Nicole Franzel won the $100,000 grand prize on Thursday night as the “Big Brother Reindeer Games” winner.
Franzel announced on social media that she was still competing shortly after the “Reindeer Games” finale and thanked her fellow competitors.
As the final episode opened, the final four contestants gathered in Santa’s Lodge on the eve of the Reindeer Games.
Tiffany from “Big Brother 23” returned as one of Santa’s ambassadors to inform the players about the details of the Reindeer Games, which would feature two semifinal challenges with the two winners headed to the showdown.
She then explained the rules of the Naughty and Nice challenge: Players would search Santa’s Lodge, examining paintings on the wall and discerning which one was a forgery switched out by mischievous elves.
Xavier quickly spotted the forgery and won the Naught and Nice power, which gave him the privilege of choosing his opponent in the first semifinal challenge. He chose Nicole, who would also have the disadvantage of starting the challenge 30 seconds after Xavier.
In the first semifinal, Xavier and Nicole were tasked with “repairing” giant nutcrackers by vertically arranging wooden gears in the right order to make the nutcrackers operational.
Nicole’s tactic of simultaneously aligning the gears from the top down and the bottom up worked, despite her disadvantage and allowing her to unlock the nut before Xavier. One of the last two spots in the Reindeer Games had been secured by Nicole.
In the second semifinal, Taylor and Frankie squared off in a contest with the two players using a big slingshot to knock over pictures of naughty elves.
Taylor won the challenge and gained the opportunity to compete against Nicole in the finals after Frankie made an unusual error that cost him a small lead.
The previously eliminated players gathered for the final challenge, with Santa Claus himself making an appearance. Three tasks made up the final challenge: stacking pieces of the Sacred Snowflake, freeing the Ancient Antlers from a maze, and obtaining the Magical Mistletoe.
The first challenge had Nicole and Taylor stacking large star-shaped pieces, creating a ladder to climb and retrieve the Magical Mistletoe.
Taylor opened up an early lead by making it to the top of her tree first and using her height advantage to jump up and grab the mistletoe.
Both players found the second task challenging, as they had to navigate the Ancient Antlers through a vertical maze that was separated into moveable sections.
Nicole gave a shout-out to her hometown of Ubly, remarking that she sees plenty of deer living in the Thumb. Taylor improvised a strategy and freed her antlers first, advancing to the final test.
In the third task, Taylor and Nicole had to construct a big snowflake out of four bags filled with puzzle pieces. Nicole quickly filled the space left by Taylor when their snowflake sculptures kept collapsing.
As the tense showdown unfolded, their fellow competitors watched from the sidelines. Nicole, however, prevailed, winning the Reindeer Games and its $100,000 grand prize.
Press materials claim that Santa invites nine renowned former “Big Brother” contestants to his enchanted realm, the site of the “Reindeer Games.” Throughout six thrilling, holiday-themed episodes, Santa’s elves lead the players through difficult and unexpected contests.
Every episode consists of three competitions leading up to “Santa’s Showdown,” where the winner of that particular episode’s competition goes home. Just four legends advance to the final round and the player who possesses the most festive fortitude wins the $100,000 grand prize and saves the holidays.
Franzel is participating in her second “Big Brother” competition. She competed on “Big Brother All-Stars” in 2020, placing in the top three, and in 2016 she won the 18th season of the program.
Franzel and her spouse, Michigan State Police Trooper Victor Arroyo, participated in “The Amazing Race” as well. The pair, who first connected as “Big Brother” contestants, are parents to one child. They finished fourth on “The Amazing Race.”
Franzel made her Big Brother debut in 2014’s 16th season, where she placed in 10th place despite being evicted twice on Days 56 and 77.
Franzel participated in Big Brother as a contestant and hosted a competition during the 19th season in 2017.