'Big Brother' Season 23: History Is Made as a New Champion Is Crowned in Dramatic Finale
By Zach Seemayer
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*Caution: Spoiler Alert!
Big Brother has its first ever Black champion, after a groundbreaking season and a dramatic finale. After three months of competition, a new winner was crowned on Wednesday.
Going into Wednesday's special two-hour competition, it was down to the final three: Azah Awasum, Derek Frazier, Xavier Prather.
So, who won the big $750,000 prize? Scroll down for the big reveal. Otherwise, here's how everything played out during Wednesday's big finale!
After Xavier won the first Head of Household competition during the week, it meant he had secured a spot in the all-important third Head of Household comp. So, as Wednesday's finale began, the second HoH comp pitted Derek and Azah against one another for the second and final spot in the third competition.
The second challenge saw the two houseguests answering trivia questions about housgeuests using their bodies to rotate wheels featuring the houseguests' faces and lining them up in the correct order in the fastest time. It was one of the show's traditional impossible-to-describe games, that proved to be more difficult than either Azah or Derek anticipated.
For Derek and Xavier's final two pact to be guaranteed, Derek needed to win, because it would block Azah from making it to the final HoH comp. For Azah, winning was the only chance she likely had to stay in the game at all. So, mustering her best effort -- and possibly banking on Derek's track record of not doing great in challenges -- Azah managed to secure an easy win, beating Derek's time by nearly seven full minutes.
This meant that Xavier and Azah would be going head-to-head in the third comp, and the winner of that match-up would have the power to choose who went to the final two and who exited the house as the second runner-up.
While Azah and Derek had been incredibly close throughout the season, tensions began to run high with only the three of them left, and Derek's aggressive and confrontational attitude in the final stretch of the season started to rub Azah the wrong way.
She tearfully revealed to Xavier that, if she won, she would seriously consider taking him instead of Derek to the final two -- news that was music to Xavier's ears. However, it was evident that Azah felt conflicted, as she still cared for Derek as a friend and was terrified of what would happen to their relationship outside of the Big Brother house if she kicked him out.
Before those concerns could be full addressed, it was time for the third HoH competition. Xavier and Azah went head-to-head in another trivia/memory challenge. It was essentially eight rounds of two truths and a lie, with each round based on a member of the jury from their time in the house.
Xavier got the first question right, while Azah got it wrong, giving him a one point lead. From there on, both of them played a perfect game, but Azah could never get the lead back, and Xavier won 8 to 7.
The live episode quickly moved to the eviction, where both Derek and Azah made their cases to Xavier for why they should be brought to the final two with him. However, ultimately, Xavier had made his decision long ago.
"I love you both as people and in this game, you guys have both been extremely loyal and true to me, and I am eternally grateful for that," Xavier shared. "Big D, we came through those doors together, and I think it's only fair that we walk out them together. So, unfortunately, Azah, I have to vote to evict you."
While she was disappointed in the outcome, Azah understood and respected the decision and embraced both her fellow housguests before stepping out for her sit-down exit interview with host Julie Chen.
"I am sad. I'm sad. I got tripped up on that first question, and I knew it. And I feel like that is what cost me," Azah said of the final HoH comp outcome. "I knew what I signed up for. I knew I was coming into a final three where a final two had been made, and the only way I would get to those final two chairs was by me working myself. But I know I've put my entire best foot forward in this game. I did every single thing that I could, so I don't regret anything."
When asked who she would have brought to the final two with her had she won, Azah admitted, "This might have been something that everyone would have been upset at, but I would have taken Xavier."
"I admire the game that he played," she explained. "I knew that taking Big D, I had more friends in jury, and I had a big chance of winning. But I'm not a money-motivated person. And I had to think, in my heart, whom I felt was a great representative, a great winner that could represent the first African American person of color. So, I did not think he deserved third, which is why I felt in my heart that it would be best for me to bring him in, were I to win."
Azah then joined the jury, who were assembled in studio, and the final two houseguests sat down to answer questions from the jury.
The first question out of the gate came from Kyland Young -- who had a high-tension blow-up with Xavier when he was evicted last week, and Kyland made pointed, insulting remarks involving Xavier's young nephew that almost led to an altercation.
As a member of the jury, Kyland asked Xavier what he thinks are "the most important factors we should consider as we look to crown the first Black winner?"
Xavier said it's important to consider "someone who didn't make things personal as they played this game," in what felt like a professional yet pointed jab at Kyland's contentious comments.
After all the questions were asked, both Derek and Xavier made their final pleas, and both houseguests admitted they couldn't possibly say anything bad about one another. It was then time for the jury to cast their votes.
So Who Won Big Brother Season 23?
The new Big Brother winner is...
... Xavier Prather!
Julie read out five votes, and all of them were for Xavier, securing him the $750,000 grand prize, and bringing him to tears. Ultimately, the final vote was 9-0 in Xavier's favor.
Derek was gracious as the runner-up -- with his own $75,000 prize to help ease the pain -- and the pair shared a big embraced before they exited the house and reunited with their former houseguests.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that Tiffany Mitchell was voted "America's Favorite Houseguest," thus securing a $50,000 grand prize of her own.
Congrats to Xavier Prather, the historic new champion of Big Brother!