EXCLUSIVE: Julie Chen on Where 'Big Brother' 18 Goes After 'Battle Back' -- Who Will Win and Who's in Trouble
By Brice Sander
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Julie Chen already has her eyes on a Big Brother champ for season 18.
"I would say, right now, Paulie [Calafiore] is winning," the host tells ET. "In the beginning, he wasn't in any alliance, just doing his own thing. Now, he's won competitions, he's calling a lot of shots. I think he's playing a much better game than his brother Cody did [in season 16]."
"He has the brains," Julie adds. "He has the brawn, he's good at competitions, and he has the friends."
Still, The Talk co-host says fans shouldn't count out the king of "friendship," Paul Abrahamian.
"He really has reinvented himself in the house," Julie admits. "Paul is smart. He played it a little too heavy-handed in the beginning, a little bit too loud. He's learning how to get along with everybody, which is so important if you want to win Big Brother. You can't win this game easily with a lot of enemies."
Victor Arroyo's return to the house might complicate things for Paul, though. The 25-year-old won the "Battle Back" competition, returning to the house this week after being evicted on day 23.
At the least, he’s seemingly safe this week. Frank Eudy and Bridgette Dunning are the ones up for eviction.
"I think Frank better get a paddle," Julie jokes. "He went from being a very large personality in a leadership-type role to having a bullseye on his back. That is something we have to keep our eye on."
Julie adds that Bridgette is playing her game "a little too loyal to Frank."
"If he's gone, she's going to have to reinvent herself and get some friends," Julie says.
So, this week might see the end of Frank's game -- and Julie seems to think the other Big Brother veterans might follow soon after him. She says Da'Vonne Rogers, Nicole Franzel and James Huling aren't playing smart games.
Julie points out that Da'Vonne, who was sent home in week two last summer, is talking too much and not necessarily staying loyal. As for season 16's Nicole, Julie dubs her a "blabbermouth," and says her lies are going to catch up with her. James might last the longest, but Julie isn't sure his head is fully in the game.
"Having James as [Head of Household], that's new this season," Julie observes. "He's not the most competitive guy. He's an easy going guy who probably doesn't care if he wins or loses the game. He just wants, I think, a summer vacation."
And while she's pegged Paulie to win, Julie admits she would like to see a girl pull ahead. Michelle Meyer, Zakiyah Everette and Natalie Negrotti are all "floating" and need to step it up.
"The jury frowns upon people who float on to the end and don't earn it," Julie notes.
Big Brother airs Sundays and Wednesdays on CBS at 8 p.m. ET, and goes live on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET. For more on Julie's thoughts on the season so far, check out the video below.