‘Big Brother 21’s’ Ovi: ‘I feel really dumb’ for forming that sham alliance

It was a bittersweet Camp Comeback comp for Ovi Kabir on Thursday’s episode of “Big Brother 21.” His BFF Cliff Hogg III, who was just blindsided, won the comp to return to the game at his expense. And adding insult to injury, Ovi is now leaving the game for good with the Nightmare Power still in his pocket since he was backdoored in Week 1. It was his power that he used to try to sway Jack Matthews and Jackson Michie to keep him then to no avail. That was also back when Ovi had no clue that his Fam Five alliance with them, Christie Murphy and Analyse Talavera, which he now admits was “dumb” of him to form.

See what else Ovi had to say about his time in the house, what he would’ve done differently and why he felt like had to stand up for Nicole Anthony when H8ful Gr8ful was snubbing her.

Gold Derby: Not only are you out, but your power went to waste.
Ovi: I know, I know, it went to waste. I didn’t have much of a chance to use it. That was the last thing I wanted to do — walk out of the house with a power in my pocket — but that’s what happened.

Gold Derby: How surprised were you that Cliff was evicted rather than Nicole?
Ovi: I was pretty surprised. It seemed like Nick [Maccarone] and Bella [Wang] assured him he wouldn’t go. I thought Michie and Holly [Allen] would stick with them too. … It was shocking to me because going into that comp, I knew Cliff would be incredibly good at that it. That’s something we’ve talked about in the past, about balancing things, so I knew he would feel good about that. That was when I realized this would be hard because if Nicole had went out, I think I would’ve had a chance to get back in. It was tough competing against my best friend. I love Cliff to death. He was the last person I wanted to compete against. … I got one ball in and I tried to rush the other balls in, but he was already at four.

SEE ‘Big Brother 21’s’ Kemi sounds off on Jack: He is a ‘raging douche lord’

Gold Derby: What would you have done had you returned?
Ovi: We already had a feeling that these people were working together. Initially, I was mulling over three targets: Nick and Bella would’ve been the easy target because I think everyone was focused on them, and Jack. In Camp Comeback, David [Alexander] and I talked a lot about how Jack was doing things and him being the power center. I would’ve wanted to take a shot at Jack. It would’ve been tough, though, because he knew about my Nightmare Power, so he would’ve likely held that over my head. If I got back in and wasn’t HOH, I would’ve played it cool. And I would tell someone to put me up as a pawn and I would use my Nightmare Power, take myself off and they would have to do a random decision. Or if I felt like they were going to backdoor me, I might use the power, so that way I would hope they wouldn’t pick me because they would be so surprised and I could play the Veto and not be backdoored. I knew my back would be up against the wall if I didn’t win that HOH if I came back, but I was fully prepared for that.

Gold Derby: Do you regret telling Jack and Jackson first about your power? Because I will tell you everyone watching like, “Nooooooo! Don’t tell them first.”
Ovi: [Sighs] Yeah, you know it’s so tough to say in hindsight. I felt in that moment that there was no one else I could tell that would have the sway in the house and could get the votes for me. I saw the writing on the wall. Nick, Bella and Kemi [Fakunle] kind of wrote me off already. … I already knew I had Nicole and Cliff. I saw that if I wanted to get Sis, Holly, Christie [Murphy] and Tommy [Bracco], I probably needed to get Jack and Michie. They felt like they needed some sort of safety, so I thought by going to those two, it was a Hail Mary. I didn’t expect it to work, but I thought … maybe this would be enticing enough that would get them to flip.

If I had approached Nick and Bella, they still would’ve been like, “He’s a threat, let’s get him out.” The only thing I think I should’ve done was rather than go to those two, I should’ve gotten a group of five more people together … and let them know I would use the power on any of these people if you guys keep me in the house. Maybe it would’ve been different. But yeah, I trusted them a little too much in that moment.

Gold Derby: Early in the game, you overheard talk of an eight-person alliance and then you unknowingly went and formed a sham alliance with four of the eight.
Ovi: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah, I did do that. I made a sham alliance with people in there. I feel really dumb for doing that. It’s tough because from my perspective, there weren’t many options at that point to form an alliance. I felt an in with Michie and Jack. I thought I could at least be the fifth man. They would utilize me, but cut me down the line. If I got far and brought in Nicole, maybe I could take them out from the inside. But I just didn’t feel like I could approach Nick and Bella about that. Kemi was in Bella’s corner then. Jessica [Milagros] was closer with me, but we weren’t in power, so I figured I would get to those guys. And I didn’t think Sis at that point was aligned with them either. I had a connection with Sis, but I don’t know, it’s tough to say!

If I didn’t make that alliance with them, they might not have seen me as a target right away. In my head, I thought there was no reason why you would vote anyone out who is for you in the beginning like that. I thought they would at least see me as a betterment for them down the line because I would’ve been loyal to them for a good amount of time. They weren’t my targets at all then.

SEE ‘Big Brother 21’s’ David on how he accurately read the house and Jackson’s ‘big ego’

Gold Derby: They made this house rule not to talk game with Camp Comeback. You’ve talked about being treated differently as a 5-foot-7 brown boy and you stood up for Nicole when they shut the door in her face. What was the hardest part of trying to play the game while being ostracized like that?
Ovi: It was tough. I didn’t expect going into the “Big Brother” house that would happen. I’ve dealt with things like that my whole life — people pushing you to the side or isolating you. In the real world, it’s must easier to leave that area. In real life, I don’t stand for that. In the “Big Brother” house, I told myself I wouldn’t stand for that either. For most of the time, I kind of kept my mouth shut on my own personal feelings when I felt isolated because it was like, you know what, there’s no point in saying this because it won’t help your game.

But it kind of crossed a line when I saw people I love in the house being treated like that. There’s a difference between game and personal, and some people try to justify it as a game move, but sometimes it isn’t. I saw people laughing upstairs and not talking game. I saw the faces of Jessica, Cliff and Nicole. I just felt the need to say something about it because it didn’t sit right in my stomach. I was on the lowest of low totem poles, so if I don’t say something now, when will I? I told myself I wouldn’t forget my values in there. I was already voted off, so they can’t evict me again! I said that once or twice to some people and I don’t think the appreciated that. It was jokingly, but I think that bothered their power ego.

SPOILER ALERT: The next answer reveals who won HOH, so skip it if you don’t want to know.

Is there anything you’ve learned since you’ve been out that changes your perspective on something or what you thought had happened?
Ovi: I haven’t learned much yet. … I know Cliff won the HOH, so I’m super, super happy about that. That was the plan: I get back in and he wins HOH or I do. Since I couldn’t keep my end of the bargain, I feel bad about that. But I’m super happy he did it. People said things and did things in the game, and it sucks sometimes, but I keep in it in perspective that it’s in the game. I love the game and I’m a big fan of it. I’m not going to hold it against anyone outside of the house. And I can only talk about my experience. If they’ve said something super offensive or if something happened behind the scenes I don’t know about, that might change my mind down the line. I can’t speak about if they said anything about David or Kemi because I only know what they said about me to my face. But I try to let game be game. We’ll see how it unravels. I’m excited to talk to the houseguests when it’s all said and done. I’ve made some good friends in there and I hope to keep them afterward.


SEE ‘Big Brother 21’ spoiler: The Week 4 HOH has been crowned and might actually, finally shake up the game

Gold Derby: Do you hope Cliff and Nicole can continue the Fellowship of the Zing?
Ovi: I do hope Cliff and Nicole can keep Fellowship of the Zing going. I hope Cliff protects her and I hope Nicole does the same for Cliff. I really do feel they could do something in this game. People count the little people out. The older person — people think they’ll go out early. Same thing with people who are small and don’t talk as much, like Nicole. But no, don’t count them out. I love them both. A win for them is a win for me. I always say you need to celebrate your friends’ successes as if they’re your own. I’m going to be rooting for them and I hope I don’t see them until, I think, Sept. 25.

Gold Derby: Who do you think is playing the best game and the worst game?
Ovi: From a game standpoint, I think that a few people are playing some strong games. Personal aside, Jack has made a lot of shields for himself. He is a power player and people are intimidated by him. I don’t think most people want to take a shot at him, but I’m hoping Cliff, now that he’s back, is willing to take a shot at him and destabilize that alliance.

Tommy is playing a strong game. I don’t want to call him a floater, but he’s able to be in all these conversations and he has such a great personality that he makes you feel like you’re at home. Tommy’s one of the ones who pulled the wool over me a lot and he was able to do that with a smile, laughter. I got bamboozled by Tommy, but I still love the guy. He’s a great guy. I’m pretty sure we’ll be friends after this. I think he can take it far because no one wants to vote out Tommy. I think he’s only in trouble near the end when you’re like, “Damn, everybody loves Tommy.” Right now, Jack’s issue if he makes it to jury is he’s going to make people bitter [with] the way he’s playing this game. Tommy’s on the right side of the vote, but he’s not making anyone upset.

And the third person who I think is in a little trouble but is playing a good game is Sam [Smith]. I can’t speak about his alliances here and there. Maybe he made the same sham alliance as I did. [Laughs] But the one person other than Cliff and Nicole who treated me and the Camp Comebackers with grace, courtesy and treated us like people from Day 1 through Day 30 was Sam Titus Smith. He’s playing for his family and I respect that. He’s trying to pay off his medical bills. His story’s really great. And he’s a comp beast. So they’re all good in different ways. Jack is sledgehammering it through, Tommy is gliding through, and Sam is playing a good social and competitive game.

The worst player, as it stands, Bella’s made a few enemies and made herself a target with her showmance. I think Kat [Dunn]’s gonna get through because people don’t expect her to be a threat. I think Jessica will make it through. I hope Cliff and Nicole aren’t playing the worst games. Maybe Bella right now because she has a big target on her back.

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