An impressive run. Cody Calafiore became the winner of Big Brother: All-Stars on Wednesday, October 28, in the second-ever unanimous vote in the show’s history.
The soccer coach, 29, swept the jury 9-0 against his longtime ally and fellow Jersey boy Enzo Palumbo after evicting former winner (and other close ally) Nicole Franzel in a shocking, but crucial move.
She was left in shock and tears as he cast the sole vote to evict her after winning the final Head of Household competition.
Having played in season 16 together, Nicole and Cody were allies from the beginning. Once he won the first HOH of the season, it was pretty smooth sailing from there as he raked up eight competition wins and found himself at the center of The Committee alliance, among others.
Us Weekly exclusively caught up with Cody right after his win where he talked about that decision to evict Nicole, addressed pre-game alliance rumors, and revealed advice he received from former alliance partner Derrick Levasseur. Check out our interview!
Us Weekly: First off, how are you feeling after your win?
Cody Calafiore: As good as I can feel before I’ve, like, decompressed. So I feel like it hasn’t sunk in yet. I just feel like you’re still going at a hundred miles an hour, so I’m waiting for it to, like, sink in, but I’m definitely very excited.
Us: Were you expecting a unanimous vote?
CC: No, not at all. I was not expecting it to be unanimous. That’s the last thing I was racking my head about. Like, if I take Enzo, how are the votes going to go? I just never thought it would be unanimous. I was blown away by that and I’m grateful for it.
Us: Who did you think might vote for Enzo?
CC: I thought that Tyler could be a huge toss-up. Tyler, Enzo and I were so tight and I didn’t know which game Tyler would have liked better. He was one. David was another one. I feel like David was tight with Enzo too. I was tight with David, but I didn’t know how that vote was going to go. Da’Vonne was very tight when Enzo. I was like, “Oh man, these relationships in this house. I don’t know if they’re going to view gameplay or relationships, or his game was better.” I had no idea. I think you just rack your head so much, and it’s hard to really think like, “Oh yeah, I played great. They’re going to give me the vote.” It the furthest thing that you think.
Us: When did you know you were going to cut Nicole? She was obviously very upset and shocked.
CC: [This] week. [This] week is when I decided because I would go through scenarios in my head. If Nicole wins and takes me, how do I think the votes are going to go? If I win and take Nicole, how do I think the votes are going to go? If I win and take Enzo, how do I think the votes are going to go? And so with those three different scenarios, like, I was racking my head and I felt like if Nicole took me, she would have beat me. If I took Nicole, it would have been very close, could have gone either way. And if I took Enzo, I think there was more people that I was like, “Um, I think it could be a toss-up.” Like Tyler. He could vote for Enzo. He could vote for me. Where[as], with Nicole, there were some people where I was like, “They’re definitely voting for Nicole.” I felt more confident with that. So that weighed heavily me, the fact that she had won before weighed heavily on me. And I wanted there to be a new winner, [not] a back-to-back winner on an all-star season. I wanted there to be a new winner too. That’s how, in my head I was envisioning the finale. And so the only way to really solidify that would have been to cut her. So as hard as it was, it was the right choice obviously, but in the moment, I wasn’t as sure as I am now, obviously.
Us: How much did your experience taking Derrick to the end in season 16 and losing factor in that decision to cut Nicole?
CC: So, so much. Like, so much. I think the first time playing, I feel like I played a fraction of Big Brother. I feel like I was relationship-driven and that was it. And Derek was “strategy, relationship, we need to do this and this is why we need to do it.” And so for me, at the end, when I took him, it was just simple. It was like, “I’m taking Derrick.” And then costing me. When I went back and had conversations, people were like, “Oh no, we would have voted for you if you cut Derrick.” Knowing that is bad. I didn’t feel as great knowing that. So this time, if I would have won the final HOH, in my head, and I took somebody and lost, it would have hurt way more than the first time. And would have been something that would have probably haunted me way more than the first season. So I didn’t want to make that mistake again.
Us: You went the whole season without being on the block, which is very impressive. Where do you think you rank among the other winners?
CC: I don’t know. I have so much respect for the winners like Derrick and [Dr.] Will. I studied. I watched so much of Will before this because I feel like I didn’t know Will’s game. I knew Dan and I knew Derrick because I played with him, and then I watched Will and I just picked up a completely different aspect of the game that Will played with, combined with playing with Derrick and then seeing what Dan was doing. I don’t know how I rank because I feel like I took pieces of their games, and I don’t feel like I projected myself past any of them. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have had the game because I was just a student of their games. So mostly Derrick because playing with him was incredible, but I don’t know. I definitely don’t rank myself as good as them. I don’t know. As weird as that [is], I just don’t. I think that they’re incredible.
Us: You’re definitely in the conversation! Speaking of Derrick, how much did you guys talk prior to the game and what was the best advice he gave you?
CC: He’s the best. We would talk a lot, but he wouldn’t overwhelm me with like, “This is a strategy you need to do.” He almost like boosted me, like, “Dude, you know how to play this game. You were very underrated on 16. You just need to go and do your thing.” So having that, and knowing how confident he was in me, was amazing. And he was like, “You know what went on on our season. You were involved in everything. You just need to go and be yourself, do the same thing, and then at the end of the game, blow through comps the same way you did on 16. That’s what carried us at the end of the game.” And just like talking with him, he was such a good coach of making me believe in myself, like, “You can easily go to the end of this game and win. You were incredible on 16.” And so that was what was biggest and most beneficial for me with Derrick. He didn’t overwhelm me with strategy. I feel like he put on me, “You know, what you need to do.” And so I just mirrored a lot of what was going on in our season and decisions that Derrick was making, for what I was doing in this game. So we didn’t have to talk about strategy because I was standing next to him through everything. He almost, like, Mr. Miyagi-ed me on this season. His stuff was in my head constantly. And then I was like, “OK, I think this needs to be what we do, and what I need to do.” I still think he’s one of the best, if not the best.
Us: Settle this because it’s been talked about a lot online. How much did you and Nicole talk before the game. Was there any pre-game agreement between you?
CC: Nicole and I had not spoken at all leading into this. We were in contact, but it wasn’t anything that really held true. Nicole and my relationship blossomed in the house because, for me, Nicole was somebody [where] I was like, “I don’t know that she’s going to trust me. I burned her.” And then she said something to me very early on. Like, “I didn’t trust your brother because of you.” And so then for me, building the bond with Nicole is what I think was so strong about our duo. There was a bond building between the two of us that made us so strong that … all the people … I would hear a lot of people talking and I don’t talk to anybody. I don’t stay in touch with people from Big Brother. I wasn’t in that world of like staying in contact. And so I heard stuff was happening, but I always was like, “Raw, authentic relationships, face to face, are going to outweigh if somebody talks to somebody, and they have something previously.” Nicole and I built trust through the game because Nicole and I were never doing stuff to each other, that we’re crossing each other. Where[as] other relationships that I think were forming, that may have formed previously, were kind of burning each other and lying, and they were causing distrust. And that’s why I don’t think anything previously with her and I had anything to do with our season other than we build trust with each other, we’re familiar with each other from 16, and then grew based off of that. But that was part of my authentic relationship with Enzo. Her, I clicked with right away and him, I clicked with right away. And they never gave me a reason to not trust them.
Us: I think you were one of the last rumored names coming into the house. Do you think that was an advantage?
CC: Yeah. I did not want anybody to know. The only person that knew was Derrick. I’d spoken to Derrick because we were talking about going back, and I was like, “I don’t want anybody knowing. I’m not talking to anybody.” I don’t talk to anybody. I’m not in touch with people from Big Brother. And I don’t want people knowing because I don’t want people thinking, “He’s going to be talking to this person. He’s going to be talking to this person.” And I was hearing all the rumored names. And so I was hearing different conversations that were happening, and I was hearing a lot about that. So I was like, “I don’t want to be a part of this because I don’t want that target to be on my back.” And so I think it very much so helped me, like laying low, not mentioning anything to anybody, and not trying to form those like previous alliances that I think … I don’t know. I didn’t think it was going to be beneficial for me. I wanted to have authentic relationships in the house. I think it also benefited me because then I don’t think people were prepared. They saw me and were like, “Oh he was just Derrick’s sidekick when I was in there.” Except for Kaysar. He didn’t think that.
Us: Was that why you targeted Kaysar so early on?
CC: I loved Kaysar. I met Kaysar [and] was, like, almost in awe. I was like, “Holy cow. All-star.” He was on the other all-stars. I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe they went back for Kaysar.” He wasn’t somebody that was a name for me because I watched more recent shows, not past shows. He was a huge name in the past. And so, for me, I was like, “Oh, my gosh, Kaysar.” But then I talked to him, and there was just something that I didn’t trust about him. He seemed so calculated when he spoke. He seems so calculated. And it’s because his brain works like a computer, like, he is calculated. He’s so calculated. I think if Kaysar could maybe loosen up a little bit, he would be absolutely incredible because when he has conversations, he would kind of like … I don’t know. There’s something about him I didn’t trust.
But personally, he was one of the easiest people to talk to. I would talk to him about business. I told him my whole thing about a business thing that went wrong for me. And he gave me like, X, Y, and Z, and was like, “You need to talk to me after this if you’re ever going to do something like that again.” Personally, he was so incredible, but on a game level, I feel like him and I just kind of pegged each other. We’re like, “We don’t trust each other.” And that’s where the disconnect happened. And it just went in my favor because people that were aligned with me were winning, and people that were aligned with him were just going home. So I think that’s where our disconnect [was], but personally I loved Kaysar. Then he blew me up on a live show. I didn’t like when he said the love triangle thing. I didn’t think he meant it personally. I just was like, “Dude, you’re so calculated. You couldn’t think of how that would not be good for us three?” I don’t know. And we don’t need reasons in there. Like we’re all so nervous about our significant others on the outside. I think that also weighed heavily on us.
Us: Speaking of Dani, she was super hurt when you voted her out over Nicole, whom you’ve known longer. Did that surprise you?
CC: No. Dani and I were so close. Dani and I were so, so close, and Dani was somebody that I would have 100 percent been loyal to if it wasn’t for the game that she was playing. There was too much stuff that caused me to just be like, “I don’t trust Dani, fully”. And I trusted Nicole 100 percent. And then on a personal level, Dani and I really clicked. Te really got along. And so that’s why I think it was a combination of the personal, plus the game, and her feeling like I had her back 100 percent, and me burning her is what hurt the most. There was something that happened in the house when Tyler was trying to maybe get stuff going against her. She knew that I knew about it. And then when we talked, she was like, “When I found out that you knew about it, it stung, and it made me be like, ‘Wow, do you really have my back?'” Right there is when I knew if I vote her out, it’s going to really be bad. If there became a moment I voted her out, it was going be really bad. So that was a really, really difficult one for me because I love Danielle. I thought she was awesome.
Us: Those instincts were good. She also became a huge advocate for you in the jury. You felt confident you had her vote?
CC: I did because I felt like Dani was one where I knew I needed to have her as an advocate. And that’s why I opened up to her in my goodbye message because I was like, “If I don’t have Dani advocating for me, I’m going to be in trouble.” People respect her a ton because she is absolutely incredible at this game. And so I knew I needed her to be pushing for me in order to really win over the jury because I feel like she could have pushed people in a direction that she wanted to because she was doing that during the game. I’m very thankful to even hear that because I felt like if she wasn’t, it could have probably went in a different direction.
Us: You were running the game from early on. What would you say was the hardest point of the game for you and how did you maneuver around that?
CC: The hardest point of the game was that that middle point. It was the fifth week when Da’Vonne and Bayleigh were going up. I was like, “Uh oh. I was in an alliance with Da’Vonne and Bayleigh.” I was like, “This could get tricky if one of them come down because if one of them come down and somebody else goes up, I still wanted to send one of them home because I was like, “When am I going to get this opportunity?” And so if one of them came down, that’s when I was really nervous. I was like, “This game could really blow up in my face if one of them come down and then we still try to send the other one home. Because then the other one is going to be completely distrusted.” I feel like it was going to come down on me because I felt like Da’Vonne didn’t trust me. Bayleigh was always an advocate in my corner when we had that Slick Six alliance. And I think that if one of them came down and then we had to send the other one home, I would have been done. I feel like a lot of different conversations would have happened, and I feel like it kind of muted it because then Dani won the next HOH. So at that point is when I was really nervous. I was like, “Oh, this could be a great opportunity or this could be a really bad opportunity for me.” It ended up working out, but that’s when I also feel like stuff started getting a little shaky, I was like, “Oh boy, Da’Vonne could blow up the Slick Six. I don’t know how Memphis and Christmas are going take this.” And then when she did it to Kevin – because then I had a conversation with Kevin – I was like, “Uh oh.” But Kevin didn’t mention it to anybody else. I was like, “Wow.” Those are the moments where you get by and need something to happen, and it did. That was a really rocky part of the game for me.
Us: Will you ever play Big Brother again?
CC: If Big Brother ever calls, there’s no way I can not say yes. If [my girlfriend] Cristie lets me. I don’t know what she went through during this. I know it was definitely hard for her. I appreciate everything Big Brother’s ever done for me. The first time was a great opportunity. This time was an incredible opportunity. So if they need me, who am I to say no?
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