Big Brother Reindeer Games Crowns Its First Winner: Who Sleighed the Finale?

With all due respect to Rudolph, we’ve got a new most famous reindeer of all.

Big Brother‘s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Reindeer Games spinoff came to an end on Thursday night, with Xavier Prather, Nicole Franzel, Taylor Hale and Frankie Grande poised to face off in the titular final series of competitions. And y’know, I owe Big Brother an apology: With no live feeds or house votes, I’d expected Reindeer Games to be a schedule-filling dud — but it’s been kinda fantastic! If nothing else, it’s been proof that modern-day Big Brother can indeed come up with interesting, high-stakes competitions, which I hope to see more in the regular summer version.

Anyway! The finale began with the last Naughty or Nice competition, which Xavier won after correctly identifying which painting in Santa’s lodge had been swapped out for a forged version overnight. With his victory came the power to create the brackets for the Reindeer Games semifinals; not only would Xavier pick the initial pairings, but he would get a 30-second head start over the houseguest he

decided to face off against in the semifinal challenge. Strangely, he chose to go up against… Nicole? Instead of getting that 30-second advantage over Frankie, the person he’s wanted to eliminate all along? Interesting.

That bracket decision was ultimately the downfall of Xavier, who lost to Nicole in a challenge where they needed to correctly place and interlock spinning gears to get their giant nutcrackers working properly. Then, after Nicole’s triumph, Taylor and Frankie faced off in the other semifinal competition, which asked them to identify the right pictures of five mischievous elves, then knock down said pictures with a slingshot. The catch? If either Taylor or Frankie knocked down an incorrect elf — either because they identified the wrong one, or simply took a poorly aimed shot — they’d have to reset all of the elf pictures, including the ones they’d already correctly downed. And that sneaky little rule slipped up Frankie at the last minute, leading Taylor to win and head to the finals with Nicole.

All of the Reindeer Games‘ previously eliminated players returned to watch Nicole and Taylor face off in the finals, which required them to snag the Magic Mistletoe, the Ancient Antlers and the Sacred Snowflake before hitting their buzzer. To get the mistletoe, the ladies had to stack and climb a pile of gigantic star-shaped foam pieces; Taylor finished that challenge first. To get the antlers, they had to maneuver them out of a three-dimensional, spinning maze; Taylor finished that challenge first. But for the Sacred Snowflake, Taylor and Nicole had to meticulously stack a precarious tower of interlocking snowflakes, a delicate task that saw both players’ snowflake arrangements crashing down over and over again. (Taylor eventually lost 犀利士
her lead from the first two parts of the competition, and she and Nicole were matched evenly for the snowflake pile-up.)

But one woman eventually got her stack of 32 snowflakes perched just right, and that was… Nicole, inaugural Reindeer Games winner! Maybe it’s all the Christmas spirit, but her underdog victory — Bye, Josh! Bye, Xavier! — was a fun one to behold.

OK, your turn! Were you glad to see Nicole win, or were you rooting for someone else in the Final Four? Hit the comments below with your reactions!

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