Certain words attributed to Abraham Lincoln, apparently can't be applied to Croatia, or RTL Televizija believes that there are enough Croatians that can be fooled all the time for them to continue with the current handling of Big Brother Croatia.
One of the more visible examples for conspiracy theorists was Friday's eviction. In all the polls Lana Škurić (Lana Skuric) had was leading Sanja Močibob (Sanja Mocibob) with record 90 % of the votes. Bet shops were even more convincing - the odds on last Monday were 1,05:1 and on Friday all Big Brother betting was closed.
However, during the weekly eviction show, the hosts were still talking about "tight race". Despite that, hardly anyone was surprised when Lana left the House few hours later. When the percentages were published, Croatian public was shocked to find that only 53 % of voters voted for Lana's eviction, making the race not only tight, but the tightest in current Big Brother Croatia season.
Those numbers are hard to explain in light of Lana being arguably the most despised of all contestants and most likely to bring multitudes of eviction votes. The most likely explanation for this is the actual number of phone votes being so low that RTL Televizija hadn't got any other choice but to rig the result in order to make all future eviction races more exciting, more likely to attract votes and thus please T-Com, its main sponsor. Low number of votes would have also allowed Lana's rich parents and friends to spend relatively low amounts of money in order to tilt the vote balance in Lana's favour - tactic allegedly used by contestants in some other Croatian reality shows.
Those sceptical towards conspiracy theories can found better explanation for Lana's 53 % in Sanja's 47 %. Sanja spent most of past week looking like a basket case, crying, talking about her boyfriend and using her brief moments of lucidity to describe the apparent benefits of living outside House. At least this was the impression given by most of TV daily summaries, which presented Lana as the embodiment of toughness, mental stability and stoical approach towards any kind of ordeals. Lana was also shown as Sanja's best friend, a shoulder to cry on - especially when production team used every opportunity to play Sanja's favourite songs, in a apparent hope that she would completely crack and leave House voluntarily.
Earlier in the week RTL Televizija showed another example of lacking subtlety in its audience manipulation. Kristian Stojić (Kristian Stojic), one of the four initial favourites, was given the secret weekly task of hiding a secret guest - actor Mario Valentić (Mario Valentic) - in the House. As a part of the task, Valentić, who had been hidden in Surprise Room, played all kinds of practical tricks on unsuspecting housemates. Kristian was so "successful" in his mission that after one day Matko Okmažić (Matko Okmazic) and other housemates began to refer "Kristian serving soup to that man" and on Tuesday morning he was even spotted and referred as "Mario" by Hamdija Seferović (Hamdija Seferovic). Despite that, Valentić ceremoniously departed from the House while RTL Televizija declared the task "a success" on its official pages.
Any fears that Kristian's childish attempts to fool his housemates could have lead to nomination were dispelled on Friday. Fears of Dominik Rožić (Dominik Rozic) that the mutual disdain between him and remaining male housemates might lead to nomination were, on the other hand, justified. He was nominated by all male housemates plus Željka Valentina Lukić (Zeljka Valentina Lukic), new housemate who apparently had decided to take Lana's spot as the House's most manipulative and treacherous contestant.
What male housemates - and probably RTL Televizija - hadn't count on was Sanja's amazing ability to restore her mental health after Lana's departure. Instead of following Lana to the outside world - as many expected and some in Dubrava studios hoped - she stopped her deluge of tears and went to Diary Room and nominated Hamdija and Matko. She explained her decision with the desire to keep the correct balance of males and females in House and did so in calm and rational manner.
By not nominating any of the new housemates, she allowed male votes to be split between Matea Matić (Matea Matic) and Daca Bosančić (Daca Bosancic). United females - even without Željka - had enough votes to nominate Hamdija. So, for the first time Big Brother Croatia had all-male nomination and for the first time female housemates could expect their ranks not to thin until next Friday.
As usual, nominations were followed with large supply of alcohol. The result this time was replay of some past situations. Željka and Kristian spent the night in the same bed, providing shot-for-shot remake of "romantic" farce starring Kristian and Lana. Sanja spent the night in Matko's bed, allowing Jutarnji list and other over-imaginative media to speculate about Sanja "handling" another housemate after Hamdija.
The biggest surprise of Friday's evening was Matea who provided biggest spectacle before spending most of the time throwing up or passed out. Ivan danced with her and literally got bitten in the process. Ivan was angry at first, but patched up differences later on. Some sort of explanation for Matea's mean drunk behaviour was later explained in so called "Big Brother Special", which featured her confession about abusive relationship in her past.
It remains to be seen whether this incident will exhaust audience's initial sympathies for Matea. Željka, who was initially greeted as the most likeable and most refreshing of all new housemates, quickly exhausted such sympathies both in and outside House. Matea referred to her handling of Kristian as "more suitable to 8-year old girl", while Kristian himself talked about Željka being "too pushy". In the meantime, Internet forums are rife with rumours about Željka preparing for her Big Brother adventure with the zeal of Method actor - she had spent extensive amounts of time among Istrian students in Zagreb and even visited Kristian's mother in order to gain as much information about Kristian as possible.
The only person to actually increase her popularity in last week is Daca. At first perceived as quiet, artistic, almost autistic type, she quickly surprised anyone by revealing her great singing talent and generally approaching any other housemate with a smile and positive attitude. As a newly discovered good spirit of House she had the most beneficial impact on Sanja, who, after hanging with Daca, transformed from a train wreck into embodiment of mental stability. Introduction of Daca in House might turn out to be one of the few instances of RTL Televizija making the right creative decision this season. She has the potential of becoming first dark horse among contestants.
If Daca's rise happens, it will happen at the expense of favourites. The most vulnerable at this point is Hamdija, although he feels mostly secure when nominated against Dominik. While he was nominated for the first time, Hamdija spent every conceivable moment mentioning his wife and children, trying to make an eviction - a prospect he had thought to be certain - less painful. This time he hardly mentions family, obviously convinced that he is a favourite.
Dominik, on the other hand, didn't take nominations that lightly. He even admitted that in Diary Room, comparing himself with "Arjuna on the battlefield in Bhagavad Ghita". He nevertheless keeps his displeasure on manageable level and, after initial and expected depression, quickly returned to his athletic "can do" ways. He is currently taking very active role in the weekly task of staging 30-minute soap opera.
Dominik's mood could be slightly improved if he learns about the way his chances for stay in House reflect in betshops. It is still an uphill struggle against Hamdija, but the general trend is in his favour. After initial 1.1:1 for his and 4.9:1 for Hamdija's eviction, the odds made relatively small but significant shift towards 1.4:1 and 2.5:1, respectively. The shift isn't as dramatic as in the case of Lana beating Duje two weeks ago, but it gives some hopes that the finals won't be that predictable.
While all this unfolded, Ivan's confession to female housemates about taking part in secret nomination/prize-splitting pact with other male housemates was published in Jutarnji list. Kristijan Gržetić (Kristijan Grzetic), Big Brother spokesman, quickly reacted by stating that "production team had observed all audiovisual recordings and never found any proof about any such pact". This statement might be true or false, but Internet forum users nevertheless began to use names "Pinnochio" and "Gržetić " in the same sentence.