Alum Matt Hoffman Pulls His Diamond Veto On Big Brother 17 Cast

Hello once again, Big Brother superfans! It’s your ol’ buddy from Season 12, Matt Hoffman, here to do my annual Big Brother Network cast release commentary (which also doubles as one of the few remaining ways I cling to my long-expired Z-list stardom). This season we have 14 new specimens to examine, so let’s get right into this…

Matt Hoffman
Big Brother alum Matt Hoffman

Audrey MiddletonAudrey Middleton, 25
Hometown: Villa Rica, Ga.
Current City: Villa Rica, Ga.
Occupation: Digital Media Consultant

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard that Big Brother has jumped on the “what’s hot now” bandwagon broken new ground in equality and cast a transgender person for Season 17. That transgender person is Audrey, and she is the full package. Hmmm…poor choice of words…but suffice to say, I think that Audrey’s methodical approach to the game gives her a great shot at taking the winning title. She says she doesn’t want to model her game after any past contestant, and instead compares her style to Dexter Morgan (of the Showtime series Dexter). Ritualistically murdering your fellow housemates is certainly a unique strategy that I haven’t seen play out before. Let’s hope there’s plenty of extra rolls of saran wrap in the storage room and that the live feeds don’t cut out during the kills.

Austin MatelsonAustin Matelson, 30
Hometown: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Current City: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Occupation: Professional Wrestler

I’m glad I watched the video interview and didn’t just go off a picture on this one, because I learned that Austin is actually not homeless, and he does appear to bathe on occasion. Austin is an ex-WWE wrestler who is semi-retired and is now competing on Big Brother…almost like the “alternate universe” version of Jessie Godderz – an ex-Big Brother contestant who is semi-retired (he seems to always creep back into seasons) and is now competing in professional wrestling. Austin’s wrestling name is “Judas”, which makes any true Big Brother superfan really REALLY hope that somehow Season 10’s Jerry MacDonald makes his way back into the house. One particular thing to note about Judas is that it takes him less than 2-minutes into the interview before he puts on a top hat for the duration. I’m still up in the air as to whether this makes me love him or hate him.

Becky BurgessBecky Burgess, 26
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
Current City: Denver, Colo.
Occupation: Retail Manager

This is Becky Burgess. Becky Burgess is on Big Brother. Becky Burgess on Big Brother is boring and bonkers. (Dr. Seuss would have a field day with this) Becky describes herself as an “interesting girl” who has “done some pretty crazy things”, but then follows that up with nothing interesting nor crazy. When asked what skills she has to take with her in the Big Brother house, Becky tells us that she can “count” and “memorize”, so she should really be able to hold her own if the Season 17 twist is Becky with a house full of kindergartners. I hope she practiced coloring in between the lines while she was sequestered before the show. Upon comparing her sleep-inducing persona to that of Season 12/14’s hysterical Britney Haynes, I thought she had hit the apex of delusion…but then she delivers the following gem when asked what she hopes to get out of this experience: “Big Brother is a great opportunity to become a public figure”. Hmmm…if that’s true, then I just learned that being a “public figure” means that you host your own podcast or web show about reality TV for no money. Enjoy your post-show fame, Becky!

Clay HoneycuttClay Honeycutt, 23
Hometown: Dickinson, Texas
Current City: College Station, Texas
Occupation: Graduate Student (Texas A&M)

Clay is this season’s token all-American good-looking alpha male…from his perfectly-groomed hair to his “just rugged enough” beard stubble to his awesome affection for denim button-up shirts that are typically only still in style amongst the lesbian community. Clay cites some of his favorite players as Cody Calafiore (Season 16) and Hayden Moss (Season 12), which makes sense because he does appear to be some factory-created hybrid of the two in nearly all aspects (appearance, mannerisms, speech, attitude, etc). This begs the question of how many more contestant hybrids Grodner has in her lab, preserved in barrels of formaldehyde labelled “RECRUIT” and waiting to be unleashed for future seasons?

Da'Vonne RogersDa’Vonne Rogers, 27
Hometown: Inglewood, Calif.
Current City: Los Angeles
Occupation: Poker Dealer

Nothing specific about Da’Vonne stood out to me in any particular way, however there was a definite overall appeal to her character. She seemed to have a firm grasp on the game, and I would enjoy seeing her follow through with her idea of taking a “ride or die” secret alliance member along with her, ala Danielle Reyes and Jason Guy from Season 3. Da’Vonne also mentions that she is a poker dealer, but wants to keep that a secret from her houseguests. She has decided to use “school teacher” as her cover-up occupation, which is the default fake occupation for nearly everyone on Big Brother who has ever lied about their job.

Jace AgolliJace Agolli, 23
Hometown: Dunwoody, Ga.
Current City: Venice Beach, Calif.
Occupation: Personal Trainer

Have you ever gone to a Xerox machine and made a copy of a copy of a copy? Jace is the physical embodiment of what happened after Grodner ran to the Big Brother Xerox machine and made a copy of the Hayden Voss copy of her original Hayden Moss. Next year Jace will get copied, and an actual feral animal will be a contestant. Jace describes himself as a “personal trainer, surfer, skater, snowboarder, rapper, and singer”. Allow me to consolidate that for you into the much simpler “unemployed”.

James HulingJames Huling, 31
Hometown: Sumter, SC
Current City: Wichita Falls, Texas
Occupation: Retail Associate

A little-known secret is that Big Brother has been hard at work in the off-season on an invention called the Asianator 4000™. Upon its completion a few months ago, Grodner tricked Season 16 fan favorite Donny Thompson into hopping inside, and out popped James Huling…primed and ready for Season 17! James is the character you have each season that you would most want to hang out with and have around to keep your sanity, but that (likely because of that very fact) has a pretty slim shot of winning the half-million. He describes himself as the “Hillbilly Asian”, and I actually really dig his personality. He’s got a great attitude about the game, and I feel that his military/corrections background will help to make him an interesting strategist to watch. I wish him the best, but expect the worst.

Jason RoyJason Roy, 25
Hometown: Fall River, Mass.
Current City: Swansea, Mass.
Occupation: Supermarket Cashier

Jason certainly has a different type of strategy than we’ve seen in the past. He says he wants to be the “gay glue” in an all-girls alliance, wherein he eliminates all the strong men, leaving him to spend the summer giggling, pillow-fighting, doing makeovers, and talking about boys with his new female besties. Seemingly unaware of the $500,000 prize everyone else is trying to win, the aggressive gameplay of Jason Roy is further accentuated when he says that his personal goal in the game was already achieved by simply being cast. I think we’ll be seeing Jason and his sweet gold collar-chain back in the real world pre-jury.

John McGuireJohn McGuire, 27
Hometown: Scranton, Pa.
Current City: Jefferson Township, Pa.
Occupation: Dentist

John claims to be a dentist. Either he is lying about that, or he’s been taking massive advantage of the limitless supply of nitrous oxide available at his disposal. I love John and could watch him talk all day. And, on that note, kudos to Big Brother for giving the mentally challenged a chance at $500,000 (although, looking back, I suppose this wouldn’t be the first time). I hope John goes far…I really do…I want to see him on my TV all summer. But John, unfortunately, fits the ideal profile of a first-boot.

Liz NolanLiz Nolan, 23
Hometown: Miami
Current City: Miami
Occupation: Marketing Coordinator

Let’s introduce you to another pre-jury boot. This is Liz. Liz is from Florida. We know this primarily because she spends half of her interview talking about it. Liz heard about Big Brother when she met Season 13’s Porsche Briggs on a boat (I can’t make this stuff up). Porsche saw something special in Liz and encouraged her to try out, so we can likely expect Liz to have that same dominating powerful gameplay that we saw out of…wait, who was that again? When asked why she thought she was selected to be on Big Brother, Liz tells us that it was because “you gotta represent Florida!”. Totally, Liz…totally.

Meg MaleyMeg Maley, 25
Hometown: Collingswood, N.J.
Current City: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: Server

Meg’s bio sells herself as “boy crazy”, but that’s descriptive of a 13 year old girl. By age 25, she should’ve evolved from “boy crazy” into “generally slutty”, which is much more appropriate for Big Brother. Adding to it the fact that she claims more than once to be “drama free”, she may not be a great fit for the exploitative sensationalist programming that Big Brother has devolved into over the years. While I enjoy Meg’s spunk and excitement at the adventure she is about to embark on, I don’t gather that she’s got what it takes to be a true competitor. Her superfan status could also cause her to get voted out before her distraction with the “oh my god, I’m on Big Brother” aspect of things wanes. If she can get her head in the game quickly, she may at least make it to jury.

Shelli PooleShelli Poole, 33
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
Current City: Atlanta
Occupation: Interior Designer

In one of Big Brother’s bolder moves this season, they decided to really dig deep to grab the “oldest contestant” slot. With a cast full of mainly youthful 20-somethings, here comes the haggard, decrepit, 33-year-old Shelli to fill that house mom role. I mean, do people even live to 33 anymore these days? What is Big Brother doing casting such an aging outlier?! What a liability! What if Shelli were to slip and break her hip? Would someone at least notify her grandchildren? Poor rickety old Shelli. Great to see Big Brother promoting diversity in ageism, though.

Steve MosesSteve Moses, 22
Hometown: Gouverneur, NY
Current City: Gouverneur, NY
Occupation: College Student

Virginal, hyper-intelligent, engineering student superfan from out East…sound familiar? It took me about halfway through this interview for me to realize that this is not Season 14 winner Ian Terry, back to defend his title. The copycat casting is definitely strong in this one, even down to the physical similarities. If you liked Ian, but would have rather seen him not win, then you’ll love Steve Moses.

Vanessa RoussoVanessa Rousso, 32
Hometown: Las Vegas
Current City: Las Vegas
Occupation: Professional Poker Player

Vanessa is this season’s “person you may already know but probably don’t”. Three seasons ago, we met Willie Hantz – brother of Survivor villain Russell Hantz. Two seasons ago we met Jenn Arroyo – bassist in the Canadian alternative metal group Kitty. Last season we learned that Frankie Grande is the brother of pop sensation Ariana Grande. This season, Big Brother has stepped up their game and actually cast someone with their own accomplishments to hang on. Vanessa is a multi-million dollar winning professional poker player. For obvious reasons, this is a fact that Vanessa would like to keep to herself. For equally obvious reasons, we now see why professional poker dealer Da’Vonne was cast alongside Vanessa. I give it less than a week before the gig is up on this one. But if she can avoid whatever immediate backlash comes her way for a week or two until her castmates forget about her occupation, I believe that Vanessa is poised to do quite well this season.

Well, that’s it…in about a week we’ll all be neglecting our jobs/lives/families/cats in favor of feeding our voyeuristic tendencies for a few months. Thanks once again to Big Brother Network for allowing me the opportunity to spew my judgement on the new lab rats. If you enjoyed this read, feel free to follow me on twitter @HeadOfHOFFhold for more unabashed commentary throughout the season.


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    • I want more grills too. I only have one Weber one now. Its a great grill, easy to use, cooks great, but I can only fit about 4 hamburgers on it. That makes it tough to have a cookout or other social events like that. If I had about 4 or 5 grills then I could really have a party. I believe the more grills the better.

      • I like grilled fish. Get one large milkfish, stuff it with onions, garlic and tomatoes, with a little salty seasoning, wrap it in tinfoil and basically smoke it until cooked.

        Tastes really good if you complement it with soysauce or fishsauce, and eat it with rice.

      • I love fish.” You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it.” There’s grilled fish, fried fish, deep-fried fish, pan-seared fish, …ok, enough Bubba Gumping. That I know of I’ve never had milkfish, but that sounds delicious.

      • I just ate actually earlier tonight, but there’s always room for dessert. Yum yum!

      • LMAO. No doubt you would be the first to mention cannibalizing your non-surviving airplane comrades. You have that “whatever it takes”, BB mentality, don’t you?

  1. I really dropped the ball on this one. Da’Vonne, the poker dealer and player/teacher will no doubt recognize in-cognito multi-million dollar winning professional poker player, Vanessa. I hadn’t thought of that scenario. That will indeed be interesting to watch. Enjoyed reading your perspective on each speciman, speciwoman, and specitran..

    • Although I think she will be recognized, I am not sure it will definetly happen or may take a little while. I follow poker pretty often, although I don’t work in it, and I didn’t know who she was even with them saying she is a famous poker player probably because most of her winnings are online. So it might be for Da’Vonne one of those moments where you won’t recognize someone unless they tell you who they are.

      • What does being young have to do with not recognizing someone? I think their being young would make it more likely they recognize her.

      • just my opinion , I don’t think the majority of a younger crowd knows who’s who in the gambling world

      • Poker is a young persons game today. It used to be an older crowd and I would say still is for gambling overall. However, for poker if you look at any final table most of the people are under 30.

      • yes but that doesn’t mean most younger crowd following it but as I said it’s my Opinion . not arguing about it geesh

      • Maybe, but I just don’t know if she will recognize the poker player. It will be interesting if she does, because she can use it to possibly get rid of her

    • I can’t decide if Da’Vonne will recognize her or not. Did she say where she’s a poker dealer?

      • I haven’t heard, but Derrick made a good point about most of her winnings being online. Da’Vonne my have never seen her even if she has heard of her.

  2. Just wanted to let you know I was rooting for you in your season! ( yes I was the one) And hopefully you get another chance to play. I agree with your assessments except for Ian oh I mean Steve.

  3. Austin, Steve, John, Aurey, Vanessa & Da’voone are great picks. the rest are the typical shells BB likes to pick. Still watching it but sure do wish they would cast more diverse people.

  4. One of those has just transitioned into a woman like Jenner. I’ll be interested in your take on how that plays out.

    • Audrey. I wouldn’t have known it if it hadn’t been announced. She’s certainly well spoken and great personality. I think she may be a contender, if she plays her cards right

  5. Great commentary. Everything makes sense except for 33 being old. 35 is the old benchmark, I would call her late middle aged. At 33 you have a couple years left. John, Liz, and Jason clearly all out pre jury. For first one to go though I’m not sure. John is good choice, but Liz may annoy the house so much that she goes first.

    • It always is. Every season for casting they have the general stereotypes that they want to hit. For a show that has been on this long they will take past players that fans liked and try to find a copy of them because if fans liked that guy then they will like this guy too. Wish they didn’t, but that is how it is.

      • and then we never really like the copy of the copy player…when will AG ever learn we like the original players every time- example Renee

      • No, she won’t. She’s done it so long, she just phones it in. That’s when it’s time to get a fresh perspective. It’s what happens with a lot of shows. They just stay with the same formula each year, until they start losing a lot of viewers. That’s the only thing that gets the network’s attention

      • I do wish they would get their types without getting them all with stereotypes. Maybe I’ll be surprised. Doubt it

      • Maybe they need someone with a fresh take casting. They’re getting lazy with the casting

    • Well i think they all are each year. Maybe branch out a little Allison. I dont think the 20 something’s spend their summer watching BB. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally they’re out enjoying their summer

  6. I also hope that John last throughout the season. He seems like the most entertaining so far. Hope he’s able to keep his mouth shut out of the DR for the most part.

    • I really like John too, but he does seem as Matt points out to be a pre-jury eviction. Hopefully he is not though.

      • She will do well. I have known her for years and she is really smart. I watched last season, so I know the game. She is basically Derrick, but a girl version.

      • I’m super serious. She may even be better because she is single and can use that to her advantage because Derrick was married.

      • I know what I am taking about she is not completely lost she is one of the smartest people you could met

      • There is no way there is something wrong in your head you see one season and now you think you know everything

      • there is nothing wrong with me i have watched before she is the best no one will be her

      • Im not going to even try to keep talking to you you clearly dont know what your taking about end of discussion

      • she might be smart in real life, you never know but that doesn’t always transfer always to real life. I think at best she’ll be a Jessie like boot that makes it to jury.

    • the only reason she thinks she was cast is because ” you gotta represent florida!” she clearly has no chance lol

  7. How they are on paper and how they carry themselves during the interview could be totally different in the house when playing the game. I need to watch one or two episodes to see what kind of player they are.

    • I agree 1 million percent. I was going to post the same thing until I read yours. Lol. A five minute interview means nothing. I learned that from other seasons. I would really like someone in there interview and then after 2weeks in the house I couldn’t stand them.

    • I completely agree. 2 years ago everyone thought that Ayaan was so cute and funny and it turned out that she was Hitler’s granddaughter. You have to be careful with pre season picks. That being said Shelli, Meg John and James would be my picks.

      • I think John sounds like an idiot by his interview. I don’t know how he made it through Dental School. I wouldn’t want him working on my teeth. Lol

      • Aaryn was given a really really bad producers cut with people taking what she said the wrong way. In real life I have heard that she is actually really nice. It was more her sense of humor (racial humor) that was off putting. I love racial humor (dave chappelle is my favorite comedian and I love south park), so I didn’t think she was that bad. I am young like Aaryn though so there are many in my generation that are more comfortable with that humor where I don’t know one person over probably 35 that would be ok with it at all. I am a black asian guy as well, so if I was not offended no white people should be.

      • I still think she is evil, but I never thought about it that way. It could be a sense of humor thing now that you mention chappelle.

      • Don’t buy into that crock of shite… she ‘angrily’ made remarks against people… not in some dry politically incorrect comedic fashion… & it was repeatedly….. and again, ‘angrily… she’d always trash talk, when annoyed, which was almost a constant. I can take non PC humor… if it’s actually meant to be funny & knowing the character of the person & the intentions behind it. It was very clear she meant what she said…. I was glued to the live feeds whenever time permitted. Home from work & I was playing catch up. The only way editing was bad was because it was bad for HER… by not downplaying her actions. Where editing failed was by not fully showing another three of the HG’s equally disgusting… if not worse… remarks. But, oh yeah, she was serious… sometimes in the guise of sarcasm, but she was pretty vicious. The comparison of her actions to Chappelle is sO off the mark it’s almost blasphemous. ;)

      • RVolpi I agree with you that she was awful and it was not just comedy, some was most was not. However, I do agree that she got a bad producers cut. Like you said not because she was made out to be bad, but because the show made her the one racist in the house when there were many terrible people that were not shown. She was bad, but others were too that BB didn’t show. Aaryn, GM, Amanda, and Spencer were all terrible and should have been shown that way. Candice was also terrible not for racist remarks, but for her actions as well. The problem I have with it is not that Aaryn was shown to be a bad person, but that Gm ,Amanda, and Spencer’s comments were completely left out of the main show, and that Candice was made to only be a victim. However, if that is what gets ratings that is what BB will do.

      • I have also heard that Aaryn is really nice outside of the house. Does not excuse how she acted inside of it, but it is intresting.

      • …another thing, just because someone on a site claims to be speaking as a ‘black’ person, or whomever, doesn’t make it so. Also, if an actual ‘black’ person speaks on behalf of a whole race, they are foolish 7 you’d be foolish to believe them. There are a lot of confused people ‘out there’.

      • No you aren’t and she made the two black people miserable (the girl cried and was furious, the guy had to go to a private room to get ahold of his outrage) so I’ll just go with their opinions instead. They were there and deeply offended which was shared by most of us, black-white-you name it. Aaryn was not made up by the producers, she was real and she stunk.

  8. This was posted on reddit yesterday and would make sense due to the
    number of houseguests and for the larger number of LGBT cast members.

    all, first let me start by saying that I am not one who normally comes
    on these fan forum sites to talk Big Brother (or anything, really).
    Someone I am fairly close with has a loved one who works for CBS and he
    provided me with some pretty cool news for this season. I will not say
    that this is 100% legit info, but I trust this person enough and I think
    that it is true. Especially with how much detail I’ve been given.
    The reason I decided to post this on this website is because I have a
    friend who is a huge big brother fan and he is a regular poster here (so
    he tells me). He told me to post my info on this site and so, here I
    So to start, I will say there will be 16 people in the house this year
    but only 14 actual houseguests. The main twist this season is Battle of
    the Sexes.
    There will be 14 new houseguests and 2 returning players who will be the
    “leaders” or “coaches” of their “team”. One female & one male will
    return. Both are from recent seasons but I will not reveal their names
    as my friend told me that I could ruin their chances? I don’t know how
    this stuff works lol so I’ll just keep quiet about that
    So basically each week the girls & guys will compete separately for
    HOH. The winning male & female of each comp will compete against
    each other 1 on 1 in the Battle of the Sexes comp. Whoever wins must
    nominate 2 people of the opposite gender. The “team leaders” (returnees)
    can not be nominated as they will not be considered houseguests.
    Additionally, each week the 2 returning players will battle in a
    separate competition and they will be competing for FOOD for their
    gender. So if the female returnee wins, all the female houseguests will
    get food and hot water while the males will be on slop and cold water.
    No have-not room while this twist is in play. The losing genders will be
    given sleeping bags and will be able to bunk wherever they want in the
    house, but only in their sleeping bag – on the floor.
    This twist will last throughout the entire pre-jury portion of the game.
    Once this stage of the game is over, one final competition will take
    place between the men and the women and the 1 winning male and 1 winning
    female must choose to evict one of their team mates (same gender) or
    team leader from the game. If the team leaders survive they become
    houseguests themselves, if they are eliminated they become the first
    members of the jury. Regular have-not comps and have-not room will come
    back into play at this portion of the game.
    Lastly there will be not 1 but 2 returning jury members this season. The
    2 returnees will be eligible to return if they get eliminated as well.
    This twist will come into effect when we are at the final 5. Unsure if
    it will be by public vote or competition, or another method, but 2 of
    the 6 jury members will return, making the final 5 go back to final 7.
    One female & one male will return. If there is only 1 female or 1
    male making up this jury of 6, then that person automatically returns to
    the game.

    Well, that’s all the info I’ve got for you guys. Do what you’d like
    with it. Tomorrow we will be introduced to the 14 houseguests while the 2
    returning team leaders will only be revealed on premiere night!
    We’ve got a crazy summer ahead of us this year, I can feel it!

  9. Ideally NOT the best casting but better than some of the recent seasons. As a collective group, they jive well to me and am curious to see how their dynamic works.

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