It's Hamster Time! That guilty summer pleasure Big Brother returns Thursday for its 14th season and CBS promises it will be bigger than ever — at least by head count. Expect 12 new players to participate in the game, as well as four returning audience faves. Who will take home the $500,000 grand prize? Who will fall in love? Who will be the next Chima and have a batcrap-crazy meltdown? TV Guide Magazine sat for a chat with each the newbies before they went into the house but the drama started even sooner than expected. At the eleventh hour, one of the houseguests we met — Mike Baxter, a 23-year-old bartender from Boston — suddenly backed out of the show. Alas, we can't tell you much about his replacement Joe Arvin, a 41-year-old chef from Schererville, Indiana, but here's hot dish on the other 11. Let's get this party started!
"Going on Big Brother is my chance to become America's favorite new rock 'n' roll lesbian!" says Arroyo, a former bass guitarist for the heavy metal group Kittie. Currently fronting her own band, Jenn City, she's at work on an album titled Out for Blood. Prophetic? "That's the kind of attitude I always bring, baby!" says the wildly tattooed Arroyo, who was discovered by the BB casting peeps when she was wishing Happy Birthday to a friend on Facebook. "I'm the real deal, Holyfield, and I'm going into this competition with guns blazing!" Years on the road in a tour bus have prepped her for the worst. "I know what it's like to be in close quarters with a bunch of people burping and farting in my face, so I can handle any kind of roommate. Bring it on!"
Hometown: Marion, Arkansas
The son of ex-pro wrestler Sid Vicious, mop-topped Eudy describes himself as a "country bumpkin yokel" and hasn't had steady work in two years. "My buddies with jobs all wish they could trade places with me," says Eudy, who currently kicks back in Naples, Florida. "I watch TV all day or go to the beach and look at the girls. And then I hit the happy hours." Don't get him wrong. "I'm not totally unmotivated," Eudy notes. "I did bartend at a hookah bar for a month last fall. And a couple of months ago I almost nearly got a job as a male nanny. I'm not working right now because it's hard to find something I really want to do." But he does have one major goal in life: "I want to be the most respected player in Big Brother history!"
Hometown: Vinton, Louisiana
He's the younger brother of that villainous, three-time Survivor loser Russell Hantz — and he's not about to make the same mistakes! "Somebody in this family has gotta win something because we're running out of chances," say Hantz, who loads barges for a living at the Port of Houston. "I won't be mean like Russell and kick people when they're down. He couldn't survive more than a week in the Big Brother house because you gotta know your boundaries. My big concern is that I can't stand judgmental people who think they're better than everyone else — and you know the house will have a few of those." He has a 17-year-old daughter due to give birth this month while he's on the show. Boasts Hantz: "I'm going to be the sexiest, 34-year-old grandfather you ever saw!"
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Now a freelance video producer, Heuser once had dreams of being a singer but things didn't go so well. He auditioned unsuccessfully for American Idol and, during his teen years, was signed by three different labels and dropped by all of them. "The music industry is a nasty place," states Heuser, who blames one of his collapsed record deals on the fact that he came out as gay. "Unfortunately, I learned the wrong lesson from that. I became very guarded and feared I wouldn't have a music career if I revealed myself. Now, looking back, I wish I'd come out sooner." His biggest concern about playing Big Brother? Fighting the babes in the house for use of the hair iron. Says Heuser: "I just got a fresh new weave and I am not to be messed with."
She's a dizzy, Goldie Hawn-esque spray-tan technician who makes house calls, but don't dismiss Iocco as a featherweight. She's been a hardcore student of Big Brother since Season 1 and she has her game plan all worked out. "I am very into visualizing and putting out the healing love energy so I plan to create my own secret alliance in the house," she says. "This is how it goes: I will be Snow White and seven of the other contestants will be my dwarves only they won't know it. They're going to subconsciously protect me and keep me safe in the game. Cool, huh?" If Iocco wins the big bucks, she plans to expand her tanning biz, Bronzique, into a franchise. "Being exposed to all those naked bods is a plus," she notes. "Nothing in the Big Brother house could shock me because I've seen it all — literally!"
Hometown: Bennington, Vermont
This beer and wine salesman (and occasional house flipper) knew nothing about Big Brother until a month ago. "I was picked because I was voted Cosmopolitan's Man of the Year from Vermont," he reveals. "I think maybe the show was looking for a sweet, small-town guy who is good looking but very humble." His biggest worry is "having my mom watch me have sex with a girl on television. She's very religious and, back when I was growing up, she told me vaginas had teeth. I stayed a virgin way too long because of that." Now he's making up for lost time. "The best — or maybe the worst — thing that could happen to me in the house is if one of the players is a blond and gorgeous Southern belle," he says. "That's my greatest weakness." Enter...
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
This blond and gorgeous Southern belle started out playing Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and the Little Mermaid at Walt Disney World. These days she's modeling in Los Angeles for such magazines as FHM and Men's Fitness. "And now I'm headed to Crazytown USA!" says Monaco, who had hoped to land on The Amazing Race "but suddenly found myself without a partner when my friend flaked on me, so I went out for Big Brother instead." She's definitely open to a showmance (sorry, Shane's mom!) and has been watching the show since her sister got her hooked back in Season 7. Monaco's taste in past houseguests is certainly eclectic. "I really admired Jeff and Jordan because they were such sweet, good people," she says. "But I also loved Evel Dick. He was one of the all-time great a--holes."
Hometown: Grant, Alabama
She works as a nurse but don't count on Murphree to come to the rescue if there's an emergency in the Big Brother house. "I don't want anyone to know I'm in the medical field or that I'm working on three different degrees including a Masters," she confides. "I plan to lie and say I'm someone not that smart like...oh...maybe a nursery school or kindergarten teacher. I mean, how can someone who works with Play-Doh all day and reads The Bernstein [sic] Bears be that much of a threat, right?" Murphree, who specializes in patients suffering from dementia and schizophrenia, says she'll "immediately be able to spot the players who are off their rockers." Plus she comes from tough stock. "I am the daughter of two U.S. Marines," she says. "I know I can win this game."
Hometown: Englewood, Colorado
This season's oldest player, Rollins is a recent newlywed who is leaving behind a hubby and five stepkids to achieve her dream of being on Big Brother. And she's not about to be anybody's mama. "I don't feel or look like I'm 42 — in fact, I don't accept it — and I don't think anyone in the house will see me that way, either," Rollins says. "I'm not here to cook. I'm not here to take care of people. Sorry. No way. No how." A server at the Ruth's Chris steakhouse in Palm Desert, California, Rollins is so obsessed with the show that she wrote a college paper on it. "I am addicted to it all — the 24-hour internet feed, Showtime After Dark, the blogs," she says. "People think I'm crazy but I don't care. I am a Big Brother nerd and I proudly embrace it."
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
What exactly does she do for a living? Well, it's hard to tell and, trust us, we tried! "I am freelancing a lot these days as my own boss," explains the noisy, high-octane Spatafora. "I kind of, like, find my own jobs, you know? I network a lot. I do a lot of stuff with promotion. I'm all over. And then I do bartending on the side. And I also do a little bit of go-go dancing. Not stripping! Go-go only! I constantly meet people and take pictures with them. To have everyone in a club watching me is just so great. For me, every job is like getting attention and I love, love, love attention!" Just don't compare her to those chicks on Jersey Shore. "I am an authentic first generation Italian born in America," Spatafora claims. "I am not like one of those Guidettes who try to fake it."
Finally the legal age to play Big Brother, this engineering student has been watching the show since he was 10. "The name of the game is to be a threat without looking like one," says Terry, who can see just fine but will amp up his geekiness by sporting Woody Allen-type specs with bogus lenses. "My glasses won't be the only fake thing in the house," he predicts. "I was supposed to spend the summer working in silicon chemistry but something tells me I may be dealing with silicon in other ways." Before leaving for the show, Terry had to promise his mother three things. "I assured her I wouldn't be a complete douchebag on TV. And also that I wouldn't smoke while I'm in the house. And also that I would stay a virgin even if I meet the right girl." Other than that, kid, have a great time!
Big Brother 14 premieres Thursday at 9/8c on CBS.