A disappointing season finally comes to an end with a disappointing outcome. Nicole Franzel, who played a solid game, was crowned the winner of Big Brother 18. However, despite her fairly impressive performance, she does not even compare to Paul and can consider herself extremely lucky to beat one of the most entertaining and unique contestants of all time. Nicole had a much more simple and steady path to the end of the game through her own good positional awareness of where she stood but Paul should have never made it to Day 99 and somehow managed to against all odds and that above all else is why Paul should have won Big Brother 18 instead of Nicole.
Overcoming The Odds After A Bad Start
On opening night, Paul was trying to play the villain. He, like his loyalties Jozea and Victor wanted the returning players out of the house and in the diary room, he was very vocal about it. But what was very different about Paul’s game in the early stages to his two struggling compatriots was that he kept his beliefs about the returning players to himself and to his close friends unlike Victor and Jozea who made it well-known that the returnees were their targets. Paul got himself into a terrible position early on in the game but now, 11 weeks later, Paul’s game has transformed and he is now in one in an amazing position to win. But how on earth did the brash returnee-hater turn into this friendship preaching fun-loving guy that ended up winning the game?
After Jozea was quickly dispatched by those in power, Victor and Paul found themselves on the bottom and were always going to be the next two to go. But Paul quickly learned on the spot how to play the game and realized that if he wanted to keep himself safe that he needed to suck up to those in power. He agreed to go up as a pawn and did everything he could to get in the good graces of the person who was running the house and was the HOH at the time, Paulie Calafiore, even selecting him to compete in the veto competition instead of Victor. At the same time, realizing that Victor was isolating himself on an island and only making the target on his back even greater, Paul began to distance himself from his friend and used his new found position in the game to charm his way into the good graces of everyone else. As soon as Paulie won the veto and took Paul off the block, Victor was his replacement and was evicted by a vote of 9-1. Who was the one? Paul. Paul made sure to vote for Bronte instead, knowing that if Victor came back into the house, he wouldn’t feel betrayed by Paul. That sympathy/throw-away vote became incredibly important later on.
The Ultimate Friend
Now that all of Paul’s alliances members had been eliminated from the game it was easy for him to get absorbed into the majority. And although it was easy for him to get absorbed into the majority, it certainly wasn’t easy for him to turn that into a position of power. Paul did an incredibly good job to charm himself in to the majority. Paul preached “friendship” to make himself appear unassuming to the others. He didn’t want to be seen as a strategic mastermind even though he was close to becoming one. Instead he wanted to be seen as a fun guy that everyone wanted to be around. He started baking muffins, he gave Paulie a haircut, he even worked tirelessly to find the secret room first just to make sure that Frank would go home. All this friendship stuff probably isn’t Paul’s real persona. His real way of being is probably a lot closer to what he was like on opening night when he was trying desperately hard to be the villain of the season. So it’s incredibly impressive that he’s managed to put on this front all summer long.
During this time, Paul managed to fly under the radar even further by making himself an immense target. Confused? Me too! For a while, Paul was the only one willing to blow up other people’s games. He was willing to call Tiffany out, he was willing to call Frank out on his constant campaigning and he was willing to throw Da’Vonne under the bus when he caught her talking to James about getting out the showmances. By doing this, Paul didn’t make an ass of himself and didn’t increase the target on his back. Instead, he lessened the target on his back by being seen as a tool that others could use to get whoever they wanted out because he was the only person in the house willing to get his hands dirty. Eventually, Paul grew so close to Paulie that he turned his dire situation into a position of power, where suddenly everyone started to listen to his advice on what to do. Paulie was the perfect shield for him. Nobody was ever going to take out the unassuming Paul before the brash and egotistical Paulie so it was the perfect partnership for Paul to advance his game.
It was around this time that Victor came back into the house, the five guys alliance was formed and Paul began his trajectory to winning the game. When Victor left the house the first time, he was a mess. He told people like Nicole right to her face that he wanted her gone and his inability to suck up to those in power resulted in his elimination from the game. But when he re-entered the house, Paul took him under his wing, showed him exactly what had been working for him in the game and as a result increased his position of power even further. His little sympathy/throw-away vote from earlier made him appear to Victor as the only one he could trust. He also somehow managed to mend the fence between his old friend and his new best bud Paulie to the extent where the five guys alliance was formed. Eventually, when the house started to turn on Paulie, Paul and Victor were quick to jump on board and go with the majority and ended up being the one’s to make the biggest move of the season so far in eliminating him. It was from that moment on that Paul’s position in the house started to weaken day by day. Now that his shield was gone, and that shield being the jerk that Paulie Calafiore was decided to spread lies about Paul’s game, Paul was in a lot of danger. From the point of Paulie’s eviction on, time after time Paul and Victor had the rug pulled out from underneath them, but managed to pick up the broken pieces and managed to get themselves back into power each time.
The Strategic Mastermind of the Season
Paul Abrahamian wasn’t exactly the strategic mastermind that Vanessa Rousso was last season, but he demonstrated an immense degree of strategic aptitude for the game whcih was remarkable given that he had never seen a single season of the show before walking in. His most brilliant move of the season came when he and his best bud, El Fit Vic, found themselves on the block together under Natalie’s HOH. After winning the veto and taking himself off the block, he and Victor started to stage fake fights so that people would begin to think that they were no longer working together in hopes that they would keep Victor in the game instead of Corey, who was Paul’s replacement on the block. While staging these fake fights, Paul in the mean time cozied up to Nicole and Corey while Victor cozied up to Natalie and James, putting doubt in the minds of those in power on who to keep that week. Even though Victor was ultimately evicted that week, the amount of doubt that it had put in James and Natalie’s minds, meant that when Victor came back into the house for the second time in the game, he and Paul were no longer the targets again. Moreover, in one of these fights that Paul staged, he got James and Natalie so flustered that they exposed that they wanted Corey gone instead of Victor right in front of Corey. This on top of Paul’s newfound friendship with Nicole and Corey earned Nicorey’s trust, earned them a final four deal with the show-mantic pairing and now after winning HOH at the final six, they had all the power in the world again. But then once again the two sitting ducks had the carpet pulled out from underneath them again and had to fight for their survival in the game. After Corey won HOH, Victor was finally evicted for the third time in this game for good, putting Paul on the bottom of everything again. The bearded man instinctively knew that he had to make an alliance with James to keep himself in the game. But more importantly, he knew that from that point on, he could not trust anyone except for himself and had to win every single challenge on his way to the end. Paul then won HOH at the final four to keep himself safe where he was able to eliminate Corey with the help of James. At final three, Paul knew he had to win those final two HOH challenges to guarantee his stay in the game with the inevitability that Nicole and James would take each other to the end and amazingly, he managed to win both of them yet again. Finally, after winning the final HOH of the season to deservedly secure his spot in the finals, Paul made the correct move in eliminating James at the final three, who was the bigger jury threat due to being well-liked by all. This all but guaranteed his win but it wasn’t done there.
The Big Brother 18 finalist then had a decent performance in the jury questioning despite being noticeably uncharacteristically nervous. In his final words speech in particular, he was calm, cool, collected and highlighted how amazing it was that he managed to make it to day 99 against all odds. This in contrast with Nicole, who constantly was saying “I don’t know what to say” emphasizes again how Paul was robbed of his victory. Paul focused on the big moves he made in the game, and why he played the best possible game for the skill-set that he had to offer and with the amount of odds that he had to overcome to make it to the end of the game he should have won. However, there were a lot of moments in this finale and this season where Paul lost this game. Most notably his decision to take Nicole to the end instead of James is the biggest one of all. However his comments over Natalie’s fake boobs and him not exactly owning up to his game and everything he did to get to that finals also played a role in him losing.
Paul was nominated six times in the game, but survived every single time, highlighting how good of a social game and even strategic game the bearded man had. The man who preaches for friendship never saw an episode of big brother before coming into the house, making it all the more remarkable how he managed to learn on the fly and how he managed to come out on top.
I was floored when Nicole won and tremendously disappointed. Although Nicole was easily the second best player of the season and deserved to win, she didn’t deserve to win instead of Paul who had gotten their through his own ability to win challenges rather than Mrs. Franzel who you could almost argue was dragged to the end by her compatriots. I couldn’t believe that five out of the nine jury members decided to hand her the money over someone who had to overcome the amount of odds that Paul had to overcome but she is still a very worthy winner of this game.
Paul’s game saw a tremendous amount of ups and downs, and of course he got incredibly lucky with his best bud Victor coming back into the game twice. However, even if he wouldn’t have been one of the best winners of all time, and even though he ended up losing in the end to Nicole, he will forever go down as one of the most interesting, entertaining and amazing contestants to ever play the game