Matt Liguori ranks the Celebrity Big Brother 2 players for a one-off revival of the RHAP Power Rankings, joined by RHAP podcasters Ali Lasher, Kirsten MacInnis, and Mary Kwiatkowski.
Note: If reading on a cell phone, rotate your device horizontally to read the rankings side-by-side.
Celebrity Big Brother 2 Preseason Power Rankings
And we’re back! Time for another season of Big Brother, specifically our second season of U.S. Celebrity Big Brother. I loved the first season SO much and I can hardly contain my excitement as we prepare to do it all again. The accelerated gameplay, the big personalities, the drama, and the laughs are all there with these celebrity seasons.
I wanted to get out some thoughts about the cast and just like last Celebrity Big Brother, this blog will be the only one for the season. Last year, Liana nailed the final 2 with Marissa and Ross at #1 and #2 respectively, so we’ll see if anybody can come close to that accuracy this time. Personally, I had Shannon and Chuck in my top 3, with Marissa and Ross the lowest of anyone (#5 and #6 respectively), so I’m hoping I can only go up from here!
To help me out I’ve recruited some familiar faces to also give their thoughts on the cast and see who has the best read on the new celebs: MTV expert Ali Lasher (@lashtweets), Canadian icon Kirsten MacInnis (@kirstensaidwhat), and Riverdale enthusiast Mary Kwiatkowski (@frailmary)! Let us know what you think either in the comments or on Twitter (@mattliguori)!
1) Eva Marie
Natalie will be the biggest surprise of the season. There are plenty of big personalities in this cast, and someone like Natalie shouldn’t have a hard time laying low and getting everybody to like her, embracing the same little sister role that Ariadna did last season. A lot of winners lately have secured the votes by being the least unlikable of the final two, and Natalie is my top pick if our winner falls into that category.
We’re living in a world where Tamar Braxton is the biggest Big Brother superfan on the show, and I am HERE for it. However, I don’t believe for a second that Tamar is chill in her everyday life. I’m a little worried that having been on reality TV before, Tamar will be hyper aware of her image and will be overly concentrated on how the audience will perceive her, rather than focusing on winning the game. If her status as a super fan triumphs over that, I think she could do really well in the game.
Tamar may be the biggest Big Brother fan of these new celebs, so I’m hopeful she’ll be one of the biggest game-players. Despite knowing the most about the game, I worry about her ability to stay calm and lay low. Tamar thinks she’ll finish 3rd or 4th and I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes true, but she’s capable of playing a good game so I’m hoping she picks up confidence as the season unfolds.
Can I just say it is a CRIME that Jonathan Bennett won’t be in the house on October 3rd?! As I work to get passed this injustice, let’s talk about the professional cake-pun maker/Mean Girls hottie, Jonathan Bennett. I have really high hopes for Jonathan. While not a SUPER DUPER fan, he has a familiarity with Big Brother proper that I think will take him far in the game. It’s not all candy canes for Glen Coco though. I worry that Jonathan will be too trusting of his alliance and overestimate the value he adds to the group. If you show yourself to be a huge threat, you will go home.
An ability to keep your housemates laughing in an otherwise stressful environment can go a long way. Combine that with his apparent game knowledge and gentle tone of voice, Tom should do well! My biggest question is whether or not he can hide being a low-key big threat. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Mark McGrath regarding Tom, Joey, and Kato, but I think Tom is the best comparison. Mark made it to final 4 and was one comp win away from likely taking the whole thing, and I think Tom could go far just the same.
Despite what the haters say, I like Lolo’s chances. I think her religious background will help her connect with unlikely allies in the house and her athletic prowess will take her far. Lolo is also coming in with a huge advantage having been on another competition reality show before. She should understand how the game works better than anyone else. Notably, she’s one of the only celebrities to truly impress me in the preseason interviews. While not a fan of regular Big Brother, she seems to have taken a lot of great lessons away from watching CBB season 1.
Being this hyped to even get inside the house already gives Kato a leg up over most of his competitors. Kato wants to play Big Brother and it sounds like he prepared as best as anybody could. I’m wondering where Kato fits into this cast, because looking around I can’t see many natural allies. Either way, I think he’s somebody to look out for.
Kandi is one of my ALL TIME favorite Housewives so I am THRILLED to see her on CBB. I think Kandi is going to be a ton of fun and a wealth of GIFs. She should be able to navigate the evolving relationships in the house with ease. (If she can deal with the Housewives, she can deal with ANYTHING!) On a serious note, she seems like she’ll be able to get herself into the right alliances by being likable without seeming too strategic or too annoying. I was really impressed with her pregame interview and am hoping to see her stick around for the long haul!
I loved Brandi despite not knowing of her prior, so I’m sure I’ll love Kandi just the same. She seems like a lot of fun and despite having minimal knowledge about the game, her social charm and willingness to glue herself to the kitchen and cook for everybody has me optimistic that Kandi will go far. I’m not sure if Kandi will be well equipped for the end game, but getting there is half the battle and I’d be pretty surprised to not see Kandi there in the final few days, at least going as far as Brandi did.
WOW Tom Green. It’s been awhile. Tom Green seems to be in on the joke of being on Celebrity Big Brother which will make him fun to watch. I wasn’t super high on Tom initially, but if he can actually implement his strategy of dialing the comedy back a bit in the house and letting loose in the diary room, he could be the perfect combination of strategic threat and TV gold. That said, saying you are going to act a certain way is a lot different than being able to actually do it in the house.
As someone so knowledgable and naturally likable, Jonathan is the most capable player entering the house… but that’s how I felt last year with Shannon. We got to see his personality (with Ika), but it felt like he was playing a character. You need to be your most authentic self in the house if you want to connect with anyone. If his high-energy doesn’t get him evicted earlier, he seems like a perfect candidate to play aggressive and be denied the win by a “bitter” jury.
6) Eva Marie
Everyone seems to love Natalie Eva Marie, and I’m not one to go tip-top-toes with WWE fans. That said, I’m not super high on Natalie’s chances to win. I think she is likable, but from an entertainment perspective I found her a bit too chill and low energy. I also don’t think she’ll be able to stay under the radar as much as she plans to. I give her a lot of credit for being one of the few celebs who actually knows a little bit about the game but other than that I don’t have much to say.
Lolo is the strongest natural competitor on this cast, with intelligence and stamina to win just about any comp… but it’s her aggressive style of gameplay that lands her in the middle of my rankings. While aware she shouldn’t win everything, she hates to lose and being in the house turns your competitive dial all the way up. Lolo’s social game leaves a lot to be desired, but she could be a threat if she can keep her head in the game for the short few weeks.
DINA. “Clap hands emoji.” LOHAN. Please, please, please watch the first 21 seconds of Dina’s ET Canada interview. Ika asks, “How’s it going,” and Dina says, “Well it hasn’t started yet.” HER HEAD IS IN THE GAME, PEOPLE. Dina is going to be off the charts entertaining this season. She is going to talk nonstop about how she was famous before Lindsey despite being one of the most iconic Mom-agers in history (don’t worry Kris, you’re still untouchable). As far as game play, Dina has zero chance to win. I think Dina is going to face the block a couple times early on and may not be able to recover from that. P.S. Dina, I think Ika meant, “How are you?” Never change, girl!
Planning to embrace the role of house Mom, Dina won’t be on anybody’s radar as a threat. If she knows enough about the game, she should go for a role like Marissa’s from last season (attached to a power player). I’m unsure if there’s anything to the potential Jonathan-Dina connection, but if so he would be a perfect ally for Dina to stay loyal to and have him protect her. If Dina plays her cards right I would not be surprised to see her as the top candidate to bring to final 2.
Healer and astrologer Ricky Williams is going to be the source of love and light for the CBB season, but beyond that, I doubt he has anything in common with Kaitlyn Herman. Ricky seems like a nice guy who’s easy to talk to and a tad full of himself. I’m expecting him to be boring from a TV perspective, but I think people in the house will LOVE him because he’s willing to spend his time focusing on them. What celeb doesn’t love an astrological reading and a foot massage? If we were doing these rankings by longevity in the house I would have him higher up, but as far as winning, I don’t think it’s written in the stars.
What am I supposed to do with this guy? He seems entirely unmotivated to play the game, admitting he has no interest in participating in alliances, backstabbing, or any of the essential parts in playing halfway-decent. I imagined Joey would be someone who could go far, but his head does not appear to be in it. I’ve been burned by interviews before, so I’m not putting Joey at the very bottom on the off chance he does decide to participate. It’s a fun game, Joey… put some effort in!
Kato is going in prepared to put his ego aside and be the houseguest who washes the dishes. Honestly? Not a terrible strategy. After watching his preseason interview, I don’t know if I want to hang out with Kato or if I’m terrified of Kato. He seems like he’s all-in which is more than I can say for some of the other celebrities joining him in the house, but I don’t know that it will be enough. He seems likely to fall into “odd man out” slot early on and his quick wit may not be enough to save him.
I’m going to have to put a lot of trust into the casting team, because surely they saw something in Ricky that I’m not seeing. As a former athlete and somebody who believes they’ll be the smartest person in the house, I’m not totally counting Ricky out… but I imagine while he’s doing an astrology reading in one room, alliances he isn’t a part of will be plotting his demise in another.
Ryan got the “gist” of Big Brother from watching the first two episodes of CBB, and that’s all you need to know to get the gist of what Ryan’s game will look like this season. Good for him for trying to strategize before going into the house, but there’s nothing new or interesting about the athlete that says they won’t win competitions straight off the bat. Ryan, you’re an Olympian, no one is going to underestimate your athletic ability. Also, with a house full of Big Brother noobs, I think Ryan may go early. It is always easy to get rid of the fittest guy in the house.
I’ve known of Ryan for years but hadn’t heard him talk until these pregame interviews… and boy is he an airhead (or maybe it’s water lodged in there?). Celebrity Big Brother has its first surfer dude and call me crazy but I’ll never be very high on this archetype’s winning chances. Ryan seems easy to get along with, but being younger, good-looking, and athletic in a house full of celebrities is tough to overcome, just ask James Maslow.
[Infuriated thoughts heavily redacted.]
I’m not confident whatsoever in The Mooch’s ability to blend in and find useful allies within this group. The Mooch isn’t winning this game, but if this cast is anything like season 1’s with Omarosa, they won’t take him out too early knowing that the White House guy is bringing in more ratings and national attention. Omarosa made it to final 5, but her competitors (sans Ross) feared her… so I’d be surprised to see The Mooch make it that far.
Joey Lawrence HATES that he’s on Celebrity Big Brother, and he’s starting to convince me to agree with him. He did not put any effort into him being on CBB so why should I?
I’m here to stan someone who has watched a lot of Big Brother and is looking to get information wherever she can. Tamar is going to be so fun to watch no matter how long she lasts and I really do like her chances at winning if she gets to the end.
As long as Tom can play it cool and stroke the other contestants egos he can easily make it far in this game. Plus, once they vote out Jonathan the houseguests will need someone else to make them laugh. My winner pick – DON’T LET ME DOWN!
Kandi is coming into this game with a good grasp on the social aspect and an idea of how she wants to interact with the group as a whole. She wants to cook for people and we’ve seen that be a successful strategy in the past. She seems personable but mostly low-key, and sources tell me she won’t snap unless someone reallllly deserves it. I think she really has a shot.
I am most excited to see Kandi play! One of the few people who actually has a strategy and wants to actively play the game. I expect her to get in a firm alliance early, and if she can keep her paranoia in check she could easily make it far.
I’m stanning the Canadian and that’s that. We haven’t seen a lot of Tom Green in a while but he seems very calm, level headed, and self-aware. He’s been studying the show and I think he knows what he needs to do socially. Maybe he’ll be our diary room star, maybe he’ll get in a prank war with JB. Regardless, I think he has an excellent chance to do well.
Another person who actually wants to win the game, Kato could be a good sleeper pick. With Mark McGrath upside, Kato’s plan to ‘be the perfect friend’ to everyone in the house and stay under the radar should help him make it to the end.
I saw her described on Twitter as looking like a combination of Kaitlyn Bristowe and Morgan Willett and now I can’t unsee it!! I have a hard time believing she actually watched CBB during the Olympics, but having seen the season in general is a big advantage in this group. I really like her fency fencerton answers and I don’t think she’ll be an early target. She’s obviously very athletic and I can see her winning down the stretch when she needs to. Having previous reality TV experience is also a big advantage – hopefully it works out for her because honestly we might have to stan.
Our one true superfan of the season, Tamar is here for the “true Big Brother experience.” As long as the others don’t see her as too much of a threat, her game knowledge and flexible strategy could really help her in the end game.
Jonathan loves Canada which certainly buys him points with me but WOW is he shot out of a cannon. I think in the isolation of Big Brother he will be seen as entertaining and the other houseguests will be hesitant to get rid of him. I do hate when someone comes in saying “my strategy is not to have a strategy” but his attitude is good and regardless of how much the comment sections hate him, I think we should be prepared to see him last a vast majority of the season.
Hype to get out of his comfort zone and put ‘two pongs up,’ I see Ryan lasting approximately three days before his nighttime swims (that are fooling NOBODY) come back to bite him. If he can team up with a (hopefully) strategic player like Kandi or Tamar he might last until mid-game. Possible Brett upside or Fessy downside…
6) Eva Marie
She seems like a genuine, nice person. We’ve seen it work in the past and it can easily work in this compressed season as well. She did her homework and I think we’ll be seeing her for a little while.
The Mooch comes across intelligent, but naïve. While he claims to not have it in himself to be ruthless, his reputation may proceed him and he could easily get picked off early because of it. On the other hand his ties to last year’s houseguest Omarosa could be beneficial if he gained any insight from her experience. Hopes aren’t high, best case scenario he has ‘older guy’ upside.
My mom watched SO much of the OJ trial that I somehow have memories of seeing it on TV even though I was barely alive. Kato will be around for a little while at the very least because he will be able to give some insider information on OJ and people still live for that! He seems fun and engaging and if he really goes for it I think he’s charming enough to possibly make a case for himself.
My biggest worry for Lolo is not being able to resist going all out in competitions. If she can hide her strengths she could make it through the first few votes, but I can see the real gamers wanting to pick her off before she makes it too far.
Dina might surprise us. She seems personable, is worried about being nice, and is a great communicator. She’s open to the experience, is interested in how things work and learning as much as possible, and could absolutely be one of those people who picks up the game quickly.
8) Eva Marie
Another strong competitor, Natalie is right there with Lolo in the middle of the pack. I hope she can also lay low and then crank out some wins in the second half of the game, but she may need to align with some players less similar to herself.
He says he can talk a lot about astrology with people, but I don’t trust anyone who is so dependent on sun signs OK? If they aren’t letting him smoke in the house, I really don’t think he’ll be long for the game.
New Zen Ricky is here to rub all your feet and tell you all your horoscopes, and boy am I here for it. Hopefully he will bring some much needed ‘love and light’ into the BB house this season, but my hopes aren’t high for his game savvy.
He’s not even the best Lawrence brother! I feel like if he doesn’t quit it’s exclusively because he doesn’t want to lose other opportunities with CBS. He acts like he doesn’t care about the game and he’s always thinking about the troops (honestly sounds exhausting) but I think he’s going to end up taking all of this SO much more personally than we expect.
Sometimes a fun character can be even more entertaining than a good player, and for that we have Jonathan Bennett. His hair may look sexy pushed back, but unless that translates to a good social game he may be in trouble. At least he appears self-aware about his annoyingness.
He seems fairly useless, but his sous-chef strategy could work a little by accident. If he’s not doing anything all day and swimming all night, he’ll not only bore us but he won’t make connections with the houseguests. I really don’t think this is going to pan out for him. If he gets to the end, you never know who could get a vote to win though.
He refers to himself as self-aware but also naïve and living in denial. I think people will be interested in talking to him about his White House experience, and CBS will want to milk as much as possible out of getting those stories. I can’t get a great read on him and honestly would not be surprised at him coming out in any possibly placement, but I cannot see the other players voting for him to win.
Have Mercy. Unfortunately not the Lohan we were dreaming of, Dina has no idea what she is in for. In addition to her general spaciness, I’m not sure Dina even knows what game she is playing. If she takes her daughter’s advice to ‘stay silent and learn about people’ she might be able to fly under the radar, but her lack of killer instinct caps her off as a bottom tier player.