In an unexpected turn of events, Big Brother 24 houseguest Paloma Aguilar left the show before the live eviction due to “a personal issue,” and her exit drastically affected the first week of the game. Paloma, a 22-year-old interior designer from San Marcos, California, made some waves in the house due to her treatment of fellow houseguest, Taylor Hale. Fans who watch the live feeds of the show, including many prominent Big Brother alums, posted on social media about how the houseguests were treating Taylor, and considered Paloma one of the biggest offenders. Paloma, a self-proclaimed “girls’ girl,” watched Taylor’s interactions with the men in the house and decided that she was not a “girls’ girl.” She painted the former pageant queen-turned-personal stylist as a villain, and said that she could not be trusted.
Fans noticed the microaggressions that Paloma and the other houseguests directed at Taylor, including their assertion that she was “aggressive,” although there was no evidence to support this claim. Taylor was shown crying as the other houseguests isolated her. Viewers explained how difficult it is for Black people, particularly Black women, to play Big Brother, due to conscious and implicit bias. This is why last year’s Cookout alliance was so important.
Despite her negative feelings about Taylor, Paloma revealed some of her Big Brother game plan to her “Girls’ Girls” alliance, saying that the women in the house should band together against the strong men. Taylor shared Paloma’s plan with Monte Taylor, telling him that Paloma was targeting him. Monte then told Paloma that Taylor said this, and Paloma stated that Taylor was lying. Paloma and the others then convinced the Head of Household (HOH) Daniel Durston to nominate Taylor for eviction. She would be a replacement nominee, after Michael Bruner saved himself from the Chopping Block by winning the veto. Taylor took her place next to Terrance Higgins, and her eviction seemed like a sure thing, even though the Backstage Twist was also still in play. With this twist, either Paloma, Alyssa Snider, or Brittany Hoopes would be saved with an America’s Vote, but the other two players still had the possibility of going home, even though they could not be nominated for eviction. However, Paloma’s unexpected exit turned the live eviction episode upside down.
Fans noticed Paloma’s absence from the live feeds early on Wednesday, July 13, and assumed that she was in the Diary Room with Big Brother production team members. On the live episode, the show aired footage of her explaining how she could not sleep and was not eating; her mental health seemed to be deteriorating. The houseguests were very concerned about her, and her erratic behavior was noted by those who watched the live feeds. On the live eviction episode, she was shown crying in the Diary Room, and sleeping on the Diary Room couch, which was unprecedented in the Big Brother house. HOH Daniel eventually called everyone into the living room to make an announcement. He tearfully read a message which said, “Due to a personal matter, Paloma will no longer be continuing in the Big Brother game. She wanted to pass along that she loves you all and wishes you all the best.” As the houseguests wept, Monte led them as they prayed for Paloma’s well-being.
Paloma’s exit affected this week’s Big Brother gameplay immensely, as all of the plans for the week changed. Host Julie Chen announced that the Backstage Pass twist was over. She told the audience, but not the houseguests, that Brittany had won America’s Vote. Julie revealed that the original plan for the first elimination would not have culminated in a vote and eviction, but instead would have been a battle between one of the two nominees chosen by the house, and one of the Backstage Pass holders. Whoever lost that competition would have gone home. However, because Paloma was one of the five people at risk of going home, the Backstage Twist ended, and Alyssa and Brittany were both safe. Julie revealed that the eviction was also cancelled because a key element of the Backstage Twist was that no one was going to be voted out and evicted this week. as they would be in a normal show. Therefore, Taylor and Terrance were also safe. This meant that both of Daniel’s nominees were left in the house.
Paloma’s Big Brother exit created one of the most chaotic first weeks in the show’s history. All of the plans for the live eviction episode were cancelled, and the game reset with a new HOH competition. It will be interesting to see if there is any fallout from Daniel’s nominees Taylor and Terrance staying in the house, especially after how Taylor was treated throughout the week. However, the most important thing is Paloma’s health and well-being, and everyone wishes her well. After all, Big Brother is just a game. As the weeks pass, the houseguests should continue to “expect the unexpected.”