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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Previously on ‘Big Brother’: Vanderbilt senior Cory Wurtenberger

Senior Cory Wurtenberger joins season 25 of “Big Brother” as its youngest competitor.
Sofia El-Shammaa
Graphic depicting Vanderbilt senior Cory Wurtenberger, current contestant on season 25 of “Big Brother.” (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)

Vanderbilt senior Cory Wurtenberger is making his name known on season 25 of everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure show, “Big Brother.” The show, which has been running since 2000, secludes 16 houseguests from the rest of the world in the Big Brother house where they compete each week in hopes of remaining in the house. Winning competitions isn’t everything though — players must be able to form alliances with each other and keep the house happy because it is ultimately the houseguests who decide who stays and goes. 

Wurtenberger is from Weston, Fla., where he participated in many debates throughout high school. He has carried this love for debating to Vanderbilt as a political science and communications major. At Vanderbilt, he’s also contributed to the Vanderbilt Political Review and is the founder and president of the Vanderbilt forensics team. In “Big Brother,” Wurtenberger’s public speaking and persuasion skills have given him an advantage over other houseguests and have helped his social game. His confident demeanor allowed his houseguests to trust him as a player and a friend.  

Wurtenberger is not new to the CBS family: His brother, Zach Wurtenberger, was previously on season 42 of “Survivor.” Before going into the house, Wurtenberger decided to not share this information with other houseguests, for fear of them using it against him.

At the beginning of the show, Wurtenberger had a rocky start in the house. In the season premiere, he lost the first competition and was sent to the “Nether Region,” an undisclosed place that separated him from other houseguests. This was a setback because he missed out on early conversations and alliance formations. However, Wurtenberger’s charisma and funny personality allowed him to integrate himself into conversations when he returned just an hour later. 

As the youngest player in the house, Wurtenberger often supplies entertainment for his other houseguests. Early on in the season, he had a “strategic glow up” where he swapped clothes with his fashionista houseguest, Blue Kim. During one of his Diary Room sessions, a time where players are taken into a private room to record confessional statements about their thoughts on house events, Wurtenberger explained why he did this. 

“I’m a big proponent of someone asking me to do something here and I say yes,” Wurtenberger said. “Do I want to dress up? Of course I do. I’m fun! I’m having a good time!”

Although he enjoys having fun in the house, viewers know he is not to be underestimated. His current strategy is laying low and analyzing other houseguests’ decisions. He lets viewers in on his thoughts by talking to the CBS live feeds about his theories on where the house currently stands. 

During early competitions, he purposefully threw his shots at becoming Head of Household (HOH) so as not to put a target on his back. However, Wurtenberger recently showed just how strong of a player he is. During the week four HOH pressure-cooker competition, players were tasked to keep a button pressed in a pitch-dark room with flashing lights, loud blaring music and a crate of snakes. Wurtenberger placed sixth after lasting 12 hours and 17 minutes. He then placed in the top three during the week six HOH competition that had houseguests compete in a game called “Name That Toot” — yes, this is the real name. 

His energy coupled with his strong gameplay has led many fans to root for him. Vanderbilt senior Eleanor Vander Laan explained what makes Cory one of their fan favorites.

“It’s exciting to see someone from Vanderbilt in the pop culture sphere,” Vander Laan said. “I find myself wanting to root for him even though we’ve never met. It also helps that he seems like a genuinely good guy, especially compared to some of the other people in the house.”

Throughout the season, Wurtenberger has spoken out against his fellow houseguests’ use of derogatory slurs. One incident led to houseguest Luke Valentine’s expulsion from the house after casually calling Wurtenberger the “N-word.” Wurtenberger explained to the other houseguests the reason for this expulsion as it had happened during a private conversation. 

Wurtenberger was one of four houseguests to receive the chance to play in the BB Power of Invincibility competition. Eligibility to play was based on “Big Brother” viewers voting for their fan favorites. During the competition, players had to roll a ball down a curved path to get the ball into a goblet. The winner was granted the power of invincibility, allowing them to save one evicted houseguest during the Aug. 31 or Sept. 7 eviction. Although he didn’t win, Wurtenberger placed second in the competition. 

Of course, “Big Brother” wouldn’t be “Big Brother” without a “showmance,” and Wurtenberger has found his with fellow houseguest America Lopez. Coining himself “America’s sweetheart,” Wurtenberger has grown very close with Lopez over the past weeks and has secured a final two alliance with her, meaning that they will work with each other until they are, hopefully, the last two players in the house. 

The day before the week six eviction ceremony, Wurtenberger and Lopez worked together to flip the house’s vote in order to eliminate one of the house’s strongest players, Izzy Gleicher. This led to one of the house’s first fights between Wurtenberger and houseguest Jared Fields, the secret son of houseguest Cirie Fields, a “Survivor” legend. During the eviction ceremony, Gleicher was chosen for elimination, and while leaving the house, she told Wurtenberger, “[I’ll see you soon,] pipsqueak.” 

First-year Ava Miller has been watching along this season and has hope about Wurtenberger’s future gameplay. 

“After watching the fight between [Wurtenberger] and Jared [Fields], I think [Wurtenberger] is in a better spot with most of the house, except Cirie and Jared,” Miller explained. “I feel pretty good about his longevity in the game, at least for the next few weeks.”

Wurtenberger shows a lot of potential to win the $750,000 grand prize, but nothing is guaranteed in the “Big Brother” house. With Jared Fields as the current HOH, Wurtenberger’s game is in jeopardy because he has been put up for eviction with Lopez. So what happens next? Tune into the show on CBS by logging into Xfinity On-Campus — or if you’re a superfan like I am — watch the 24-hour live streams to find out. As host Julie Chen Moonves always says, “Expect the unexpected.”

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About the Contributors
Marissa Tessier
Marissa Tessier, Former Staff Writer
Marissa Tessier ('24) is majoring in secondary education and English. When not writing, she can be found at a café reading the latest YA novel. She can be reached at [email protected].
Sofia El-Shammaa
Sofia El-Shammaa, Staff Writer and Photographer, Data and Graphics Staffer
Sofia El-Shammaa (‘27) is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When they’re not writing or making graphics, you can find them with their cat, Mochi, watching bad movies or reading good books. You can reach them at [email protected].
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Comments (4)

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8 months ago

He seems to be the smartest one in the house by far!

Yannick Tessier
8 months ago

Great Article but I might be biased

Stephanie Wurtenberger
8 months ago

Me too 🙂

Stephanie Wurtenberger
8 months ago

Beautiful article! Thank you