After what has felt like an endless and frustrating season, Big Brother 21 is coming to a close on Wednesday. The Final 3 were determined in Thursday's episode, which saw Jackson decide to use the Power of Veto on himself, thus putting Cliff on the block next to Holly. As anyone could have predicted, Cliff's last-minute campaign to convince Jackson to choose Cliff over his girlfriend failed and Cliff was evicted.
That means Jackson, Holly, and Nicole will now face off in the final HOH of the season, where they will go head-to-head in three rounds of comps. This HOH, the first part of which will air during Sunday's episode, will determine who will secure their spot in the finale and get to decide which of the other two houseguests they want to bring with them to the Final 2.
So who will win Big Brother 21? And who should win? We break it all down below.
Holly was not a top choice to win this season of Big Brother, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have a case. For almost the entire season, Holly has been in a position of power and she's rarely been anyone's top target for eviction. Holly won two HOHs and could have likely pulled out a third had she not thrown it to Nicole in order to make good on their deal. This still puts her behind both Jackson and Nicole when it comes to comp wins, but it does give her something with which to gain favor with the jury.
As for Holly's social game, we have to admit we're impressed at the way that she's been able to maintain so many positive relationships with people in the house, all while aligned with Jackson, who has been a polarizing figure, to say the least. Probably the biggest obstacle Holly will have to overcome if she makes it to the Final 2 is any accusations that she was merely a supporting player in Jackson's game and didn't get to where she is fully on her own merit. But if she's able to point out all the ways that she helped Jackson get this far (Holly helped stabilize Jackson to avoid blowups that could have resulted in him getting the boot several times) Holly could have what it takes to win.
Should Holly win? If she's up against Jackson, yes. Jackson winning BB21 would be the most unsavory way to end an already tough season to get through. And it's not like Holly floated her way to the top like a Victoria. However, if Holly is up against Nicole, of course not.
Will Holly win? Maybe. Jackson pissed off a lot of people during his time in the Big Brother house and his decision to spread lies about Tommy in order to secure Holly's spot in the Final 4 won't win him any votes. (Nor will Holly's decision to not call Jackson out on lying.) If Holly is up against Jackson, there's a good chance the jury votes will swing her way. If Holly is up against Nicole, though, we're pretty sure we'll see the outsider take the win on finale night.
Jackson is a comp beast; there's just no denying that. But Big Brother is about a lot more than just winning competitions, and Jackson's played a game that was dirty and downright malicious. By the end of the season, the majority of the people in the house saw Jackson for what he was and how low he was willing to stoop. Jury management was never on Jackson's mind and this will likely come back to bite him in the finale — something he had seemingly never considered before Cliff explained that neither himself or Nicole would be votes for Jackson after his betrayal.
On top of all this, Jackson's time in the Big Brother house was rife with controversy, as he faced accusations of making violent and racist comments toward fellow houseguests, was accused of bullying Nicole during Week 3, cheated while being a Have Not during Week 4, and may have gotten an unfair advantage during the Power of Veto competition that secured his spot in the Final 3 (and enabled him to evict Cliff over Holly).
Should Jackson win? Absolutely not.
Will Jackson win? Unlikely. Jackson has the strongest case of winning if he is up against Holly. Seeing has Jackson would likely bring Holly to the Final 2 and Holly would likely bring Jackson, that does help his overall chances of winning. However, even up against Holly we still can't see Cliff, Nicole, Jessica, Tommy, Kat, or Christie ever voting for Jackson, which means he'd have to make quite the case and win some of these people over if he wants enough votes to gain victory. Here's hoping that doesn't happen.
Nicole's biggest mistake this entire season was actually Cliff's. When Nicole put her trust in Cliff over everything her gut was telling her about why they should keep Tommy over Holly, she unwittingly placed the biggest obstacle she has faced yet in the way of her own victory. Having listened to Cliff, who bone-headingly believed that Jackson would be loyal to him and Nicole over Holly, Nicole set the wheels in motion that resulted in her now having to face off against a showmance in the Final 3. Unless Nicole wins the final HOH, her fate is all but sealed.
This is devastating for fans of the show, who have rallied behind Nicole all season. And with Nicole having won several key competitions toward the end of the season (including during the double eviction), she would have a strong argument to make about her skills as a competitor. Nicole also played the best social game of the Final 3 and has consistently managed to adapt to the ever-evolving (and always tumultuous) social landscape this summer. Despite being one of the outsiders, Nicole's impact on the game this season was undeniable, as she was the deciding vote in multiple evictions. Even before Nicole began winning comps, she was able to maneuver her way to the top without ever putting too big of a target on her back.
Nicole could also take her biggest bungle this season (keeping Jackson over Tommy) and turn it into a case for how she ultimately got here by playing a loyal and honest game until the very end, despite the risks involved with honoring her and Cliff's Final 4 deal with Jackson and Holly.
Should Nicole win? Yes. There's no doubt that Nicole is the most deserving to win this season and we'll be rooting for her every step of the way.
Will Nicole win? If she's up against Jackson, most likely. If she's up against Holly, it will likely be a closer race, with Kat, Analyse, and Nick being the main swing votes. We can definitely see a few of those jury members (particularly Kat, who was aligned with both Nicole and Holly) ultimately voting in favor of Nicole. So here's praying that Nicole manages to win the Final HOH and gives the jury the chance to rally behind her the way fans have from the very beginning.
The Big Brother 21 finale airs Wednesday at 9:30/8:30c on CBS.
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