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'Big Brother' host Julie Chen: I'm rooting for Paul Abrahamian to win, Nicole Franzel and James Huling were big disappointments

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/21/2016 

Big Brother host Julie Chen admits she wants Paul Abrahamian to win Season 18 because veteran players Nicole Franzel and James Huling failed to meet her expectations.

Chen said she's rooting for Abrahamian, a 23-year-old clothing designer from Tarzana, CA, to win the $500,000 grand prize because he's the only one in the Final 3 who really deserves it.

"My calculations show that no matter who Paul is sitting against, he wins. He has at least one more vote than the other person... He had never watched the show and once he got what Big Brother is about, then he played. And he stopped being the loud, outrageous character in the house," Chen told The Hollywood Reporter.

This season's Final 3 is apparently Chen's favorite combination ever because she believes it will be a close 5-4 jury vote no matter who makes it to the Final 2 on Wednesday night's finale at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS.

"I don't know if James deserves to be there, but Nicole and Paul certainly do. If anything, James put the least amount of effort into this game and got so far," Chen confessed.

In fact, the Big Brother host kind of trashed Huling's overall game. 

"I definitely don't think he was playing to win Big Brother! He really disappointed me in his gameplay. He gave away an HoH; he won [only] one. He wasn't as fierce of a competitor. He was just there for sh-ts and giggles, to be honest," Chen told The Reporter.

From a viewer's perspective, the returnee -- who won "America's Favorite Houseguest" in Season 17 -- seemed more concerned about his showmance with Natalie Negrotti than anything else.

"Was [James] playing for 'America's Favorite Houseguest?' No, because that would imply him being a little bit duplicitous or phony," Chen continued. "He genuinely likes doing those pranks. He's an all-around nice guy. He was just being him."

Chen, however, will give Huling "somewhat of a pass" since fans know, at the end of the day, he can win endurance competitions.

Similarly, Chen wasn't happy with Franzel's gameplay this season either. She first appeared on the franchise in Season 16.

"Nicole disappointed me this year. I guess she's playing the game, but I didn't like how she wasn't loyal to anyone but [her showmance partner Corey Brooks]. I didn't like her being a snake, as [Michelle Meyer] would say," Chen explained.

Franzel was pretty wrapped up in her showmance with Brooks, as she constantly swooned over his good looks.

"I don't think it's been fair that online viewers have been slut-shaming her. That's a little bit unfair," Chen disclosed. "But the criticism of her being a snake and a backstabber, I felt the same way. I didn't like that. We like Nicole to be kind of naive and innocent."

But Chen at least gives Franzel credit for playing the game because "she knows the game."

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