Heading into Big Brother 25’s finale, the show’s community had reached a consensus: Jag Bains had to eliminate Matt Klotz to win the $750,000 grand prize. But, he didn’t. And he won anyway.
Jag and Matt had been linked through virtually the entire 100-day competition, but their working relationship took a major step when Matt saved Jag in week 4. Jag had been unanimously voted out on day 30. But, Matt had won a secret advantage — the Power of Invincibility — and before the 25-year-old truck company owner walked out the front door, it was announced that Jag’s eviction had been nullified.
After that, the two moved in unison and created their “Minutemen” alliance. Jag had Matt’s back, and vice versa.
Teaming up with Bowie Jane Ball to create “The Mafia,” Jag and Matt ran Big Brother 25 from week 10 onward with competition wins. Besides Blue Kim’s sole Power of Veto victory, either Matt, Jag, or Bowie Jane Ball held all the power. And by day 94, it was only the three of them left living inside the abode.
However, during the final four, Jag had the opportunity to eliminate Matt — someone perceived to have the best social game of Big Brother 25. Matt had never touched the nomination block until that final week, and bolstered by his clutch competition wins and the fact Jag was only around because of Matt’s Power of Invincibility, it was clear to many that Jag needed to send Matt to Jury to stand a chance at becoming the franchise’s first-ever Sikh winner.
Jag went back and forth with the decision, but he ultimately chose to eliminate Felicia Cannon instead.
Then, Jag and Matt found themselves battling it out in the third part of the final Head of Household competition. Jag won in a tiebreaker, and he was faced with the toughest decision of the 100-day stretch — does he backstab his best friend and take Bowie Jane, someone who likely wouldn’t garner a majority of Jury votes, to the end?
As history has it, Jag stuck with his fellow Minuteman and ended Bowie Jane’s run.
Many watching the two-hour finale on November 9 believed that was the wrong decision. Although Jag had set the record for most competition wins in a single season (10), Matt had a much cleaner road to the final two.
But, the feeling of Jag’s inevitable runner-up placement seemed to dissipate when they were addressing the Jury of seven evicted houseguests. Matt’s answers and final pitch left a lot to be desired while Jag took the opposite approach — he completely and passionately owned his game, including the backstabbing and lying, while also taking credit for being the Minutemen’s true leader.
And went the dust settled, the Jury awarded Jag the championship five votes to two.
Why didn’t Jag eliminate Matt when he had the opportunity to do so?
Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. But, even then, it’s true that Matt was a much more viable threat to Jag winning Big Brother 25. However, Jag explained to Rob Cesternino and Taran Armstrong on Rob Has a Podcast why he chose the more difficult route — keeping Matt over Bowie Jane.
“I was not confident that I was going to win against Matt, and that’s the truth of it,” Jag said. “I think my decision wasn’t based in who did I have a better chance against because that might’ve led to a different decision.”
In short, Jag wanted to make a decision that he could live with for the rest of his days, even if it was going to be an “uphill battle.” And betraying Matt wasn’t something he could stomach. “For me, it was based off of my character and the game I wanted to play,” Jag continued.
“To me, it felt wrong to turn on Matt at the end,” Jag said. “He had saved me and throughout the game, I said I wanted to play a loyal game, and play a game with integrity. And Matt was the person I chose to stay loyal to — to the very end. Even at the end, I knew that this might be a $750,000 mistake, mistake in terms of I would lose it. But for me, it didn’t really feel like a mistake. I knew that if he won sitting next to me, then he is very deserving of the win as well.”
Becoming the first-ever Sikh champion was also a very important element for Jag’s navigation of the game, he said. And he wanted to make a choice that his community and family could be proud of. Jag also pointed to Matt having the opportunity to become Big Brother’s first deaf winner, and he was supportive of Matt reaching that goal.
Regardless, Jag didn’t roll over for Matt. “I thought he would have a majority of the Jury votes if not all of them,” he continued. “So, I knew it was going to be an uphill battle for me, which is why I gave the speeches that I gave, the answers that I gave, because I was truly fighting for my life. I didn’t know how much of a shot I had…. especially considering his incredible social game.”
Regardless, Jag’s non-game-based decision worked out. He went back home to Omak, Washington with a six-figure payday and his name etched in the Big Brother history books.