Who won 'Big Brother 17'?

Geeky super fan Steve Moses took home the $500,000 on "Big Brother 17" tonight, outdueling poker player Vanessa Rousso in a crucial final Head of Household competition and wisely bringing the weaker player Liz Rolan into the finals with him. He received six out of nine votes, which was not a surprise.

The trombonist who loves his mom has no specific plans how to spend his winnings.

Liz pockets $50,000. Vanessa? Third place gets her nothing but a pat on the back.

Steve played a smart game, using his knowledge of the show to his advantage. He laid low the first seven weeks and was virtually invisible in episodes I watched the first few weeks. (He didn't believe he was "floating" but building bridges to get him to the finals.) He didn't want to bloody his hands until absolutely necessary. Once other potentially stronger players had knocked each other out, he began making alliances and winning challenges. He was always likable and made few enemies.

Liz created an early alliance and showmance with Austin. She was very loyal to that group and protected people when she needed to after she won five challenges. She kept her twin around a long time and did a good job there. But from a strategic standpoint, she tended to bow to Austin and that cost her the game. She was only able to garner votes from her boyfriend Austin Matelson, her twin sister Julia Rolan and her closest alliance partner Vanessa.

The vote count:

Vanessa voted for Liz.

Johnny Mac voted for Steve.

Austin voted for Liz.

Julia voted for Liz.

James voted for Steve.

Meg voted for Steve.

Becky voted for Steve.

Jackie voted for Steve.

Shelli's vote was Steve.

Favorite houseguest, based on "Big Brother" fan vote was James Huling. He took home $25,000. He earned it. He was a funny goofball and vastly entertaining to watch until the end. He beat out Johnny Mac and Jason Roy.

There was a three-part Head of Household competition over the week. The first round winner Vanessa Rousso, a physical endurance challenge involving whipped cream, powdered sugar and a regular slam, was guaranteed a spot in the final round of Head of Household.

Fortunately for Steve, the second competition was a mental one. It was a crossword puzzle. Steve beat Liz by about three minutes. So the live final competition decided who would go to the final two.

Steve planned to get rid of Vanessa if given the chance even though she might think otherwise. Vanessa would also ditch Steve over Liz. So Liz was guaranteed a slot already. It ultimately came down to who won the final competition.

In the end, it was Steve, who guessed better in terms of what the jurors said about the show in fill-in-the-blank form. He then evicted Vanessa, the smartest move he could make because it was unlikely he would be able to beat her in the jury.

Liz was actually shocked by Steve's move. "I am so happy you did this," she said to Steve. "I have no words to thank you."

Vanessa was not shocked by the outcome.

"To be perfectly honest, it wasn't outside the realm of possibility," Vanessa told Julie. "I never fully trusted Steve in the game. He stabbed me in the back quite a few times."

At the same time, she couldn't blame Steve for evicting her because she would have ditched him if the shoe were in the other foot. Of course!

There was an earlier discussion among the jurors before the final three became two:

Every single person in the jury felt Vanessa was an influence in getting rid of everyone there. She also won plenty of competitions. Atlantan Shelli Poole is certain to vote for Vanessa. James Huling agreed with Shelli's assessment. Meg Maley is more circumspect, saying they weren't always fooled, that she won competitions when she needed to. But isn't that an argument in her favor?

Shelli said Steve was brilliantly social in his awkwardness. Meg said he smartly stayed out of the way. "Steve's a rat," Johnny Mac said. "Everyone protected him." Vanessa, he noted, was on his own. Liz felt he was a little cowardly and didn't own up to his moves when he had to have blood on his hands.

Jackie respected Liz for helping taking people out and win competitions. Meg said her decisions were done to protect her alliance. Becky didn't think she was a good strategic player, using Austin as cover.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.