Anybody want cake? When the 10th season of Big Brother premiered in the summer of 2008 viewers were given reality TV gold — and one of the greatest players of all time.
Inside the house, 13 competitors battled against one another for the $500,000 prize. Dan Gheesling, who has been hailed as one of the best players the game has seen, went on to win the competition series that year. The Michigan native was the first winner to achieve a perfect game, where he received zero eviction votes against them and earned the win by a unanimous jury vote.
“Man I was hoping to get four votes … maybe. But 7-0, wow, what a phenomenal feeling,” the season 10 champion said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in September 2008. “I thought Keesha [Smith] and Renny [Martyn] were solid but the others were up in the air. I thought Jerry [MacDonald] and Libra [Thompson] would vote for Memphis [Garrett] and April [Dowling], [Bryan] Ollie and Michelle [Costa] would decide the game. I think this is a first in Big Brother history.”
The Catholic school teacher started off on the outs in the house, throwing competitions early on in the game to lower his threat level. By doing so, he remained off the radar of his competitors in the early part of the game. Later in the season, Dan went on to win two Veto and three Head of Households (HOH) competitions, including the final HOH.
In the fourth week of the show, however, the audience voted for the former football coach to be America’s Player. He was tasked with voting out Jessie Godderz. Dan completed the mission by convincing Keesha, Libra and Renny to vote out the professional bodybuilder over Memphis. The Michigan State University alum accomplished the task and earned a prize of $20,000 when he cast the deciding vote to blindside the Iowa native.
In that same week, Dan also teamed up with Memphis to form an alliance they dubbed “The Renegades.” The pair enlisted the help of Keesha, Libra and Renny, noting them as their “affiliates.” With the help of the women, the two men ended up taking control of the game and made it to the final two.
Along with Dan’s strategic prowess, the 10th season of the reality show included many dramatic moments. Before Jessie’s shocking eviction, the professional wrestler got into an argument with Keesha and Libra. The historic fight, known as “Keesha’s Birthday” led to a screaming match that got almost the whole house involved. The drama ended with the houseguests singing Keesha “Happy Birthday” in an unenthused manner and after a moment of silence Libra spoke up asking, “Anybody want cake?”
In the aftermath of Jessie’s exit from the game, Jerry called out Dan for using religion in his strategy and stated: “You would always be Judas in my house.”
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