‘Big Brother 23’s’ Brent: ‘I have no problem being the butt of the joke’

Everyone on “Big Brother 23” thought there’d be an epic blindside this week (of different kinds), but in the end, it was the blindside that wasn’t. Brent Champagne was convinced he had pulled a fast one on Xavier by flipping the vote to evict Britini with an elaborate plan that involved the Veto not being used when it was never going to be used in the first place, while the entire house gleefully played along and anticipated him being stunned with a unanimous vote to evict him. The flight attendant was booted 11-0 on Thursday, but he was far from surprised that he was walking out the door.

How did Brent figure it out? Was it those late slip-ups by several houseguests? Or is it just merely because his “body perceives my intelligence”? Find out below.

Gold Derby: You said you weren’t shocked. On Wednesday night, you talked to Derek F. and Christian and they both strongly hinted that you were leaving. Was that what clued you in?
Brent: It was a combination of everything as far people and the way they were acting and my team staying a little farther away from me than they normally do. Again, that could be my fault because I said I had to pretend I’m moping around and feeling sorry for myself. But I was using the time to really observe and see who was happy and who wasn’t. Britini being all cheery and such when she’s on the block with me — that’s never a good sign. Her walking around singing and feeling comfortable. She is a little bit more of a vet on the block than I am, so maybe she built up a tolerance. But it was just everything as far as how people were speaking and catching peoples slip up, knowing that me and my team were forced to work together when we didn’t really have the personalities that worked. … If there wasn’t a team aspect, I wouldn’t have picked Hannah and/or Whitney to try to build something with. It makes it harder so I have to make sure everything works, who can dish it, who can take it, so I wasn’t really surprised.

Gold Derby: It seemed like after you talked to them, you didn’t really believe it at first and you were trying to work it out in your mind. Was there a moment that clicked for you, like, “Oh, I’m going to leave tomorrow”?
Brent: When I ran it through my head a thousand times, it was just everything. From the seconds before the nomination ceremony to the end, it made no sense for anyone to want to keep me in there. Even if I could or somehow get Xavier to want to truly be loyal to the Radicals, he knows that there’s gonna be a slight chance I’m coming after him. If I’m plotting against so many others and it’s no longer a team game, what makes them thing I wouldn’t come after them? Especially Derek X. winning Vetoes and such. It wasn’t really any type of timeframe or aha moment. I’ve been betrayed in the past, I’ve been lied to in the past, I’ve been blindsided in the past, and I guess those life experiences prepare you in a way. So it kind of helped me out to lessen the blow.

SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ episode 10 recap: Brent evicted

Gold Derby: Did you think you could or even try to come up with another plan in the next 18 hours to secure safety?
Brent: This is the thing. [My plan] to see if the Mafia could infiltrate the Kings and make them fake-aligned — they were already aligned, which I didn’t know about until afterwards — and get them to keep the nominations and ultimately to have their team and my team gun for [HOH] with X not being able to compete and taking over the house — that was my last-ditch effort. … I couldn’t really trust the Radicals besides Alyssa, but I understand why she did what she did. Other than that, it was more or less Xavier and Christian were never gonna look at me as a friend or an ally. They were always gonna look at me as a future competition threat or a threat in the social game. It was just a narrative I couldn’t escape, so I just needed to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and I was ready for both. And the worst came, but I was prepared, so.

Gold Derby: At that point, you still trusted Alyssa and you thought you still had her?
Brent: I still do trust Alyssa. There’s a difference with doing what you have to do to stay in the good graces of the people that are gonna help take you farther in the game. I could no longer take her farther in the game because she knew a lot more about what was going on than I did, so it made sense. It wasn’t like she had a hard decision. You can’t really go against the herd. If the herd is going one way and you go off one way and come back, it’s gonna be a bitter taste in your mouth. If the house wanted me out, it made no sense for her or Derek X. or anyone else I was somewhat close to to put a target on their own back. I’m not worth it, I’m not special enough. I could no longer provide them the services they needed and I would’ve done the exact same thing. No hard feelings.

Gold Derby: Before the live show, did anyone give you a heads up at the last minute or did you go up to anyone and say, “Hey guys, I know you’re gonna vote me out. I’m not gonna be blindsided”?
Brent: Nothing of that nature. More or less a little bit of storytelling that didn’t add up and a couple of slip-ups. I’m a firm believer that behind every “just kidding” is a little bit of truth and I always went through life like that. So if someone was like, “Oh, my God, that looks stupid that you’re wearing that. But just kidding,” it’s like, “No, no, no. There’s a reason why you said it in the first place.” You might obviously be harmless with it, but there’s a little bit of your opinion in there. So when Christian and a few others from the Kings would slip, I was like, “OK, I’m gonna take note of that because there’s a reason why you slipped.” There’s a subconscious endeavor going on and you’re trying to fight what you want to say with what you need to say. The truth will always prevail organically and a few times that narrative came out.

Gold Derby: After the Veto wasn’t used, do you think they should’ve told you up-front that you were leaving or do you not care that they were still lying to you and were gonna blindside you?
Brent: I would’ve loved the same respect, of course, but not everyone has the same beliefs. I did respectfully tell both Travis and Frenchie, “Look, there’s no way you’re staying in my opinion.” I didn’t sugarcoat it, don’t believe in sugarcoating. Travis made the most of his time remaining and so did Frenchie. They didn’t spend too much time worrying too much. They worried, but they were like, “Let’s just enjoy it while it lasts.” It would’ve been nice to get that type of sendoff. Like I said, I take it as flattery. I really do.

Gold Derby: They wanted to blindside you.
Brent: Yeah, like they went out of their way and I hope that my reaction just absolutely stunned them as well. It’s a game. At the end of the day, being on the block, there’s way worse things happening in real life. I’m in there with all the food I could possibly eat, all the laughs I could possibly have, so I wasn’t really complaining too much.

SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ spoilers: Christian has a target, but half his team is zeroing in on a different one

Gold Derby: When you made the Mafia, did it ever cross your mind that maybe Xavier struck deals with these people to guarantee your eviction? You were already thinking you weren’t pawn material and he shouldn’t put you up.
Brent: Yeah, Kyland has betrayed me in the past and so has Derek X. with each other and Travis. And Travis and Derek X. have both admitted to me about coming up with ideas to get rid of me in Week 1 if they could. As far as Kyland, I was at a point where it didn’t matter if I trusted him or not to make some type of move rather than just sitting there and doing nothing. He was part of that trio and he was also the only one who lied to me about it after Travis and Derek X. have told me that he was involved. There was always that sense of caution. … And Big D, he was lying to me. I caught him in many lies. But that’s part of the game. People are lying to your face and I have to pretend like I trust you, but in my head, I’m like, “I don’t and I know everything you’re telling me is absolute crap.” But that’s the fun part of the game because everyone thinks they’re so slick. Everyone’s egos and prides are being stroked. I’d be lying if I said mine didn’t either because I really thought I had some good influence over some of the decisions in the house earlier on. I have no problem being — what is it? The butt end of a joke?

Gold Derby: The butt of the joke.
Brent: Yeah, I have no problem being the butt of the joke this week because I would’ve done the same thing if I were in their shoes. There’s no way you’d vote out Britini in that situation at all.

Gold Derby: In that vein, you were very confident this week. At some point, you were telling people you think it could be a 9-2 vote to keep you. Was that all for show? Was that part of your tactic to maybe convince people to vote for you?
Brent: It was a little bit of both. It was me hoping that would be the best-case scenario. Worst-case scenario would be 4-7 not in my favor — my three teammates and Alyssa. The confidence was there. And yeah, a lot of it is show. When I was saying that I had Derek X. in my pocket and Alyssa in my pocket, I only had to say it like that because I needed other people to think that, “OK, at least I’m not in his pocket. I’m in his T-shirt,” you know what I mean? “He values me a little bit more and I don’t have to worry about these other relationships forming and blossoming into something that’s stronger.” It’s about how you word things. Me and Alyssa were really good friends, but I don’t want people thinking — especially my team because they had asked a few times, “Why are you so close to her?” — I don’t want them thinking, “OK, well, he’ll jump ship for her over his own team.” Because that wasn’t the case at all. To a lot of people and Alyssa, I would explain that we have respect for one another and allegiance, but then to other people that weren’t involved that I was trying to build something with, I had to talk about it in a completely different way. I had to be like, “Oh, cut her loose,” “She’s in my pocket,” “She’s wrapped around my finger.” It makes it easier to digest to people that you’re trying to build a relationship with.

Gold Derby: How much of an impact do you think your association with Frenchie had on you being a target?
Brent: That’s what’s most frustrating. As soon as I walked into the house, he had his sights on me. He said he had his sights on me as soon as he saw me. It’s just unfortunate because I had a whole different strategy of how I wanted to go in, but I had to go full defense mode because he was like, “You were my target.” And we bonded to get that target off of me. But I was cleaning up so much of his mess because he was targeting everyone and everyone he was targeting kept getting saved! … So there were no more men [to target after the Veto]. It was legit me, Travis or Big D, and he was best friends with Big D and he had somewhat of a relationship with me, so Travis unfortunately was the only option. But yeah, I couldn’t escape that narrative, and it was a bad taste in people’s mouths and mine as well. And I was one of the people that voted Frenchie out.

Gold Derby: Who do you think is playing the best game right now?
Brent: Hannah, hands down. I think Hannah as far as strategy. And I think Christian is obviously crushing as well. Christian’s winning everything, playing a little more naïve, playing to his younger side because I do think he’s way more mature than he leads on. If you can keep winning, especially so early on, and still not be people’s target – like he was on mine, I would’ve put up X and Christian – so I would say physically and socially, definitely Christian. Strategically, Hannah all the way.

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