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Joslyn’s Top-10 US “Big Brother” Players of All-Time

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bowling Green chapter.

As Julie Chen would say, welcome back houseguests! In honor of being in the middle of Big Brother (BB) US season 25, I thought I would take a deep dive into my top 10 favorite houseguests of all time. My parents are long-time Big Brother fans and finally introduced me to the series when I was in the fourth grade. We were always debating who the best players were and who we thought would win each season. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked, going as far as introducing my boyfriend to the series now that it streams on Paramount+. As we rewatch old seasons, I’ve rediscovered my favorite players. Although not all of my favorites were competition beasts nor had the best gameplay, I still believe they were entertaining in their own ways. Some even felt like they were made for television.

*Spoilers ahead!

10. Zach rance

Zach Rance inside the BB16 house

Zach was a contestant on season 16 of Big Brother. He finished 9th and was a member of the jury. He was in the top three for fan-favorite running of his season, however, he lost to Donny Thompson (also on this list). During the season, he won one Head of Household (HOH) competition and was dethroned due to the season’s twist of Battle of the Block (BOTB) starting with two HOHs per week. The best thing Zach got out of being on the show was a German vacation. I enjoyed Zach being on the show because he was very entertaining: he always wore a pink ballcap that was taken from fellow houseguest, Victoria Rafaeli, and became his trademark. He portrayed zany behavior, was very blunt and outspoken, and overall felt like he was made to be on television. My top two favorite memories of him were when he called fellow houseguest, Nicole Franzel, a “froot loop dingus” and after he got evicted from the house and proceeded to toss nuts at everyone. 

9. James Huling

James Huling with Zingbot on the set of The Price is Right, 2016

James starred in seasons 17 and 18 of Big Brother. Alongside competing in two seasons of Big Brother, James also appeared on the Big Brother episode of The Price is Right. Both times James competed on BB was a jury member, in season 17 he finished 7th, and in season 18 he finished 3rd. In his overall competition scores, he won 3 HOHs, two power of vetoes (pov), and two BOTBs; which was a season 17 twist. He was season 17’s fan favorite winning him $25,000 and in season 18 he won $5,000.25. James is one of eight US houseguests to be in the house for 78 days before ever getting nominated which is very cool BB history. James was entertaining during his time on the show, he was a very big prankster that scared his fellow houseguests. One of my favorite pranks performed was when he tin-foiled another housemate’s bed in retaliation for her writing “STILL H8 U!” in candy under his covers. He was an awesome television personality with a good social game, and you could tell he really enjoyed being on the show. 

8. Caleb reynolds

Caleb Reynolds holding his key to the BB16 house

Caleb, also known as “Beast Mode Cowboy”, was on season 16 of Big Brother. He placed 4th and was a member of the jury. During the season, he won four HOH and two BOTB competitions. One BOTB competition he purposely threw because he wanted his teammate, Frankie Grade, to stay on the block and go home. He won two valuable prizes; meeting the Dallas Cowboys NFL team and $5,000. As his nickname states, he was a beast at competitions. If he didn’t win the competition, he was close to winning, especially the physical ones. He is one of eight US contestants to win four HOH competitions in a single season. On the show, he was strong-willed, helped start his alliance which was a good gameplay move, and would tell very absurd stories from back home. My favorite absurd story of his was, “I was supposed to record a country album, but decided not to”.  

7. Donny thompson

Donny Thompson being interviewed in the backyard by former houseguest, Jeff Schroeder, after the season 16 finale

Donny was on season 16 of BB. He was a jury member after finishing in 8th place. During the season, he won one HOH, three POVs, and two BOTBs. After, he was voted the fan favorite houseguest, winning him $25,000. Donny was a loveable older man, he was very sweet and sincere, a guy you just want to root for as he is an underdog. Everyone knew he was just happy to be a part of the show and make friends with the younger houseguests. This made him have an awesome social game. For being the oldest houseguest in his season, he did great as a competitor and was kind of a beast.  

6. John McGuire

John McGuire while inside of the BB 17 house

John McGuire, also known as Johnny Mac, was on season 17 of Big Brother. Johnny Mac finished 4th place during his season and was a member of the jury. He won four POVS and one BOTB. Although Johnny Mac didn’t have the best gameplay, he had a great social game. His diary room confessionals were some of the funniest I’ve ever watched. He was extremely entertaining and animated with how he conveyed his emotions and expressions. You can tell he was enjoying his time in the house. 

5. George boswell

George Boswell with fellow housemates, Will Kirby and Howie Gordon in the BB7 backyard

George Boswell, more known as “Chicken George”, was on seasons 1 and 7 “All-Stars”. In season one, George didn’t have many competitions, instead he did “Weeklong Challenges” to win rewards for the house as a team. Chicken George finished 5th overall in season one and was deemed “banished”, though he was only nominated twice in this season. Hence his nickname, they had a chicken coop in the backyard where George would spend most of his time taking care of and talking to the chickens. George later came back for the first “All-Stars” season of Big Brother, season 7, and he once again finished 5th place, however, he was a part of the jury this time. Competitive challenges were added to this season and George won one HOH and one POV. George had a great social game, making friends with a lot of the houseguests and staying on their good sides, especially in season 7. He was so entertaining, kept the game light-hearted, and was very enthusiastic about wanting to be in the house. This made him a hard housemate to vote out as shown in season 7.   

4. Derrick Levasseur

Derrick Levasseur chatting with host Julie Chen during season 20

Derrick was an absolute mastermind in season 16. This being said he won the season easily. He won four HOH competitions and was a leader in his alliances. His main alliance was with Cody Calafiore who was the runner-up this season. In his season, Derrick was never nominated for eviction and is ultimately one of eight contestants in the US to be in the house for 78 days without being put on the block. Outside of the house, Derrick is a police officer, and he put what he does in his career into his gameplay which makes it excellent. He could tell when he was being lied to and manipulated, as well as manipulate and strategize better than his housemates. Derrick has also come back to talk with the show host, Julie Chen, multiple times.

3. Dan gheesling

Dan Gheesling during inside the BB14 house giving his funeral speech

One of the most debated “Best Big Brother Players of All-Time”. Dan starred in seasons 10 and 14 of Big Brother. He finished as the winner of BB10 and runner-up in BB14. During his time in the BB house, Dan won a total of four HOH and three POV competitions. Dan received several firsts in BB US history; he played a “perfect game” in season 10 as he never received any votes for eviction and had a unanimous jury as well as making finals in both seasons he appeared on. He was also a successful “America’s player” during his time in the house in season 10. One of Dan’s most entertaining moments was when he held his own funeral in season 14. This extremely strategic and manipulative gameplay helped him get off of the block when he was the target for eviction that week. This is arguably one of the best gameplays in Big Brother history. Dan is number three on this list because he was very methodical, manipulative, and strategic, which made for great television. 

2. Janelle Pierzina

Janelle Pierzina with fellow housemate, Howie Gordon, inside of her HoH room in BB7

Janelle competed on four seasons of Big Brother; combining days from all four seasons, she stayed in the BB house for 200 days. She has the most appearances on the show for the US history books. As well as being a contestant on four seasons she has come back to talk to the host, Julie Chen, about gameplay during seasons 8, 10, and 11. She also competed on the Big Brother episode of The Price is Right. Janelle competed in seasons 6, 7 the original “All-Stars”, 14, and 22 “All-Stars”. In seasons 6 and 7, Janelle placed 3rd, becoming a jury member. In seasons 14 and 22, she was evicted pretty early, in weeks 4 and 3. During her time in the house, Janelle was a competition beast winning; six HOH, seven POV, and two coach (season 14 twist) competitions as well as a trip to the Bahamas, a Netflix membership, Big Brother prom queen (season 7 competition), and season 7’s fan favorite prize of $25,000. Although Janelle has never won a season of Big Brother, she has set plenty of records; being most nominated during different seasons (twelve), being one of eight houseguests to have the most HOH wins during a single season (four), being one of three houseguests to have the most HOH wins in multiple seasons (six), one of four to have the most veto wins in a single season (five), and one of two houseguests to have the most veto wins in multiple seasons (seven). I enjoyed watching Janelle over the four seasons she starred in because of her off-the-wall comments made to other houseguests, she was never afraid to compete and always gave her best efforts in every competition. In her later appearances, she was targeted and evicted early because her fellow housemates knew she would beat them in competitions and win overall if she was taken to the finals. In season 7, Janelle made one of the best strategic and manipulative moves, playing Mike “Boogie” Malin and Will Kirby, with Erika Landin. Knowing that Mike and Will would choose each other over them, Janelle and Erika teamed up to get one of them evicted. However, Mike won the final HOH which caused Will to become evicted later, causing Janelle to be evicted the next week. It was ultimately an extremely smart move knowing that if Will and Mike made it to the final three, Will would win his second season of Big Brother and the girls would have no chance of going to the finals.  

1. Will kirby

Will Kirby inside of the BB2 and BB7 houses and backyards

Dr. Will Kirby is my favorite Big Brother player of all time and is argued by many to be the best Big Brother player. Alongside competing in two seasons of BB he has also made several appearances afterward; hosting the roundtable meetings in seasons 15-21 and 24, hosting “Neighbors Week” during season 22 where he offered the houseguests prizes and powers, interviewing contestants in the backyard after season 19’s finale, made an appearance on season 14 to talk about former partner and fellow Chilltown member, Mike “Boogie” Malin’s, gameplay and predicting the winner, and appeared on the Big Brother episode of The Price is Right in May of 2016 where he won $51,030 that he donated to charity. Will competed in seasons 2 and 7 “All-Stars”, where he won his first season and finished 4th in his latter season becoming a member of the jury. In both seasons, Will didn’t win any competitions. Will was a member of the well-known duo, Chilltown, one of the best duos in Big Brother history. Will and Boogie had amazing chemistry and were hilarious in their diary room confessionals. One of Will’s best moments in the BB house is when he is on the block and tells his fellow housemates that he hates each and every one of them causing him to be absolutely miserable in the house, and asks them to vote for him to go home. He continued by telling them that if they kept him in the house, he would make everyone else miserable as well. This somehow led them to not evict Will. This was an awesome gameplay move during season 7 and one of the most memorable. Will Kirby is one of the most strategic, charismatic, methodical, conniving, and manipulative masterminds in Big Brother history which is why he is so loved by fans and had two great seasons. Which is why he coined the nickname, “The Puppet Master.”  

Joslyn Stauffer

Bowling Green '27

Hello! I'm Joslyn! I'm a first year student at Bowling Green State University, studying Criminal Justice with a specialization in forensic investigation. Another organization that I am a part of is Forensics Speech & Debate Team! I love the ocean, sunsets, playing sports, spending time with friends and family, making new friends, and so much more!