By Dalton Ross
September 18, 2020 at 02:28 PM EDT
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Eight years ago, Ian Terry scaled to the summit of Big Brother glory by overcoming an iconic reality TV moment to defeat legend Dan Gheesling and win season 14 of the CBS franchise. Ultimately, that victory may have cost him a legitimate shot at the Big Brother: All-Stars title, as Ian’s fellow houseguests deemed him too much of a threat to take further into the game.

Ian’s strategy of laying low at the start of the season may have kept him safe temporarily, but it also meant he was on the outs when big alliances like the Committee — which has been running the game from the very start — took control of the house, and Ian was eventually cut loose on Thursday’s live eviction show as a result. Does Ian regret his intentionally slow start? Is he disappointed to learn that his biggest ally in Nicole actually was part of a bigger alliance that did not include him? And if he was not going to win, does Ian wish he was voted out last week so he could have gone home instead of staying in quarantine in the jury house? We asked the Big Brother 14 champ all that and more on his way to the jury, including what he thinks now of Dani putting him on the block.

Credit: CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How surprised were you to hear from Tyler and Nicole in their final messages that they were in a big alliance with Dani, Cody, Memphis, and Christmas called the Committee, and what do you make of that grouping?

IAN TERRY: Really, I was kind of surprised. I think it had crossed my mind a couple of times in the last week. That being said, I think that’s a really strong alliance and I give kudos to them for putting it together and running it so well. I’m not going to get mad at really good gameplay like that, so hats off to them.

When Dani put you up on the block, she described you as the “ultimate pawn.” Seeing as how Tyler said Dani was in his alliance, do you think she really thought that and wanted you to stay?

Obviously, I don’t know exactly, but I can pretty much speculate at this point that I was, in fact, Dani’s target once I hit the block, so I feel like that was just a bit of a setup, which is fine.

You said at the start of the season that you wanted to lay low at first and then strike later when you needed to. Did you wait too long to play more aggressively?

I don’t think I waited too long to play more aggressively. Essentially, what happened was the Disrupter twist, and then the weird scenario of the Veto twist being used by someone who wasn’t one of the nominees just ended up pushing me way further ahead in line to get nominated. If it weren’t for those things, I’d probably still be in there. Week 7 is usually when I would say, “Alright, now is the time to kick it up a little bit and really play more aggressively.” So I don’t think I waited too long. It’s just things happened the way they did and that’s why I’m here right now.

You won the last time you played, but it was a very stressful, confrontational season. This time, you go out earlier, but you also appeared to get along well enough with everybody. How would you compare your two experiences inside the Big Brother house?

I think that the caliber of play this time, on average, was much higher. Last time, I think that it was more confrontational, yes, but that sort of made it easier for me to want to vote people out of the house because I didn’t like them. As a result, what made this more difficult, crazily enough, was the fact that I got along with everyone pretty well.

Had you been voted out last week, you would have no say in the winner, but you would have at least been able to go home. Now you do get a say in who wins, but you remain sequestered in jury quarters. Which is a better scenario for you?

I sort of went back and forth on this for the past couple of weeks and, for me, I think that now I’m starting to realize that it is better for me to have a say in who wins this season. Going to the jury house, I’m sure it’s going to be really nice, it can’t be too bad. So I’m glad I’m going to have a say in who wins this thing and I look forward to taking part in the finale.

Obviously, a lot can change between now and finale night, but from what you have seen, who has played the best game so far?

I think that right now Tyler and Cody are absolutely crushing it. I think they are playing the best game by far.

Also make sure to read our Q&A with host Julie Chen Moonves, who weighs in on Nicole's big vote. And for more Big Brother scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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