HomeWorld NewsThe Craziest ‘Big Brother’ Twists of All Time: Secret Pairs and Beyond
The Craziest ‘Big Brother’ Twists of All Time: Secret Pairs and Beyond
September 1, 2023
Although Big Brother follows a basic formula from year to year, fans know to expect the unexpected when it comes to production twists.
While some twists have jeopardized player’s games — see season 8’s “America’s Player,” Eric Stein — other houseguests have used the unforeseen circumstances to their advantage.
Jun Song, for example, pretended to hate her ex-boyfriend Jee Choe when he entered the house as part of the “X factor” twist during season 4. In actuality, the former couple had a secret side alliance for much of the competition and Jun went on to win the grand prize.
Keep scrolling to see the wildest twists in Big Brother history:
The Power of Veto
Once upon a time, the Power of Veto was not a core component of Big Brother, but a twist introduced during season 3 in 2002.
The twist — which allows the winner of the veto competition to save one nominee from the eviction block — has been used in every subsequent season and serves as a counter to the Head of Household’s power.
The Power of Veto gave season 5 houseguests Marvin Latimer and Nakomis Dedmon the ability to develop the Big Brother strategy known as the backdoor in 2004. That season, Jase Wirey became the first victim of the technique.
In a successful backdoor, the Head of Household nominates two pawns for eviction rather than their intended target. The HoH then arranges for the Power of Veto to be used on one of the pawns, thereby putting their target on the block without giving them a chance to compete for safety.
Eight houseguests initially entered the Big Brother house during season 4 in 2003. The contestants were then told five more houseguests would be joining the competition, all of whom were ex-lovers of the original eight.
The twist quickly turned explosive, with Scott Weintraub going on a furniture-throwing tirade shortly after his ex-girlfriend Amanda Craig moved into the house. Weintraub was expelled from the game as a result of his actions.
The X-Factor twist returned in season 8 when Joe Barber discovered that his ex-boyfriend, Dustin Erikstrup, was also playing the game, and again in season 9 when exes Sharon Obermueller and Jacob Heald were paired up to compete as “soulmates.”
Project DNA, comprised of Secret Siblings and the Twin Twist, was introduced during season 5.
For the Twin Twist, a pair of identical twins, Adria Klein and Natalie Carroll, both played as Adria, swapping places every few days unbeknownst to their fellow houseguests. The twins successfully made it to week five without the other contestants catching on, at which point they both entered the game as individuals. The twist returned during season 17 in 2015, when twins Liz Nolan and Julia Nolan placed second and sixth, respectively.
Project DNA, meanwhile, brought together estranged half-siblings Nakomis and Cowboy Ellis, who were unaware of each other’s existence before the show. Their connection was revealed during week two.
Summer of Secrets
During 2005’s season 6, each contestant had a secret partner in the game whom they knew prior to entering the house. The twist featured friends, couples, former coworkers, ex-roommates, neighborhoods and sorority sisters.
Initially, each secret pair thought they were the only duo with an outside connection. If both members of a twosome reached the final two, they received double the original prize money. The houseguests quickly figured out the twist and host Julie Chen Moonves confirmed it after the third live eviction.
The America’s Player twist was introduced during season 8 in 2007, with much of Eric’s game being controlled by viewers. At times, fan votes even influenced how Eric voted and who he targeted for eviction. While the twist was in many ways a disadvantage for Stein, he managed to finish in 5th place.
America’s Player returned during season 10 in 2008, with Dan Gheesling earning the title. However, unlike Eric, Dan was only America’s Player for one week, and he earned $20,000 for successfully passing all three of his missions, which included targeting Jessie Godderz and voting to evict him.
Big Brother alums Dan, Mike “Boogie” Malin, Janelle Pierzina and Brittany Haynes all returned for season 14 in 2012 for the Coaches twist. Each of the four coached a group of new players and were told they’d win $100,000 if one of their players won the game. However, during week 3, the coaches were given an opportunity to play as individuals. Every coach except Mike took the offer, and all four coaches then entered the game.
During the season, Dan — who made it to the final two with season winner Ian Terry — executed one of the most iconic strategic moves in Big Brother history, known as Dan’s Funeral. After pretending to accept his own demise and making the house think he was on the outs with his No. 1 ally, Danielle Murphree, Dan convinced his former rival Frank Eudy to keep him in the game.
Battle of the Block
Introduced during season 16 in 2014, the Battle of the Block crowned two Head of Households each week for the first several weeks of the game. The HoHs each nominated two houseguests for eviction, and the nominated pairs then battled against each other to win safety and dethrone the HoH that nominated them. Frankie Grande notably won a BotB competition alone after his partner, Caleb Reynolds, learned he’d betrayed their alliance and refused to participate.
BotB, which returned during season 17, was controversial amid the Big Brother fan base, with some viewers feeling that the twist allowed for large alliances to maintain power from week to week, making for predictable and boring gameplay.
During season 24 in 2022, the cast was divided into a split house for the double eviction. The two groups played an entire week of the game completely cut off from each other, with five players inside the house at “BroChella” and five players in the backyard at “Dyre Fest.”
The twist led to Joseph Abdin’s demise as he was separated from several of his Leftovers alliance members. Leftovers member Kyle Capener used the Split House twist to out the alliance to his showmance partner, Alyssa Snider, and the Dyre Fest HoH, Terrance Higgins. The Dyre Fest group then targeted Joseph and he was evicted, which came as a shock to the other side of the house when the twist ended.
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The Power of Invincibility
Season 25 of Big Brother introduced the Power of Invincibility twist, which allowed fans to select four houseguests to compete for the Power of Invincibility. The winner of the challenge could then use the ability to save another contestant from elimination.
In an August 2023 episode, Matt Klotz, Cirie Fields, Cory Wurtenberger and Jag Bains battled in a secret competition to take home the power. At the time, Jag was on the block against his ally Blue Kim. Matt ended up taking home the victory and anonymously used the power to save Jag. Given that no contestant went home, Klotz’s move essentially reset the entire week and all the houseguests could compete in the next Head of Household competition.