We're almost six days into the series now, so let me take a brief moment to look at the outright market before diving into this week's eviction.
The Holy Trinity
The biggest change in the outright market this week has seen Rodrigo (7.2) take second place over Kirstie (11.0). It seems viewers are still warming to Rodrigo despite the 'N-Word' scandal last Friday night. Perhaps this came early enough in the series to have a negligible effect on his winning chances. After all, timing is everything in Big Brother and saying something so highly offensive on Day 1 is much better than saying it on Day 25, for example. Rodrigo is a fascinating and humorous character and one I think Channel 5 would be happy with winning.
Ryan (3.5) has become a stronger favourite since I last posted. The most notable thing he's done has been talk in his sleep. However, I actually view him as a very strong favourite, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him remain favourite series-long and then end up taking the win from a somewhat divisive Rodrigo or American Kirstie. I've been steadily backing Ryan throughout the week and he's now a good four-figure green.
In terms of Kirstie, I'm not entirely sure what's seen her drift out to double figures. I don't think she's done much to turn viewers off her and I think her big fanbase and recognisability makes her all but certain to be there at the business end. You could definitely see her surviving plenty of evictions, should she find herself nominated.
The market seems desperate for a springer to come along, and it may well happen, but I think the winner is extremely likely to come from the Holy Trinity of Ryan, Rodrigo and Kirstie. It looks like Gabby will stand up to Natalie in tonight's episode, the latter of whom could well be evicted this Friday night...
A back-to-basics first eviction
Fans have been lauding all of the old-fashioned changes that have been made to make this series reminiscent of one that could've appeared on Channel 4. It doesn't get any more nostalgic than a classic head-to-head first eviction featuring two of the show's most divisive air-hoggers.
Let's look at the tally of nominations from last night's show;
Natalie – 8
Hardeep – 6
Rodrigo – 3
Chloe – 2
Kirstie – 2
Roxanne – 1
Sally – 1
Gabby – 1
Nick – 1
Ryan – 1
Ben – 0
Dan – 0
Jermaine – 0 (immune)
A typical Channel 5 series might have seen an eviction line up with Natalie, Hardeep, Rodrigo, Chloe and Kirstie. In which case, I would have been pretty certain Chloe would have gone, and I would have been comfortable placing a large amount of money on her to be the first out. However, producers seem obsessed with turning everything back-to-basics, which means we only have two up for eviction this week.
Hardeep vs Natalie
The lines opened last night (Tuesday) which gives viewers a four day window in which to vote. Neither of these housemates were particularly known to viewers before they entered, and so neither can rely on their previous fanbase or level of fame in order to save them.
Natalie in particular has caused a huge stir. She's a classic reality show villain, playing her part well in provoking lots of arguments with others. There are lots of people on the internet claiming she is 'entertaining' and whilst I agree with them, I don't think she is coming across as voteable at the moment. A preview clip from tonight's show sees her arguing with Gabby and then pulling out the race card. This is not going to go down well with the majority of viewers, but at the same time, she will definitely have her fans.
Hardeep has also received a lot of airtime in the first week. Lots of viewers felt sorry for him after he was on the receiving end of an argument with Natalie. However, like Natalie he is also a very divisive character, with many people thinking his behaviour towards some of the young girls has been on the creepy side.
My instinct is that this could well be an eviction which comes down purely to their demographics. Natalie is more disliked and is an American female, whereas Hardeep is male and Scottish, which could well be enough to save him if this eviction is close. Traditionally, it was always a female who was evicted first, though this hasn't always been the case in more recent years.
I therefore think Natalie is the right favourite for now, but the producers have three more days to edit the show in an attempt to save her, which I think would work in their interests. The show would be lacking its main villain should they lose Natalie at the first opportunity. It will be very interesting to see if they will try to achieve this and I am holding fire on the eviction market for the time being.
What do you think of what's happened in the show in recent days, and what do you think about this week's eviction at this early stage? Feel free to comment below.