Brandon "Frenchie" French could not have entered the Big Brother house any hotter. He won the first two competitions in which he played, and even won a third competition which did not count but would have given him and his team safety for another week. But then Frenchie got burned. Not only that, but he burned himself.
Although Frenchie made friends quickly in the game, he also too many promises of safety to too many people, and when he started reneging on those promises and continuously changing plans and targets, he aliened himself from even his biggest allies in the house. As a result, Frenchie was voted out by a decisive 11-1 count just a week after giving up his HOH reign. How did Frenchie go from the penthouse to out of the house? We spoke to the second eliminated Big Brother season 23 contestant to get the scoop from the man himself.
CBS Brandon 'Frenchie' French on 'Big Brother'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Frenchie. Why are you sitting here talking to me? What went wrong?
BRANDON "FRENCHY" FRENCH: I played super hard coming into this game and it's one of the things whereas a super fan of this show. I was always one of the people that was like, "I don't want to sit back on the couch and just watch my summer waste away." You know, Rachel Reilly always said, "Floaters grab a life vest," and I never wanted to be that person. If I was blessed with this opportunity to come in and play this game, I was going to play it and I was going to play hard and I was going to make sure that the first week was something that everybody would remember. And it definitely happened. So I would definitely change a few things if I could go back. But at the end of the day, it is what it is.
I asked Julie Chen Moonves about what happened and she said "He was playing the game based on how he felt watching previous seasons from home instead of experiencing the house for what it is now." Do you think that's accurate?
Very accurate, very accurate. When you're on the other side of the screen you're watching this show going, "I can do that. This'll be easy." And when you actually get in there and you're able to see the glares and the people talking in a room and stop talking, that causes a sense of paranoia in the house. So you instantly kick yourself into overdrive and all of your senses are working so incredibly well that it makes everything more than what it is in the house. And I was like, okay, so these masks have to be ripped off. I want to see how these people really are. So let's crank this heat up to about 200 degrees in the house and figure out who's who. And that's what I did.
Outside of your team, it seemed pretty unanimous that people wanted you out once you were no longer HOH. Why do you think they all turned against you?
From a few people, it was told to me that if I stayed in that house, I was winning $750,000. I was the most protected person in week 1. Not just because I was HOH, but because of what I had built around me. I built an alliance based on people that I didn't trust and that I wanted to figure out. Which is very different. In Big Brother, when you build an alliance, it's people that you want to work with and you want to go to the end with, and it was completely different when I built an alliance based on people that I was wary of.
So I wanted to try to see how their mind works and how they would talk about different targets and different things like that. Cause I knew I wasn't safe the next week, so I wanted to do that because I knew that was my biggest competition. So I was trying to bring them in to figure out how they worked. So next week, if they did try to come after me, I would already know how they work. And I'd be one step ahead.
In your first few days in the house, you went around promising a lot of people they would not be nominated — including Alyssa and Travis — who then both ended up going up on the block. Why make so many promises so early, and do you think that got you in trouble?
It definitely did. Now, let me tell you a big part of that. Okay. With past seasons, as I said, I was playing off of past seasons when an HOH is crowned, they have options. Okay. And I know you have to expect the unexpected in this game, but this was a total curveball coming in. I went from thinking I was going to have a plethora of options, and I knew coming in, I didn't want to nominate women, the old guy — which I didn't know I was going to be the old guy — and minorities. I knew that those weren't the people that I wanted to go home. And if people pay attention, I said, "go home." And when I won I instantly got offered that risk, right? And I missed my kids. So there was no way I was taking that risk.
So instantly I knew that my team was safe so that I wouldn't have nominated anybody on my team anyway. And then we had a curveball thrown at us called the Wildcard competition, which Christian got safe. Oh. And he got the spinning wheel to save people as well. So that knocked people off of that. And on top of that, out of nine people that I was able to nominate, only three were males. So all the rest of them were instantly out. Originally there were three males, one was a minority, two weren't. And two out of that one was in the alliance that I had made. So that brought it down to one, which was Travis. So I knew that he was going to be my end goal.
It's easy at home to know what's going on because you're told, but when you're in that house, all you have is your thoughts. And I was assuming that the Veto was going to have something crazy, just like the HOH did. So I was like, I need somebody that I trust on the block to make sure that we keep that if, if there is a risk and reward and something like that, that it stays somewhere where it's trusted.
And out of that list that I have in front of me, which was Alyssa, Sarah Beth, Whitney, Brent, Hannah, Kyland, Tiffany, Claire, and Travis, I trusted Kyland the absolute most. So I was like, okay, I need him because I know that if it's a reward he'll be there to help use it in a way that will benefit us. So that's why he was actually nominated. He was just there as a placeholder. I said that from the beginning, and I stayed true.
As far as Alyssa, when you're told in the house that somebody is coming after you such as Christian, I started noticing that Alyssa was super close to Christian, and Christian saved himself in the Wildcard competition. So I was like, 'okay if I can't get you, I'm going to teach the two of you a lesson. I'm going to put up the person you're closest with.' She's not going to go home, but I'm going to make sure that the two of you get the message that I know. And I know that you're coming after me.
So I did put a list up, but it was simply just to give her that message of, Hey, I know you guys are coming after me. And if you do, just know that you'll be up here, but next time it's going to be permanent. And so that was my way of sending a message, putting her up. Did I ever have a full intention of her going home? No. And I made it completely clear. She wasn't going home. And I even spoke to her about that.
So at the end of the day, I got to accomplish my goal. I sent Travis home. He is an amazing person, but this is Big Brother. And with him being the chiseled looking God that he is, I didn't feel like if it was an endurance competition at the end, that I could beat him. So he accomplished my week 1 goal. So he had to go.
CBS Britini D'Angelo and Brandon 'Frenchie' French on 'Big Brother'
You told Britini at one point that if you won the veto you would use it on her. That's easy to say but harder to actually do. What would you have actually done if you had won the veto?
I wouldn't use the veto on myself, 100 percent. I don't even have to think twice about that. The simple fact is she was up there because of me and I let my heart get the best of me in this game and I definitely would have used it on her. And I knew that had that veto been used, there would have been another tough competitor sitting next to me, most likely. And I knew that I would have had a way better chance of going up against another strong competitor and that I could probably pull them votes.
And twofold was that if I used it on her, that guaranteed that another person on my team would be safe. So we would be able to do that. And then I would have all the fight in the world to want to campaign, And my heart would not let me campaign against Britini. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't say anything negative about her. I couldn't say I deserve to be here more than her. My heart just wouldn't let me do it. And I definitely would have used it on her because I always told myself I'd rather go out a champ than a chump. And, to me, degrading a woman on my way out wasn't something that I would ever want to do. I felt like if that veto was around her neck, then it was game time. Then I could bring out the shark in me. And that shark turned into an absolute goldfish once we lost the veto.
Who is playing the best game in the house so far?
Hannah, hands down. She's super intelligent and she is somebody that can build emotional connections with people in the house. She has great connections with everybody and just like I was in week 1, she has protection everywhere. She is going to go far. She was actually somebody that I was planning on taking very deep. Thinking back on some of the conversations that she and I had, I was just like, wow, she's good. I think Hannah is going to kind of go all the way.
I've been covering the show for a long time. And I know that when people are huge fans of Big Brother or Survivor and they've been watching for years and studying it, and they've been applying forever and then they get on the show and go home really early, that can be really hard on them, as opposed to someone where it's not as big a deal to them and it's just something they're doing for fun. So how are you doing? Because you are one of those big fans, and you've had this dream for years only to watch it end after two weeks.
I'm going to be completely honest with you: I'm great, actually. I knew coming into this game that yes, I might be a super fan, and yeah, I definitely wanted to go all the way to the end, but I knew that I wanted to have fun in this game. And if I couldn't have fun and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, there was no point in me being there. And before I left, my daughter was like, "Daddy just have fun." And I kept telling myself that while I was in the house — and because I would get super stressed out in week 1 —I kept reminding myself, daddy just have fun, you know? And you have to keep yourself in that mindset because if not, that game will definitely get the best of you. So yes, being a super fan, it sucks coming out early, but I wouldn't change this experience for the world.
And I'm blessed to even walk in that house. There were thousands of applicants and I was chosen. So at the end of the day, I have to have fun. I have to go in there and live my dream. And I soaked everything in. And I literally was able to do and play everything except becoming a Have Not in just a week. How wild is that? A lot of people don't get to experience all of Big Brother in two weeks, and I got to do that. I got to play in two vetoes. I got to play in a Wildcard competition and have paint splattered all over me. I had an absolute blast. And my morale coming out of here is absolutely great. I'm a happy camper and I would do it again in a heartbeat.