‘Big Brother 23’s’ Christian doesn’t regret all those comp wins, but he does regret not having a ‘better social game’

Christian Birkenberger sealed his “Big Brother 23” eviction with a kiss on Thursday, laying a big fat wet one on Alyssa, a swoon-y punctuation to a tough week after he was backdoored by Derek X.. The winningest houseguest of the season with five comp victories, Christian made a valiant effort to stay and there was nearly a flip to keep him over Sarah Beth. Alas, he was booted 7-2, making him the final pre-juror.

Things would’ve played out differently had he backdoored Derek X. last week like Whitney had suggested when he was HOH and the Veto winner. So how does he think Whitney would react to his eviction? And why does he think the house ultimately didn’t flip? Find out below.

Gold Derby: I have to copy Julie and start with the kiss. When did you decide you would do that?
Christian: [Laughs] I knew in any situation where I was walking out of the house, I was gonna giver a kiss goodbye. That kiss was loaded. It meant a lot of things — “I’m gonna miss you,” “it’s gonna be a long two months,” “I hope to see you after the show.” I meant all those things and I just wanted her to know it. … I do like putting on a show. I did do that, but that was not the intention. I knew she was concerned about me because she knew I wasn’t going to jury. We do express how much we like each other, so the fact that I’m going home, she thinks I’m gonna have a million options and distractions, which could be the case, but I’m not really interested. I’m waiting for her to return. I just wanted to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about.

Gold Derby: You found out Wednesday night you didn’t have the votes, but you were still campaigning all through yesterday. You put up a really strong effort. How hopeful were you that you could stay?
Christian: I always, always like to think on the positive side, especially when it’s about myself. I give myself the benefit of the doubt, which oftentimes I do let myself down. But within the process of campaigning, I would much rather be hopeful than sit there and mope around for the remaining days. In any situation, in the house or out, I would keep thinking positive and trying. If I left the house and didn’t try, do literally everything I could like I did, then I would’ve been thinking now, “Oh, what if I did this?” And I tried everything. There’s not a single regret in any arguments I made.

Gold Derby: Tiffany told you she was gonna try to flip the house in your favor. Do you think she was genuine in saying that?
Christian: Yeah, I think Tiffany was genuine. I feel like everything she said to me this entire game was truthful. We really do love each other so much. She’s like a mom to me in the house. I really do believe that she was trying to. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t work out and the second I went up as a replacement nom, I think people made a decision without having to have a single discussion. It’s unfortunate, but I did understand that.

SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ episode 16 recap: Christian is evicted

Gold Derby: Why do you think they didn’t go through with the flip? You made very compelling arguments to everyone and they all agreed with you, which they could’ve been lying to your face.
Christian: Right, right. I did feel every single person in the house did prefer that I stay over SB. I really do feel that. I know it’s a game, I know they could be lying to me, but I really did feel that. Although I think every single person had the argument of “Christian’s sitting on the block this week, not sure when he’ll be sitting on the block again, and we can always go after Sarah Beth next week.” I was prepared for that, so I made a lot of arguments to keep me over her. People are gonna think they have the opportunity to take her out next week. I laid out the reasons why they won’t. it just wasn’t enough. People’s minds were made the second I sat in that seat. It wasn’t really a fair fight after that because I had to go against every single person’s belief that I was the biggest comp threat. It’s hard when you have a 57 percent win percentage.

Gold Derby: You got caught in the middle of some drama when you went to get Britini to talk to Tiffany, and Big D and Azah followed, and there was a blowup. What did you make of that? Do you think that had anything to do with it? There’s obviously friction between them.
Christian: Absolutely. I didn’t know that apparently there was some drama that happened the night before around 2 a.m. I guess there was some personal drama. I was completely unaware of that. In hindsight, I should’ve said, “Hey Britini, try this sandwich, try this whatever, whatever” to get her out of the room instead of going in there like, “Hey, listen, Tiffany wants to talk to you.” That did make a huge difference. If I played that differently, it could’ve worked in my favor, but I didn’t think I needed to censor myself around Big D and Azah. Azah did tell me straight up that she was voting me out. I didn’t think I needed to censor myself in that moment, which I don’t know why I felt that comfortable. I shouldn’t have.

Gold Derby: You wanted to hold a house meeting and call out Derek X., Sarah Beth and Kyland, but Xavier talked you out of it. What were you gonna say?
Christian: I was going to point out essentially the same points I had pointed out to everyone individually. The difference is I think if I pointed it out in a group setting, you can see people’s reactions, which are telling. If I were a viewer of this house meeting and all this was being laid out in front of me about how much of a threat that trio is or that duo is and the person who is sitting on the block is part of the strongest trio in the house, I think we could’ve seen each other’s reactions, like, “He makes some good points. I’ll speak to you and you after this.” And I could see in your reactions that maybe don’t match the words you say that you’re also scared.

Gold Derby: Before noms and before Veto when you guys were shook by the noms, you said, “Derek wouldn’t nominate me outright. He would backdoor me.” And everyone was like, “No, you’re fine.” You already had an inkling. Why did you suspect that?
Christian: I knew immediately once Derek X. won the wall comp that I was screwed. I told everyone that and nobody believed me! “Oh, absolutely not.” “He wouldn’t do that.” [Laughs] Guys, why wouldn’t it not be that? I don’t necessarily believe that this was his plan all along. I think Britini was the target, but it was a luxury comp when it was Veto. In a luxury comp, people are gonna play selfishly and of course that $5 grand was really his. I don’t know why he let SB guilt him into not taking it. And Britini took herself off the block and when you’re presented with an opportunity like that, you can’t pass that up. I really should’ve — with my good opportunity of having HOH and Veto the week prior — stuck with my gut and taken out Derek X. I’m glad he did it because he was coming soon.

SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ spoilers: Who won Week 6 HOH?

Gold Derby: Whitney pitched to you to backdoor Derek X. and you obviously didn’t. How do you think she’s reacting to your eviction?
Christian: We definitely didn’t have any hard feelings. I think she was extremely happy to see her family, so I don’t think that she is like, “Yay, Christian’s gone!” or anything like that. She’s probably like, “Well, that’s what you get.” … Nothing was taken personally, so I don’t think Whitney means any harm if she were to say something like, “That’s what you get.” It is what you get. What goes around comes around.

Gold Derby: Do you think SB taking the money instead of the Veto should’ve made her more of a target than she ended up being? You and Alyssa were very pissed she didn’t take it.
Christian: Yes! This girl’s on the block and she doesn’t take the safety, which means she feels extremely safe with whoever’s still playing. And that should be scary to people. I also pitched the idea that she was America’s Player and I think that was somewhat compelling because if anybody were to be America’s Player, I think it would be her. She is the sweetest girl in the house and I think America would love for her to do things for her. So if she has not only shown how money-driven she is, if she also has a weekly or some type of monetary incentive each week to get to jury, then she’s gonna play a lot harder than someone [like me] who wants to play the game and wants to have a fun summer. I wanna make new friends. I do not care at all about the money. At all. I think that should’ve been more scary than someone who’s just sitting here to just have a fun summer.

Gold Derby: That was also your Plan Z. You were gonna fuel people’s paranoia that she was America’s Player and she was working with Kyland.
Christian: Plan Z needed to be activated because this was the last day of campaigning. I did not have votes at that time. Unfortunately, Plan Z was not as much of a blowup as I thought it would be. People were kinda like, “Yeah, yeah, I thought the same thing,” but it didn’t really spark any big uproar like I thought it would. I would be pissed if I thought there was a huge check waiting for her. … Maybe other people are just like me — they don’t care about the money as much as I thought. If they’re here for the game and wanna live farther in the game, then I guess they made the better decision in their head.

Gold Derby: You said you came to compete and you won five comps. In hindsight, do you wish you hadn’t won that many and maybe you’ll still be in there without your 57 percent win percentage?
Christian: [Laughs] Yeah, it’s not in my blood at all to throw a comp. I’m extremely competitive. I don’t know how I would’ve even been able to do it. The only comp that I could’ve have thrown was Bump, Set, Veto to Derek X., although I would’ve given it to someone I wanted to potentially backdoor at the time. The fact that I worked so hard to win that and then didn’t take the shot at Derek X. is a huge regret in my mind. I didn’t need that win if I weren’t going to do the backdoor. I do regret that. But with as many wins as I had, I think I could’ve survived if I had played a better social game. I still think it could’ve been done with the amount of comp wins if my social game and competition game were balanced.

SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ spoilers: The Week 6 HOH has limited nominee options while the Cookout frets over its mission

Gold Derby: A lot of the guys really wanted a woman to leave last week because the first three evictions were guys. Did you feel pressure to get out a woman?
Christian: Absolutely. Everyone was in my ear about a woman going home. And I was in everyone’s ear the week prior about a woman going home. That was kind of how I based my decision. I did have my mind set on jury maintenance and I was pretty positive I would get to jury so I felt like I had to take out someone who I didn’t feel I had their vote in jury. I really do regret not using both the Power of Veto and HOH to make that replacement with Derek X., but it’s all in hindsight now.

Gold Derby: You made a lot of big offers — telling the Jokers that they could be virtual HOHs with you, offering Derek X. three weeks of safety. Would you have honored those things?
Christian: The Jokers agreement I would’ve completely and fully honored. Derek X.’s, I did modify it at the last second because he did not accept it. The offer then changed from three weeks of safety to me throwing the HOH if I stayed as well as next time I’m HOH, he would not see the block. I think that’s a more realistic agreement that I would’ve been able to keep. In the event that he did accept the three-week agreement, I don’t know if I would’ve kept it.

Gold Derby: It’s a long time.
Christian: Yeah, it’s a long time. He’s smart. He did the right thing. He took me out when he needed to take me out because I don’t know if I would’ve fully honored it.

Gold Derby: Who do you think is playing the best game besides Alyssa, obviously?
Christian: [Laughs] Xavier is playing a very good game. I now know that he’s part of the largest alliance that has been pretty crucial in every single decision that the house has had to make. And I know he’s not this model bartender. I realize he has much more knowledge than I thought he did. He was starting to show it at the end and I think people will start to catch on, but he’s extremely smart. He’s gonna do extremely well. I think he’s in a smaller alliance within the most successful, bigger alliance. I do hope he does well. I hope Alyssa wins, of course, but I do want him and Alyssa sitting in the last two seats on finale night.

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