8:00pm PT by Brian Porreca
'Big Brother 17': The Trombonist Makes Music on Finale Night
"And one will leave the house completely empty-handed," host Julie Chen tells fans at the jump of the Big Brother season finale. She declares there will be only one winner walking away with the half-million-dollar prize, while the runner-up will get $50,000. Vanessa cried and dealt her hand to land in the final three, Liz was a competition beast who was able to keep her twin and showmance safe all summer long, and the superfan Steve snuck his way throughout the whole "summerlong chess match."
So, who is the 17th winner of Big Brother? Check out the most shocking moments from tonight's finale to find out:
One sweet summer. This summer has been filled with tears, showmances, tears, twins and more tears. The first part of the "Head of Household" competition saw the final three in the "carnival from hell," as Steve called it. "It's time for some psychological warfare," said Vanessa in the diary room, talking about her plan to make Liz drop out of the competition. And the twin who could have been the one to win made a half-a-million-dollar mistake by letting the professional poker player manipulate the Miami native.
A sneaky scramble. After a crossword-puzzle competition put Steve three minutes ahead of Liz, the trombonist was moving on to round three. "I'm just missing nine across!" said Liz before figuring out the phrase to finish the puzzle was "double eviction." After Steve won, Vanessa thought he may take her to the final two, but she doesn't want to leave it up to chance. Steve and Vanessa both explain in the diary room that it's crucial they win round three of the competition.
It could have been RIP for the ponytail beard. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Austin told the jury that if Vanessa walked in the jury house, he would shave his ponytail beard. "Going dirty, I'm not OK with," said Jackie about giving Vanessa her vote. "Vanessa was going to work every day," said James of his respect for Vanessa's game. Becky said, "I want someone to win that I feel good about," after her and Austin said Vanessa swearing on the "gay community" was wrong. "Steve's a rat," said Steve's number-one cuddle buddy, Johnny Mack, about not voting for Steve. "All of the decisions that Liz made," said Meg, explaining her being "such a cheerleader" for Liz's victory. It looked like a bitter but balanced jury, with none of the jurors fully knowing who they were voting for, besides Austin and Julia, of course.
Sneaky Steve makes the biggest move ever. And not just of the summer. This season, the professional poker player loved to say the word "deal" more then Chenbot liked to say "twist." She cried more than any emotional player before her, yet she still was pegged to be the winner Wednesday night. Vanessa, meet Steve. Steve, tell her how it's done. The trombonist from upstate New York made the biggest move in the show's history by taking out Vanessa. "I have no words to thank you," an emotional and happy Liz told Steve. "Steve got me," the beanie-wearing Vanessa told the shocked jury.
Count to three. An audio problem happened during the finale, making Chen have Steve give his answers over and over again until they fixed the audio hiccup. Count to three again. Liz talked about aligning with her twin sister and Austin, a strong three-person alliance that helped her get to the final two. Count to three again because the show's almost over, and the trombonist is crowned this season's winner, even if Austin votes because "the heart wants what it wants." The other winner tonight was Audrey, after she made a heartfelt speech about being the first transgender houseguest to ever play the game.
What did you think of Steve taking out Vanessa? Was it the biggest move made in the show's history? Were you mad Austin still had his ponytail beard? Will you apply to be on next season of the summer show? Sound off in the comments section below, and check back on the Live Feed Thursday for the backyard interviews and THR's talk with the winner, runner-up and the poker player who was cut at the end.