Celebrity Big Brother 3: Premiere Episode Recap – Game On!

The doors to the Big Brother house have opened and we’re officially back! The third season of the American version of Celebrity Big Brother has officially started, as 11 “celebrities” (a loosely-applied term) are now vying for the title of Winner and the $250,000 prize that goes along with it. Julie Chen Moonves was of course on-hand to get things started, and the early indication is that this season definitely has a lot of promise!

Season 1 of the American version of Celebrity Big Brother (there have been several UK versions since 2001) saw Tony-award winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur win back in 2018 over television personality Ross Mathews. Season 2 came along in 2019, where singer Tamar Braxton won unanimously over NFL athlete Ricky Williams. So who is going to be crowned the winner of Season 3?

The first half of the premiere episode was spent introducing us to the 11 new houseguests, letting audiences in on who these people are and what they’re best known for. One by one, they entered the house to explore the newly decked-out – and winterized – version of the BB House (RIP circular staircase!). First through the doors was “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” alum and RuPaul’s Drag Race Judge, Carson Kressley…who easily and quickly became the comic-relief on the show thus far and the one who claimed the most premiere episode air-time. Following him into the house (listed here in no particular order) was “Different Strokes” actor Todd Bridges…former NBA Champ (and Khloe Kardashian‘s ex) Lamar Odom…Olympic medalist and ice-skater Mirai Nagasu…former Miss USA and Playboy Playmate Shanna Moakler…”Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum and daughter to singer John Mellencamp, Teddi Mellencamp…”Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey…singer, YouTube personality and choreographer Todrick HallNSYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick…former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Chris Kattan…and last but certainly not least, UFC champion fighter Miesha “Cupcake” Tate.

It was all pleasantries, but if you know Big Brother at all – in any incarnation – that won’t last for long. There seemed to be a good mix of Big Brother “super fans” like Chris Kirkpatrick, Todrick Hall and Miesha Tate, whereas others like Lamar Odom, Todd Bridges and Chris Kattan, seemed genuinely surprised to hear even the most basic of Big Brother rules (Bridges gasped in excitement as Julie described what Head of Household was). The game’s first alliance seemed to form, between Carson, Shanna, Todrick and Cynthia, all of whom knew each other outside of the game. Some may find these pre-existing relationships to be unfair, but it really isn’t uncommon: Across many “celebrity” or “all-star” versions of shows like “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race,” the contestants all seem to know each other, through the game itself, outside charity work, or simply from rubbing shoulders at one point or another. These are all celebrities after all…it’s not far-fetched to believe that they know each other. That doesn’t mean that they “pre-gamed” and formed alliances prior to the game, but we’ll have to see how these existing relationships play out over the course of the season.

Speaking of this season, expect rapid-fire episodes over the course of the next three weeks! The main difference between the Celebrity Edition and the regular edition of Big Brother is definitely the speed of the game and the short time frame…whereas the regular version often lasts for two months or more, this Celebrity season will be wrapped up in it’s entirety by Wednesday, February 23rd. I’ll be here recapping/reacting to each episode this season, so be sure to leave your comments and interact, because Celebrity Big Brother will be gone before we know it! For a full schedule of episodes, see the bottom of this article.

After the introductions, the houseguests competed in the very first “HOH” – Head of Household – competition of the season. It was a gala-themed event, where they were required to hang like marionettes while being sprayed with golden caviar, champagne and confetti. The most memorable moment for me was when NSYNC alum Chris Kirkpatrick made a comment that hanging like a puppet felt eerily familiar to him…for payoff of that joke, check out NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” music video.  We got to see several personalities on display, starting with the easy-going Todd Bridges volunteering to sit out the competition. UFC champ Miesha Tate ended up winning, and from her confessionals we got to see her competitive spirit…she may become a clear threat and target once she doesn’t have that HOH moniker next week. During the competition, Todrick struck a deal with her that he’d drop if she promised not to put him up on the block, which she agreed to. However she denied Teddi Mellencamp the same deal, which obviously didn’t sit well and threw up some red flags for Teddi. Uh-oh, the drama is already starting to take place.

The episode ended with the first twist of the season (“expect the unexpected!” Like, would this even be a Big Brother recap if this phrase wasn’t included?), which Julie revealed to be the “Gala Gift.” What exactly is the Gala Gift? It wasn’t revealed, other than that it would really help out one person while hurting another. Hmmm…we shall have to see how this affects the game and Miesha‘s first HOH reign!

All in all, I was intrigued by the mix of this cast…there are several players to root for and a few villains-in-waiting to root against. Of them all, only Chris Kattan seemed out-of-place…will his humor help him stay in the game or will his lack of game-knowledge and social awareness mark him as one of the first victims? Judging by Miesha‘s personality thus far, I feel like she’ll aim for a bigger fish straight out of-the-gate rather than go with an obvious boot.

This is Celebrity Big Brother after all, there is not a lot of time to “fly under-the-radar” when the game is only three weeks long. Whomever comes out on top, whatever drama and/or laughs are to come, I’ll be here for the ride…join me, won’t you?

Remember too that you can follow this season of Celebrity Big Brother on Paramount + which carries the LIVE FEEDS of the BB House…that’s right, you can watch this game 24/7 if you so choose. I won’t reveal any spoilers from the live feeds in this column, and I urge you too, if you are leaving comments, to try not to spoil anything that has yet to happen on the show.

Here’s the upcoming Celebrity Big Brother Episode Schedule:

Week 1

Thursday, Feb. 3 – 9-10 PM (See who Miesha nominates for eviction, and the first POV of the season!)

Friday, Feb. 4 – 8-10 PM (two-hour live episode, see who is the first celebrity evicted from the Big Brother house!)

Week 2

Sunday, Feb. 6 –  8-9 PM

Monday, Feb. 7 – 9-10 PM

Wednesday, Feb. 9 – 8-9 PM

Friday, Feb. 11 – 8-10 PM

Week 3

Sunday, Feb. 13 – 8-9 PM

Monday, Feb. 14 – 9-10 PM

Wednesday, Feb. 16 – 8-9 PM

Friday, Feb. 18 – 8-10 PM

Saturday, Feb. 19 – 8-9 PM

Week 4

Sunday, Feb. 20 – 8-9 PM

Monday, Feb. 21 – 9-11 PM

Wednesday, Feb. 23 – 8-9 PM (finale)

Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! Those that have followed me also know that I am also a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic and I encourage you to check out my past movie reviews and my TV show (episodes are also available online at the website, www.MovieShowPlus.com.) As always, the easiest way to get all of my Celebrity Big Brother and Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.


[Photo Credits: Screen Grab/CBS (C)2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved]