It was a pretty shocking finale on Big Brother 17 when Steve won the title 16 houseguests were vying for at the beginning of the summer. It's not that Steve didn't deserve to win the game, but many believe that Vanessa, who was evicted during the last HoH competition, had played a bit more of an influential game throughout the entire season. Ultimately, it was Steve who sent Vanessa out the door on finale night, probably aware that if he kept her, he'd lose. Because if she had made it into the Final 2, there was no doubt that Vanessa could have won Big Brother . Even a previous Big Brother winner thinks so.
One person that Vanessa was compared to throughout the game was Derrick Levasseur from Big Brother 16. Derrick played a game that really didn't exist before his season — he went completely undetected and controlled the house. Not once was he nominated, and not once was he ever suspected to be influencing the entire game from Week 1 on. Vanessa played a similar game, but not identical. Derrick joined us on the finale episode of The Diary Room, Bustle's Big Brother podcast, to talk about the finale, those Vanessa comparisons, and if she deserved to win.
So, if the opportunity had been there, could Vanessa have won the game? In short, absolutely yes. Even against Steve, Vanessa would have definitely won the votes (with maybe the exception of Austin, because he was a Bitter Betty). Even Derrick agrees that Vanessa would have "smoked" — love that BB16 throwback word — the competition. "Nobody can contest the fact that she's the best player in that house. She's very strategic. She had an idea of how she was going to get to the end. She implemented it perfectly..." Derrick tells us during The Diary Room.
But, could Vanessa have done anything different during the game to get to the Final 2? It's really a "hindsight is 20/20" situation, since nothing can be done now. But, if we were to play that game, Derrick brings up a really good point of what Vanessa could have done. "I think what she's going to regret is not building a stronger connection with [Steve]," Derrick says. "She only utilized him and talked to him when she needed something, and Steve was not oblivious to that."
Unlike Derrick and Cody's "ride or die" friendship from BB16, Steve didn't trust Vanessa unconditionally. Had Vanessa befriended Steve more, he might have made the same $450,000 mistake that Cody did last season. (I'm kidding, of course, you can't put a price on friendship... is what runner-ups say.)
Even though it didn't work out for Vanessa this time, she seems to be a frontrunner for a future Big Brother: All-Stars season. Derrick agrees that Vanessa is All-Star quality. (And yes, Derrick even says he would consider returning for Big Brother: All-Stars, if the right people were there.) "I would want to make sure I was playing against great players. If I'm going to go in there and play a game, as a competitor, I want to play against the best."
Catch up on all episodes of The Diary Room below. But first...
Images: Monty Brinton/CBS