20. Saboteur (Season 12) – Annie was brought into the house to mess up the game. Too bad she got voted out the first week. Ragan took over for awhile. It had potential with its Mole-like qualities but the twist still fell flat.
19. BB Takeover (Season 17) – This affected the game in no way and disappeared after only three weeks. The twists brought in Amazing Race contestants to play in the game (yawn), two houseguests had immunity for a week for sitting out the first HOH competition, the person who answered the 7th phone call in a phone booth in the house got to block three people from voting during eviction and Gronk came and they partied.
18. Team America (Season 16) – America got to vote on things that three players did throughout the season. They opted out several times when it actually affected the game. I don’t know why this show keeps insisting on letting America participate. Just let us pick who gets a phone call from home so we can watch Janelle talk to Michael and ask if Britney Spears had her baby. That’s the only power we need.
17. Hit the Road (Season 18) – Though kicking someone off right away is an interesting idea especially when there is no vote, this didn’t really work. It all happened so fast and in the long run won’t affect much this season.
16. Soulmates (Season 9) – Each houseguest was teamed up with a person Big Brother deemed as their soulmate. They were nominated and evicted together. This lasted three weeks and then they played as individuals. Sorry Big Brother but matchmaker you are not. This entire season was a low point for the show.
15. America’s Player (Season 8) – Eric was America’s Player. Each week viewers voted on who he should try to get nominated, who he would vote for and things he would do when interacting with houseguests. I don’t like America having control like this. It is unfortunate especially in this case because it really affected the game and Eric wasn’t able to do things as he wanted.
14. Coaches (Season 14) – Four former houseguests (Boogie, Janelle, Dan and Britney) came in and coached a group of players. The concept is pretty dumb but it did lead to Dan’s great game play that season. I would rather forget Boogie and Janelle on this season though. Their greatness was kind of ruined for me.
13. Coup d’Etat (Seasons 7 and 11) – The Coup d’Etat allows one player to take down the nominees and replace them with whomever they choose including the HOH. This is a cool power. Unfortunately it hasn’t played out so well. Boogie won it in season 7 but never used it. Based on America’s vote, Jeff won it in Season 11. This resulted in a great BB moment. He got Jessie ousted which led to a breakdown by Chima who got kicked out of the house for throwing her microphone in the water.
12. Cliques (Season 11) – The houseguests were put into groups based on stereotypical high school cliques. When a member of a clique was HOH, their entire clique was safe for the week. There’s not much else to say about this. It didn’t really affect things much.
11. Returning Players (Seasons 11, 13, 14 and 18) – This has been done too much. I always like seeing some of my old favorites back but its an unnecessary and lazy twist. I would rather they bring back no one or do a full blown all-stars again.
10. Project DNA/Twin Twist (Seasons 5 and 17) – Cowboy and Nakomis are secret siblings. Interesting but had no affect on the game. Identical twins Natalie and Adria played as one person for part of the game. The look on Jace’s face when he learns about the twins and knows his fate is sealed moves this twist up a bit. The fact that they replicated it in season 17 moves it down.
9. Returning Evictee (Seasons 3, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) – Another twist that is barely a twist anymore. At this point I just expect them to bring back an evicted houseguest 4 or 5 weeks in.
8. Teams (Season 18) – This one is still playing out but so far it has been interesting. The houseguests picked their own teams of 4 and when one player is HOH, their teammates are safe.
7. Golden Key (Season 13) – The players were nominated as duos and when one was evicted, the other got a Golden Key and was safe until the final 10. I’m never on board with them changing up how people are nominated and evicted but this definitely played into the strategy at the beginning of the game.
6. Battle of the Block (Season 16 and 17) – It was a ploy to make the Sunday show more interesting. Two HOHs are named. Each names two nominees. They battle it out. The winning two are taken off the block and that HOH is dethroned. Again, not a fan of when they change basic rules of the game like this. The strategy was interesting to watch though. I enjoy people purposely throwing competitions.
5. Rivals (Season 8) – Three of the houseguests were surprised to learn someone they hated in real life was joining them in the house. Cool idea. I’d watch it again. Nothing memorable stands out though.
4. Secret Partners (Season 6) – Everyone came into the game with a secret partner, someone they knew from their real life. Friends, co-workers and even one romantic couple. This pretty much instantly split the house down the middle and it stayed that way the entire game. This twist led to great moments like James lying that he knew Sarah. Everyone had figured out the twist and knew he had to have a partner but he wouldn’t give it up. Also, when Maggie was on the block and James won veto, she said to HOH Kaysar, “Well I guess you sealed my fate.” “No I sealed your partner’s fate.” He put up Eric after the veto and the big dog left that week.
3. Roadkill competition (Season 18) – Everyone can play. Whoever wins secretly nominates a third nominee. This is a great twist that can really affect the game.
2. All-stars (Season 6) – Bringing in a group of all-star players who were already experienced at the game, had built in alliances and perceptions of each other led to one of the best seasons so far.
1. X-Factor (Season 4) – Five houseguests entered the house to learn their exes would be joining them. This led to some great drama (see: Scott getting expelled before the first eviction after a violent outburst). It also led to one of the best secret alliances. Exes Jun and Jee appeared to the house to hate each other but were secretly working together which led to Jun wining the grand prize.