” says Eric of the openly gay Beau. Gee, and to think the homophobia only took a day to surface.

Ah, so much to talk/rant/coo about, and I’m not even on the houseguests yet. Thanks to early press releases from CBS, I’ve had about a week to chew on the new BB rules, but some of my Entertainment Weekly colleagues swear they would need an advanced degree from MIT to decipher the latest twist. Here’s a quick recap: Each of the 14 houseguests is entering the house as a member of a secret duo, but no one knows that the other pairings exist. If a duo manages to stay intact and survive to the final week, the winner will snag $1 million and his or her partner will take home a cool $250,00. If the twosome doesn’t make it to the end, the winner will win the usual $500K purse. Follow?

Ms. Chen says she’ll reveal the teams next week, but I think I spotted some couples last night, such as Kaysar-Michael, Howie-Rachel, and Ivette-Jennifer. Honestly, I’m not half as thrilled about this new twist as I am about the shiny new Studio 54 digs. Granted, I miss the simplicity of the original set, but it was time for the change — even if this new house sits in the old soundstage where Yes, Dear was shot. Yes, I mean the sitcom. I can already hear the barbs from Dalton. He lives for opportunities like this.

On to the new houseguests. Let’s rate their likeability from 1-10 (10 being best).

Jennifer Vasquez, a 27-year-old single arena football league dancer from Plano, Tex., who wasted no time showing off her pom-poms: 3.

Michael Donnellan, a 28-year-old single artist from Orange County, Calif., who was shown sculpting and saying that his fellow guests will be ”putty in my hands.” Now there’s a moldy joke. 2.

Ashlea Evans, 22, a fashion design student from Plantation, Fla. As I’ve already said, who cares that she’s nominated for eviction? 2.

Ivette Corredero, a 25-year-old single waitress from Miami Beach who’s secretly gay. Whatever, Miss Thang?I’m listening. 8.

James Rhine, a 29-year-old single loss-prevention manager from Atlanta who pretended to be a teacher. Because it was too difficult to explain your real job, Johnny Fairplay? 5.

Janelle Pierzina, a 25-year-old single ”VIP cocktail waitress” from Miami Beach. Did someone turn my TV to E’s Party at the Palms? Enjoy the sleeping bag, hon. 4.

Beau Beasley, a 25-year-old single personal shopper from Pembroke Pines, Fla. Marcellas, I still miss you, but this dandy takes some sting off. 7.

Sarah Hrejsa, a 22-year-old single retail manager from Chicago. This is about the time I got up to use the bathroom. 1.

Maggie Ausburn, a 26-year-old single emergency room nurse from Las Vegas. Imagine, a BB broad with a brain! 9.

Eric Littman, a 36-year-old married firefighter from Boston. My, we sure seem angry! 7.

Howie Gordon, a 34-year-old single meteorology student from Chicago. He said, and I quote, ”I just passed my first gas in Big Brother 6.” I should be disgusted, but I think I’m in love. 10.

Kaysar Ridha, a 24-year-old single graphic designer from Irvine, Calif. Ah crap, I’m wringing my hands again. And he’s so hot! 8.

April Lewis, a 30-year-old married pharmaceutical saleswoman from Dallas. Hmm, the show’s hitting a lull. Think I’ll go get a Coke. 2.

Rachel Plencner, a 33-year-old single horse breeder from Parker, Co. Little early to form an alliance with April, Howie, Sarah, and Janelle, but I like your style. 7.

There’s plenty more to say about the food and the HOH challenges (honestly, how hard is it to throw a coconut in a hole?), but I’ll leave the hard analysis to you. One thing before I go: From here on out, this BB column will feature the Julie Chen Style Watch. We follow the trends so you won’t have to!

Here’s this week’s fashion checklist:

X Satin

X Bare shoulders

X Body glitter

X Clingy, knee-length skirt

X Stiletto heels

Plus, this week’s never-before-seen trend: bouncy, youthful curls!

So what do you think of the new twists and the new house? Which secret pairs do you think you spotted? And what’s up with the secret door that was featured in next week’s previews?

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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