Julie Chen is already making her prediction for the winner of Big Brother 20.
“I’m gonna say Tyler,” the host tells ET, choosing 23-year-old lifeguard Tyler Crispen as her “one to watch” this season. Tyler, of course, was season 20’s first “Head of Household.”
“He's been playing the game, and he's been playing it well, and he has no enemies,” Julie notes, adding the fact that Tyler's HOH reign lasted a whopping 13 days shouldn’t have much impact on his game moving forward.
“He's likable, he's believable, he's playing all sides of the house, but not in this unlikable, slimy way,” she says. “He's doing it in a smart way … he also has side, like, final two deals with, like, four people? And I think only one of the people are in the Level 6 alliance! So, he has his bases covered, and no one was bent out of shape because of his HOH nominations, and he didn't have to nominate another person, because Power of Veto was not used.”
“He's keeping his lies straight,” The Talk co-host continues. “He's a lot smarter -- you know, when he first moved in, I was like, oh, he's Sean Penn's character, Spicoli, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But that's not the case at all, and I think, outside of the house, he strikes me as someone who's a good person. Anyone who wants to save the oceans cannot be a bad guy.”
Right behind Tyler, for Julie, is Sam Bledsoe, the 27-year-old welder from Stuarts Draft, Virginia, who has played most of her time in the Big Brother house as a robot, thanks to a punishment resulting from her placing last in the very first competition this summer.
“She's been holding her own, and she hasn't even been in the house as herself!” Julie points out. “Now, we know she's good at competitions. This woman is a welder, she's fearless. She's not too precious to get in there. She's a fighter, so she's definitely one to watch.”
“She was so good in the competition [that aired Wednesday], the Power of Veto,” she adds. “Snakes, no problem. Freezing cold water, one-handed, nose-plug swim? She was great, and the girls were like, 'She's a beast.' So, on the one hand you're like, ‘Oh! I respect that. Now do I want to target her for it, or do I want to get in an alliance?’ We shall see. She's certainly likable.”
Kaycee Clark also received a punishment, but hers didn’t physically remove her from the house. Still, Julie says it all evens out when you think about the competitions that landed them in their respective places. Kaycee’s comp, searching for folders in pitch-black, surrounded by a mysterious goo, was more of a game of chance, whereas Sam’s spelling competition was skill-based.
“She had more control over her fate,” Julie says. “But you know what? Her punishment, there was a silver lining there. If she wasn't a robot for half the time in the house, I'm not so sure she would've been the most trending houseguest. Because most trending isn't about most popular, and least trending isn't about most disliked. Everyone was buzzing about her because she got saddled with that.”
Thanks to her “most trending status,” Sam earned a “power app” from the BB App Store. She chose the “Bonus Life” app, which gives her the chance to return to the game should she be eliminated on Thursday night’s live show.
“That means, if [Thursday], the majority of the house vote to evict her, she will have to immediately stand up and announce that she is the one who was trending the most and shows something called 'Bonus Life,'” Julie explains. “What that means [is] ... she has to successfully compete -- not against another person, 'cause there's no one else to get back in -- she has to complete a challenge during the live show, something I will present her with, and if she can complete that challenge and win the game I present to her, then she goes back downstairs and rejoins everybody and nobody goes home.”
Sam has the first three weeks to use her power herself, or bestow it upon another houseguest, or else it winds up with the houseguest eliminated in week four.
Thursday will also mark Sam’s last day having to play as a robot, which means Julie can finally reveal the secret behind the twist: Where does human Sam go when “Robot Sam” enters the house?
“She is in a little room across from the soundstage [where the Big Brother house was built], isolated by herself,” Julie shares. “And then, when she sleeps at night, she is off-campus … somewhere else, by herself. By the way, it's probably a vacation.”
“It also takes a target off her back,” she says. “She's not in there long enough to fight with someone or really annoy someone.”
Big Brother 20’s first potential elimination airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, with episodes airing weekly on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.