From the very beginning of Big Brother 17 , Clay and Shelli seemed to be genuinely attracted to each other. Their connection has led to a few adorable showmance moments, as well as some game-changing moves within certain alliances. Through all the talk of gameplay and eviction and POV, there is one question that rises above all others to be the defining question of their relationship: Should their showmance name be Clelli or Shlay?
Every good romance needs a good portmanteau. Kimye. Brangelina. Bennifer. Tomkat. The combination of names to describe a singular entity has spread from Hollywood to people's everyday lives, and Big Brother is no stranger to couple names. With a long history of showmances under its belt, Big Brother may just be a multi-decade long exercise in finding out whether the effectiveness of a relationship can, in fact, be determined by how well the names fit together. Do Clay and Shelli have what it takes to overcome their differences and make it into the Hall-Of-BB-Showmance-Legends with the likes of Brenchel, JeJo, and Zankie?
Here's what I think of Big Brother showmance names, past and present, and for more on Clelli/Shlay, check out Bustle's podcast The Diary Room.
Shlay/Clelli — Clay & Shelli (BB17)
Clay and Shelli, the resident sweethearts of BB17 have a major problem in the name department. How exactly are fans expected to smash these names together? Each name only has one vow, and they don't match. In fact, the only letter in common with either name is the letter "L," which doesn't leave a lot of options. There seem to be two main options for a combined name here: "Chelli" would be a good option, but is problematic because it puts Clay before Shelli which definitely does not fit with the reality of their relationship, and it seems that the house has taken to calling them Clelli instead, which is just bizarre. "Shlay," on the other hand, sounds like the disgusted noise Jason's mouth makes when he thinks about the two of them. However, "Shlay" sounds a lot like "Slay" which is hopefully what Shelli will do to her competition for the rest of the season, so the advantage goes to "Shlay."
Clelli: 1/10Chelli: 5/10Shlay: 7/10
Zankie — Zach & Frankie (BB16)
Zankie was one of the most interesting showmances in Big Brother history because if featured one of the most universally liked contestants (Zach) and one of the most disliked contestants (Frankie), but together they formed a string of cuddle sessions that delighted viewers. Fittingly enough, "Zankie" as couple name is as good as it gets. There are no awkwardly forced syllables, and that "A" towards the beginning of both of their names make it super easy to link. It wouldn't be difficult to imagine actually meeting a kid named "Zankie" who wasn't getting bullied constantly for his weird name.Zankie: 10/10
Haycole — Hayden & Nicole (BB16)
Hayden and Nicole were very much the Shlay of their season. While an attempted one-sided showmance (Caleb and Amber) was busy taking up viewers attention, Hayden and Nicole had a sweet, relatable romance that appears to still be going strong a year later, asThe Detroit News reported that"they plan on spending more time together this summer." That kind of reality-show relationship is rare, but a lot easier when it's two of the nicest people to play the game together. Their name is almost as sweet as their relationship. They were very fortunate to both be gifted with two-syllable names, making it very easy to determine a couple name. Haycole was very much the obvious option, because "Niden" just sounds like nonsense.Haycole: 9/10
McRanda — Amanda & McCrae (BB15)
McRanda was a rocky showmance, both because McCrae could be a bit of a pushover and because Amanda wasn't afraid to play hard to get what she wanted (both in the game and in their relationship). They ended their relationship soon after Big Brother, and it's no surprise from the state of their couple name. "Mi-Cran-Duh." That's just an ugly word both visually and vocally, which is a shame given that it's the only real option for combining these names.
Daaryn — David & Aaryn (BB15)
David was the first person evicted from the BB15 household, but that was still enough time for him to form a showmance with Aaryn Gries. Despite their relationship being short and featuring someone who made a series of offensive, racist remarks knowing she was on national network television, "Daaryn" is still a pretty good name. It looks like it would fit right on the pages of Game of Thrones.
Shanielle — Shane & Danielle (BB14)
Shane Meaney and Danielle Murphree were able to ride their showmance to the final 4 of Season 14 against two of the strongest competitors in the history of the house. That's farther than any other showmance has collectively made it on this whole list! Their success clearly comes from their smooth showmance name. It's simple, definitive, and can't possibly be confused for any other name. It's nothing exceptional, but it works — just like their showmance.
Domielle — Dominic & Danielle (BB13)
Danielle Donato was part of the great familial duo with her father Dick during Big Brother 8, but when she and her father returned for Big Brother 13, she found a different kind of partner in Dominic. Although Dominic didn't last long in the house, not even making it to jury, he and Danielle still wed after Big Brother . Their showmance name reflects this strong union as much as it reflects how similar their names are. They did, however, miss a great opportunity to name themselves "DanDom," which is very very fun to say out loud.
Brenchel — Brendon and Rachel (BB12 & BB13)
Brenchel, the back-to-back season showmance of Brendon Villegas and eventual winner Rachel Reilly ended not with Rachel winning the $500,000 but with the union of marriage. Another Big Brother showmance success, It's a shame they don't have a nicer-sounding name. "Brenchel" sounds like a word Scandinavians would use to describe what sneezing sounds like.
JeJo — Jeff & Jordan (BB11 & 13)
Jeff and Jordan are possibly Big Brother's greatest showmance success story, not only playing in two seasons but also getting engaged on-air during BB16. Jeff now hosts Big Brother Live Chat and Jordan won Season 11. Needless to say, they're doing pretty well. Unlike their showmance name, which only serves to remind me of JoJo. Remember Jojo and her hit single "Leave (Get Out)"? That was a really underrated pop song.
Jejo : 4/10Jojo's "Leave (Get Out):" 10/10
Clay and Shelli's union of names is a pretty good sign for the continued future as a couple, considering that the quality of showmance names does not seem to affect the success of a Big Brother relationship. That doesn't mean that a great showmance name isn't something to aspire to. Maybe this season, if Becky can find it in herself to like JMac the way Johnny Mac likes Becky, we could see the birth of the BMac showmance.
Images: CBS; officialmccrandamafia/Tumblr