Big Brother crowned houseguest Andy Herren its fifteenth-season winner during Wednesday night's live broadcast of the CBS reality competition's finale.
Andy, a 26-year-old professor from Aurora, IL who currently resides in Chicago, IL, took home Big Brother 15's $500,000 grand prize via a landslide 7-2 jury vote over houseguest GinaMarie Zimmerman, a 32-year-old pageant coordinator from Brooklyn, NY who currently resides in Staten Island, NY.
GinaMarie received $50,000 for finishing in the runner-up spot.
After Andy's victory was announced near the end of the 90-minute broadcast, Julie also revealed Elissa had won the season's "America's Favorite Houseguest" viewer vote and will receive its $25,000 prize. Judd and Howard Overby received the next highest votes in no particular order.
Spencer, a 31-year-old conductor from Conway, AR, finished just shy of making it to the Final 2.
Big Brother's finale broadcast began where Sunday night's episode had left off, with GinaMarie, Andy and Spencer competing in the first phase of the final three-part Head of Household competition. The three houseguests had to hang onto a bar above their heads for as long as possible while rollerskating around in a circle amidst cones and obstacles. GinaMarie won and therefore got to automatically advance to Part 3 of the challenge.
For the second phase of the competition, Andy and Spencer were required to search through the backyard full of sand to find faces of previously-evicted houseguests on cardboard crabs. They then had to climb up a rock wall and line up the crabs above their heads in the order of which the faces had been voted out of the house this season. The challenge was timed and Andy completed it in 21 minutes and 54 seconds. Spencer finished the task in 36 minutes and 11 seconds. Andy therefore won Part 2.
Since he had failed to win either of the competition's first two phases, Spencer was not eligible to compete in the third and final phase. GinaMarie and Andy then squared off in the final heat.
Similar to the third part of prior seasons' final HoH competitions, Big Brother host Julie Chen read the beginning of a statement one of the season's eight jury members had made while they were in the jury house. GinaMarie and Andy's goal was to guess which of two possible endings was correct. The houseguest with the most correct answers after the eight statements were read aloud would be crowned the final HoH and get to choose which other Final 3 houseguest would advance to the jury vote alongside him or herself.
Andy ended up becoming the final HoH and subsequently opted to evict his buddy Spencer.
"Spencer, my word has been good to you this entire game and you're one of my best friends -- if not my best friend in the house -- but I gave GinaMarie my word on Night 1. Spencer, I have to vote to evict you. I'm sorry," Andy announced.
Spencer handled the news well and hugged Andy on his way out of the house.
"I was always worried about the depth of [Andy and GinaMarie]'s relationship, and no, it's really not shocking to me at all. I mean, I'd love to still be sitting in there. Andy's a pretty good dude. He was loyal to GinaMarie this entire game and he was loyal to me for a very long time. I don't have any hard feelings about it necessarily. He just stuck with GM and good for him," Spencer told Julie in his post-eviction interview, adding he kind of saw it coming based upon Andy's recent standoffish behavior in the house.
"Well you should feel proud of one thing. You survived nominations eight times. You were never the target. You broke the curse of 'the pawn always goes,'" Julie noted.
"I know, I know. It's amazing -- not the record I was hoping to break in the house, maybe competitions or something," Spencer joked. "This was just an amazing experience. I loved every second of the entire 90 days. To be honest with you, after the Moving Company stuff, I didn't know I was going be around this long. Every day was a blessing and I was so fortunate to be able to participate inBig Brother, my favorite TV show."
The nine jury members then got to collectively ask GinaMarie three questions and Andy three questions which they had previously agreed upon as a group. The questions ranged from moral and ethical issues this season to what their biggest moves were, and more simply, why they deserved to win Big Brother.
Afterward, GinaMarie and Andy were each allowed to make a final statement and then the jury members got to cast their votes for Big Brother's fifteenth-season champion.
GinaMarie insisted she played an extremely loyal game and she could only be herself. She felt she had made a connection with each and every houseguest and apologized for offending anyone. GinaMarie appreciated them all and promised a nice "parting gift" if they voted for her.
Andy said he played the game with his heart and mind and truly established personal connections along the way. He explained how he had never been on anyone's radar and made moves that allowed him to adapt to every situation. Andy formed the "Exterminators" alliance and made decisions with the biggest alliances in the house throughout the season because he was able to secretly play both sides. He said his moves were "expertly calculated" and he loved and respected them all.
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