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Celebrity Big Brother: How Brandi's Final Lie Blew Up James' Game

But he still enjoyed his final hour without her

Megan Vick

A double-eviction night turned the entire Celebrity Big Brotherhouse on its head in the span of a single hour.

After Brandi Glanville was evicted from the house at the top of the evening, Omarosa took over after winning a memory board HOH comp. She didn't hesitate to put Ross and Marissa on the block, trying to ensure that the house's most powerful twosome would be split apart. That's not exactly how things went down though, since Ross won the Power of the Veto shortly thereafter and put himself back in safety.

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With Ross safe, Omarosa turned her sights on James, the most powerful physical player in the house. The natural athlete couldn't win over Miss Congeniality Marissa -- especially after Brandi dropped a bombshell that James had a Final Two deal with Ross before she left -- and he found himself getting ejected as well.

TV Guide talked to James about the short period of time he had to enjoy the house without Brandi, her game-changing lie, and who he wants to see take it all.

James Maslow, Big Brother: Celebrity Edition​

James Maslow, Big Brother: Celebrity Edition

Bill Inoshita, CBS

You were admittedly not a superfan of this show before entering the house, but got involved in the game very quickly. Were you expecting to get that into that soon?

James Maslow: No, I think it's fair to say that I wasn't. I wasn't a superfan of the show and I knew what the show was. I knew all the key points. I also knew that this show was going to be very different than any other show. Not only was it expedited in a much shorter period of time, but you're also dealing with very different personalities than your median age of 24 and out of college or unemployed [contestants] in a three-month experience. A lot of people went in thinking, "Oh, I know this show backwards and forwards and how it's going to go" and had to change their games very quickly... In some ways, I think it benefitted me actually going in not with a strict plan. I was able to watch, learn, get to know everybody and then create a plan accordingly, which obviously worked pretty well until the sudden double eviction.

You became a big target from that HoH challenge. How did that affect your game play knowing that people were gunning for you from the very start?

Maslow: The consensus of the house and the reality is that I was a target when I walked in those double doors, just being younger, being a guy in a more heavily female house that clearly wanted to have a girls' alliance and have all four girls in the finale. I didn't realize how big of a target I was but I can only be grateful that I didn't win that first HoH because had I done it, yes, the house would have been different initially, but I would have guaranteed been the next one out. That's part of the strategy that I developed because of the success of that. As risky as it was to come in second and then get past that block, I realized if I could keep not winning and especially if I could get to a point where I could actually dictate who is winning these competitions -- which I did multiple times -- it put me in a position to win. I was as close as I could to guaranteeing that I could stay in the house without having to preclude myself from playing the next HoH, which may have been more important each time.

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Let's talk about Brandi because you clashed from the beginning. What was at the root of that and how much did it affect you leaving the house?

Maslow: I guess I should be grateful because she instigated and perpetuated whatever you want to call that situation. If that became a fan favorite, then great! Thanks Brandi!

It's just one of the most adolescent and obnoxious experiences I've ever had to deal with, to be quite frank. I guess that's what she's made a living doing, being obnoxious and attempting to pick fights with people. I had no idea who she was before and I still don't know what she does until this day because I was in a house with everyone else who has studied, worked and honed in on a craft and because successful because of it. If her craft is just to be crass and rude with very little tact, then she's pretty good at it. I was a in a position where I couldn't do anything but take it, acknowledge it and do nothing back. When you fight with a fool, the audience cannot tell the difference. If I had engaged with her at any time I would have looked just as bad and I think that would have been worse for that game.

The one thing she did do that I think contributed to my leaving was she told a major lie before she left the house. She told it to the one person it sounds like she hadn't lied to at all, which is Ari. So Ari, Omarosa and all these people that I was straightforward with from the get go but didn't have a close relationship with, she made up this whole thing about how Ross and I have a Final Two [alliance] and that is part of the reason I left the house.

It seemed like your dream, even more than winning, was to have a full day in that house without Brandi. Instead, you ended up with an hour. Is not getting her out sooner going to be a big regret for you?

Maslow: No, no, no.That hour was one of the most enjoyable hours I had in that house. I think that was wonderful. I went out after her and I chalk that up as a pretty major win. As much fun as it would have been to stay in the house -- and I think I would have had a really good chance if I had stayed past that day of winning the whole thing -- I prefer to have gone out when I did than... Sunday morning, which is going to be someone else... I'm in my own house, which I've missed dearly. A win for me, bigger than the money, has always been getting into a situation that is no way my wheelhouse and something I never thought I would do, and not something I'm sure I will do again: go into it, go through it and come out of it with class and tact... If I had stayed,that could have been undermined with one fight, whether it be with Omarosa or if Brandi was still in the house, and I'm just so happy that it wasn't.

You came really close to winning the HoH last night. If you had managed to beat Omarosa, who would have been on the block?

Maslow: As much as everyone wanted Omarosa out, and clearly she was gunning for me, but guess what? So was everybody. I probably would have gotten out Ari because she's currently the biggest threat in the house for physical competitions, which are going to be heavy moving forward. I wouldn't be surprised if she won the next physical competition because I think it's an endurance one. No one else can come close. No one else is in anywhere near the shape that she is and it's hugely due to her being 24 years old and everyone else being 15 to 25 years older than that.

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Did you have a Final Two with Mark or were you leaving that open if you got to finale night?

Maslow: I never had an official Final Two with Mark, but we kind of had an unspoken thing because he was the only person in the house that I could trust, that had my back. Frankly, I think I had the best chance of winning sitting next to him. It's something that I was working towards and probably would have solidified, but interestingly enough, because I didn't have a Final Two, I could have made another deal in that five minutes that I was on the block with anyone in the house. Namely, Ari or Omarosa, who would have swayed that vote more. I chose not to because, like I said before, I went out honoring my word pretty much throughout the entire show. I considered other things and considered things with Omarosa, but I never did it. I know it's a game and some people would say I should have done this differently, but I'm pretty proud of myself that I didn't. I haven't watched the show but the first conversation I had with my dad he goes, "Wow, Ross was a conniving, backstabbing person," which is funny to me because I didn't see that.

Do you have any resentment towards Ross and Marissa? They did make two Final Four deals that they used to get them further.

Maslow: I was pretty well aware of the deals in the house. I was on the outskirts of one of those Final Four deals that Brandi clearly blew up since she can't actually honor anything that she said. None of it was a surprise to me. I never took any of that stuff personally. You have to imagine I spent as much time on the block as I did off the block. I was used to not only people gunning for me but everyone assuming I was going home and being pretty liberal with what they would tell me, expecting me not to be in the game much longer. I was pretty well aware of it. It was a game. It wasn't real from Day 1. I was luckily able to remind myself of that every day and not take any of it too personally, thus have a far less of an emotional roller coaster than the people who are left in the house, who just drove themselves crazy every day.

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You're now part of the jury. Who are you hoping you get to vote for to win this thing?

Maslow: If Mark is there, he will have my vote. I would love to see him there. He is definitely older and I don't think he'll have as much stamina as someone like Ari or even Omarosa when she puts her mind to it, but her physical wins have been unique competitions. She won't be able to do something where it's running around. The asthma thing will inevitably be a factor. How much it will be a factor will also be her decision, if you get what I'm saying. I think Ari has a great chance. If they're smart they'll try and get her out next, but I'd love to see my boy Mark in the final two.

Is there anyone you'd absolutely not give your vote to of who is left?

Maslow: Based on what I've heard about Ross and that he's part of the reason I left the house... We had many conversations about who he would like to see in the end and he just lied about that, so I don't know if he would get my vote. I'm not sure that Omarosa would get my vote. As much as I like Ari and I'd like to see her win as a person, she made a mistake by believing Brandi's lie, so I think Marissa and Mark have a far better chance of getting my vote than anyone else at this moment.

Celebrity Big Brother concludes with a tw0-hour finale on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 8/7c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)