If your first reaction to this slide is, “Who?” I can’t say I blame you. Adam was the winner of Big Brother‘s first-ever winter season (thanks to the writers’ strike of 2007-08). The season was weak overall, largely due to a twist called “Til Death Do You Part,” which forced the contestants to pair up and fake some kind of romantic connection. But regardless of the show’s success that year, Adam makes the bottom of our list for other reasons, including his eventual conviction for drug trafficking and tax evasion.
15. Eddie McGee (Season 1)
It’s hard to find a place for Eddie on this list. After all, when Big Brother debuted in 2000, it aired live almost every night of the week, and weekly evictions — called “banishments” at the time — were voted on by America. Since Eddie’s win was based more on popularity than it was strategy, he ranks among the more forgettable BB champs.
14. Andy Herren (Season 15)
When you look back on Season 15, you likely won’t remember Andy’s multiple Head of Household and Power of Veto wins — that is, if you remember him at all. Season 15 was better known for its more controversial houseguests, including resident racist Aaryn and foul-mouthed Amanda. Andy certainly deserved the win over runner-up GinaMarie, but he and his fellow contestants left a bitter taste in the mouths of Big Brother fans everywhere.
13. Lisa Donahue (Season 3)
Sure, Lisa won her fair share of competitions throughout Season 3… but she can really thank Big Brother‘s editing team for her eventual win. After she and Danielle Reyes reached the Final Two together, the jury members became privy to some of Lisa and Danielle’s most incriminating Diary Room confessionals — including an unforgettable moment in which Danielle called fellow houseguest Roddy Mancuso “the devil.” Although Danielle was arguably the better season-long player, she made enough enemies on the jury to give Lisa the ultimate victory.
12. Maggie Ausburn (Season 6)
When it comes to the Season 6 finalists — Maggie and Ivette Corredero — Maggie was really the lesser of two evils. Although she was a member of one of the worst-named alliances in BB history (“The Friendship”), Maggie was the rightful winner, if only because she didn’t sling insults about the other contestants nearly as often as her runner-up did.
11. Mike “Boogie” Malin (Season 7)
Let’s face it: Big Brother‘s All-Stars season was Will Kirby’s to lose. If Janelle hadn’t gotten her head on straight and sent Will packing in a fourth-place finish, the doc would have easily become a two-time champion. Instead, Mike Boogie rode his alliance member’s coattails all the way to the Final Two, where he managed to convince the jury he’d actually earned that $500,000. (Even though he did make a few big game moves throughout the summer, I’m still rolling my eyes at Mike’s showmance with Erika, which he charmingly called a “ho-mance” in the Diary Room.)
10. Hayden Moss (Season 12)
As far as Big Brother winners go, Hayden was relatively harmless. He won competitions, he formed a solid alliance called "The Brigade" and he managed to rustle as few feathers as possible on his way to the finale. But after nearly 17 seasons of the CBS series have come and gone, Hayden's win was merely average.
9. Drew Daniel (Season 5)
There was so much going on in Season 5 that Drew’s eventual win seemed more like a footnote than the actual focus of the summer. Between the first-ever Twin Twist, the long-lost siblings who competed on the show together and the “Four Horsemen” alliance that was mostly comprised of buffoons, Drew was able to fly under the radar for most of the summer before snagging the check for $500,000. His worst infraction? Sending his in-house showmance, Diane Henry, packing just before she reached the Final Two. You’re as cold as ice…
8. Jun Song (Season 4)
Big Brother‘s fourth go-round was unforgettable for a whole slew of unsavory reasons — most notably, it was the first year in which two contestants actually had sex in the BB house. (Les Moonves must be so proud!) But Jun was a memorable contestant in her own right, managing to form a strong alliance with ex-boyfriend Jee Choe and win more than her fair share of crucial competitions.
7. Jordan Lloyd (Season 11)
Come on, how can you not like Jordan? In addition to forming one of the cutest Big Brother showmances ever (with now-fiancee Jeff Schroeder), Jordan also stepped up her competitive game when she needed to most. She was sweet, likable and honest — probably too honest for her own good — and, without question, deserved the half-million dollars over runner-up Natalie Martinez.
6. Ian Terry (Season 14)
Ian was a die-hard Big Brother fan who certainly deserved his place in the Final Two, given his competitive wins and smart social game. Truth be told, though, Dan Gheesling was the rightful winner of Season 14, particularly after his brilliant “Big Brother funeral” move in the second half of the season. Ian would have made a worthy runner-up, but it was the jury’s bitter feelings toward Dan that really clinched the win for Ian.
5. Rachel Reilly (Season 13)
Say what you will about Rachel’s eardrum-shattering screeches, her showmance-turned-real-life romance with Brendon Villegas or her penchant for picking fights with other houseguests (“Floaters, grab a life vest!”). The girl could pull out competition wins when she needed them most, and once she learned from her BB12 mistakes and stopped acting quite so catty, Rachel’s Season 13 win was much-deserved.
4. “Evel” Dick Donato (Season 8)
Let me be clear: Evel Dick’s high ranking on our list is not an endorsement for being a complete jerk, which the Season 8 champ often was during his summer in the Big Brother house. (Need I remind you of the time he dumped iced tea on Jen Johnson’s head for no reason? Or woke up the houseguests by banging pots and pans?) Still, Evel Dick was a decent competitor and an excellent strategist alongside his daughter, Danielle. Despite all the family drama that clouded Dick and Danielle’s time in the house, the Donatos knew how to play the game and make moves in their best interests, even if it meant throwing innocent bystanders (sorry, Eric and Jessica!) under the bus.
3. Dan Gheesling (Season 10)
Dan will go down as one of the best manipulators in Big Brother history. And although you might remember him best for his game-changing “funeral” in Season 14, Dan’s strategic prowess goes back to Season 10, when he was responsible for countless evictions but still managed to stay in the house week after week. There are few Big Brother winners who can make so many enemies and still come out on top — thanks to his top-notch social game and “Renegades” alliance with runner-up Memphis Garrett, Dan pulled off a nearly impossible BB feat.
2. Will Kirby (Season 2)
Despite the fact that Big Brother has been on for 17 seasons, one of the franchise’s all-time most memorable contestants arrived in Season 2. Will set the standard for how to be a sly, manipulative competitor and get away with some seriously shady game decisions. But Will falls just shy of our No. 1 ranking because, fundamentally, he was a mean person — at least in the Big Brother house. He surrounded himself with cruel people (including his showmance counterpart, Shannon Dragoo, who once scrubbed the toilet with a fellow contestant’s toothbrush) and didn’t hesitate to throw others under the bus. Will’s Big Brother strategy remains legendary, but he has since been surpassed by one other victor.
1. Derrick Levasseur (Season 16)
It could be argued that Derrick played a flawless Big Brother game: He kept his true occupation (as an undercover cop) from the houseguests, manipulated every Head of Household into fulfilling his own personal agenda (without ever making any real enemies), survived the entire season without getting nominated and forged a ride-or-die alliance with Cody Calafiore, who took Derrick to the Final Two even though that decision guaranteed him a second-place finish. Derrick was sneaky, persuasive and totally likable all season, cementing his status as the best Big Brother champion.