While Big Brother may have made a big mistake axing the live feed, I do believe they created something truly special last night. For the first time in a VERY long time, Big Brother has changed the nominations system for the better, and not for the worse.
For years, it seemed Big Brother changed the rules regarding nominations whenever he possibly could as a way of drawing in viewers. These twists usually fell flat on their head. 2007′s male-only nominations were a farce, 2008′s nominations reversal (which saw the public nominate and the housemates evict) was axed halfway through the season and even Friday Night Live’s Three Point Twist and Save-Replace twists drew constant criticism.
Last night, viewers witnessed yet another change in the nominations process. Considering this is the show’s first outing in four years, and Nine promised a ‘back-to-basics’ format, this move was risky, and had flop written all over it.
But in my eyes, it has been the single greatest thing Nine have done with the show….after casting Michael!
This year, housemates nominate in a special room. There are high chairs for the potential nominees (this week, the females) to sit on and a glass chamber where the nominating housemate must stand in. They must turn their backs on the potential nominees who watch them nominate, and talk to Big Brother directly.
Like in previous years, they must nominate TWO housemates, and two housemates only. But, unlike previous years, where they have been asked to nominate one housemate for two points and another for one, this year they are given five nomination points to use. They can nominate one housemate for four points and another for one, or one housemate for three points and the other for two.
What scared me the most was that it almost looked like the nominations would ultimately be ‘face-to-face’ with Big Brother promising the room would let the housemates ‘influence’ nominations. That would have KILLED me. But luckily, as we found, the chamber the housemates nominated in was soundproof. The nominations are still secret.
What makes this work is two things. One, the twist makes the nominations process feel so fresh and different without changing the overall mechanics of nominations. Two, it has clearly added pressure and intensity to what was becoming a very soft feature for Big Brother.
The fact is, the twist isn’t a HUGE departure from the usual nominations format. Housemates still nominate privately, they still nominate two housemates with differently weighted point amounts and three or more housemates still face eviction. But letting the housemates give their nominees different amount of points is amazing. It honestly DOES give them more power. With one four-point nomination, a single housemate could change the course of the game should they nominate a housemate they dislike.
It enriches the individual gameplay and strategy of each housemate. Now they don’t just have to think of housemates to nominate and reasons for those nominations; they must now decide how MANY nomination points they deserve. Do they deserve 1, 2, 3 or 4? And if they think one housemate only deserves 1 nomination point for their actions during the week, they then have to deliver another housemate those whopping four points. I can see this turning ugly!
But the use of the chamber is absolute hilarity and, as I said, has made Live Nominations more intense and exciting to watch. The show was basically fodder before it was axed in 2007.
Watching housemates squirm in that glass box and nominate housemates sitting a few strides away from them is gruelling. Some took it well, some did not. Benjamin forgot to close the door, fearing the housemates heard his nominations!
All of this has changed the show. It isn’t simply a show based around ‘who is who going to nominate’. It is now a show that also has viewers asking ‘how is who going to nominate’, ‘who is going to crack under the obvious added pressure’ and ‘what housemate would deserve a four-point nomination this week’.
I guess the only downfall to this twist is that it could get predictable as the weeks progress. Last night, it wasn’t so predictable being the first time it had been done. Charne, Estelle and Layla now face the public vote. I only expected one of those three to face the vote.
But as the weeks progress and favourites are formed, as are villains, it may become too obvious too quickly who will face eviction if villains all receive a huge amount of 4-pointers early on.
But for now, I LOVE this twist. What did you think? How do you think it will change the game? Is the twist a keeper, or a one-weeker?
Big Brother continues tonight at 7PM on Nine.