It’s time for another season of Big Brother. After a surprisingly long wait for this season’s cast of new houseguests, we finally have sixteen fresh faces. After last season’s history-making performance by the Cookout, the cast this season is no less diverse but seemed more balanced. We saw how well a diverse cast can turn out when everyone is here to play on this season of Survivor. Now we have a full summer of action ahead of us, and sixteen contestants looking to prove this new era of Big Brother will be a trade-up from the dark ages that ended with BB All-Stars.
Below, Steve and Ray break down the sixteen new contestants and make our preliminary winner picks!
Alyssa Snider, 24, Marketing Rep from Sarasota, Florida
Ray: Blonde, bubbly, and looking to meet people and make friends, she doesn’t seem like much of a player. She hates obnoxious players and says she’s likely to go with the house. That should get her far, but it’s not a winning strategy and she’s more likely to come out of this with a boyfriend than a check.
Steve: You hate to stereotype, but she practically begs for it. She won’t be a target early because she is nice and pretty. She will float for a while and then be picked off.
Ameerah Jones, 31, Content Designer from Westminster, Maryland
Ray: She talks about valuing loyalty and not wanting to work with floaters or two-timers, but she does seem to be keyed into the game and knows she’s playing an individual game. She describes herself as “authentic”, which could come across as a bit brash, but I get a good overall first impression off her.
Steve: I get good vibes from her early. I love that she, without hesitation, said she would take the easy win, not the loyalty. Of course, that could change as the game goes, but moving into the game, she has her mind in the right place.
Brittany Hoopes, 32, Hypnotherapist from Austin, Texas
Ray: Ohhhhhhhh boy. Her entire bio is talking about big plans for fooling everyone in the house, and then she says she wants to get out everyone who is strong and smart…and work with who, exactly? She plans to play the “Wacky quirky girl” early on, but I see her getting caught in lies quickly and ushered right out the door to watch the season from home.
Steve: Yeah, this plan is definitely concerning. Being silly and quirky is a great game plan early, but her ideas of getting out smart and strong will put her at odds with the best players in the game. I see an end to her game somewhere around weeks four or five.
Daniel Durston, 35, Vegas Performer from Las Vegas, Nevada
Ray: An eccentric theater actor with a big personality and muscles to match, Daniel might be a target right out of the gate. However, he actually seems to be a superfan – citing Big Brother Canada winners as his game idols. He seems to have a good sense of humor, but he might be too big a personality early on. If he can rein in his game early on, there’s a good chance people will think he’s just a goofball jock and pull him into their alliance – and he just may surprise them.
Steve: I think Daniel is smart. Most of the players have only seen recent game play, season 16 seems to be the starting point for most. Daniel cited Dan as one of his favorites and Dan is one of the GOATs. He has a great personality and seemingly good knowledge; he will go far.
Indy Santos, 31, Corporate Flight Attendant from Los Angeles, California
Ray: It’s rare to see immigrants on Big Brother, and this Brazilian-born flight attendant only gives short answers. She seems to be religious, dislikes lazy people, and wants to work with the house. It’s hard to gauge given how little she shared, but I’m not sure she understands the game very well. That might keep her in the game as a vote early on, but I don’t have high hopes for her strategic prowess.
Steve: If religion comes into the equation during conversations in the house, she could be in trouble. When it comes to social topics, religion is a dirty word- it could put her at odds with the other players. I agree with Ray, her strategic prowess will be lacking.
Jasmine Davis, 29, Entrepreneur from Atlanta, Georgia
Ray: Like Brittany, she talks about wanting to get out the strong and partner with the underdogs. Unlike her, though she seems to be a savvier player. Her answers are fairly short, but I can see her being better able to lay low and surprise everyone when she wins a mental HOH later in the game.
Steve: Partnering with underdogs usually leads to being a bunch of fish in a barrel as the strong players pick off the weak. Brittany will need to be careful not to draw a line too deep. She certainly doesn’t give me strong comp beast vibes.
Joe “Pooch” Pucciarelli, 24, Assistant Football Coach from Boca Raton, Florida (by way of Staten Island)
Ray: There’s really no middle ground here – “The Pooch” is either going to flame out early or be an absolute gift to Big Brother. His answers are surprisingly savvy, and it sounds like he intends to play up the “friendly Guido” character type to put people at ease. If he can avoid being targeted as a young jock the first few weeks, I could see him getting into a solid guys’ alliance and taking it all the way to the end.
Steve: The Pooch is “Meow Meow 2.0.” I do like his chances as a player the others will gravitate to. If his personality doesn’t become “too much,” he should do well. He’s an early favorite for me. I was a football coach as well, so I’m pulling for the Pooch.
Kyle Capener, 29, Unemployed from Bountiful, Utah
Ray: Kyle seems smooth – a little too smooth by half. He apparently has a bit of a controversial social media personality, and I could see him clashing with some of the more diverse and progressive houseguests. His best bet is to lay back, play the charming blond guy early, and wait for an opportunity – but I don’t know if his personality would let him. He claims to not like conflict, but it may find him.
Steve: Kyle is apparently a hard-core Trumper. Of course, ideological conflicts could arise during the game, but if he plays it cool, no one in the house will know. We will see how close he can keep those cards to his vest. If he can, his personality will win a lot of guests over and he will do well. However, we all know there will be a verbal altercation at some point and I can’t wait.
Joseph Abdin, 24, Attorney from Lake Worth, Florida
Ray: This dude was literally air-dropped in after Marvin was dropped from the cast due to contract issues with America’s Got Talent, so my first impression of him is…I know nothing about him! He seems athletic and should be a hit with the ladies, but does he have any game skills? We’ll see.
Steve: What Ray said.
Matt Turner, 23, Thrift Store Owner from New Bedford, Massachusetts
Ray: An offbeat small businessman who claims to be a challenge beast but seems to be going for more of an eccentric vibe, he sounds a lot like past wild-card players like Zach or even Dr. Will. Does that mean success? Not necessarily – it’s very easy to get caught in a lie and see your game spiral. But he’s one of the players who most seems to be coming into this with a strategy, and if he can avoid early pitfalls, he’ll be a contender.
Steve: Matt had me at mullet! Seriously, that things is sweet. He has a self-proclaimed comp game, an initial plan and a great personality. He should do well and make it past the half way point for sure.
Michael Bruner, 28, Attorney from Rochester, Minnesota
Ray: Michael has the bad luck of playing this game right after the all-timer performance from Kevin in the last season of Big Brother Canada – meaning any nerdy, unassuming guys will likely be target #1 right away. He seems plugged into the game and could easily be a key member of an alliance – if he gets the chance. He probably needs to win an HOH early, play it very well, and use the week to build an alliance to have a shot.
Steve: Yes, Ray, he needs to be the “anti Frenchie.” Play reserved and build alliances early. Don’t raise eyebrows running around the game trying to connect with everyone. If he can tone it down, he will be fine.
Monte Taylor, 27, Personal Trainer from Bear, Delaware
Ray: After seeing how thoroughly Kyland and Xavier dominated last season’s challenges, I think being an African-American male in good shape in this game will likely make you draft pick #1 in any alliances. Monte isn’t quite as big as Marvin, seems to have a charming and unassuming personality, and wants to stay positive and build an alliance. He seems to have the most well-rounded profile of everyone here in an alliance.
Steve: While I agree with Ray about his well-rounded game, I get some serious reservations about his ability to remain consistent. He waffled about who he would take to the finals if he were in that position. If a player is already wishy-washy before entering the game, that’s a bad sign.
Nicole Layog, 41, Private Chef from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Ray: Being one of the older contestants in the game is always tricky, and the best way to avoid being a target early is to be a number. Nicole…is not the type to lay low. She boasts she’s a fierce competitor, wants to get out all the floaters, and doesn’t know anything people would dislike about her. I can see her getting into conflict early and being one of the first out the door.
Steve: Nicole seems to have a strong, personality and a lot of confidence. In real life, this is affirming, but in the house can be seen as a threat. I think she will rub folks the wrong way early. She isn’t going to tell anyone she was a police officer, but her actions may tell them all they need to know. I hope she can reign it in for her sake and embrace her inner Derrick.
Paloma Aguilar, 22, Interior Designer from San Marcos, California
Ray: As one of the youngest contestants this season, Paloma could easily fall into the “ditzy girl” stereotype, but she actually seems really self-aware of both her strengths and weaknesses. I think she’ll lay low early, flirt if she needs to, and get into alliances as needed before possibly turning it on later in the game. She could be a dark horse if the chips fall her way.
Steve: Paloma seems like female player who connects to the strong jocks early. It’s actually smart because those players usually go far and then have to make moves late. She seems really bright, so who knows.
Taylor Hale, 27, Personal Stylist from West Bloomfield, Michigan
Ray: As someone who comes from the pageant world, Taylor knows how to put on a show. She gives probably the most detailed and strategic answers of anyone in the game, and knows what kind of Big Brother player she wants to be. She reminds me a lot of Tiffany from last season – and I think she has the same pitfalls. She’s probably going to make it far if she builds her alliance well, but unless she can win out she might get sniped towards the end.
Steve: I really like her answers. She is very thoughtful and was very clear that she is taking “no risks.” She should be solid and consistent, making good choices for her game.
Terrence Higgins, 47, Bus Operator from Chicago, Illinois
Ray: Like I said, being 40-plus in this game paints a big target on your back. You need to play flawlessly those first few weeks to avoid being a marked man. Fortunately, Terrence seems like the type of guy who would be everyone’s friend while not being seen as a threat. He seems more Cliff Hogg than Steve Arienta, and if he makes it to jury, he’s likely to go deep.
Steve: As an old guy, I don’t like that the show typically puts one old guy in the show every year. Typically, they get picked off early. Evil Dick was just simply too cool:) I like Terence and think he could play the game well. However, he will likely struggle in the comps and always be at risk. Early to mid exit for Terrance.
Ray – Monte Taylor, Paloma Aguilar
Steve- Daniel Durston, the Pooch