He was unanimously voted out of Big Brother. And yet, somehow, he also won the game.
Jag Bains became the champion of Big Brother season 25 when he defeated Matt Klotz in the final two on Thursday’s season finale. Jag cock-a-doodle-zoomed his way to $750,000 when he beat Matt in a 5 to 2 jury vote — a surprising result to many viewers who felt Matt’s seemingly superior social game might carry the day.
When Jag narrowly edged Matt in a tiebreaker in the final Head of Household competition and yet still brought his Minutemen alliance-partner to the end with him, it appeared like it could be the $750,000 mistake that Felicia Cannon kept talking about. Instead, it showed Jag’s supreme confidence that he could still take home the money without burning his best friend in the game — a friend who had saved him with a reset power after Jag was voted out of the house back in week four.
Jag’s confidence was certainly on display in his final speech to the jury, when he proclaimed in a booming voice that “My hands are covered in your blood. I am the most dominant, masterful, and strategic player in this house.” The jury ultimately agreed and handed him the title as well as the cash prize that goes along with it. We chatted with the 25-year-old truck company owner just a few hours after his triumphant win and got to the bottom of Jag’s endgame strategy, that confident message to the jury, and whether he really was planning to cut Matt at the final four. (Also make sure to read our finale Q&As with runner-up Matt, third place finisher Bowie Jane, juror Cameron Hardin, and host Julie Chen Moonves.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, congratulations. You must be pretty stoked right now.
JAG BAINS: Thank you so much. I definitely am stoked. It’s a surreal feeling.
I know you were doing jury math in your head, so when you chose Matt to go to the end, what did you think that final vote was going to be?
I honestly didn’t know. I thought that maybe I could get a few jurors to vote for me. I thought I would have Cam’s vote. I thought I could get Blue’s vote. Beyond that, it was up in the air. And honestly, when I chose Matt, I thought there was a very real possibility that he could win it all.
Any of the votes surprise you?
I was happy with Cory and America’s vote. I did not know if they were going to vote for me. I was surprised by, I can’t say surprised, but I was really, really relieved by Bowie’s. That’s the vote that mattered the most to me. I really wanted her vote because I feel like at the very final stage, I cut her out, and that can be something that’s really heavy for anyone sitting out there, and she hadn’t had the time to process everything. So I was really relieved and thankful that she voted for me.
You came out super strong and aggressive in your jury answers and final speech, at one point pretty much shouting “My hands are covered in your blood.” Were you worried that cockiness —or cock-a-doodle-zoom-ness, as it were, might rub some jurors the wrong way?
Yeah, it really wasn’t cockiness for me. I get really passionate. Really passionate. And I’ve always said you should advocate for yourself. And that was me truly advocating for myself. That’s a hundred days of buildup for this one moment. And this is the one chance I have to share with the jury what game I’ve played and to own up to everything. So I knew as I was giving my speech that I was getting passionate, but it was — this is who I am. I played this game, I’m going to own up to it. And at the end of the day, I did have a lot of people’s blood on my hands. I didn’t lie in my speech, so I just owned up to it.
And I was like: Look, if they vote for me because they respect that gameplay, then they’ll vote for me. And if they don’t, at least I stood up for myself and maybe I didn’t win because of that, but that’s okay. I don’t want to regret my speeches or my answers ever.
How worried were you that people might not give you the win because you were unanimously voted out of the game back in week four and that might be a disqualifying factor in someone’s mind?
That was a reality. I had thought about every possible scenario that could go wrong or right and all the flaws that people could point out in my game. And that was a reality. I was voted out and Matt saved me, and that’s the reason I was even in the final two. That’s the reason I had that opportunity. So if somebody chose to not give me a vote because of that, that is a decision they make. But the only thing I could control is how I want to present myself and my game and how I can show everyone that “Yes, I was voted out, but look at everything else I’ve done after that. Look at my story and my journey in this game. Every week I got better and better in the game.” And that is a compelling message to share with the jury.
You appeared really close to voting out Matt instead of Felicia at the final four. Was that a serious consideration, and if so, what caused you to change your mind?
I’m someone that I will analyze every little thing down to the core no matter what. Every scenario, even if I’m not going to do it, I want to go down to make sure I’ve gone through every reason, and when I have all the information, then I can make the decision. Ultimately, when it came down to that, I knew the type of game I wanted to play. I wanted to play the type of game where I can look back at it and hold my head up high and be proud of the decisions I made. And I wanted to play a loyal game.
Matt saved me in this game, and he never turned his back on me. I wasn’t going to turn my back on him. And so I made that decision to save him and to continue to save him and to take him to the end and stayed true to the game I set out to play, which is a game of integrity and loyalty to whoever I chose to be loyal to. And that person was Matt.
There is also an element of game to that in the sense of how do you think the jury reacts if you cut Matt and don’t bring him to the end? Did you think about that at all?
That was less of a factor for me. Keeping Matt was not a game move. I truly thought being loyal to Matt might harm me more than help me. I truly thought taking him to the end, that he could win this whole thing. So the reason I weighed everything so much is because there was a lot of weight to that. I truly felt like it was a $750,000 decision and that I might actually be handing him the $750,000.
So it came down to: Do I value money, or do I value playing the game in a way that I’ll be proud? Do I value my loyalty, my character? And I decided, I came into this game wanting to play a certain type of game, and being on Big Brother was already the biggest accomplishment for me. Being the first Sikh on Big Brother is already huge. The money and winning, obviously I want to win and that was a goal, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice everything and backstab the one person I was loyal to that I promised I would take to the end just for a slightly better chance.
You talked about being the first Sikh player in franchise history. That responsibility can sometimes come with some serious weight behind it. Did you feel that weight at all?
Absolutely. I think coming into the game and throughout the game I’ve had that weight. There was just a shift in my mindset, and I think as a viewer you can probably see it. I know I felt it at the beginning of the game. I sucked. I was loyal to a fault. And what I realized is that if I’m loyal to everyone, that means I’m loyal to no one. And I decided I can’t play that game. I can’t represent my entire community. I can only represent myself and in the best light possible and hope that it portrays my community in a positive light.
And so that’s when I decided I’m going to still play loyal, but I’m going to play loyal to one person, and that one person was Matt. And so that is how I showed who I am and showed my character and representing my community while still being able to play the game without just being like, “Fine, vote me out because I feel bad about getting everyone out.” I had to play the game and find that common ground where my morals were intact, and so was the gameplay.
10 comp wins this season, the most in Big Brother history. At some point — especially after Hisam and Cameron were out of the house — did you just expect to win when you stepped into a comp?
I never expected to win. I had confidence in myself, but I never went in cocky. I’m not someone that has an ego. I was nervous before every comp. I was like, “I need to win this. I somehow need to pull this off. This is it.” And I think the comps are anyone’s game. They truly are. It’s just I had that fire in me. I knew I had to win. And so I’m really grateful that I did pull off those wins. But at no point was I thinking like, “Oh man, this is in the bag,” because I’m never going to count someone out of a competition like that.
Okay, last question is the most obvious one: What are you going to do with the money?
This is the one that I should have an answer to, and I know I should because I had a hundred days in the house that I should be thinking of something, but I really don’t know. I didn’t think I was going to make it this far in the game and that I was going to win. But what I will say is everything I do is for my family. My parents immigrated to this country and they sacrificed everything to give me the life that I have. And so all of this is for them. All of this is for my family and that’s what I do know.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly‘s free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.