The best doesn't always win and Big Brother 17 champ Steve Moses will be the first to agree. "I wasn't expecting to win. I have nothing to say about Vanessa except good things. She's a great, great player," Steve tells TVGuide.com. "I was totally OK with losing to her. I was happy I was against Liz. My Vanessa speech would've pandered to a bitter jury. She outplayed me in every way. I had nothing else on her. My hope would've been, 'Maybe I can pull an Ian and hope the jury is bitter.'"
See what else Steve and other houseguests had to say about his big win, how Vanessa tried to maneuver her way through the game with — all together now — no blood on her hands and more.
Why he didn't think he'd win: "Of the things that were possible when I applied for the show, winning was not one of them because the probability was so low. And Vanessa is amazing. She talked Liz into falling off the apple. She convinced James that the Jason backdoor was really Shelli and Clay's fault. She got Austin to nominate me and Johnny Mac up because she didn't like us getting too close. ... This year was Vanessa's mist. It wasn't Steve's mist and that's why I didn't take her. I don't know what I'm gonna do [with the money] because I didn't expect to win!"
His socially awkward gameplay: "I wasn't a threat. I intentionally worked it that way. You don't need to be anyone's ally early game, you just can't be the target. The best place to be is the bottom of an alliance. That's exactly where I sat in Scamper Squad. You had Austwins and Vanessa who could talk her way into everything. I was cool. James made a terrible move going after Shelli and Clay. The right move would've been two of Austwins and Vanessa."
His apparent feud with Becky: The root of his randomly inserted Diary Rooms about Becky is not that juicy. "She was very new to the game. She was very scared of deals. Apparently they made it seem like I didn't like her. In Week 2, she and Shelli were HOH, I told her if she didn't put me up, I would give her two weeks of safety if I were HOH. It didn't matter because I was throwing them, including the one I won. I offered that and it was like I threw a hot potato at her."
His competition resume: How did he forget a zero three times during the final four HOH? "I apparently have no sense of time. I was thinking a minute per egg. I didn't throw it. That was just an awful, awful guess," he says. It was also a fitting addition to his HOH wins. "I won Double Eviction by accident, I have the puzzle that John and Vanessa threw to me, I forgot a zero and I won one by a single question. This one was legit barely. I was confident in that [final HOH] answer. [Johnny Mac's] only [a dentist] for the money."
Making final two: "I thought I was dead in the water. I did not think [Steve] would bring me to the final two the last two days. He kept telling me he'd take Vanessa. He knew I didn't have anything planned. I was shocked more than ever. I'm really proud of him. He's wanted this his whole life. The two times I was most shocked this game: Austin's blindside — we were told by Vanessa for days that he was safe — and Steve taking me. I think I could've won. I wasn't thinking [in my answers]. ... I think I played a good game to last even though we were a huge threat. I owe a lot of the game to Vanessa.
How she fell for Austin after going from 0 to 93 percent: "I can't wait to see and Austin's and my love story unfold on TV! I was definitely not into him at first. He definitely won my heart. He's not the type I usually go for. His personality just swept me off my feet. He's very funny, very charismatic. He lets me wear the pants. I'm gonna make him cut the pony beard. I'm gonna cut it off."
BB Chopped: Team Liztin beat James and Julia in a must-watch live feeds moment last month: a BB Chopped cook-off. But it was a close one with the latter's maple syrup bacon mac and cheese with a corn flake crust. "They had the best mac and cheese ever and I thought they should've won, but our dessert was better," she says. "Theirs had a hair in it. I had Nutella from my HOH basket. BB Chopped was so much fun. It was very intense. I can't believe I forgot about it! You need to make the mac and cheese. It's so good!"
Getting taken out by Steve: "I was hoping for him to make a mistake and not evict me! I can't not respect the game move. It's a compliment at the end of the day. He framed it as a compliment. I'm gonna take it as a compliment. Last question — Johnny Mac! I never could read him. He was the only one. I never knew if he was completely bullsh--ting me or being truthful. Our brains operate differently. It is like watching two different species — a gazelle and a lion! Steve didn't guess [on that answer]. He knew. I'm OK with that. I'm gonna come out more in touch with my imperfections than ever."
Why she didn't want blood on her hands: "Try being a woman in the world of poker, being 23 years old. Whatever amount of cockiness I came in with, within a few months on the pro circuit, I quickly learned that unless I wanted to be the bitch in the game, I better be humble. It's a male-dominated industry, but I'm glad I learned that. It takes a more evolved person to go in and not have to brag and need approval from other people. I don't care if nobody even knows. I only care what people in my inner circle think. I tried hard to separate game from emotional. I'm a girl. I get PMS once a month and I cry and I'm not perfect. You hear whispers around every corner and you get paranoid. Half of me saying [Clay and Johnny Mac] were brothers was me having fun. You never know. I tried to play with integrity and making deals is one of the ways to show trust and get yourself further in the game."
That beanie: "I only washed it once. It's not like we left the house. I wash my hair every other day. I swear I'm clean! This [green] one is going away. I wore the other one all week and I said, 'We're gonna break out the green one one last time [for the finale] and we're gonna trash it.' I honestly wore it because it's cold in the house, so I was freezing. I never wear beanies in real life."
26 reasons why Johnny Mac was the best Big Brother 17 houseguest
Vanessa's game: "I feel like she owned it more than Steve did. Steve felt more emotionally bent out of shape by what he did. Vanessa would put on the big crying show, but she didn't feel bad about it." So did she cry more or say "incentives," "incentivize," "blood on my hands" or "deals" more? "Incentives — the worst word ever. You knew what she was gonna do. And the deals. 'I know there's an alliance out to get me.' 'No, it's a deal.' 'Whatever it is, it's out to get me. I don't care what you call it.' She cried a lot. I would say tears."
Being a secret superfan: One of JMac's strategies going in was to not tell everyone he's a superfan, and he pulled it off so well he had everyone fooled until he revealed it after the finale. "I just told people out here. They were like, 'What's the real twist?' Steve thought I was America's Player because I wasn't winning HOHs and I was really loud in the Diary Room. At first it was tough because I had to come up with a story about how I got here, but they all bought it, so I was like, 'Awesome!' Whenever a conversation comes up about past seasons, I had to remember, 'OK, I only saw the last two seasons.' I almost slipped up once because Jason did something to the memory wall and he was upset like Jen in Season 8. I laughed pretty hard at it and was like, 'Oh, no.'"
His random greetings to Julie Chen: "A lot of them were dumb things my brother says. I just wanted to say something different because everyone goes in there and does the same thing, like, 'Julie, you look amazing tonight.' Or they act like she's gonna say something different. That's stupid! You're gonna be disappointed every single time."
Potball vs. Frankie's glitter: Which does he hate more? (For the uninitiated, potball, created by Meg, is basically beer pong with pots and aluminum foil balls.) "'Potball, potball, potball.' Shut up! Frankie's glitter was funny. I was like, 'What do I do with this?' Sling band was more fun. Potball, you're throwing the balls in the pots and they're bouncing out whereas in beer pong, it would stay in there. You'd feel gypped and robbed and sling band, at least it stayed on the plate a little bit. You got partial credit. I'm never playing potball again."
Being blindsided: While he was obviously shocked at Judas being Judas-ed, Austin denies Julie Chen's claim that he refused to leave and tried to undo Vanessa's vote. "That's not true at all. They showed us the tape in the jury house and that's what happened. I was just processing it and left. I didn't do anything. It's weird how things get started like that. There was no editing. This is a game. When you're out, you're out. I was shocked, but I didn't put up a fight. I didn't flip anything over. I didn't say, 'Get to steppin'.'"
Vanessa's game: "I would not have voted for her. I stand by the fact that I don't think she played the right game. I think she should've stayed loyal to me. This was the season where everyone wanted to see some kind of loyalty. I think she should've kept quiet. ... Her paranoia drove her and prevented her from playing a great game. I think a lot of people disagree with that, but she and I did the same things. The only difference is, I wasn't paranoid or swearing on things, and she could win things and I couldn't. So I think she could've made a good argument against me in final two. She didn't own any of her moves. ... "The 'incentivize' one — when that one came out, I was like, 'OK, I'm done here.' I was going to press the button and leave."
His (ex-)girlfriend back home: "I pursued love and fell in love with Liz. The worst part was that I couldn't talk to her and tell her like a normal relationship. I wasn't married to her, I wasn't living with her, we had been drifting apart for a while. When I came into the house, I kinda said the right things because I wanted that security. I was scared, I was weak. This game made me realize what I wanted and it's Liz. I stand by the decisions and consequences. My regret is that I hurt somebody. That was never my intention. I'm ready to face it. I wasn't trying to have a fling. I hate that it happened on TV and she had to watch it."
Falling for Vanessa's Jedi mind trick: Julia's one regret was listening to Vanessa mid-Veto during Bowlerina to pick Austin to compete against. "She is so good at manipulating people. She went to law school and can get into people's heads. ... I do think she had my best intentions at heart. I wish I could've beaten Austin. My sister was so mad at me. Obviously I should've picked John, but John did so good. We do BB bowling and he was so good at it, so I was also like, 'Maybe I should just take Austin out.' I'm embarrassed. It was crazy."
Confusing Sigmund Freud with Siegfried and Roy: "Oh my God, I am so mortified! I took a philosophy class in college, learned about Sigmund Freud. I think I wrote a paper on the guy. It's funny in the house. ... You forget a lot of things. It's so embarrassing. Siegfried and Roy were friggin' lion tamers and one of them got bit! I'm gonna fast-forward that. Professor Coolidge is gonna kill me!"
BB Chopped: "That's one of my favorite moments. It was legit as f---. You don't understand the amount of dishes we had to do after that. It was so fun, but doing dishes was awful. Our friggin' dessert round — I messed up. I burned the chocolate and we didn't have the Nutella. Maybe Chopped will wanna come to us!"
Vanessa vs. Steve: Though he had said he wouldn't vote for Vanessa after she put him and Meg on the block, James said he definitely would've voted for her had she made the final two. "I was gonna vote for Vanessa. She played a good game. I was shocked Vanessa wasn't in the final two. Steve winning is awesome. The kid became a man. I'm happy for him."
Bathing in blood: "I covered my face with it! This whole game was very secretive, very behind the scenes. It wasn't very direct, except for a few people who were like, 'I'm putting you up because I want this to happen.' It was people whispering and getting other people to do their work for them."
Regrets: James does not regret flipping the vote to save Vanessa instead of Shelli, but he thinks telling Vanessa his targets is what did him in. "I was so careful the whole game of just telling her the truth, like, 'Yeah, I did it, that was me.' Then I slipped up one time and she got me. I read Vanessa. I kinda had a feeling she was a poker player. She would always wear sunglasses and stare at people reading them. I could tell that."
Friend zone: "She put me in the friend zone so she deserved [me taking her out in the Hide and Go Seek Veto]. Meg and I had a lot of good pillow talk. We're really good friends. We've established a lifelong friendship. I'm gonna get her to come to Texas first."
Date night: Since he's been evicted, Clay has put in time with Shelli's family, meeting her brother, and he's got their date night nearly ready to go. "It is almost all planned out. It's gonna be in Texas."
Steve's win: "I couldn't be more happy for the guy. He won when he needed to win. People say he wasn't bold in the beginning. I think that was his strategy not to win HOHs early. He won the last couple HOHs and got out Vanessa. I think people think he's a floater, but he's not at all. [Meg] was a floater. I think he's very calculated with all his decisions." As for that touchy-feely Cleg hug, he says, "I think people have blown that up. Me and Meg are friends. She's an awesome girl. I didn't think she was drunk. Drunk or not, people are making too big of a deal about it."
Mumbling: The Furless Bat is trying to stop. "I'm aware! I'm trying to make myself aware of it. I didn't realize it was that bad. My parents have always been like, 'You've got to stop mumbling!' I watch it and I'm like, 'Oh, sh--!' Half of them, I was half asleep, but the Diary Rooms, that was me just talking to myself and getting my thoughts together. I do mumble!"
Vanessa's game: "She wasn't owning it. She didn't want to wear the crown. I was hoping in a final-two scenario, she would've had that speech and owned it. Maybe she would've. I just wanted her to be like, 'I wanna bathe in it. I wanna roll in it.' I think she wanted to do the 'I'm gonna cry and do the sweet way.' We in the BB community don't want the sweet way. We want, 'This is what it is. They might come to my wedding, but I'm kicking them out tomorrow.' I think she cried more than any past houseguest. She makes Rachel look like Rachel never cried."
This year's theme: No, he's not talking about takeovers. "This season, everyone was worried about next week. We saw a lot of people change their deals or their plan because they were like, 'Oh, no, what about next week? Let's vote out Julia so Austin and Liz don't get pissed off.' Even though Liz is the better player. It was all about how Vanessa was gonna smooth it over the next week."
Getting backdoored: "We were just so naïve to it. Meg and I ... were talking and we thought we were safe and they were probably upstairs talking about us right then. I should've known, saying, 'I feel so safe.' I think I was always gonna be a target. ... Once they saw me as the leader of the 'other side' of the house, they thought it would disband my group. All it did was unite my group. They really created the Goblins. Before that, we were just talking game to each other. It's one of those things where we weren't making alliances or deals, and people didn't pay attention. We could've had someone like the buffoon [Austin] out before jury."
Zing-writing: "What Zingbot needs to do is call me up and have me write for him. I don't know if I can zing myself, but I can zing everybody else all day long. 'Thanks for turning your back on me, Shelli, because we can all see how cheap your extensions look.' Ziiiiiinnngggg!"
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