Celebrity Big Brother will come to its conclusion tonight by ending in the opposite way to which it began. Kirstie Alley (3.3) and Ryan Thomas (1.46) were first and second to enter to the house and will be the last to leave tonight. There’s no doubt that the two most famous celebrities in the house will finish in the Top 2 together tonight. The question is, which one is going to trump the other? They both have lots going for them for all sorts of reasons.
The call here, and it’s not the most decisive I’ve ever made, is that Kirstie Alley will win the series. Since the very start, it’s been clear that she has received the most producer favour out of all of the housemates. The first week was supposed to be all about ex-porn star Stormy Daniels. When she dropped out at the eleventh hour, they had no choice but to run with Kirstie as house president instead. In the highlights that went out during one live show, she got to make us laugh by incorrectly pronouncing the names of British places such as Loughborough, Worcester and Slough, all in the name of making her an ‘Honorary Brit’.
More recent tasks have seen Kirstie expertly write mean tweets about the rest of her housemates, which she pulled off very effectively. In last night’s penultimate episode, the producers had gone all out with the set design to create ‘Thirsty Kirstie’s’, an American Cheers-themed pub which was dedicated to her. The timing of this was more than a bit suspicious. After all, they could have done this at any time of the series and/or made it like ’The Rovers Return’ from Coronation Street, if they were looking to push Ryan. But the final vote is open, and it made Kirstie appear in the best light possible when she was very humbled and thankful for the American-style pub in the diary room. When she threw the glass of water over Ryan, it was a hilarious and memorable moment which presented them both in a good light.
From what we have seen from the highlights shows and live feed, Kirstie has conducted herself flawlessly in the house. She hasn’t put a foot wrong, which demonstrates what an extraordinary character she is. This has been reflected in the editing. Not once have we seen her portrayed in a negative light, which is extremely rare in this programme. I’ve always said that someone doesn’t have to be perfect to win this show, as the winner is usually somebody whom is somewhat divisive. Kirstie isn’t divisive at all – you either like her or you love her. The only things you could possibly criticise her for is the fact she’s a Trump-supporting Republican and a Scientologist. However, this hasn’t been brought up for a long time on the show and I’m pretty sure that the CBB audience, with their very short memories, have forgotten these facts.
Kirstie is by far the funniest person across the series, and she has made us laugh several times across pretty every episode. Her years of comedy acting have made her very naturally and effortlessly funny. The winner of this show is often somebody associated with humour and only Kirstie fits the bill for this of those who are remaining. She has unquestionably been the most entertaining, is the biggest star on the show and I think many will be basing their decision to vote on these important factors.
What's the data saying?
I use plenty of online metrics (in addition to my own instinct) to determine the popularity of particular housemates, and Kirstie is leading them all. In fact, she has been ahead since Wednesday (when Ryan was ill), which suggests she is the most popular housemate online at just the right time. The major question is, of course, will this be reflected in the real vote? Ryan’s two-day absence due to illness allowed Kirstie to build up momentum which doesn’t seem to have subsided.
Speaking of Ryan, it’s important not to underestimate his chances of winning. As a good-looking male Coronation Street alumnus, he was always going to be in with a fair shot of winning or reaching the Top 2, even if he didn’t do very much. He reminds me a lot of ex-EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood, who finished second and almost won his series, boosted significantly by an anti-vote against Stephen Bear.
By far the biggest thing Ryan going for him is not his Soap star status but the incident which happened with Roxanne. She wrongly accused him of serious physical assault and then subsequently tried to end his career in a desperate attempt by her to win the show. The sympathy Ryan received from this was enormous, and Ryan was dominating all online stats at the time as a result. Many people expect this sympathy to carry him to victory, which of course it just might.
In terms of how Ryan has otherwise conducted himself on the show, however, I’m not sure he would be the most deserving winner. He was just sort of bobbing along in the first few weeks, not doing a lot to make people to hate or love him either way. In this final week, he seems to have moved backwards in terms of his popularity. Ryan has been perceived as Sally’s lapdog, which hasn’t been particularly popular with everyone who hates her. He stood up for her in the bunion-gate argument, and again against Hardeep where he became aggressive in stating he didn’t want to discuss racism or race relations. The timing of the Roxanne incident may well have been a week too early, or it may just be recent enough.
I have seen a lot of comments online where people are saying they were supporting Ryan, but not anymore as in the last week he has become “cocky” and “annoying”. His over-the-top laugh has been highlighted both on the show and by viewers as something they find irritating. He’s therefore managed to become a bit of a hate figure for some people, which has come as a surprise, though some of this might be down to tribalism with people fiercely supporting their favourite and wanting them to win as the final approaches.
If there was anyone who received a ‘winner’s edit’ in last night’s crucial final highlights show, it was probably Dan, of all people. He was shown being emotional in the diary room towards the very end of the episode, saying how much he loves his kids. Nick was also shown in the garden saying that he thinks Dan (or Gabby) should win as it would do the most for his career. The effect of this, and I think it will have been intentional, will have been to distract votes away from Ryan to go to Dan instead. It could have been a coronation for the ex-soap star last night, but it wasn’t, and so producers are keeping us guessing as to who will be the winner. His edit was definitely not what it could have been. Maybe they would prefer he didn't win, or perhaps he isn’t in need of the help?
Ryan may well have a multi-voting Manchester North West regional vote on his side. If it’s close with Kirstie, it’s possible that this could carry him across the line. However, this should already be reflected online in the stats and I suspect Kirstie has plenty of hardcore multi-voting fans as well. I expect Ryan to receive a small anti-vote and Kirstie to receive almost no anti-vote. Ryan will pick up some votes once Dan has been eliminated, while Kirstie will pick up some after Nick’s name has been called. Both Ryan and Kirstie will be plenty of people’s second favourites, so it’s not exactly straightforward in predicting tonight’s winner. Lots of people seem to want Kirstie to win but expect Ryan to win, which is fair enough. But I’m going to put my neck on the line and predict that because more people seem to want Kirstie to win, she will do so and will have a narrow victory over Ryan.
In true Nate Silver style, let me outline the four possible outcomes tonight, in the order of likelihood that I give to them.
1. Kirstie Alley wins in a close vote
2. Ryan Thomas wins in a close vote
3. Kirstie Alley wins in a landslide
4. Ryan Thomas wins in a landslide
Do you agree? Feel free to comment and let me know!
It’s not all about the winner
Let me touch briefly on third place. This has been a fiercely-contested finishing position between several different housemates. Since Hardeep has left the house, my pick for third is Nick Leeson, whom I think has come across better and seems to have more fans online than Dan and the two other women.
The wooden spoon
Last place is clearly a battle between Gabby Allen and Psychic Sally Morgan. The latter survived Friday’s eviction against Hardeep and so must have some fans out there who have perhaps seen her on tour over the years. Gabby has only really made a negative impression on the show and could have been potentially boosted by teenage girl fans, but it feels like no one is really supporting her.
So, to conclude, let me finish by stating my predicted finishing order for tonight’s CBB final:
1. Kirstie Alley
2. Ryan Thomas
3. Nick Leeson
4. Dan Osborne
5. Sally Morgan
6. Gabby Allen
I will be listening carefully to what, if anything, Emma Willis says about the voting tonight. If she opens the show by stating that “it’s close”, she could well be referring to fifth and sixth places, which are always somewhat close. If she says that it’s close later on, the winner market will react to this.
Good luck with all your positions tonight if you are betting, and I’d just like to thank you all for reading my site over the course of this series. I’d appreciate if you could retweet this article @Reality_Tim and share it with any friends who might be interested.
I’ll be back later today covering the X Factor auditions and then at the end of next week (Friday 21st September), I will start to cover the regular Big Brother series, once I’m back from a well-earned holiday.