Is Edinburg contestant on CBS’ ‘Big Brother’ going home soon?

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Nora Lopez | San Antonio Express-News

America Lopez (Courtesy: Edinburg CISD/Facebook)

America Lopez, the Edinburg native on CBS’ “Big Brother,”  has been nominated for eviction from the reality TV show alongside her showmance, Cory Wurtenberger.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean either of them is leaving the show. Both will compete on Wednesday’s episode for the “power of veto,” which grants the winner immunity from eviction.

Lopez has played a strong game, engineering a power move last week that broke up a trio of contestants who had been dominating the game. The move has made her a favorite to ultimately win the game — if she can survive this week.

Lopez and Wurtenberger, who started a relationship on the show, were nominated for eviction by the current head of household, Jared Fields. According to fan blogs and websites, the pair are part of a larger plot to “backdoor” another contestant. The “backdoor” maneuver is when a contestant who wasn’t originally nominated for eviction is placed “on the block” as a substitute for someone who saved themselves or was saved by the winner of the power of veto.

According to recaps of the daily live feeds of conversations among the contestants, called house guests, Fields’ target for eviction is really Cameron Hardin, 34.

Nominees for eviction and the head of household, who has the power to nominate two house guests for eviction, automatically compete in the veto competition. Three other house guests are chosen randomly to compete.

If Hardin gets chosen to compete for the power of veto and wins immunity, then Lopez and Wurtenberger will remain on the block and one of them will definitely go home on Thursday. It’s a precarious position to be in and it’s not unusual for “pawns” to be voted off the show. A pawn is placed on the block in an effort to hide the true target, and most importantly, to prevent the target from competing for the veto.

Fields and Lopez are at the center of a fan controversy. Two weeks ago, Fields referred to Lopez with an insulting term for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The slur was audible on live feeds and prompted a social media backlash by viewers, many of whom called on CBS to remove Fields from the show.

CBS has not addressed the controversy and has not heeded calls to remove Fields. It’s also unclear if Lopez knows about the remarks.

According to some blogs, several house guests were bothered by Fields’ use of the derogatory term. Although no footage of the remark has been made public, a clip shared by @BigBrotherXtra shows Fields discussing the incident with Wurtenberger.

“I don’t think she’s the R-word. I slipped up,” Fields can be heard saying.

Many fans of the longtime show, in its 25th season, have been critical of CBS for tolerating the use of the offensive term. CBS has often touted its zero-tolerance code of conduct, which includes the removal of contestants for using hate speech.

During Week 1 of the current season, contestant Luke Valentine was expelled from the show for using the N-word.

In social media comments, many fans have accused CBS of a double standard and have speculated that the network is reluctant to expel Fields because he is part of a secret major plot twist: He is the son of fellow contestant Cirie Fields, a four-time “Survivor” contestant and winner of “Traitors,” a reality TV show on the streaming service Peacock.

So far, the mother-son duo has kept their relationship a secret from all but one house guest, Izzy Gleicher.

Even though Hardin is the intended target, Lopez and Wurtenberger are on shaky ground with Fields. Last week, the duo orchestrated Gleicher’s eviction. They led a successful campaign to flip the votes in the house to evict Gleicher, sending the mother-son duo’s closest ally home.

The power move was led by Lopez, who opened Wurtenberger’s eyes to the close relationship between the trio. She also spilled key secrets to other house guests, pitting the house against the trio that has controlled the house since the show’s start. While Lopez hasn’t figured out that Jared and Cirie Fields are related, she has figured out that they are working together behind the scenes.

The move shot Lopez to the top of one website’s power rankings. The website GoldDerby gives her a 6-to-1 shot at winning the entire game and the $750,000 prize.

To be on the show, contestants give up their jobs to live with 15 strangers. Their every move is tracked 24/7 by nearly 100 cameras and over 100 microphones.

“On a season with ‘Survivor’ legend Cirie, it is not easy to make a name for yourself as a strategic threat, but America managed to in a major way when she engineered the elimination of Izzy,” wrote John Benutty on GoldDerby.  “Though Cory and Matt did a lot of the legwork to flip the votes of Jag, Mecole and Bowie to save Felicia, it was America that opened Cory’s eyes to the need to dismantle the Izzy-Cirie-Jared tri-force.

“America has shown she has an eye for strategy and an ear to the social game. While the showmance with Cory could prove to be her Achilles heel and lead to a premature eviction, as long as Cory is still in the game she’s likely to continue to slide just under the radar. Letting America get anywhere close to the finale is dangerous for the player that goes against her because America is one of the few players left we’re confident can tell a compelling story about what she did to deserve the jury’s vote.”

Will Lopez win the power of veto and save herself? Or will she follow a long list of “pawns” who were told they were safe, then sent home. Tune in Wednesday for the veto competition and Thursday for the eviction ceremony.

This story first published in the San Antonio Express-News. Find the story here: