Vanessa Shouldn't Play It Safe As HOH On 'BB17'

She may have only been one POV away from getting evicted last week, but now Vanessa is HOH on Big Brother 17, ensuring her safety at least until the second half of next week's double eviction. First, let's take a moment to enjoy that we have been spared another week of the Liztin gross-fest that has cursed the HOH room for two weeks now. It feels nice, doesn't it? Now that the biggest target in BB17 is in power, it's anyone's guess who Vanessa wants to have evicted this week. She has been a friend and an enemy to every person in the house at some point in time, so there's no easy choice to make when it comes to nominations.

In conversations with other houseguests since her win, Vanessa has called out James and Meg as possible targets. This is the safest move for her because James and Meg aren't particularly useful to her and are in direct opposition with her side of the house. Vanessa has given her word that those are her true targets, but she isn't exactly known for keeping to her word. However, with less than a month until the finale, every move counts and Vanessa is going to have to decide if she wants to make the safe move or the smart move, as well as how to avoid making a dumb move.

Safe Move: Evict James and Meg

James and Meg are the only two people in the house who aren't directly working with Vanessa. Evicting James and Meg satisfies her core partnership with the Austwins, and keeps her from having to evict Steve or John who she has formed partnerships with. This gets no blood on her hands, however, it also causes her to lose a vote if the house ever seeks to turn on the Austwins. This safe move ensures Vanessa's safety for the coming week, but it does not help forward her long-term goal of making it to the end and winning this season of Big Brother.

Smart Move: Evict Austin, Liz, or Julia

After this week, there will be seven people in the house. During any given week, the HOH and nominees can't vote, so there will only be four people voting in the house. Unless two members of the Austwins are on the block, then they will have at least 50 percent of the vote in any given situation. Vanessa is tight with the Austwins, but not as tight as Austin and the twins are with each other. Vanessa probably won't make a big move by nominating two of the Austwins and putting up the third in case of POV, but she could easily nominate Meg and James and then put up Austin as a replacement.

After this past week, when Vanessa learned of the plot to backdoor her, an Austin blindside doesn't seem all that unlikely. If Vanessa wants to make it past the final four and win Big Brother, she needs to start turning on her own alliance and get some blood on her hands for once. The only downside is that evicting an Austwin makes her a target for next week's eviction, but that's what happens when you make big moves.

Dumb Move: Evict John or Steve

Aside from the sheer cruelty of immediately evicting John after he returned, getting rid of John or Steve would be disastrous for Vanessa's game at this point. Despite almost making John and Steve play a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine their fate, her best partners in the house are Steve and the freshly returned John. The two men are working only with each other (aside from the failed plot with the Austwins to evict Vanessa), and are now seeing that the Austwins are the bigger target.

Steve has long been Vanessa's right-hand man, and John proved his usefulness last week when he sold out the alliance with the Austwins to get her to lose trust in Austin and the twins. If Vanessa sticks to the safe plan of nominating James or Meg and one of them wins POV, she may be forced to nominate Steve or John to keep playing it safe. That also means she's evicting someone who is loyal to her, and that's the worst thing she can do at this point.

Vanessa has a difficult week ahead of her, easily her most difficult week of Big Brother so far. It's likely that Vanessa will take the safe route because she hates getting blood on her hands, but with so little time left is appears she won't be able to get much farther unless she gets down and dirty by shaking things up.

For more on this season of Big Brother, check out Bustle's podcast The Diary Room.

Image: Sonja Flemming/CBS