The identities of Big Brother 9'sperfect-match pairings, the unprecedented power given to the competition's initial "Power Couple," and the pre-existing relationships of two pairs of houseguests were all revealed to viewers during last night's premiere broadcast of the long-running CBS reality show's first ever winter edition.
Big Brother 9's premiere broadcast began with host Julie Chen explaining that an "unexpected wrinkle" was awaiting four of the 16 houseguests -- a move that continues a five-year trend in which at least two members of each season's Big Brother cast are related or already have some other form of pre-existing relationship (romantic, formerly romantic or otherwise) with each other.
Sharon Obermueller, a 23-year-old realtor from Olathe, KS, and Jacob Heald, a 23-year-old electrician from Dallas, GA, had recently ended a romantic relationship that had been "on and off" for 12 years, despite the fact Sharon said they were "madly in love" with each other and Jacob commented it had "potential to go the distance."
"But I ultimately cheated on her," admitted Jacob. "It was very tough and I failed. I have not talked to her since that has happened. I'm not over the past relationship yet because I blew the love of my life."
"Jacob is actually the love of my life," also admitted Sharon. "But I'm the one who got screwed over, so I have to let myself move on."
When Jacob entered the Big Brother 9 house and spotted Sharon, he immediately had to leave the living room to clear his head.
"You see your ex-girlfriend and you're just like, 'Damn it. This sucks,'" opined Jacob. "I had to walk away and regain consciousness."
Sharon also looked stunned and some of the other girls -- obviously viewers of Big Brother's earlier seasons -- immediately began to pepper her with questions about one of the guys possibly being her ex. She said yes and would talk about it with them later.
Talk about it on Reality TV World's Big Brother message boards.
"I definitely at first had a panic attack," said Sharon. "No way he's here. Oh my gosh, I have to get rid of him."
In addition, the show also revealed that Jen Diturno, a 26-year-old bartender from Columbus, OH, and Ryan Quicksall, a 27-year-old college student from Columbus, OH, also had a pre-existing relationship.
However unlike Sharon and Jacob, Jen and Ryan -- who have been dating for nine months and living together for the last seven -- had already been told they'd both be entering the Big Brother house.
"If they're found out, they're likely to become quick targets for eviction [so] their plan [is] to play the game as total strangers and not let everyone know they're a real-life couple," said Chen.
Jen seemed to a pretty good initial job about acting like she and Ryan were strangers, asking him several times what his name was and pretending she had forgotten it.
But because this is Big Brother, Jen and Ryan's plan immediately hit a snag when Julie revealed that -- based on "extensive personality tests and interviews" -- each of the houseguests has a "perfect match" in the house with them. She further explained that the perfect match was more than just a potential soul mate.
"For the first time in Big Brother history," said Julie, "you'll be playing the game not as individuals, but as couples partnered with your new soul mate. Houseguests, you will compete as couples, win Head of Household as couples, be nominated and be evicted as couples... Everything you do you will do with your soul mate, including sleeping together in the same bed."
Sharon didn't want to be Jacob's soul mate, however he was hoping that she'd be his. Needless to say, Jen and Ryan realized if they weren't paired up, their plan would be shot to hell.
"If Jen is paired with somebody else, it's going to totally kill me," said Ryan, who had already commented he gets jealous fairly easily. "Watching her with another guy when I'm around, it's going to be real hard not to step in and intercede."
"This is going to ruin everything!" said Jen. "Any plans that we had coming into this game are going to be trashed if we're not together. It screws up everything."
Julie then informed the houseguests she was going to reveal the pairs, and once she did so, that duo was allowed to go claim a bed and was required to stay in their bedroom.
Alex Coladonato, a 24-year-old DJ company owner from Staten Island, NY, was paired with Amanda Hansen, a 23-year-old paralegal from Fridley, MN; James Zinkand, a 21-year-old from Sarasota, FL who CBS claims is currently "riding bicycle around the world," was paired with Chelsia Hart, a 21-year-old college student from Cedar Falls, IA; and Natalie Cunial, a 28-year-old bikini barista from Salem, OR, was paired with Matt McDonald, a 23-year-old roofing foreman from Charlestown, MA.
Jen was then paired with Parker Somerville, a 26-year-old paparazzo from Northridge, CA, much to Ryan's chagrin.
"When I didn't get paired with Jen, it was tough," he opined. "She's paired up with this other guy -- she's sleeping in this bed -- obviously there's going to be a little bit of jealousy."
Joshuah Welch, a 25-year-old advertising media buyer from Dallas, TX, and Neil Garcia, a 29-year-old realtor from Los Angeles, CA, were then paired together as the season's only gay couple (at least for now). Not surprisingly, Jacob and Sharon were then paired together.
"It's going to be a long-ass three months," said Sharon.
Before Julie revealed the last two pairs, she informed the four remaining houseguests there were no beds left. Instead, the last two pairs would receive sleeping bags.
Ryan was paired with Allison Nichols, a 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative with a gambling addiction from Boston, MA; while Adam Jasinski, a 29-year-old public relations manager from Del Ray Beach, FL, was paired with Sheila Kennedy, a 45-year-old single mom and former Penthouse model from Reseda, CA. Sheila immediately voiced her displeasure with her partner, and Adam made things worse when he called her "ma."
"He's just so not my type -- and I do know what type of guy I like -- tall, dark and handsome," she said.
Jacob and Sharon also had a hard time getting along -- but at least it was in private -- as Sheila already began to talk behind Adam's back, expressing her displeasure with his looks, attitude and the fact that he's a smoker (good thing she wasn't paired with Dick Donato).
Julie then revealed another twist to the houseguests before explaining the rules for the Power Couple competition.
"The stakes are higher than ever," said Julie . "That's because one couple will win the sole power to evict another couple in just a matter of hours."
In the Power Couple challenge -- dubbed "Falling for You" -- one partner was harnessed to scaffolding and suspended above a bed. The second partner lay on the bed and grabbed onto their partner. The pair was then lifted into the air. If someone let go, they were eliminated. The last couple hanging would be named the Power Couple and receive the unprecedented power to evict another couple with no vote and no veto.
With only four pairs remaining in the challenge -- Allison and Ryan, Jen and Parker, Natalie and Matt, and Chelsia and James -- Julie informed them that if they grab the heart pillow on their beds, they would win $10,000 if their team ultimately won the competition.
Jen and Parker were able to grab the pillow and struck a deal with Natalie and Matt that they wouldn't vote them out if they let them win. Natalie and Matt accepted the deal, and Jen and Parker were named the Power Couple and received the $10,000 prize.
Adam and Sheila thought they were definitely on the chopping block since they were the first ones out of the challenge, and Jen agreed the duo have had "negative energy." Needless to say, Ryan felt safe.
"With Jen having the power in her hands, I feel 100% safe," he said.
However Parker had other ideas.
"Ryan and Allison may be two possible targets because Ryan, he's a pretty big dude," said Parker. "He's pretty strong and Allison, she definitely seems like she's really smart. I think the two of them would definitely be a deadly combination."
Big Brother 9's first Wednesday night broadcast will air tonight at 8PM ET/PT on CBS, during which Jen and Parker will evict the first pair from the house.