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Celebrity Big Brother: Winners and Losers from the Season 3 Finale

An excruciating season ends with big-time schadenfreude.
  • Todrick Hall and Miesha Tate in Wednesday night's Celebrity Big Brother finale. (Photo: CBS)
    Todrick Hall and Miesha Tate in Wednesday night's Celebrity Big Brother finale. (Photo: CBS)

    Spoilers ahead for Wednesday night's conclusion of Celebrity Big Brother 3.

    When it comes to counter-programming, it's hard to imagine CBS being in a better position than it was going into the third season of Celebrity Big Brother. Set against a Winter Olympics that was both depressing (those industrial-wasteland backdrops!) and upsetting (the whole Russian figure skating/doping situation), a reality series built around a motley crew of C-level celebs should have been the perfect salve. Alas, Celebrity Big Brother 3 was not a welcome respite from upsetting TV; it was the upsetting TV.

    After two previous seasons where — despite significant messiness — we got celebs who turned out to be savvy game players (Ross Matthews, Tom Green) and/or entertaining TV presences (Tamar Braxton), CBB3 ended up being a boring steamroller of a season where two celebrities decided to play hard and everybody else more or less rolled over for them, either because they were too disinterested to play the game or didn't know enough about it to play smart.

    Wednesday night's finale put to bed a three-week season that felt significantly longer than that, crowning Miesha Tate the third Celebrity Big Brother champion in front of an angry jury that didn't even get out of their seats to congratulate her or her final-two alliance partner Todrick Hall. It was the most predictable outcome, with the only possible satisfaction for viewers being that the jurors got to stick it to Todrick on the way out.

    Now that the live feeds have gone dark, here's who can count themselves among the few winners of this most frustrating season — and who can not:

    Losers: Fans of Good Game Play

    The biggest source of disappointment this season was that none of the celebrity house guests seemed to really know how to play or in some cases even want to play. This goes beyond Chris Kattan exiting the house voluntarily on day 15. It's also Lamar Odom being so unfamiliar with the game that he was still having basic facts about how it's played explained to him two weeks into the game. It's everyone from Chris Kirkpatrick to Carson Kressley to Cynthia Bailey at different points talking about how they'd get eliminated in order to save another player. It's Carson and Cynthia not understanding why Shanna Moakler would have made strategic inroads with other players (more on that below).

    The blame for this shouldn't fall on the players themselves but rather the casting for the show. We understand that it's not easy to cast a celebrity season of a show like Big Brother. On some level, you're never going to be able to get around the fact that these people don't need the show as much as the show needs them. But in seasons past, CBB managed to do a much better job of finding celebs who were excited enough to play the game that they'd endure the isolation, annoyance, and general boredom of being stuck in the house for three weeks. In Season 3, only about five people out of eleven actually seemed to want to play, and two of them went out early.

    Winner: Miesha Tate

    Obviously. Miesha won the first Head of Household competition, the final Head of Household competition, two HOHs in between, and a Veto. Of the three cycles (out of eight!) where she was vulnerable to eviction, in one she had her unbreakable ally Todrick in charge, and the other she was able to so fully snow Carson and Cynthia that she didn't get a single vote. She got every single vote to win the game except for Cynthia's, and had that same vote been held even an hour later, after Cynthia got filled in by the angriest jury since Jun and Alison made it to the end of BB4, Miesha would likely have won a clean sweep.

    It was one of the most dominating performances in the history of this show, and the only reason it won't rank up with the best of the best is that it came against some truly pitiful competition. Still, credit where it is due: Miesha played hard and made sure she was sitting next to the most hated person in the house at the end. That's all you can do!

    Loser: Todrick Hall

    Ooof. That was hard to watch, even if you were flames-on-the-side-of-your-face angry at Todrick for all the crap he pulled this season. As the only real heart-on-his-sleeve superfan of Big Brother, Todrick wanted to play the game so bad. And to his credit, he played a hard, ruthless, unsentimental game (well, except for the part where he went to the end with his biggest competition and didn't get rid of her at final 5 when he had the chance). But he was also a huge jerk to pretty much everyone in the house, including making several disparaging statements about Shanna's appearance and telling Chris Kirkpatrick that his son would be ashamed of the way he played.

    We all knew the jury would be furious because they've spent the last two weeks fuming on social media, and indeed their anger was palpable. Todd Bridges rolled his eyes at several moments during Todrick's pre-jury speech. Shanna said, "The one thing that this vote ensures is that I will not ever have to hear your voice again." Chris Kirkpatrick dedicated his vote to his son. No matter how much jury blowback Todrick expected, it's hard to imagine he expected all that.

    Loser: Cynthia Bailey

    It's always hard being the last person sent to the jury. For one thing, you came so close to making the finals only to fall short. And given how bitter the jury was, Cynthia would likely have easily taken the grand prize over either Todrick or Miesha had she been able to win the final HOH competition. But then on top of that, you join the jury as the only one outside the loop, not privy to everyone spilling secrets and (in the case of a celebrity season) watching the footage at home. It was especially ironic that Cynthia, the consummate follower, had to vote for the winner without knowing which way the wind was blowing. Her sole vote for Todrick made sense given what she'd seen inside the house, but it sure made her look like the only juror who didn't get it.

    Winner: Carson Kressley

    Look, sometimes Big Brother viewers pick an America's Favorite Player because they played hard played smart and got eliminated on one bad break. And sometimes they don't! Carson was an incredibly likeable presence in the house, and the editors of the show leaned on him heavily for quippy confessionals and lighthearted comedy. So it's no surprise that viewers voted him for AFP, despite the fact that he was outrageously foolish for allowing Miesha and Todrick to convince him to evict his ally, Shanna, on his own HOH. It was one of the worst moves in BB history, and America shouldn't have rewarded it. But they did, and incorrectly rewarded money spends just the same as justified money, so good for Carson.

    Loser: Shanna Moakler

    The campaign to get Shanna to win America's Favorite Player began even before she got evicted, as fans were so upset that Miesha and Todrick got Carson and Cynthia to turn on her by telling outright lies and slandering her character. A Shanna win would have been a salve on the season's ugliest chapter, and it would have been delicious to see the look on Todrick's face when he realized whose side America had taken. A missed opportunity.

    Winner: Teddi Mellencamp

    Teddi may have been the first player evicted this season, but she got to end the season with the finale's best line. Knowing that Todrick — who turned on her in the first week and helped engineer her eviction — is a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz and has styled so much of his social media fame around it, Teddi made sure her target was unambiguous as possible, saying, "One of your favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz, but you've forgotten that we can see behind the curtain."

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Celebrity Big Brother, CBS, Carson Kressley, Chris Kirkpatrick, Cynthia Bailey, Miesha Tate, Shanna Moakler, Teddi Mellencamp, Todd Bridges, Todrick Hall