‘Big Brother 23’ episode 1 recap: Julie Chen Moonves introduces the new cast, but what’s the big twist? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Summer never officially begins until “Big Brother” is back on our TV screens, which is why we’re so excited that the doors have opened again on everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure reality show. Unlike last year when the competition welcomed back 16 popular All-Stars, this time around all of the players are brand-spanking-new. (And young, very young.) As we previously reported, “BB23” has brought back a big twist from the past: teams! That meant the first live competition of the season would determine the team captains. So how did the 90-minute premiere play out on Wednesday night?

SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ is bringing back the team twist with captains and everything

Below, read our minute-by-minute “Big Brother” recap of Season 23, Episode 1 to find out what happened Wednesday, July 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite “BB23” houseguests on CBS’s reality TV show, who annoys you the most and who you think will ultimately join the “Big Brother” winners list. Julie Chen Moonves returns as host of the long-running program.

Keep refreshing/reloading this “Big Brother 23” live blog for the most recent updates.

8:00 p.m. — “Previously on ‘Big Brother’!” In last season’s finaleCody Calafiore claimed the final three-part Head of Household competition and voted to send home Nicole Franzel because he thought he’d have a better shot against Vincenzo “Enzo” Palumbo. Cody was right — he ended up winning the $500,000 grand prize by a unanimous 9-to-0 jury vote. Fan-favorite player Da’Vonne Rogers was then named “America’s Favorite Houseguest” and took home that special $25,000 check. But enough chit-chat about last summer — it’s time to dive into Season 23. Let’s go!

8:08 p.m. — Tonight 16 new houseguests are moving into the BB Beach Club with one goal in mind — to be the last one standing! Julie is on set to introduce these new competitors who will play for the biggest cash prize in the history of the game. BUT FIRST, let’s meet the first four houesguests! We are introduced to Travis Long, a sales consultant from Hawaii who is perceived as goofy but he interfaces with executives on a daily basis before spearfishing and bumming around the beach. Next we meet the self-described “gorgeous” Derek Frazier, who is the son of boxing legend Joe Frazier. His strategy is to connect with everyone one-on-one and play the game at all costs. Next is Frenchie, a farmer from Tennessee who is married with three kids. He expects people to think he’s dumb, but they won’t realize he’s an ex-military superfan of “Big Brother” and a strategist. Finally we meet Xavier Prather, an attorney at a business law firm who played college basketball. He knows how to adapt to new situations and admits to being single so he hasn’t completely ruled out a showmance.

8:12 p.m. — The first four men enter the house and greet each other before competing in the season’s first competition. At stake are two huge rewards for the winner. Whoever wins will have power to change the course of the game immediately and have a chance to win HOH later tonight. They will have to rearrange plexiglass images to match the images on an easel behind them. Frenchie thinks he’s finished first, but it appears he missed a few details. He makes a few adjustments and casually rings the buzzer a second time, winning the first competition!

8:20 p.m. — It’s time to meet the next four houseguests! First up is Azah Awasum, a first-generation American whose family is from Cameroon. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, she had a strict upbringing but admits to being a little boy crazy. Azah has vowed to not get in any showmances. Doesn’t sound promising! Next is Britini D’Angelo, a future teacher who graduated valedictorian of her class and she’s a fourth degree blackbelt in karate. Britini is on the autism spectrum but is determined to send everyone else in the house packing. Alyssa Lopez owns a swimwear company and relates to peoples’ struggles. Her best asset is her social game, but she will have to learn how to fake smile because she wears her emotions on her sleeve. Whitney Williams owns her own makeup company and she’s a single mother of five years. She went from living in an attic to becoming a successful business owner, but admits a showmance could derail her game. Yikes!

8:25 p.m. — The four women enter the house and I’m immediately intrigued by Britini, who says she won’t be anyone’s pawn and is ready to dominate. That’s fun to hear, but it could come back to bite her. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Azah, who has no intention of winning the first competition. She plans to target the winner of the first comp. They are playing the same game as the men before them, just working on a different puzzle. Britini tries to ring in first, but she’s incorrect. Whitney makes an attempt, but she’s wrong as well. After a couple of adjustments, Whitney rings in successfully and wins this round!

8:32 p.m. — Four more houseguests are entering the game. Kyland Young is first and he’s an account executive and nonprofit volunteer. He teaches kids life skills on a ranch and is a proud of his biracial background (he’s of African American and Mexican descent). Next up is Christian Birkenberger who has a fun-loving puppy attitude he expects everyone to love. Derek Xiao was a high school nerd who is a competitive tennis player who became popular in college after joining a fraternity. Last is Brent Champagne, a flight attendant who loves to travel and experience different cultures. He expects to have a huge target on his back because of his athleticism, but hopes his charm will save him.

8:35 p.m. — Like the two previous groups before them, these four are competing in a plexiglass puzzle challenge. Christian is completing his on the floor before propping them up, which could be a smart strategy or a huge mistake. Kyland looks completely confused. Christian’s strategy pays off and he makes quick work of this puzzle, winning the third competition.

8:45 p.m. — The last quarter of houseguests are anxiously waiting to enter the game. Sarah Beth Steagall is a forensic chemist who knows how to stay calm under pressure, but she sounds like she’s 12 years old. She also likes making costumes and is an accomplished seamstress. Sarah Beth expects people to let her fly under the radar until it’s way too late. Hannah Chaddha is a graduate master student who is nicknamed “Doogie Howser.” She graduated college at the age of 19 with a degree in biological science. Hannah plans to tell her housemates that she’s just a college student interested in fashion, but she secretly plans to be completely evil (I love that!). Claire Rehfuss is hoping to create an all-women alliance, but that almost never works. She also knows showmances tend to be good for the game and since she’s bisexual, many options are open. Tiffany Mitchell is the owner of a mobile phlebotomy company who can smell bulls*** from a mile away. Despite being 40, Tiffany plans to win all the physical competitions and plans to draw blood in this game. Yes!

8:48 p.m. — The final four women are assembling their plexiglass puzzles while their 12 housemates cheer them on from the balcony. Claire is the first to attempt to ring in, but she’s incorrect. She’s also the second to ring in, this time winning the competition! Claire was a last minute replacement for another contestant who tested positive for COVID-19. It looks like it’s meant to be!

9:00 p.m. — The players are getting acquainted and so far I’m totally digging this cast! It’s a nice mix of personalities who seem ready to play the game. Now Frenchie, Whitney, Christian and Claire will become team captains. Surprise! Julie shakes things up by announcing this season will be played in teams of four. The team captains will now draft their teams. First, the captain will pull a giant slot machine which will give them two choices. After learning a little bit about each prospect, the captain will choose one. Each team will consist of two men and two women. Frenchie will lead the “Jokers” and choose between Hannah and Azah. Frenchie goes with “the queen” Azah. Next Whitney chooses Brent over Travis to join her team of “Aces.” Christian will lead the “Kings” and chooses Alyssa over Tiffany. Last up is Claire, captain of the “Queens,” who chooses Kyland over Xavier. For the record, Xavier lied about his profession, stating he’s a bartender, not an attorney. Interesting! Next Frenchie picks Britini over Sarah Beth. Whitney chooses Derek X. over Derek F.

9:05 p.m. — It’s time to finish up this draft! Here are the teams: Jokers (Frenchie, Azah, Britini and Derek F.), Aces (Whitney, Brent, Derek X. and Hannah), Kings (Christian, Alyssa, Xavier and Sarah Beth) and Queens (Claire, Kyland, Tiffany and Travis). With that, all four teams are set. The Jokers definitely seem to have the most personality, so they’re appropriately titled. Physically, these teams seem pretty well matched.

9:15 p.m. — The four newly assembled teams will now compete in the first HOH competition of the summer. The captain of the winning team will become the first HOH. Anytime a member of a team becomes HOH, the entire team is safe for the week. In “House of Cards,” each captain must successfully build a house of cards platform that is being balanced by their three teammates. The last place team in this competition will become Have-Nots. The competition starts now! The Kings had completely finished their puzzle, but it fell before Christian was able to buzz in. Next, Frenchie buzzes in first while his house of cards is still standing, giving the Jokers the win and Frenchie the HOH. The Queens finish in second place and the Aces in third. The Kings go from almost winning to last place, making Christian, Alyssa, Xavier and Sarah Beth Have-Nots this week.

9:25 p.m. — Julie lets us know the risks and rewards will be lurking around every corner, and those start NOW! In the past 21 years the winner has received $500,000 but this year the winner will take home $750,000. However, there is another huge reward that could be handed out tonight. Frenchie is asked to move to the red dot behind the poker chips. Julie makes him a double or nothing offer. How does two weeks of safety sound? All Frenchie has to do to get a second week of safety is land two oversized dice on a small table in front of him. If he succeeds, Frenchie is HOH this week and his team is safe. Next week, there will be a new HOH but the Jokers will still be safe for that week. If Frenchie rolls the dice and fails, he will lose his HOH power and Claire will become the new HOH and the Queens will be safe. The Jokers will become eligible for eviction.

9:30 p.m. — Frenchie has decided not to roll the dice and will keep his current HOH. Just for kicks, Julie makes him do it anyways (just for fun). With two seconds to spare, Frenchie pulls it off, but it doesn’t count. Oh well, I think Frenchie made the right call under pressure. How did you like the first episode this season? Who are your favorites so far? We will be back with our live blog on Sunday night.

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