Celebrity Big Brother sends its first houseguest packing in its first blindside — and a couple people from the women's alliance are none too happy about what happened.
Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

It’s time for Celebrity Big Brother’s first two-hour gauntlet, which culminates in the first celebrity being evicted. After what seems like some interminable “previouslies,” we pick up with what happened after Keshia Knight Pulliam put up James Maslow and Chuck Liddell for eviction.

James is pretty pissed about being nominated, saying he has no idea why he would be targeted like this. That seems like a surprising lack of self-awareness on his part. He came into the house guns blazing. If you don’t win the first HOH competition, coming on strong in Big Brother is usually a one-way ticket out the door as the first evictee. And in what is no surprise, the women’s alliance is dead-set on James going home first.

But can the women’s alliance last? There are already sub-factions forming, which is fine — not making a sub-alliance is usually a mistake, but that can also backfire. The first major sub-alliance is Keshia and Omarosa Manigault with their “Black Girl Magic” alliance, which is awesome. I may not be a fan of Omarosa as a person, but she’s an outstanding reality show contestant. I hope she and Keshia stay strong together. If they were smart, they’d get Marissa Jarey Winokur and Shannon Elizabeth to make a foursome, because then they have a strong sub-alliance where each person has “their person” within the alliance, so nobody gets paranoid about being the odd woman out.

But it turns out Omarosa and Keshia are not smart enough to recognize a two-person alliance has to find a few other strong allies, at least in the beginning. Because they do a pretty good job in alienating the rest of the women’s alliance with a cuckoo-pants suggestion.

But before we get to that, it’s Power of Veto time. The competition turns out to be the one where you try to spell the longest word by fishing letters out of the muck, a.k.a. the infamous competition where doofy Jeff tried to spell the word “technotronic.” No, he did not pump up the POV jam with that one.

I’ve always found this to be a really interesting challenge because there’s always a big decision to make — do you get a word in your head and try to find the letters, or do you just grab letters and make a word? Shannon and Chuck decide to go with the former, while Mark McGrath adopts the latter strategy. I’m with Mark: you shouldn’t box yourself in by only focusing on one word. Also, this competition feels a little unfair to Ariadna Gutiérrez-Arévalo, whose first language isn’t English. Obviously, she has great command of the English language, but still. That seems really tough.

The words are revealed to be:

  • Ariadna: Tried to spell “warning,” but couldn’t get all the letters.
  • Mark: Spells “some.” Well, part of the “get a bunch of letters” strategy does hinge upon being able to put together a long word.
  • Keshia: Spells “primed,” which takes the lead at this point.
  • Shannon: Spells “responsibilities,” and my jaw literally dropped open. Not because I think she’s dumb (I don’t) or that it’s a crazy word to pick (it’s not), but it’s incredible that she found all those letters.
  • James: Tries to spell “family” but doesn’t have all the letters.
  • Chuck: Spells “spanned.”

Obviously, Shannon wins the POV. She better be careful after this eviction because she is a challenge beast so far — she won one that’s physical and one that’s both mental and physical. She’s a baller and people are going to be targeting her.

After the POV, Keshia wants to pull Chuck off the block and put Mark up, because Chuck is “more malleable” for them. But as Ross points out, that’s ridiculous. Why make another person mad at you if your target is safely on the block and you can easily vote him out without having to nominate anyone? Weirdly, Shannon is on board with the idea, but she wants to “make amends” with Chuck and then Omarosa jumps in with how Shannon is only thinking about herself. Wait, what?

First of all, Shannon, of course, cares about her own game first and foremost. If you don’t, you are dead in the Big Brother house. Secondly, she wants to go along with your plan. What’s the problem here?

And without a trace of irony, Omarosa gives a DR talking head where she blasts Shannon for all the “me, me, me, I, I, I” and in the same breath says she (Omarosa) has to focus on her own long-term strategy because she always has to look out for herself. Lordy.

The alliance has also started crumbling with how everyone’s like “girl power!” and completely discounting Ross Mathews being there. He rightly feels a little uncomfortable being told that he’s “a girl now” but he “still has a penis.” Yeah, that’s not great. And Ross is not to be underestimated. He is charming, funny, and knows this game. That’s a dangerous player; they should work a little harder to make him feel included.

But either way, Omarosa and Keshia are annoyed that Shannon wants to go against the plan and leave the nominations as they are. It’s kind of insane to watch them try to convince her. They don’t have a great argument — why on earth would you change the nominations? But it’s making Shannon a little crazy, to the point where she cries to Omarosa. Yeah, that would make me question an alliance member’s stability too. This is not life and death. Just relax a little, Shannon.

Shannon chooses not to use the POV, so Chuck and James remain on the block. Keshia can’t believe Shannon would go against the alliance like that, but she still has not explained why taking Chuck off the block and nominating Mark would be that advantageous to the alliance.

In fact, Keshia and Omarosa are pushing so hard for a change in nominations that Shannon and Ross talk about flipping the vote to evict Chuck and keep James, making a deal with him. That’s… not a bad idea, actually. And the other women (Marissa, Brandi Glanville and Ariadna) are at least open to the idea, so we go into the first live eviction with what appears to be a toss-up.

The votes go Brandi, Ariadna, Ross, Metta World Peace, Marissa, Shannon, and Mark voting to evict Chuck, and Omarosa voting to evict James. The look on Omarosa and Keshia’s faces when Julie tells them the voting tally is priceless.

Look, BGM could be a really fun twosome to watch in this game, but they severely misplayed this first week. I hope they can recover from this, which will really depend on who wins the next HOH.

Odds & Ends

“And Celebrity Big Brother making headlines in the world of politics!” says Julie, incredulously. Really? Really, CBS? Let’s be adults — that’s the main reason why you cast Omarosa.

Did you notice Keshia is pumping breast milk? My goodness, that must be so hard — to be away from the baby, to have to pump all the time and then, what, send it through the Diary Room? Geez. Major props to her.

Ariadna and James’ punishment for coming in last at the Veto is to dress as babies, crawl everywhere on their hands and knees everywhere for 48 hours, and suck on their bottles when a crying baby sound plays over the PA. Most of that is fine, but the crawling everywhere really sucks.

Derrick, Ian, Josh, and Nicole (the past four Big Brother winners) have some studio time to talk about the game, but it’s not exactly noteworthy. This episode is definitely full of padding.