One half of Big Brother 25’s dominant showmance, Americory, is out of the house, and with less than three weeks left until finale night, it’s anyone’s guess who will be taking home the $750,000 grand prize.
College student Cory Wurtenberger was evicted in a 5-0 vote during Thursday night’s live eviction following a twist-induced double-blindside, spearheaded by former ally Jag Brains. The flashy move saw both Wurtenberger and his girlfriend, America Lopez, on the chopping block together for the second time this season. Cory becomes the second member of the jury, where he will join Cameron Hardin and five yet-to-be-determined evictees who will return on finale night, Wednesday, November 9, to decide the winner of Big Brother 25.
The production team at Big Brother asked Cory a series of questions following his eviction, which were submitted by a collective of journalists covering the season. These questions were screened by CBS to prevent the possibility of influencing the jury, and this format will continue for the remainder of the season.
Check out the full exit interview below!
You knew America had a habit of spreading information. Do you wish you changed your approach with her because of this to avoid becoming a target?
The truth is, I obviously knew that about America. I think she had a bit of a reputation for that in the house. I do think it was somewhat overstated, but so be it. When it comes to her conversations with Blue this week, I didn’t know about them when they were happening, but she told me maybe a day after [or] two days after. So I knew those conversations existed, and I could have been way more proactive in trying to, I guess, fix that problem before it spiraled out of control and both of us got backdoored. So I just should have been a little bit more cautious when it came to that, because yeah, I didn’t know it was a problem. I guess I was hoping it would work out when I needed to do a lot more actively.
Given your knowledge of Cirie’s reality TV history, why didn’t you either keep her closer or target her?
You know, the reality is, Cirie is excellent. It took five seconds of talking to her to realize why she’s done so well in these shows. She was not in a powerful position in this house post the Izzy vote, so she was in no way a threat to my game; there was no reason to target her. And working closely with her just doesn’t have the benefits you would really expect because in Big Brother, competitions, at least in the modern era, are king, and Cirie has yet to do well in competitions. So me being close to Cirie might have gotten one more vote on my side, but ultimately, this week, it would not have mattered, and if I were to stay somehow this week, if I didn’t get backdoored, Cirie would have been an extremely important piece that I think I’ve been getting closer to. So it was certainly something in the back of my mind; it just didn’t really pan out in this game with the way the competitions worked out this season. But yeah, she would have been a great ally.
Would you say you were overconfident heading into this week?
No. Again, I have no idea how this all was portrayed, but I was horribly paranoid every day about this week. The reality was I’ve been called out in at least two ceremonies in the past couple of weeks. I know the target that’s on my back when Jag and Matt have to choose between getting rid of Felicia or getting rid of me; it’s always going to be more tempting to get rid of me. So until the nominations are locked and the veto meeting is over, I always assume me being backdoored is in play. The vibes were super off this week as well. Once I heard America had these conversations with Blue, I was really nervous that these were getting back to Matt and Jag. And if they weren’t getting back to them, I thought there was a great chance that I could be backdoored. The day it was happening, I was probably 70/30, thinking it was going to happen. So I was definitely not overconfident. I think if anything, I was optimistic and just hopeful that it would work out. But yeah, obviously, that was not the case.
Did your strategy change once you got into a showmance? If so, how?
No, not really. I think ultimately, my game switched dramatically during the Izzy vote. Prior to the Izzy vote, it was The Crossroads, which is me, Jared, Cirie, and Izzy. And I thought I was in a comfortable position in that alliance, but the reality was I didn’t have any agency, right? Because really, Jared and Izzy were just the domineering voices who made all the decisions, and I was just kind of being safe week to week. So when that whole flip happened, and I kind of go with America and Matt and Jag, that’s where the entire game flips. And from there, my game changed a lot. The problem with this new group I was working with was Matt and Jag were just crushing these competitions, mostly Jag. So by the time I needed to take a shot at Jag, I really couldn’t because I just couldn’t beat those dudes in competitions. So the showmance really didn’t change much for me. I think maybe people’s perception of me changes. People are less willing to share information with me because they think I would immediately share it with America, which is not an unfair assumption. At least you know, she shared everything with me, and I shared most everything with her. So I get that aspect of it, but the reality is the same could be said about Matt and Jag, right? The same was said about Jared and Blue. So you kind of live and die by your allies in this game, and I’m comfortable with what happened.
What game move are you most proud of, and which one do you want to redo?
The Izzy vote was obviously, I think, the turning point in the game for not just me but for just about everyone. Izzy was the dominant player in power, along with Jared and Cirie, for the first five weeks of the game up until she left, and then the entire power dynamic of the house flipped. And that required me spreading so much information and swinging over Matt, Jag, Meme, and Bowie, and obviously America was already on board. So that was like the moment where I really felt like I was playing Big Brother to its fullest, like, I’m pulling people into rooms and campaigning, and the votes are flipping, and then I’m having a big argument in the Humiliverse. That was incredible and super fun. I think the double eviction was obviously incredible. That wasn’t as much of a powerful move as it was, just [that] I’m glad I was the one who was able to do it, winning that HoH comp in the manner in which I did, because I was up against Meme and Blue towards the end, who both would have been disastrous for my game; I probably would have gone up and me or Bowie would have gone home. So that was incredibly important, and getting Jared out in that circumstance, even if he walks back through the door 10 seconds later, was awesome. I’m never gonna forget that. The move I probably regret… I don’t think there was much of a reason to get rid of Meme over Felicia. At the time, you know, Felicia had just yelled at me during the veto meeting, and I thought, well, first of all, it doesn’t really matter who I keep; neither of them are super loyal to me. Felicia’s kind of funny because she just yelled at me, and also she’s less likely to win competitions. And the truth is, I felt uncomfortable with either of them being HoH. But Meme probably would have been like someone I could actually have used as an ally, and she would have been more of a threat for Matt and Jag to try to take out, whereas they can just leave Felicia in the house as long as they want before they get rid of her. So I think that that could be a mistake, but who knows exactly how it plays out if Meme’s still here?
Are you more surprised that you left the game with a mustache or with a girlfriend?
Yeah, I think these things are really interconnected. The truth is, I’m very much a dorky nerd. I know I look very cool, and I present that way for sure. But this whole mustache, and then I had self-tanner for a while, and my nails are painted, and I’m wearing all these outfits—that is full credit to America. She is trying to, and I quote, “Fix me.” Which is much needed. So you know, I gotta say I think me leaving with the mustache is the same thing as me leaving with the girlfriend, because you can’t have one without the other.
Do you think spearheading Izzy’s eviction ultimately caused you to be a main target of the house?
Yeah. So that’s a move I’ll never regret because I had such a great time doing it, and I think it was really important for how that season played out. In terms of my long-term security in the game, it was almost objectively bad. But I know with the way that the game shook out, there’s a ton of worlds where I make a really deep run and I have a good shot of winning. So it’s hard to regret it because who knows what happens if Izzy stays? The reality of why I made that move was, look at who is left in the house if I just rode it out with Izzy, Jared, and Cirie. They’re trying to get rid of Jag, America, and Cameron, and that would leave me with, like, those three, Meme, Felicia, and Bowie, who I didn’t have a relationship with yet. It would have been a lot of people in the house who I had a worse relationship with than Jared, Izzy, and Cirie, and I would just be hoping that these people would carry me through the game. Whereas I pivot, get rid of Izzy, and then I’m kind of in a more active spot where I can make decisions because I have a little bit more influence over America, Matt, Jag, and these people. So, you know, I think I basically had two paths. I can kind of securely get to seven or eighth place and then hope to figure it out from there, or I can get a little bit more agency, take matters into my own hands, and try to get as far as I can. And I ended up at eighth anyway, but I don’t regret that at all. But it certainly blew up my target level for sure.
Why did you lie to the other houseguests about what you told Julie the week you all did the “exquisite” bit?
Why I said good? I was gonna say exquisite; I think undeniably exquisite or unbearably exquisite was my line. But then, the way that whole vote was playing out, with everyone saying exquisite and I was the last one called in, I think Julie prefaced it with, ‘Oh, I think I know what you’re gonna call me.’ I mean, the setup was too tempting to just deviate from that. And I just didn’t want… you know you don’t want everyone to think you’re like, ‘Oh, the center of attention, Cory Wurtenberger, classic Corskeezy move,’ saying good instead of exquisite. So I just figured there was no reason to share that information. I think I did eventually; honestly, I’m pretty sure I told America, and I think I told Jag and someone else. But yeah, you know, I’m always trying to do what I think is the funniest thing. I think I’m funny, which, I guess, is the most important thing.
Why do you think you were such a big target without winning many competitions?
There’s two answers to this. First of all, I think I’m kind of smart—not nearly as smart as people think I am. But you know, certainly when it comes to the strategy, like people in Big Brother always talk about being behind the scenes and pulling strings and influencing people without them knowing they’re being influenced, I can’t do that. I’m not nearly that subtle. The way I play the game is I have my point of view and my perspective, and then I try to convince the person I’m talking to that my perspective is better than theirs. So I’m very transparent in what I’m trying to do and the way I strategically view the game. There was almost like an inside joke in the house that I was like, scheming and making alliances and all these things. So that was one side of it. Also, there’s obviously a gendered nature to this, where, you know, America and I played a very similar game; I won one extra competition, but I think I’m perceived as more of a threat than she is because I’m the 22-year-old nerdy skinny dude. So that’s obviously something that’s out of my control, but it would have benefited me if I got further in the game and needed jury votes. So those are kind of the two different aspects of it. The truth is, it was a weird way to season worked out where so many of the quote, unquote, bigger threats went out pretty early. Even people like Izzy—big personality, big strategy—went out pretty early. Same with Jared. Cam went right before me. Then you even had people like Reilly and Hisam leave early. So, like you look at the houseguests left, you look at me. I shouldn’t be a big threat, but it’s me who’s being called out in meetings. It’s me having, you know, a couple of big arguments. I win the double eviction HoH, and then you mix that all in with just the way that I kind of look. I’m kind of the rat strategist. I think it all combined to make me a pretty big target, at least with this collection of houseguests remaining.
Over these past two months, what have you missed the most about life in the outside world?
I miss the Karda… No, truthfully, the only thing I really miss about being outside is not being in the Big Brother house. I’m just someone who needs my personal space and needs to be able to turn my brain off and nap whenever I want. And just kind of step away from it all, and, Big Brother, there’s no world in which you can do that, right? You can go to the upstairs patio in the backyard, and hopefully the cameras don’t look at you. That is your best bet. And maybe that’s why, the last couple of weeks, I’ve really clung to America the way that I have, because it is comfortable, right? It feels like you’re secure, and you can be yourself and not be on 1,000,000%. And even then, you’re still on because the cameras are on you. And I’m sure the cameras saw way more than I would like them to see. You know what I mean? So that part of it makes a lot of sense to me. My brain has not turned off in 79 days, so the exhaustion from the house is something I really want to get away from. And so I guess what I miss most about the outside world is just feeling okay and not depleted. That being said, I loved the experience, obviously, but it’s just so much, and I think I miss the rest of outside.
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