'Big Brother 23': Brent Champagne on Why He Was Targeted Early

Big Brother‘s Brent Champagne was the first houseguest to be evicted by unanimous vote this season because he fit the “meathead” stereotype and was perceived as a competitive threat, even though he didn’t win any competitions during this time in the house.

“I’ve had a target on my back since Day 1 and I couldn’t escape that narrative,” the 28-year-old flight attendant from Rhode Island told ET on Friday morning following his eviction. “It’s unfortunate because I had different ideas of how I wanted to enter the house, but I can’t really change the way I look. And if people target ‘meatheads’… then it’s unfortunate. It was just terrible timing and terrible luck.” 

Even though Brent’s game was cut short this summer, he doesn’t fault the houseguests for voting him out and would have approached his gameplay a little differently to ensure a longer stay. “Being more reserved and soft-spoken and more in the shadows and observing, that would definitely have been my approach, if I didn’t come in and have a target on my back,” he said.

During his exit interview with ET, Brent reacts to being the season’s first unanimous eviction, what he’d do differently and who he thinks is playing the best (and worst) game.

ET: Things went a little sideways for you in the game. What do you think went wrong? 

Brent Champagne: Unfortunately, I’ve had a target on my back since Day 1 and I couldn’t escape that narrative. That paint on my back dried and it lingered. It’s unfortunate because I had different ideas of how I wanted to enter the house, but I can’t really change the way I look. And if people target “meatheads,” that’s what Frenchie said, then it’s unfortunate. It was just terrible timing and terrible luck. But I don’t blame everyone for voting me out because even though I didn’t get to prove myself competitively in any type of competition, I still display a mindset and a sense of intellect, or maybe my personality being as strong as it is, as something that could conflict with a lot of people’s game later on. And I understand that wholeheartedly. I don’t hold it against anyone. If I was in their shoes, I would have kicked me out too. As far as any type of sympathy votes, I don’t believe anyone would be that dumb to throw away their own game to vote against the house. After the first couple of weeks, everyone was upset that someone did. This is the name of the game and I was the first unanimous decision of Big Brother 23, so I take pride in that.

If you had a do-over, is there one decision or one thing you said that you would’ve taken back or done differently?

Something I’ve said or anything like that, no. But as far as being more reserved and soft-spoken and more in the shadows and observing, that would definitely have been my approach, if I didn’t come in and have a target on my back. I would have been more in the neutral zone and more on planning of attack than on a defensive mode. Because as soon as I came in, it was just back against the wall, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense. I really couldn’t make any decision to attack besides plant a few seeds and get people to swing a certain way, as far as nominations go. But yeah, I mean, would definitely have been talk less overall. It’s [tough], especially my personality. I like talking, I like to converse. Conversation stimulates me, so it kind of screwed me in the end.

What was your game plan if you weren’t evicted this week?

In a perfect world, and hear me out, in a perfect world, I would have squeaked by, by the skin of my teeth, would have gave America a show. Be like, “Wow, that’s a close one,” it was 6 to 5, can no longer trust Alyssa and then win the HOH. Because hopefully it would have been a competition that I would have been able to thrive in and didn’t involve any type of spinning. And when I made my nominations for the nomination ceremony, I would have looked X[avier] in his eyes and said, “I’m going to do exactly what you couldn’t. Look you in the windows of your soul as a man and tell you, you are the target.” And then I would have nominated Christian, and Christian would have been up there as well. And I would have said to him, “Listen, you win. If you’re going to win, you’re going to only save yourself. You’re not going to have a chance to save two people of what the houseguests’ choice and or random selection. I’m not going to take that.” I’m a gambling man, but I’m not going to gamble that. And then look at Christian and say, “If you and X are still up here, Christian, you will go home.” And then I would have dropped my nomination box, like a boss, and then I would have walked away, and then I would have went home the next week.

You never know.

I was going home. It was either this week or next week. Honestly, I just didn’t feel it in my bones, but that’s how I would’ve played.

Who do you think is playing the best game right now? You mentioned Christian, and he’s the new HOH.

I think Hannah will win the whole season because she’s staying very reserved, passive, observant, staying analytical and logical, exactly what I wanted to do coming in. That is perfect. And she’s playing a great game. Christian. I hope he wins, because not only was I someone that could help take him out, but at the same time, he’s continuing to win. And he’s continuing to stay out of the crosshairs of many of the houseguests. But the fact that they’re willing to look at me as such a big threat and yet not really look at him as much of a threat, even though he’s won three different competitions, is mind-blowing to me. Everyone kept talking about how I was a competitive threat and a beast and yada yada, but I did nothing to prove that. And I never heard the opposite or the same for Christian. I never heard anyone saying, “Oh my god, he’s a threat. He’s a competitive monster.” But everyone was saying to the one person that wasn’t even able to prove any of it. So that’s something that I’m like, “Christian, kudos to you. You have my respect.” He’s a great kid, he’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. And he has a potential show romance blossoming and he’s winning. He’s going to have a great summer and I’m very happy for him.

Was Frenchie right about Christian?

Well, this is the wild part, is that if I was HOH — and I told Christian and to Alyssa to their face after we aligned — I was going to nominate them as well. Christian came in on cloud nine when he saw Alyssa for the first time. He’s like, word for word, “Oh my god. She’s exactly the type of person I would date outside of this house.” And to me, I’m like, “Great.” He picked her on his team. Not only are they on the same team, but he’s very fond of her. They actually ended up becoming a little closer throughout the week. To me, that was a no-brainer, to devastate Christian, to take away his soon-to-be wife. Just joking. Devastate Christian by taking away his first pick, someone that he finds that could be a potential romance and then also an alliance member or final two possibility. It would have crippled Christian’s whole game because Christian would have went home. If it was Christian and Alyssa, Christian would have went home. But as far as Alyssa kept saying, she didn’t have any attachment to him, we would have found out once Christian went home. It just makes the most sense, especially when you don’t know anyone in the house.

Who should be worried? Who do you think is next out of the house?

So my personal opinion before having other people’s perspectives would be Kyland and Derek X. Take away all the threats that can actually somewhat give you a run for your money that have showed it in the past. Derek X. has two veto wins and he’s a very decent threat, especially if you know him and Kyland, they’re very close. So I know Kyland is aligned with Xavier, but he’s also super close and aligned with Derek X. as well. My understanding is the Royal Flush is Kyland and Derek X. and then the cookout is Kyland and no Derek X., correct? So if I was Christian, I would put Kyland up with Derek X., get Derek X. out and then obviously keep my alliance member, but get rid of someone that wins. But everyone keeps saying that they think Whitney and Britini [will go up], and Whitney would go home. 

Britini is the season’s pawn at this point.

Yes, for a very long time. It could set a record too.

Now that you’re getting back into the world again, how do you think you’ll be received by Big Brother fans?

I know who I am and I know my flaws and my strengths, and I have nothing to prove to anyone. If anyone takes anything away from this game, hopefully you can take away that I’m a good sport. And the game is a brutal game at that, but it’s not a true representation of who we really are as people. But more importantly, I hope they’re entertained. And they were entertained, and they continue to be entertained. In the end, we sign up for this to win a bunch of money, but also entertain the people that watch it. Without the viewership, we are nothing, there would be no money to compete for. So in the end, I hope that America perceived me as entertaining.

Maybe this won’t be the last we’ll hear from you.

Leave it up to fate. You might see me again.

Big Brother airs Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For more, watch below.

‘Big Brother’ 23 Houseguests on How They Hope to Be Remembered (Exclusive)

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