As Big Brother 7: All Stars' winner, Mike, a 35-year-old restaurateur from West Hollywood, CA, received the show's $500,000 grand prize. Erika, a 36-year-old pilates instructor from Los Angeles, CA, received $50,000 for finishing as the competition's runner-up.
While nearly all of Big Brother 7: All-Stars' seven jury members felt that neither Mike or Erika "deserved" to be in the show's Final 2, in the end, everyone but Marcellas Reynolds decided that since Mike was the surviving member of the two-person "Chilltown" alliance that had dominated the game ("Chilltown" leader and Big Brother 2 winner Will Kirby was evicted eleventh, leaving Mike, his sidekick, alone in the season's Final 3), he was the more deserving winner.
"Yes, we can say that 'Boogie' rode the coattails on Will, but Erika tried to ride everyone else's coattails, she didn't orchestrate anything," James Rhine told his fellow jury members as they discussed their upcoming voting decision.
Marcellas attempted to respond to James' comments and defend Erika's gameplay, but in the end all he seemed to do is drive home the point that despite coming into the All-Stars season with a huge target on his back, Will and his "Chilltown" alliance had managed to dominate the game. "[Erika] played the game that she was presented with, and she played the game by rules that were set up by Mike and Will," Marcellas told his fellow jury members. "We're all here because of the way that Mike and Will decided to play this game."
"'Chilltown' ran this game and for us to deny them a winner [just because Will didn't make the Final 2], it's not really fair because they played a better game," Janelle Pierzina, who as Big Brother 7: All Stars'twelfth and final evictee, had only arrived at the jury house moments earlier, told Marcellas and the rest of the assembled jury members.
Although Howie Gordon also initially seemed to be a strong Erika supporter (no doubt at least partially due to the fact that he nearly came to blows with Mike following his own "Chilltown"-orchestrated eviction), in the end, Howie also cast his jury ballot for Mike. "'Boogie,' it's hard to justify giving half a million dollars to someone that owns six restaurants and kind of bullied and threatened their way in a reality TV game show," Howie later told Mike and Erika as he cast his live jury vote. "Erika, we were friends when we moved into the house [but] I heard through the Big Brother grapevine that you hate me now -- I still love you but unfortunately I think America hates you."
During her final plea to the jury, Erika had attempted to portray herself as a dragonslayer of sorts. "I needed to go after 'The Puppetmaster' [Will]... well I did, and in pure 'Puppetmaster' form I had his best friend put him up and his best girl [Janelle] vote him out," Erika boasted to the jury. "So what I want to ask you is this -- would you rather give the Big Brother: All-Stars crown to the person did all his dirty work or would you rather give the Big Brother: All-Stars crown to the person who voted him out?"
But when it came time for Will to cast his live jury vote, he challenged Erika's claim that she had out-puppetmastered him -- and also implied that he had been responsible for one final manipulation: convincing his fellow jury members to turn what had been expected to be a close vote into a lopsided victory for Mike. "Erika...for one last time, you can still call me 'The Puppetmaster,'" Will told Erika as he cast his live vote.
"The truth is, with the exception of 'Chicken' George and Will, I lied to each and every one of you -- you all didn't know it, but you were all one big member of 'Chilltown,'" Mike had told the jury during his own final plea. "Please, vote like All-Stars and reward my gameplay, I humbly and respectfully ask you to vote Mike 'Boogie' as the champion of Big Brother 7."
Prior to revealing Mike's victory, Julie also revealed that home viewers had voted Janelle as "America's Favorite Juror," winning her $25,000. Viewers also learned that Jase Wirey (the season's third evictee) and Diane Henry (the season's fourth evictee) had in fact formed an albeit unsuccessful secret "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" alliance" before entering the Big Brother 7: All-Stars house.
Before announcing Mike's win, Big Brother's producers also allowed Alison Irwin, the first All-Stars houseguest evicted, to "inform" Erika that Mike's "showmance" with Erika had been part of Will and Mike's "Operation Double Date" strategy that had also involved Will endearing himself to Janelle. "Mike, congratulations, you played Erika the whole season long. Better than Big Brother, you played that girl -- Erika, I hope you use that money to buy yourself some dignity," Alison told the still housebound finalists. Then, in a seemingly particularly cruel and Jerry Springer Show-ish twist, the producers showed Erika and Mike a short montage of Mike's derogatory comments about their relationship.
(Photo credit CBS)
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