'Big Bro Canada' crowns winner

Jillian MacLaughlin, a 27-year-old teacher from New Glasgow, N.S., emerged as the champion of Big...

Jillian MacLaughlin, a 27-year-old teacher from New Glasgow, N.S., emerged as the champion of Big Brother Canada. (Handout)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

The Big Brother Canada first-season finale could not have been more controversial. And not for reasons anyone could have predicted.

Jillian MacLaughlin, a 27-year-old teacher from New Glasgow, N.S., emerged as the champion, winning the $100,000 grand prize Thursday night on Slice.

Despite having gone back on her word with many of the houseguests throughout the course of the game, Jillian won the jury vote 4-3 over 21-year-old fashion assistant Gary Levy of Toronto. But it would have gone 4-3 the other way had one of the voters not made a crucial error.

The seven jury members were made up of evicted houseguests, and Topaz Brady, from Scarborough, Ont., was a clear supporter of Gary. But when Topaz's vote was announced, she had voted for Jillian. Confusion ensued and the broadcast cut to commercial.

A playback of Topaz casting her vote clearly showed that she had, indeed, reached for the key marked “Jillian” and inserted it into the slot. She could not take it back.

It was a mistake that cost her friend Gary $80,000. Runner-up money is $20,000.

Asked immediately afterward if she thought she was going to win, Jillian only could blurt, “No.”

Jillian was just as deserving a winner as Gary, though; even more so, many would argue, if evaluation of game play ruled the day, rather than personal grudges and jealousy.

Gary had been evicted at one point earlier in the game. But viewers across Canada were given a chance to vote an evicted member back into the house, and Gary's flamboyant likeability served him well.

The final evening of Big Brother Canada began with three competitors remaining: Jillian, Gary and prohibitive favourite Emmett Blois, a dairy farmer from Gore, N.S. Emmett and Jillian had been involved in a “showmance” for most of the series and were a literal power couple.

But Gary won the final head-of-household competition, giving him the power to choose his opponent in the final two. He chose Jillian over Emmett, because he felt that Jillian – dubbed “Villian” by bitter evicted houseguest Peter Brown – would be easier to beat in the jury vote. 

Emmett had played what many believed to be a perfect game. But it turned out to be too perfect, in a sense, because Gary feared Emmett would win if Emmett made it to the final two.

Turns out neither Gary nor Emmett won. Jillian did.

Jillian was a competition-winning machine and an underrated strategist during her 71 days in the house. So she earned this.

But Big Brother Canada turned out to be a lesson for anyone voting in anything:

Double-check your ballot.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

 


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