There is no question that Bruno Ielo was playing the best game in the Big Brother house up until the week of his elimination. He effectively used the Chop Shop as a shield for himself and then made a one-week pact to eliminate Jordan Parhar when the opportunity presented itself. After losing his closest ally in the house in the triple eviction, Bruno immediately went into damage control mode and made the shocking move to save Zach and give himself one more shield in the game to use until the end. Unfortunately for the Toronto-based family man, a twist gave Brittnee the chance to replace Ashleigh’s HOH nomination. When she decided to put Bruno up against Zach, Ielo was sent packing and I recently caught up with him to discuss what happened.
Bruno Ielo: Hey Murtz, how’s it going buddy?
Murtz Jaffer: Hey how are you?
BI: I’m doing great. Could be better if I was still in the Big Brother house, but I’m doing great.
MJ: You know, Bruno, I definitely thought that you were playing the best game in the Big Brother house. Really, I feel like it came down to your fight with Sarah the night before the eviction that ultimately sealed your fate. In hindsight, do you regret not reeling back a little and maybe just telling her what she wanted to hear just so that she wouldn’t target you?
BI: You know Murtz, I absolutely agree with you. I think the fight with myself and Sarah is the reason why I am sitting here today. Emotions were running so high that night you know? I was amped up. I just won the veto. I made a huge move. I was proud of it. I knew it was a big move to flip the house. Like I said, emotions were running high. You’re missing your family and just the way that she just came up to me that day… I felt like I was in a corner and she cornered me in a room. So, yeah, I definitely feel that that’s what ultimately sealed my fate. I think I could have handled it better. I could have talked her through it or maybe even, yes, tell her what she wanted to hear… but at that moment, my emotions were running so high. I was so amped up that my emotions got the best of me.
MJ: You and Brittnee seemed to have a good relationship. Where did things go wrong?
BI: I think things started going wrong when I used that veto. It may have even been a little bit earlier. I know Sarah and Brittnee were very close and Sarah is very good at convincing people of what she wants them to do. Sarah planted the seed in Brittnee’s ear, and she kept watering it every day and that seed grew into a big flower and that flower definitely was turning against me. So I tried to work with Brittnee. We definitely had a good thing going for most of the season but Sarah definitely did some damage to mine and Brittney’s relationship and in the end it got me.
MJ: It’s clear that your strategy of a primarily male-driven alliance was influenced by past seasons of Big Brother where all-male alliances like the Brigade and the Horsemen have dominated. Before going into the house, was your plan to basically align all of the guys and was it influenced by you being married and, as a result, not really being able to flirt with the girls?
BI: You know my strategy going into the game was actually going in without a strategy. I wanted to go into the house… and I am the kind of guy who can adapt to my surroundings. So I wanted to meet all the houseguests. I wanted to talk to them one-on-one. See their strengths, see their weaknesses, and use them to my advantage and to their disadvantage. Once I saw that some men in the house were very strong, I knew that if we bonded together that we could actually run through this house. We had a lot of big athletes, smart guys, smart players but I definitely wasn’t just going for the guys. Anybody that was willing to work with me, I was willing to work with back. It just so happened to work out that it was a lot of males on my side.
Being married and stuff, my wife gave me the green light to go in and flirt, say what I had to say, do what I had to do so that wasn’t an issue. The problem is that there were so many showmances in the house that I couldn’t get in between them. Once the showmances were formed, I knew that it was mostly the guys that I could work with.
MJ: Your move to save Zach with the veto in the Triple Eviction was undoubtedly my favorite move of the season. I thought it was a very gutsy play. You obviously wanted to protect Zach to use him as a shield, but ultimately you alienated both Brittnee and Sarah with the move and that came back to bite you. Can you talk about how you made the decision to use the veto on Zach and if you now regret it?
BI: That’s a great question and thank you for … I appreciate the fact you liked what I did. I’ll tell you all about it. So I played this game using people as shields. I started with Graig. Graig was my first shield in the game. I knew he was a big target. People would want to come for him. I wanted to align him so that if people did want to come for me, they would take him out first. Before I knew Bobby (me and Bobby were very, very close). He was my closest ally in the house. Before I knew Zach, I knew he was the next biggest target, so I aligned myself with Bobby. I did get to know him and loved him. He genuinely was my final two but at first I was also using him as a shield because I knew if someone would come for me they would go for Bobby.
As the weeks went on, mine and Bobby’s relationship got so tight that I actually wanted him and needed him in the house for myself. When Bobby did get evicted that night, I said ‘okay I am the next biggest target other than Zach and if Zach leaves tonight, I’m going home next week.’ So when that Power of Veto came out and I actually knew that Sarah was trying to get me on the block as a replacement (if Zach and or Kevin pulled themselves off). So that’s when I made my decision to make the move. I knew I had to get picked to play this veto. I had no choice but to win, pull Zach off, use him as my shield (and I knew if I got him off that block he would owe every single breath in that house to me and he want to work with me 100% and he would be loyal to me). So I used that veto to save Zach to use him as a shield and to have total trust in each other and take each other to the end.
MJ: Twists are becoming more and more synonymous with reality television and I am sure you expected a number of these on Big Brother Canada. Does it bother you at all that it was a twist that sent you home when you were sitting in a pretty good position?
BI: As a fan, I would love a twist like that. As a player, you hate a twist like that it’s just… it’s one of those twists… I think it’s a little late in the game for it but it’s Big Brother. Expect the unexpected. A twist like that is basically always to take a big player out of the game. A twist like that will never take a floater or someone that isn’t dangerous, it will never take them out, so this late in the game it does sting a little bit, but it is Big Brother. It’s part of the game and I was on the receiving end. If I was on the other end of that twist, I would have loved it. Unfortunately I wasn’t and I was on the receiving end.
MJ: Your relationship with Zach really seemed to change in the house. Can you talk about how it started when you first entered the house and how it ended with him seeming to be your closest ally?
BI: You know, day one when we walked in, Zach was actually one of the very first people I met. He came right up to me when I walked in the door, introduced himself and we connected almost right away. Godfrey, Zach and Graig were actually the first three people I did connect with on day one and we seemed to get along. As the season went on, we definitely drifted apart. We definitely drifted apart (on other sides of the house), but, like I said, in the triple veto, I saved him because I knew that was my only pitch and my only move to ensure myself some more time in the house. I always said ‘as long as I have time, I am safe and I will be good.’ I just need a little bit of time to work my magic. If I run out of time… my game is up. So I knew in that triple eviction, if I saved Zach that at least bought me a week maybe two weeks and that’s all I needed.
MJ: Does it bother you at all that the guy you saved is still in the house and you are not?
BI: You know what? This is Big Brother. You can’t let things like that bother you. If I didn’t take Zach off the block last week, I would be sitting here today regardless so it doesn’t bother me. You know Zach is a great player. He’s a super smart guy, he’s a great athlete, he has played a good game. It doesn’t bother me at all. He deserves to be in that house.
MJ: Since you didn’t get to finish your game, can you walk me through what your plans were for the final few weeks in the house? Clearly you wanted to break up Sarah and Brittnee, but would you have taken Godfrey or Zach to the end?
Bruno: You know, that’s a good question. Would I have taken Godfrey or Zach to the end? I probably would have taken Godfrey to the end. It’s a tough one to say because … before I came to jury I had no idea where other people’s heads were at. I definitely thought Zach had four jury votes guaranteed locked in. If it would have been me and Zach in the end, I thought he would have had Ashleigh, Pili, Kevin, and JP. Those four were locked in, so all he would have needed is one more vote. You know the money probably would hav been his and I would be in second place, so I didn’t want to take Zach to the end. Godfrey… I think I had a very good chance of beating in the end, so if there was a final two (a legit final two), I would have taken Godfrey for sure.
MJ: In hindsight, do you regret not voting to keep Kevin safe in the triple eviction as he might have been one more guy in your corner to take out the girls?
BI: I have no regrets sending Kevin home during the triple eviction. I’m not sure what you guys saw but Kevin and myself had zero chemistry. We didn’t talk. There was just – I can’t explain it. There was just a compete disconnect between me and Kevin all season. We tried to talk, we tried to get along. It’s not that we didn’t get along (we tried to talk and connect… it just could not happen). I don’t know what it was. It was just like a block between us. There was no game talk between us. There was no chemistry, nothing. So there was a zero percent chance that I would ever save Kevin.
MJ: Do you believe Ashleigh and Pili will stay loyal to Zach now that his numbers have dwindled or do you think they will join Brittnee and Sarah to take him and Godfrey out?
BI: I truly believe that Ashleigh and Pili will turn on Zach. It’s a smart move to do. He’s a big threat in the house, and Sarah is very good. Sarah wants to pull Ashleigh and Pili over to their side and take the boys out and you know what? I think she has the power to do it.
MJ: How much did your gaming background help you on the show?
BI: Actually, I found it did help me quite a bit. I play a lot of strategy-type games and it always makes you think one or two steps ahead and to always be on your toes. You never step back and I think that helped me in the game. I was always playing the game. I was always strategizing, I never lost focus. The one time I lost focus was last week and I always, always, always said the minute you feel comfortable in that house is the minute you should fear the most. And for the first time (in the entire season), I actually felt safe. My back was always against the wall. I knew I was always a target. The one time I feel safe… look where I’m sitting today.
MJ: Does it bother you that an active player like yourself is now in the jury house while there are so many floaters still inside?
BI: You know what? Yeah, it’s late in the game. All the floaters shouldn’t be there anymore. There is definitely a few still left in the house and I’m a huge fan of Big Brother. I love the integrity of the game and I always hate to see when, in the final two, there’s that one person that just didn’t come to play. I hate seeing someone in the final two that was brought there and didn’t earn it. I think everyone needs to earn their spot (especially this late in the game). There’s a few people in that house right now that definitely don’t deserve to be there and there’s about six people in this jury house that every single one of them deserves to still be in that house. We have a lot of good players in this jury house but that’s how the game goes.
MJ: Amazing Bruno, it was great talking to you, thank you so much.
BI: Hey man, I appreciate so much. I can’t wait to meet you. I hope I get to meet you man. You’re a great guy. I love the questions man… you’re awesome.
MJ: Awesome thanks boss. Take it easy.
BI: Hey, anytime buddy.
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Tags: Big Brother Canada, Bruno Ielo