The 2017 Celebrity Big Brother is unlike any other, combining new recruits to Elstree with ‘celebrities’ who have already done time in the Big Brother house.
The previous participants, the ‘All Stars’, who have decent past CBB form are understandably dominating the Celebrity Big Brother betting. The ‘New Stars’ are yet to yield an obvious potential winner.
It reputedly took a significant sum to lure Heidi Montag and the aptly named Spencer Pratt, aka Speidi (pictured), the talentless Reality TV specialists, back from the US. The poisonous pair were runners-up to the irrepressible Rylan Clark-Neal in CBB three years ago and still resent him for beating them. Their reappearance suggests that they are not exactly raking in the cash at home although the arch-schemers have splashed out on ‘Speidi’ emblazoned jackets.
Speidi are determined to win this time and are fancied by some to succeed, starting as the 5/1 joint second favourites. The savvy Stephen Bear proved that consistent appalling behaviour could be a winning formula in the most recent CBB, adding to their hopes.
Austin Armacost, the initial joint second favourite has more recent form, finishing second to the likeable Apprentice candidate James Hill in the August 2015 CBB. Another American, Armacost made entertaining viewing, mainly through his engaging bromance with Hill. In his intro VT Armacost declared his contempt for Speidi but was polite when he encountered them in the All Star ‘production team’. Having recently split from his partner of nine years, will Armacost find another friend to help showcase his character?
The initial favourite at 7/2 in the 2017 Celebrity Big Brother betting is Calum Best, the son of footballing legend George. Calum finished third behind Katies Price and Hopkins in CBB a year ago and thinks he has learned from that experience. It was certainly a testing one dealing with the antics of Perez Hilton. Calum is no fool and knows how to behave in a reality television environment. He won Love Island with the CBB ‘New Star’ Bianca Gascoigne, son of footballer Paul.
Calum has been thrown a curved ball with the surprise appearance of his mother Angie. Usually ultra composed, his mouth fell open when she appeared on the launch show walkway. He had told her about his CBB reappearance but she had reportedly said nothing about her participation series (though it had been reported in some newspapers beforehand, so maybe he had a clue). Angie’s presence could help or hinder his chances of winning this. If he can turn it to his advantage he could prove a worthy favourite.
Other recycled ‘celebrities’ include James Jordan, the former Strictly Come Dancing pro who garnered limited support in his first CBB experience and is unlikely to do much better here. Jordan tries to play the game, saying that he was nervous on the launch show, but he does not have the right personality to do well in this environment. Since being dropped from Strictly he has come across as rather embittered on Twitter, specialising in jibes about the show being fixed. Some people can be amusingly negative, he is not one of them.
Another hopeless ‘All Star’ is the US ‘actress’ Jasmine Waltz, the outsider of the entire field at 50/1. She believes that she has been asked back because she can be expected to make the same mistakes that she did last time. She was involved in a complex love triangle and flashed plenty of flesh. When asked if her taste in men had changed she admitted that it had not, she still goes for idiots. Her choice of outfit for the launch show with extensive cleavage exposure suggests that she is keen to attract as many of them as possible.
The All Star with so much super structure that it has to be properly contained is Nicola McLean. Only Waltz is less popular in the CBB betting. McLean says she has had a very difficult time in her personal life and claimed that CBB was the worst experience of her whole life – and yet she is going in again. Her oversized boob job must have cost a bit.
McLean thinks that she is ‘good TV’ because she regularly drinks too much and cries. As soon as she walked into the All Stars production area Austin did up another button of his shirt. Heidi smiled at her but exuded daggers. McLean has opened the floodgates, missing her kids after less than 48 hours. She should be reunited with them pretty rapidly.
Former singer and Loose Woman Coleen Nolan was the runner-up to Julian Clary in CBB in 2012 and is on offer at single figure odds this time. Nolan correctly believes that this could be a ‘house from hell’ with known trouble-makers invited back to wreak havoc. She struggled with the force that is Julie Goodyear in her last CBB appearance and will need to toughen up to cope with this lot. On the positive side she has probably watched more CBB than most and should know the games of the returning ‘players’. She might stand out as a relatively ‘genuine’ contestant if she does not fall to pieces in this piranha pond – Speidi have already decided that she is weak.
The most promising CBB newbie is Ray J, the US-based music star unfortunately best known for his notorious sex tape with the ultimate reality TV star, Kim Kardashian. Ray J wore a Union Jack jacket on launch night and was greeted warmly by the crowd.
Ray J says he has seen the show but appears pretty clueless about what he has let himself in for. His first aired appearance in the diary room suggests he has realistic hopes of doing well. He demonstrated the ability to make fun of his former behaviour when he was ‘a player’ and was amusing when trying to describe McLean’s ample assets in polite language. He is now married and when McLean offered to share a bed with him on the first night he chose to get out of the bedroom and sleep on the sofa instead. Ray J has humour and might make good viewing if he manages to get air time in this explosive bunch.
The same sentiment applies to Brandon Block the DJ, and one time serious partygoer. Whilst all the other celebs donned their glad rags for the launch, Block sensibly wore warm clothes and a woolly hat. Emma Willis really enjoyed hugging him as she was freezing and he was not. He seems an interesting character but will we see it aired in this hubbub of personalities? I hope so because he is very different from the other housemates. He accepted his fate as the third housemate to be ‘edited out’ with aplomb.
In contrast the US X Factor finalist and CBB ‘New Star’ Stacy Francis was incandescent to be the first to be ‘edited out’. She was not greeted with any enthusiasm by the launch crowd either. The few who knew who she was were not impressed with her. Her intro VT mentioned her row with Whitney Houston shortly before her death. Francis admits that she is looking for a wealthy husband to fund her love of expensive shoes. Her initial odds of 25/1 seem an accurate reflection of her chances.
Another CBB newbie is the veteran Game of Thrones and Braveheart actor, James Cosmo. Unlike the majority of housemates he is a widely recognised face and acknowledged master of his trade. The problem is that he looks less comfortable being himself. Cosmo seemed a little stiff both physically and mentally on the launch show and, being polite and possibly hard of hearing, is unlikely to make much of an impact in this CBB house. This is his first foray into reality TV, it is going to be a huge challenge for him to thrive in this potential war zone – he was the second contestant to be ‘edited out’.
Footballer Jamie O’Hara is another decent person who might struggle for airtime. He wants the world to know that he is a very different character to the one portrayed in the media in his heyday and that may prove tricky in this company. He has taken a fancy to Jasmine Waltz and is already being goaded into action by the game-playing Spencer. Expect a romance of sorts as Waltz has decided it would be fun to outwit Spencer by ‘pretending’ to have one, knowing that she will not last long without a love interest.
CBB newbie Bianca Gascoigne is not a hopeless case. She immediately assumed the role of hostess on entering the house, reinforcing her intro VT claims that she is not a wallflower. She also claims to be strong and opinionated, watch this space to see if she can cope in this company. Gascoigne sensibly admitted that she has kissed on camera before, it would have been stupid not to as she snogged Calum Best on Love Island, and would not be afraid of affection on camera again. She seems quite savvy but managed to glue her eyelids together and had to go to hospital. Her inner strength is likely to be put under huge pressure in this CBB house.
The reality TV New Star newbie Angie Best has already compromised her chances by publically questioning Spencer’s sincerity. She initially appears to be a decent human being and said that she felt like a traitor for not telling Calum that she was going in. Heidi Montag immediately flagged her up as serious competition. The Celebrity Big Brother betting market suggests that she is not.
It is hard to pick a betting tip at this early stage, given it is reported that we are yet to see a couple more new housemates, but the bookies’ CBB betting market is often a surprisingly accurate guide.