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It was the longest season of Big Brother ever, with 16 houseguests entering into the house for the 90-day competition and only one leaving $500,000 richer.
After the nine-person jury crowned 26-year-old Andy Herren the winner by a 7-2 vote in the finale, the cast of the 15th cycle gathered in the backyard to run down the biggest moments of the season.
STORY: ‘Big Brother 15’ Winner Reveals $500,000 Plan and Reacts to Season’s Controversy
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with members of the jury, as well as the runners-up, to answer some unanswered questions.
1. What could GinaMarie Zimmerman have said in her final speech or in her answers to the jury’s questions to gain more votes?
Several of the jury members weren’t impressed with the way GinaMarie answered the questions posed to her during the finale, especially after Amanda Zuckerman asked the runner-up point-blank what her biggest move was outside of getting Amanda evicted. Aaryn Gries singled out another of GinaMarie’s lackluster responses: “I 100 percent think her biggest mistake was saying Nick [Uhas] leaving was her biggest obstacle. Had she not said that, had she had a better answer, she could be leaving here with $500,000.”
While it seemed many of the jurors had their minds made up, Helen Kim was waffling on who she would ultimately choose. “Even this morning, I didn’t know which way I was going to vote,” she told THR. “I think I actually wrote down ‘GinaMarie’ at one point, but then I wrote down ‘Andy.’ I couldn’t decide!” Jessie Kowalski revealed to THR that the questions the jury asked GinaMarie were intentionally phrased. “The questions we asked her were set up for her to fail, basically,” she said. Candice Stewart told THR she knew how the votes would go down and that she “knew Andy would win” because of his clean game play, saying that there was absolutely nothing GinaMarie could’ve said to sway her vote. “I think she thought she was on The Bachelor,” Candice said, a remark Jessie also made.
2. Were jury members surprised that Andy picked GinaMarie over Spencer for the final two?
Helen thought there was “no way” Andy or GinaMarie would be battling it out in the end, thinking that if Andy won the final HOH, he would pick Spencer and if GinaMarie won, she would pick Spencer. “That was shocking!” she said of the moment when Andy evicted Spencer.
STORY: ‘Big Brother 15’: 6 of the Season’s Biggest Moments
3. Why did Aaryn and Judd Daugherty vote for GinaMarie?
“I’m definitely not surprised that Andy won. He played that game every second,” Aaryn said. “But I had to vote for GinaMarie because that girl has always had my back. I have to be there for her just for the principle of the whole thing.” Judd explained to THR why he cast his vote for GinaMarie. “I was part of the Exterminators,” he said. “I told GinaMarie if she made the final two, I would vote for her to win. But when we got to listening to their speeches [during the finale], I was like, ‘Wow, I really want Andy to win this!’ and I almost changed my vote last second, but he’s got this in the bag. There’s nine votes, there’s no way he’s not going to win this. I’m going to give her a sympathy vote. Maybe that’s not the best thing to do but I stayed true to my word.”
4. What did Spencer learn from being on the block a record eight times?
“Nine if you count [the finale],” Spencer, who made it all the way to the final three, told THR. “It was tough but sometimes you have to know your role. I knew if I went up on the block and I stayed calm and didn’t do anything stupid, I would stay. I perfected being on the block.” What was his takeaway from that? “You don’t talk any game, you don’t ruffle any feathers and you maintain likability,” he said. Spencer admitted that by him being the ultimate pawn, his “strategic game kind of fell through,” but “at the same time, you have to know whose butt to kiss.”
PHOTOS: ‘Big Brother 15’: Meet the 16 Houseguests
5. Why did Amanda have so much power over the houseguests?
Different houseguests had different answers to this question. Spencer, who called GinaMarie a “phenomenal player” said the whole thing was “bizarre,” noting that “in this house, influence is a huge power and she had a lot of influence. She was very loud and very vocal, and she also had more minions than anybody.” Amanda pointed to her “army” as a key force behind accomplishing her dirty deeds. “I’m a strong person and I had a strong army behind me from the beginning. I’m not surprised,” she told THR.
6. Why did Judd go after McCrae Olson during his final plea that led to his second eviction?
It was an odd move to go after McCrae in his final speech prior to his second boot from the Big Brother house, so THR asked Judd why he decided to go out in a blaze of glory: “I knew at that point I was a goner, so it was a last-ditch effort to stay in the house. I thought maybe if I let them know that I was going after McCrae really hard, maybe they’d keep me. Andy had told me, ‘If I keep you are you going after McCrae? I know GinaMarie is, but I don’t know if you’re 100 percent.’ When he said that I knew I was a goner, so I had to try to pull a rabbit out of a hat in the last second.”
7. Was McCrae ready to fight after Amanda was evicted?
Not really. “Right after she got evicted I was telling myself, ‘I’m ready to be done with this.’ That time was not fun,” McCrae, who won the first HOH of the season, told THR. But he was surprised, as a fan of the game, that he and Amanda lasted that long together. “I definitely did not think that we could stay together that long and be a power couple,” he said. “I always was really worried that she would get evicted before me, which was kind of my plan, but I think if I just calculated it a little better, we could have stayed til the end. But if ifs and buts were candies and nuts, it would be a merry Christmas.” McCrae, inspired by season 10 winner/season 14 runner-up Dan Gheesling‘s funeral last season, regretted not faking his “divorce” with Amanda, which he said could have bought them more time.
8. Did the nine-person jury affect voting?
“Well not this season, but maybe in the future it will,” Helen said. “More people you can’t piss off. It makes it harder to win in the end. Seven is hard enough; you evict and hopefully they vote for you, but nine? That’s two extra people you have to think about. I thought it was kind of cool.” If Helen had the power, she’d make every houseguest part of the vote: “Why not let everyone evicted get a vote?”
9. What will GinaMarie do with the $50,000 runner-up money?
“I’m not big on money so I never had that one big sum at all in my bank account,” GinaMarie told THR, “so I guess when I actually see it and have it and I get to use it for good, for myself and for my family. But I’m definitely going to do something smart. I’m not just going to throw it away. I’m a little bit of an adult so hopefully I manage it well and it lasts me good. I definitely look forward to the future of what comes out of GinaMarie.” No splurges? “The only thing I will splurge upon: I really have an old car with a lot of mileage on it, so nothing fancy, nothing crazy, just something that gets me from A to B.”
10. How did Elissa Slater react to winning America’s favorite houseguest and the $25,000 prize?
“Oh my god! I am beyond happy, excited, thrilled!” a glowing Elissa, sister to season 13 winner Rachel Reilly, told THR. She had an inkling that America may have been rooting for her when she snagged the MVP power for three straight weeks. “The MVP definitely tipped me off. In the beginning of the game, I was excited and honored, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, people actually are embracing me and that was the best thing ever,’ ” she said. “You never know until the end of the game, so I was still shocked.”
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