‘Big Brother’ 21 episode 39 recap: Did Michie, Holly or Nicole win Final HOH (Part 1) on Sunday, September 22? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

And then there were three. Following the eviction of Cliff Hogg, the only houseguests still in the running to win “Big Brother” Season 21 are Jackson Michie, Holly Allen and Nicole Anthony. Whoever becomes the last Head of Household of the season will earn the power to bring someone with them to the final two, so it’s do or die time for our final three players. Sunday’s episode featured Part 1 of the three-part HOH competition, in addition to showcasing some of the wackiest and wildest moments from the summer.

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Big Brother” recap of Season 21, Episode 39 to find out what happened Sunday, September 22 at 8/7c. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite houseguests on CBS’s reality TV show, who annoys you the most and who you think will ultimately join the “Big Brother” winners list. Keep refreshing/reloading this live blog for the most recent updates.

8:00 p.m. — “Previously on ‘Big Brother’!” In Thursday’s 38th episode, Cliff tried his hardest to remain in the competition, but it was all to no avail as there was no way Michie was gonna keep him over his showmance partner Holly. Meanwhile, at the jury house, Tommy Bracco and Christie Murphy revealed that they knew each other before the game began, and Nick Maccarone and Kathryn Dunn started hooking up — poor Bella! How will tonight’s final HOH (Part 1) play out? Let’s go!

8:15 p.m. — Nicole is living her worst nightmare – being left alone in the house with Michie and Holly. They’re most likely going to bring each other to the final two, but Nicole won’t go down without a fight. Michie is dead set on winning and he’s basically going manic in his Diary Room confessions at this point. Holly feels like she’s in a dream, but knows she’s been playing in the shadows and she wants to prove she deserves to be standing there at the end. Michie sits down with Nicole and admits that he’s pissed off a lot of the jury. Nicole knows that Michie has been terrible with jury management, but she knows that he’s also just trying to convince her to take him to the final two if she wins the last HOH. Later, Nicole tells Holly that Michie has dominated on a game level, so if she has the option, Nicole may be a better choice. She’s not likely to convince Holly of anything, but it’s worth giving it a shot.

8:25 p.m. — As we go through each of the houseguests’ resumes, we see Michie’s strategy first. Michie used his relationship with Jack Matthews as a shield. Michie and Jack were nominated together twice and both times Jack was the target. After Jack blew up Michie’s game, Holly was Michie’s only ally and at that point they were forced to win competitions. And they did! Michie alone has 10 competition wins to his name to date. Next, Michie and Holly formed a final four deal with Cliff and Nicole and the rest is history. The last notch in Michie’s belt? His lie about Tommy that resulted in the Broadway dancer’s eviction. Will his ruthless, bull-in-a-china-shop game play be a hit or a miss with the jury? We won’t know until finale night.

8:30 p.m. — There is not finalist that has been more underestimated this season than Nicole. Heading into the house, Nicole knew she would have to focus on her social game. She saw something in Cliff that resonated with her, so early on she formed a final two deal with him. As the game moved forward, Nicole and Cliff became outsiders but they remained patient. Next, Cliff and Nicole teamed up with Jessica Milagros and Kat to take out a huge threat in Jack. After that major victory, Nicole lost her alliance members Kat and Jess. But in the nick of time, Michie approached Nicole and Cliff about a final four with himself and Holly. Nicole knew the game well enough to not turn down an alliance and it all paid off. Nicole’s glory moment came on double eviction night when she re-paid Michie and Holly by sending home Christie. Last, Nicole’s decision to keep Holly over Tommy resulted in a deal for Holly to throw the next HOH. That ultimately gave Nicole the next HOH win and secured her spot in the final three. Unfortunately, she lost Cliff later that week and now she’s in the final three with a showmance.

8:35 p.m. — All season long Holly has been saying she’s more than a showmance and she proved that by making it to the final three. The second Holly walked in the door, she knew she would need to play a calculated, careful game in order to survive to the end. Joining a big, strong alliance was the perfect way for her to ease into the summer. Holly was surrounded by bigger targets who were sent packing before she was. Holly wasn’t expecting to get so close with Michie, but she did have a friendship with Kat prior to moving into the house. It was a benefit to Holly to have a friend on the “other side” of the house until that secret nearly blew up her game. At that point, the house turned against Holly and Michie but they were a dynamite duo who couldn’t be stopped. Flying under the radar was out the window so they had to compete and win their own safety, and they did! Holly won two HOH competitions and she lasted 83 days without seeing the block. When she finally did, she formed a deal with Nicole and Cliff to save herself from eviction. She agreed to throw the next HOH competition to them, but Michie won the Veto and kept her safe. Holly has a lot of friends in jury, so if she gets the chance to plead her case to them, she’s got a shot at the $500,000!

8:45 p.m. — Last year’s top three Kaycee Clark, Tyler Crispin and JC Mounduix stopped by to chat with host Julie Chen Moonves and offer their insights on Season 21. All of them are shocked that Michie and Holly managed to get themselves to the end. JC was particularly surprised that Michie lasted considering his terrible social game. As for Cliff and Nicole choosing Holly over Tommy a couple weeks ago? Tyler said Cliff “lost his mind!” JC said showmances must be destroyed and it probably cost Nicole half a million dollars. But how was the game play of the final three? They like Nicole’s social game and Tyler loves a player who survives adversity to make it the end. They respect Michie’s dominance in the competitions, but feel his aggressive style and terrible social game could come back to bite him. As for Holly, Kaycee would not mind seeing her win. JC respects how Holly avoided the block for so long, but Tyler doesn’t respect how much Holly has hidden behind Michie. But who do they predict will win? Kaycee wants Nicole to win, but thinks it will be Michie or Holly. Tyler picks Michie. JC predicts Holly. Who is right? We won’t know until Wednesday!

8:59 p.m. — We finish off the night with Part 1 of the final three-part HOH competition. On Julie’s go, Holly, Michie and Nicole must cross their rope bridges and jump across rotating pillars above a “lava pit” to get to the other side. Once there, they must complete the ancient “BB Puzzle.” Once complete, their treasure chest will open, revealing gold coins. Their goal is to transfer 25 gold coins, one at a time, back to their crate at the starting platform. The first guest to complete this will win the competition and automatically advance to Part 3 on finale night. Not surprisingly, Michie gets to the puzzle much faster than Holly or Nicole and begins his puzzle. Holly is next, followed by Nicole. Next, Michie flies threw his puzzle and from that point on it’s over. Michie easily wins Part 1 of this contest and advances to Part 3. The next two rounds will play out on finale night where Michie, Holly or Nicole will win the final HOH contest and choose who joins them in the final two – leaving their fate up to the jury. That’s a wrap for tonight!

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