Another summer, another 98 microphones, 53 cameras, and 12 contestants. I find it difficult to like anyone who would voluntarily give up TV when there’s an Olympics two weeks away, even for a chance to win $500,000, but let’s go ahead and meet the houseguests. In a show first, four Big Brother alums have returned as coaches: Big Brother: All-Stars winner Mike “Boogie” (now a dad), Janelle (now a mother and self-proclaimed “Real Housewife of Minnesota”), Big Brother 10 winner Dan (who’s married and the coach of a state champion high school football team), and Big Brother 12 failure Britney (who’s married and has an expensive-looking book of wedding photos). They each picked three contestants to mentor throughout the season. The winning coach will walk away with $100,000.
• Shane Meaney: He’s a 26-year-old carpenter/house flipper from Bennington, VT with questionable taste in jewelry (that necklace needs to get “misplaced”) and apparently zero cooking skills.
• Willie Hantz: He’s the 34-year-old brother of Survivor villain Russell, and he’s trying to hide it because while he has no problem telling viewers how much chaos he intends to bring to the game, he doesn’t want the players to suspect he’s the one causing it. Too late: Though he’s flat-out denied he’s related to Russell, most folks aren’t buying it.
• JoJo Spatafora: She’s a 26-year-old bartender from Staten Island, NY, who believes her street smarts and Sicilian blood are an asset. Tip: If you’re a person who owns a “Love Me or Hate Me” T-shirt, most people do the latter.
TEAM MIKE “BOOGIE”
• Frank Eudy: The 28-year-old is unemployed in Naples, Fla., so he had time to prep for Big Brother by getting in shape and reading books on strategy. Boogie picked him because he’s athletic, but also, “With hair like that and a personality to boot,” Boogie explained, “I really feel like he can not only get along with the girls but also the guys.” I worry he’s just a bit too far left on the Carrot Top dial to be as successful with the ladies as Boogie hopes.
• Ian Terry: The 21-year-old chemical engineering student at Tulane is a hardcore Big Brother fan who nearly lost his s— when Boogie entered the house.”It’s like stepping into Yankee Stadium and playing baseball with Alex Rodriguez,” he said. You were happy when Boogie picked him, even if you found his “Honey, I’m home” comment when he himself first stepped into the house grating. (He’s young. He hasn’t heard that a million times. Maybe it’s still funny to him.) The respect he shows Boogie, however misguided, is endearing: “Thanks, man,” he told him after being selected. “You’re a legend, man. No matter what.”
• Jenn Arroyo: The 37-year-old Brooklynite is the former base player for the all-female metal band Kittie. She thinks because she’s a heavily-tattooed Puerto Rican lesbian, people will either love her or hate her. I think she’s totally likable, as long as her guitar is nowhere near.
NEXT: More houseguests and the first HOH competition