Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Category Archives: pop culture

Ryan’s Playlist No. 2: Mrs. Maisel & June Musical Randomness


The first part of my June playlist is heavily influenced by one of my favorite shows, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Extraordinarily well done, smart and beautiful — it’s the first new show I’ve seen since Mom died that I knew she would have loved.

Save for Midge’s potty mouth.

For me, Alex Borstein’s Susie Myerson makes the show with Tony Shalhoub’s Abe Weissman very close. And I just am figuring out that Borstein is Lois Griffin. Blown away. Anyway, if you haven’t started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this gets my highest recommendation.

The rest of this month’s list is pretty random. No country this month, but I’ve got pop, indie and even a tune from a Christian artist. Here goes, and it starts with two songs I heard on Maisel.

This is Mary Hopkin’s version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” featured at the end of S2E2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The music selections on this show have been eclectic, and I constantly find myself Shazaming songs.

This is the second song I’m including from Maisel, and it’s “Some Other Time” from Blossom Dearie. This was featured in the scene where Rose Weissman resigned herself to returning to New York from Paris, to where she had fled to find herself. The song is incredibly wistful and beautiful.

“Stronger Than Before” by Carole Bayer Sager was a Top 30 hit for Sager back in 1981, and it has that classic soft electric piano, not-quite-a-true-Rhodes sound and easy listening instrumentation that I loved from the era. Dionne Warwick also recorded this later in the decade.

Electric Light Orchestra’s “Last Train To London,” for me is unremarkable until the chorus, where it gets very hooky, very fast.

Barenaked Ladies, “Odds Are,” has been in my heavy rotation for months now. I joked inside my own head that I might try to wage a public campaign to join the band since I love them so much and since I’m practically Canadian after rooting so hard for the Raptors. We’ll see how that goes. BNL are a musical treasure.

“Cuddly Toy” by British band Roachford is way funkier than I gave it credit for in 1988. But did you know that lead singer and namesake Andrew Roachford later joined Mike & The Mechanics!?

“Patience,” by Tame Impala is incredibly well produced, as is everything from the band. All of their tracks are catchy and interesting.

You, me, the entire world knows this song, “It’s Strange,” from a Nissan commercial. It’s from a DJ duo called Louis The Child with a singer who goes by the name K. Flay. The production is amazing. The video is captivating, and K. Flay brings a ton of personality to it. This one gets better for me with each listen.

British singer-songwriter JP Cooper caught my ear with “September Song,” which to me sounds like Nick Jonas’ “Jealous.” And then I read that Cooper has written songs for the Jonas Brothers, and it makes me wonder.

Don’t judge, lol. This is apparently from 2012, and it’s a contemporary Christian singer named Britt Nicole with a song called “Gold.” Loved the positive vibe, and the ‘SUS’ chord progression in the verse. Big, fat hook in the middle. I have zero idea where I heard this. The car? The mall? Forever 21? (Never been. So, just kidding, ha!)

Featured photo from Ninac26 on Flicker.

Mac Miller’s death & the harsh reality of recreational drug use


The world is mourning the death of Mac Miller, an acclaimed rapper and producer, and for me, a kiddo I’ve followed since 2011. I say kiddo because, at 48, anybody in their late teens or early 20s is a kiddo.

I followed Mac for two reasons: His entrepreneurial spirit related to his music was highly impressive. “Blue Slide Park” was the first independently distributed album to go No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart in 15 years. Before the news broke, I thought the achievement was more impressive than that, thinking that he wasn’t even on a label.

However, there is no doubt that Mac Miller hustled for everything he got, and he leveraged a ton of musical talent, especially on the production side of things. When it comes to rap, I’m listening mostly to how the phrases flow within the music and to how the music sounds. Miller’s earliest work was funky and even jazzy.

Take “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza,” which I thought was the best thing he ever did.

Take “Blue Slide Park.”

And take his first hit, “Knock Knock,” which felt heavily influenced by Run DMC. The dude had a swagger that was to rap as Baker Mayfield was to college football — supremely confident but talented.

Unfortunately, Miller had a drug problem, and that’s where my blog post ceases to be fun because I’m not a fan of drugs, hard or “soft.”

Not that over-consumption of alcohol isn’t a problem.

Not that over-consumption of food isn’t a problem.

Not that there aren’t a billion issues individuals have that are just as bad as any other. The hope is that whatever the demon of choice for an artist, it could be one that doesn’t take them so immediately. That there could be a chance for recovery and redemption.

It’s not being a prude that tells me that there isn’t any single drug that’s worse than another, it’s life experience. They’re all bad, every one of them. Always hate when something completely avoidable like this happens to anybody, but especially somebody so young and talented.

Let’s mourn the guy and honor his music, but let’s not be OK with any part of a culture that celebrates recreational drug use. I fear that we’re far too permissive with it socially, and I fear it’s only going to get worse for the next generation.

Celebrity Big Brother: Why Ross’s loss sucked for ‘superfans’ everywhere


Well, color me surprised.

When I saw who had won Celebrity Big Brother Sunday night, my first reaction was that the jury got it wrong. So wrong.

However, by definition, in this game, the jury never gets it wrong because they hold the power. Each season, they come up with different reasons for how they vote, and one of the things house guests have to do is convince those going out that they deserve their votes.

With that said, Ross Mathews got hosed. He 100 billion percent deserved to win Celebrity Big Brother, and while I love how gracious he’s been, I feel for the guy. It’s not about the money for many of the celebrities; it’s about the game. Many of these folks are genuinely living out a reality TV geek’s dream in playing Big Brother.

On ET tonight, winner Marissa Jaret Winokur theorized that while she played Celebrity Big Brother, Ross played actual Big Brother. And while I love that soundbite, the truth is that the jury’s vote reminded me a lot of both of Paul’s losses as well as Dan’s loss to Ian a few seasons back.

Well, except for the fact that Josh totally deserved to win last season.

As an aside, I didn’t root for Josh at all during Big Brother 19. I found him to be annoying, overly-emotional, periodically unstable — and by the time the game ended, an amazing Big Brother player. Once my favorite is eliminated, and once we get to a Final 2 or 3, I’m all about wanting the best player to win.

Most Big Brother ‘superfans’ are the same way.

I’ve got nothing but love for Marissa, who is incredibly likeable, but she genuinely played a ‘Friendship’ strategy, as opposed to Paul Abrahamian, who schemed under the cover of ‘friendship.” Lowercase ‘f’.

In fact, I think we could safely say that Marissa might be the nicest Big Brother winner ever.

Julie Chen told Entertainment Weekly that Winokur won because of the “mom vote,” a conspiring of votes from other house guests, presumably female. The only votes Ross got were from Metta World Peace, who basically flipped a coin and randomly chose a key, Mark McGrath and Brandi Glanville.

Juries can vote however they’d like; however, I’m especially disappointed in Shannon Elizabeth and Omarosa, both of whom knew better. I get that Keisha Knight Pulliam and Ariadna Gutierrez, whom I liked quite a bit, might not have a clue about how Big Brother worked. But Shannon was a superfan, who in this case played the role of the bitter juror.

EW’s writer and Survivor finalist, Aubry Bracco, put it brilliantly, so brilliantly that I shall not even try to write it myself. She wrote:

As someone who went to the end of Survivor, only to come up short, I’ve got to be candid — my heart broke when Ross asked if he was the bad guy. I waited over a year to hear the result I knew was coming at the end of my season. I dreamed about Survivor every single night. I convinced myself I was a terrible person to my fellow tribemates. I’ve come to terms with it, and that’s a whole other thesis, but man, I felt for Ross.

Ross played, and he didn’t do it in an overly vindictive manner like Paul. He didn’t just go on his favorite show in the world to inflate his ego. He went to play the game he loves. Was he a bit messy in the process? Sure, but sometimes that’s life, and that’s certainly the fun of competition reality. When his back was up against the wall, he found a way to save himself, and he built a resume of wins in the process. Most upsetting to me is the fact that many players said they saw Ross as a huge threat and sang his praises when they were evicted. I underestimated just how fragile these celebrity egos could be — bring Ross back in a season of average Joes. I’m pretty sure he’d slay.

Maybe I’m a little too serious about this, but it disappoints me as someone who’s given up weeks of my life to play a game I love. By awarding Marissa the win, it sends the message that when you give up your life to entertain American television viewers for free, the best strategy is to be a follower. That sucks.

Read all of Aubry’s piece here.

Celebrity Big Brother will be back.

The best news of all is that Celebrity Big Brother was a ratings hit. It fared well against the Olympics, and Chen says it “definitely” should be back next year. My hope is that they’ll turn it into a two-month affair, just like regular Big Brother. My other suggestion would be to vet celebrities a bit further to make sure none of them will bolt from the house early a la Keisha and Metta.

I understand why they left, but I think a lot of that could have been discovered before casting them.

My other suggestion would be to increase the winnings from $250,000 to $500,000 with a full-season run. If they could make it $1 million, I think you’d get a great cast and fantastic season, fantastic in a Big Brother fan sort of way.

Who benefited from Celebrity Big Brother?

Even in this inaugural season of #CBBUS, there are winners and losers beyond the Top 2. For example, I think Ariadna Gutierrez benefited immensely from her appearance. Nobody knew who she was beyond being the victim of Steve Harvey’s gaffe at Miss Universe.

Turned out that Ariadna was a fun and competitive house guest, who I thought stood a real chance to win toward the end. The #HashItOut game doomed her.

In my opinion, and I might be the only person who thinks this, but I thought Brandi Glanville got a big PR boost from being on Celebrity Big Brother. I thought she was awesome, funny and genuine and I particularly liked how she was especially vulnerable with Julie upon eviction, noting that despite her Teflon-like exterior, stuff gets to her.

To Big Brother superfans, Ross Mathews has earned ton of respect, while Shannon Elizabeth might get a bit of undeserved scorn. I say “undeserved” only because I genuinely think she’s a superfan who, in the end, voted out of revenge.

It’s been done before.

Mark McGrath played a quintessential floater’s game, and I think, in the end came off as well as he entered — although for a guy who’s only two years older than me and who sang rock songs not that long ago, he sure does seem old.

Or maybe I’m old, too. Mark, I’m rockin’ the Metamucil right there with you.

However, as a superfan, I have to say: respect to McGrath. Being a floater is absolutely a legitimate Big Brother strategy. It’s not my favorite, but for some folks who might not be as good competitively as others, it’s their only shot.

Omarosa is as clever and sly as ever, a villain’s villain. She’d make any reality competition worth watching. The fact that “Dancing With The Stars” hasn’t scooped her up is stunning and, frankly, silly.

Metta World Peace came off as genuine and sweet and goofy, nothing like the Ron Artest that got caught up in that Malice at the Palace incident from 2004. That kid was only 25. Metta is a grown-ass man who loves his girlfriend, Maya Ford, to the point of tears.

Who’s ready for Big Brother 20 (#BB20) this summer?

I have no idea what the twist might be, although I do have some thoughts as to who might get re-cast into this summer’s season. The thought had been that either Cody Nickson or Jessica Graf might re-enter the house.

Despite how ‘The Amazing Race’ ended for them, I suspect it’s still a possibility. They’re competitive, and they were terrific for ratings.

The other house guest that could return, in my estimation, if any do, is Christmas Abbott, the fitness instructor who played well but was hobbled by a foot injury that kept her limited competitively. She still almost won.

And then how about Paul Abrahamian? Third time’s the charm?

Look, Big Brother doesn’t re-cast house guests every season, so there are no guarantees that anybody is being let back into the house. Our summer guilty pleasure returns in June, and so shall I with updates and columns, and probably some other Big Brother tidbits between now and then.


Celebrity Big Brother down to Final 5, but only 2 can win


Spoilers are ahead, so if you don’t want to know who won the Celebrity Big Brother Final 5 Head of Household or Power of Veto, do not continue. There are five house guests left, but in my estimation, there are only two who can win.


With only one more TV episode left, Celebrity Big Brother is down to its Final 5, but really it’s down to its Final 4 because we’ve learned that Ross Mathews has won HOH and nominated Omarosa Manigault Newman and Ariadna Gutierrez. We also know that Ross won the POV and, almost assuredly, isn’t going to use it.

With Marissa Jaret Winokur and Mark McGrath left to vote, it’s almost a certainty that Omarosa is going home first on Finale Night. If not a 2-0 vote, surely Ross would be sending the reality television villain to the hot seat with Julie Chen. I always feel like when I mention Omarosa and “reality villain” that I should also note her credentials as a Trump and Clinton administrator. However, that’s only because she talks about it so much.

She’s been a good Big Brother player, but Ross has been a better player. I think he wins the first-ever Celebrity Big Brother. His social game has been terrific, and he’s won competitions when it counted, both the cerebral and the physical. The most recent HOH competition involved house guests hanging on to snow skis.

Ross managed to be part of two big alliances that covered every house guest except one, I believe. There’s nobody in that house who thinks Ross is a bad player, and I suspect they’ve all fancied him a favorite from the outset. Favorite as in “could win.” So, what each of these alliances did was associate themselves with a guy who would have both social and competitive power.

Smart by them. Good on him.

Yet the power moves in this game came from the women. Ariadna was responsible for the CBB demise of Shannon Elizabeth, who is sure to win America’s Favorite Houseguest. She pledged to donate the $25,000 to her charitable organization, Animal Avengers. Likewise, Omarosa is responsible for the eviction of James Maslow.

As of this writing (Sunday morning), we know that Omarosa is dead-man-walking, which leave us with Ross, Ariadna, Marissa and Mark.

See also: Diary Room Highlights

Omarosa has all but killed Marissa’s chances of winning by elaborately detailing why nobody would win sitting next to her in a Final Two. I do not think Omarosa is correct because both Ari and Ross would win sitting next to her. Even Omarosa might win sitting next to Marissa. The only person who has no shot of winning is Mark.

Heck, if Mark had been more competitive throughout the three-week season, he might have stood a chance. Probably the biggest reason he’s still in the house is because he’s such a fantastic roommate. In Saturday night’s retrospective episode, we see Mark doing all the cleaning.

All this leads me to a prediction: The only two house guests who have a real shot at the $250,000 are Ross Mathews and Ariadna Gutierrez. She’s proven herself to be a good competitor and a strategic player, as evidenced by her willingness to make the season’s first power move in eliminating Shannon.

It just comes down to that final HOH.

If Ross wins, he’s taking Mark McGrath. In Saturday’s episode, we see Ross and Mark talking about this. From Mathews’s perspective, we know why: beating Mark will be easy in a jury vote.

If Ariadna wins, she *should* take Mark, but I don’t know what she’ll do and I could see her taking Ross just because she likes him. I should give her the benefit of the doubt since she ushered Shannon out the door. However, you just never know.

Given the fact that she’s mostly known for having Miss Universe ripped from underneath her by an errant Steve Harvey and the fact that her dad is dying, which the audience saw in an emotional moment a few days ago, I’m rooting for Ariadna to win that final HOH, evict Ross and Marissa and take home the $250,000.

I just think she’s the house guest who could most use a little something good happen to her.

And if she wins that final HOH and makes the cutthroat decision to evict two of the game’s most popular house guests in Ross and Marissa, it will be hard to argue that she doesn’t deserve it as well.

With that said, I think Ross wins. Hoping for an Ariadna upset.

Anything else, to me, would be a big surprise.

Celebrity Big Brother Power Rankings: New HOH, nominations and Veto twist revealed (Sunday recap)


As we left our TVs on Friday night, our beloved celebrity house guests were sitting on stadium seats, hanging on for their HOH lives.

On Sunday night, we learned that after an hour and a half, Omarosa Manigault Newman won Head of Household. It came down to her and James Maslow, and he acknowledged that he wasn’t long for the game. Omarosa told the Big Time Rush star that he’d be safe this week if he dropped, and she swore on the Word of God.

That’s a heavy promise. James bought it, too.

Strategically, this apparently came down to Omarosa’s “big booty.” House guest words, not mine. Hey, maybe she is just in good shape, aside from that asthma thing.

Also, the first three to fall from their chairs against the wall were subject to Big Brother slop. This is slop’s first-ever appearance in Celebrity Big Brother — and its consumers are Metta World Peace, Ross Mathews and Mark McGrath.

Once Omarosa assumed her throne, the attention turned to the lone vote to save Shannon Elizabeth. That one vote came from Brandi Glanville, who admitted her transaction to outgoing HOH Ariadna Gutierrez. Her reasoning was that she knew Shannon was about to be evicted, and she didn’t want her to be ousted unanimously. Brandi felt sorry for her.

What’s so strange about this game is in developing opinions about celebrities. For example, Brandi’s sudden show of sympathy makes me like her. I just never imagined that I’d like a Real Housewife.

Metta, too. What a teddy bear of a guy. I thought he was supposed to be some kind of jerk. That’s what I was led to believe throughout his basketball career.

Omarosa starts using her HOH power to develop one-on-one deals with all the guys. Except Ross. He’s her target.

First, she approaches the Sugar Ray frontman and promises safety this week for his guarantee to her next week. She then talks to Metta but doesn’t get specific about any deal — I think — because there’s no real chance of him winning anything. Last but not least, Omarosa and James talk, leading the heartthrob to express his amazement that he’s working with the legendary reality villain.

With nominations looming, and with Omarosa targeting Ross, she and the former Tonight Show correspondent talked politics again.

Did you know that Omarosa not only worked in the Clinton administration, she worked in the Ready for Hillary pre-2016 campaign — that is, before the Donald asked her to join his team.

Omarosa then decided to do what she called opposition research and chat with Marissa Jaret Winokur and Gutierrez about who she should put up against Ross.

They both quickly sold out Brandi, which Omarosa saw as sketch. However, in the end, Omarosa went that direction and nominated Ross and Brandi, the former for his nomination of her earlier and the latter for her singular vote to save Shannon.

Brandi should never have revealed that. Incredibly stupid game move. Argh. Was pulling for you!

There are some hijinks with this week’s Power of Veto competition with America being allowed to trick it up. Here are our options:

Diamond veto: Veto winner can take themselves off the block and name the replacement.

VIP veto: Veto winner can use their veto twice in one ceremony, meaning that they could remove one nominee (themselves, e.g.) and then remove another after the replacement has been named.

Spotlight veto: Veto winner is obligated to use the POV.

You can vote up to 20 times until noon ET Monday. Live eviction happens on CBS Monday night.

My hunch is that if noms stay the same, the house guests will eventually keep Ross, which I think is a mistake. Alas, with these veto options out there, who knows.

My current Celebrity Big Brother rankings as of February 18. My pick is first. Kristi’s pick is second.

1. James / Ariadna

2. Omarosa / James

3. Ariadna / Omarosa

4. Marissa / Marissa

5. Mark / Mark

6. Ross / Ross

7. Metta / Brandi

8. Brandi / Metta

Beauty Queen Reigns Over Celebrity Big Brother House + Nominations


With Keisha Knight Pulliam headed home to feed her baby, frontrunner Shannon Elizabeth felt confident that her alliance would be able to send home Omarosa.

However, the rest of the house (with the exception of James Maslow) was gunning for the American Pie alum.

We’re in Day 9 of Celebrity Big Brother, and it already feels like we’ve been here for weeks. The drama has been as advertised, but the game play is only now starting to heat up.

And the HOH battle this week was crucial if anybody had sights on the ice queen, as Brandi Glanville calls Elizabeth.

The game was golf (putt putt with a giant fan to throw them off) and as the house guests took to the links, the hope was that anybody but Elizabeth or Maslow would win. The former was able to displace Glanville from the top of the leaderboard quickly.

And then house guest after house guest failed to keep up — until Ariadna Gutierrez bested Elizabeth by more than a minute on her quest to get three holes in one. It spawned a celebration that rightfully drew concern from the frontrunner.

McGrath threw the competition, and Maslow nearly knocked her out of the top spot. But in the end, the 2-second former Miss Universe won the third Head of Household competition and is the fourth HOH overall.

Immediately, Shannon suggests to James that they work to convince Ariadna that she should nominate Omarosa and Metta World Peace. However, Elizabeth is unable to get access to Gutierrez in her HOH because they brilliant place Metta in there as a buffer and a barrier.

Nobody wants Shannon to have access to Ariadna so that she could talk her into anything. Brandi, Ross Mathews and Marissa Jaret Winokur make sure of that.

And as expected, Ariadna puts up James and Shannon for eviction. Live Power of Veto and eviction happens Friday night on CBS.

We’ll see what comes of this power move, but props to the beauty queen. She’s showing some moxie.

If you’re digging the Big Brother posts, consider following this blog. I’ll be posting a ton this summer during BB 20.

Eviction shocker: Planned blindside goes awry as house guest pleads for compassion


Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of wackiness on Big Brother, but what I saw Monday night in the second Celebrity Big Brother eviction of the season was among the craziest.

Spoilers are ahead, so if you don’t want to know what happened Monday night, look away!


It went down quickly.

If you didn’t know already, HOH Ross Mathews (who won HOH in a game of Celebrity Bowlerina handed to him by James) nominated Keisha Knight Pulliam and Omarosa for eviction for their role in fracturing the big girls’ alliance in Week 1. Keisha and Omarosa were working together under the moniker, “BGM,” black girl magic and they were wanting to send James home straight away.

However, an argument between Omarosa and Shannon Elizabeth prompted the latter to campaign for a script flip that would eventually send home MMA legend Chuck Liddell. After Chuck’s eviction, we learn of a new Final Four alliance between James, Shannon, Ross and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

If you’re asking me, that’s a pretty good Final Four.

However, Ross gets it in his head that back-dooring the highly competitive and talented Shannon would be the big boy move heard around the world, and he would have been right! In a nighttime conversation under the blankets with Winokur, Ross and Marissa plotted. One half of this new Final Four alliance was on board.

Coincidentally, Ross was finding himself part of a few other alliances, including one with Ariadna and Brandi that seemed less serious and formidable than the Final Four with James, Shannon and Marissa. However, those side alliance conversations gave Ross the opportunity to float his idea of back-dooring Shannon.

Except Brandi Glanville spit out the idea first. Hands clean.

Brandi and Ariadna: welcome to the game!

Where’s Mark McGrath and Metta World Peace? Anybody home? Are they interested in playing? Metta was interested in playing to the camera for sure, as one clip showed him in the hot tub with a pair of rubber pink flamingos, between whom he staged a fight.

So much idle time in the Big Brother house.

To be fair to Mark though, Ross revealed the plan to back-door Shannon to the former Sugar Ray star, and he agreed like a total floater that it was an awesome idea. “Sure. Whatever. Sounds like a good plan. You’ve got my support!”

So, I was all prepared for an epic Power of Veto and a colossal Veto Ceremony.

The popcorn was ready.

The house guests selected to play for the Power of Veto played a game of “More, Exactly or Less,” where they’d see pictures and then be asked questions about quantities seen in the images. Were they more, exactly or less than what was there. Both Keisha and Omarosa were in the final three before Knight Pulliam missed her answer, leaving Omarosa and Marissa to duke it out for POV honors.

And Marissa won.

This was a live veto competition, so the caucusing started as soon as Marissa got her congratulatory hugs. Marissa was going to take Keisha off the block, and the Broadway start was letting her know.

But Keisha was crying.

“Don’t mess with me!” she could be heard to say. “You don’t know what I’ve been through!”

Keisha wanted to talk to Marissa alone but much of the rest of the group, including Ross, was right there nearby.

What we since learned is that new mother Keisha Knight Pulliam has been having troubles producing breast milk for her baby. She wanted to go home, and she was asking Marissa to promise her that if they were to keep her safe that they could work to make sure she could leave the Big Brother house by Friday.

As if she couldn’t just get up and walk out at any time. I know there are contractual obligations and such, but it’s not a jail.

Alas, Marissa and Ross couldn’t promise this because they couldn’t promise who’d be in power as of Wednesday. (Geez, this is a fast season.)

So, there we were with Keisha and Omarosa on the chopping block, and Julie Chen telling each house guest they had only a moment to tell their fellow house guests why they should vote to keep them.

And Keisha brought everybody to tears, asking for their collective compassion to send her home. Omarosa brought the TV audience a chuckle when she was like, “Yeah, what she said. Send Keisha home!”

Well, not exactly.

They voted to evict Keisha 7-0, which means Omarosa survives and that Ross can’t be HOH this next week. With Celebrity Big Brother only lasting three weeks total, weeks aren’t really weeks. They’re season-weeks.

Omarosa really needs to win HOH to have any shot of sticking around for much longer. She’ll likely get nominated next to a floater (McGrath, Metta, Ariadna or Brandi) next week.

Here’s to hoping it’s Omarosa vs. Brandi.

That would be some high-drama television as if tonight’s episode wasn’t dramatic enough.


Celebrity Big Brother U.S. Power Rankings & Week 2 Spoilers


My days as a Big Brother prognosticator might be over before they started. My pick to win it all in this first edition of Celebrity Big Brother U.S. has been eliminated.

We hardly knew ye, “Ironman” Chuck Liddell.

It’s hard to assess how players will play until you get to know them. Or get to see them. Publicly.

Who knew that Metta World Peace was such a softie, missing his wife and wanting to kiss her? Last I saw the man formerly known as Ron Artest, he was climbing into the stands after a Detroit Pistons fan threw something on him, in a fracas known as “Malice at the Palace.”

Who knew that Mark McGrath was so under-confident as a rock star? He seems star struck by the whole deal, and he hasn’t played hard all week.

Who knew that Shannon Elizabeth was such a competitive bad-ass? She won the first Head of Household, only to have it stripped away in the game’s first twist, the ‘Gift Bag’ twist. She then won the Power of Veto ceremony and largely controlled the formation of this season’s first alliance — the girls vs. the guys.

That always works out. </sarcasm>

But it was Chuck Liddell eliminated after the first three days of competition, 7-1, with Omarosa being the only houseguest who voted to keep the MMA legend. She did it largely on a two-person alliance she has with Keisha Knight Pulliam, a duo they call, “BGM,” or Black Girl Magic.

Methinks Shannon Elizabeth sensed this two-some at some point because she worked hard to get the house to flip from James Maslow to Chuck. Perhaps she didn’t sense that alliance as much as she was pissed at Omarosa, for shouting her down as she tried to explain her strategic thoughts in Keisha’s HOH room.

Omarosa told her, “All I’m hearing is ‘I, I, I'” and nothing that benefits the team. Fair enough, although this does come from Omarosa who is 98% “I, I, I” anyway. Maybe it takes one to know one?

I mentioned Keisha, who ended the week in power after opening her ‘gift bag’ as part of the first-week twist and immediately nominating James Maslow and the aforementioned Chuck Lidell. Keisha earned that honor after all the girls alliance took to the diary room (DR) upon seeing Lidell head that way.

Lidell figured that the girls-vs-guys situation was serious, and that it would take a big play to get momentum back for the guys. Little did he know that not one other guy would stand with him.

He went it alone. Like a madman. And it just made him a huge target.

I write that as if Lidell had any serious strategy about his gameplay. After his eviction, he noted that he never wanted to be on Big Brother as much as he wanted to be on “The Amazing Race.” However, I’ve got news for him: The Amazing Race is equally strategic, and I think he’d struggle.

Alas, the first week ended with Shannon a target for her competitive capability and James a target for his social play. Former Big Brother champions Ian, Derrick, Nicole and Josh joined Julie Chen on Friday for an analysis of the week that was, and they each had their thoughts for who might win. Josh said Ross Mathews was playing a nice social game by working both sides of the house — and I tend to agree.

Derrick and Nicole mentioned Marrisa Jaret Winokur’s understated style, which I don’t quite agree with yet.

And then there’s Ian, who said that the house had best get rid of James Maslow before he runs the table with them — and I totally agree. Like Dan before him and Evel Dick before that, it pays to get rid of the best players early, and it rarely happens like that. Who in that house really thought that Chuck was a bigger threat than James?

The logic instead was that James might be willing to align with a Shannon down the road, making a more formidable, smaller alliance than anything a gender-based group could muster. I suspect that will benefit somebody, and for Shannon’s sake, she should hope it’s her. A Shannon-James alliance would be extraordinarily tough to beat, and I might suggest adding Ross into that mix as well.

And now for a spoiler alert ahead of Sunday night’s show: Ross won HoH this next round. I hesitate to say week because, with 11 players, this game is going to be played quickly. Ross nominated Keisha and Omarosa, who had to leave the house briefly this weekend because of an asthma attack. By all accounts, she’s back in the house, however.

My power rankings are below:

1. James Maslow. How he survived the first eviction is beyond me, but he’s going to be tough to beat. He seems like the quintessential Big Brother player and reminds me of Paul a lot.

2. Shannon Elizabeth. Great at competitions, she just needs to chill it on the social side of things. I suspect her personality will be totally polarizing throughout the season.

3. Ross Mathews. He’s done a nice job of working both sides of the house.

4. Omarosa. She’s filled with drama, but she’s been understated in this first week. The claws haven’t come out fully, but when they do: it’s bad. Real bad. (“It’s bad,” of course referring to Omarosa’s comments to Ross about the Trump White House.)

5. Marissa Jaret Winokur. I would agree that she’s been under the radar, and she’s highly likable. Who wants to go after Marissa?

6. Keisha Knight Pulliam. She’s also a superfan of the show, and I think she also had a good week. A 1-2 punch of Omarosa and Rudy Huxtable might be tough to beat. Smaller alliances and especially duos do way better than bigger groups in this game.

7. Metta World Peace. He’s playing the “I don’t wanna be here” card, just like Josh did last year. Unlike last year, I think MWP isn’t joshing. (See what I did there?)

8. Brandi Glanville. She’s been catty, but it hasn’t been catty within the constructs of the game. I think she thinks this is “Real Houseguests of Los Angeles,” and she’s supposed to play the Queen B. I hate to admit it, but she’s totally entertaining in a “she’s a mess” sort of way. I rather enjoy it.

9. Ariadna Gutierrez. We’ve seen her in a baby suit with James Maslow, their punishment for coming in last in the first Power of Veto competition, but beyond that, she’s been milquetoast thus far. Don’t get a sense that she’s going to be around for long.

10. Mark McGrath. Came off as weak in the first few days, as if he were more interested in jock-sniffing than game play. It surprises me to be honest. I expected him to be a player, but then again: I picked Chuck Lidell to win it all. What do I know?

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