Since 2010, there have been 23 seasons of “Big Brother” and 300 contestants — and not one of them has been a Utahn. Until now.
Bountiful resident Kyle Capener is competing on season 24, and he’s a goofball. At least that’s how he came across in the season premiere Wednesday on CBS.
The 29-year-old (who looks younger) was the first of 16 contestants viewers saw, in a clip of him freaking out when he learned he had been cast in the show. He was the second contestant introduced in short biographical segments.
Although Bountiful is about a dozen miles north of Salt Lake City, the show’s producers included aerial shots of Utah’s capital city before zooming in on Capener, who was dancing like, yes, a goofball.
Later in the show, he acknowledged that he has “no rhythm, but I love to dance.” In the introductory clip, he says, “I’m an entrepreneur, baby, making dancing videos with my mom,” he said, “which means I’m unemployed.”
Self-deprecating humor was a theme for him in the 90-minute season premiere. He does have almost 540,000 followers on TikTok and almost 92,000 on Instagram, as of Thursday morning — numbers that are sure to go up now that he’s on “Big Brother.”
Capener went on to say that he “grew up in a very religious Mormon household” before he decided “I really just felt like I needed to find myself. So I’m not Mormon anymore.”
Although that decision “affected my parents at the start … our relationship is healthier and stronger than ever,” he continued.
It’s possible that moving into the “Big Brother” house with 15 other contestants will be less of an adjustment for Capener than for some others, because he’s accustomed to living with other people. Yes, the 29-year-old, unemployed dancer lives with his parents.
“I tell girls that I’m dating,” he said, “that I have a basement apartment, and I have two elderly roommates that live upstairs.”
Capener told Parade magazine that while people might think he’s a “dumb blonde,” he’s a “genuine” and “chill guy.” He also said, “I don’t like conflict,” which begs the question of why he’s on “Big Brother,” which is all about conflict.
For those of you unacquainted with the show, the contestants move into a large, beautifully (but weirdly) decorated home where they are cut off from the rest of the world. And then they conspire to get rid of each other. They participate in goofy challenges, competing to become “head of household” so they can nominate others to be voted out. They form alliances and backstab each other, and the last contestant standing wins $750,000.
“I think I’ll excel at the physical competitions, the endurance ones, the ones where you don’t really have to use your brain much. Everything else, I might suck,” Capener said, once again demonstrating he has a sense of humor about himself. Or maybe just demonstrating self-awareness.
All of this is happening while just about everything the contestants do is recorded. Host Julie Chen Moonves told viewers there were 94 cameras and 113 microphones in the house.
A fan of “Big Brother,” Capener knows that it generally isn’t a good idea to get romantically involved with other contestants — to engage in a “showmance” — because that’s seen as a potential threat to other contestants and the couple is, more often than not, voted out.
“Showmances definitely put your game at risk,” he said, so going into the house, I’m going to try to avoid them at all costs. But let’s be real. If one develops, I’m not going to say no.”
His mother is definitely on board with a romantic entanglement for her son. “Will you come back with a wife?” she asked in the introductory clip.
“I would rather have the 750k,” Capener replies.
The Utahn is actually the first one into the “Big Brother” house, rushing in ahead of the other three in his group. (Monty Taylor held the door for Paloma Aguilar and Jasmine Davis.) The contestants were divided into three groups for weird competitions. Capener came in second in his group of five, which still meant he lost (and got slimed with blue goo of some sort) and stands a chance of being sent home.
“I have to win head of household,” he said before the competition. “Even my mom thinks I’m going to go home the first week.”
Well, that’s not particularly supportive.
Capener might not end up being the most successful Utahn on a reality/competition show, but he will be the Utahn who spends the most time on camera. “Big Brother” airs three times a week on CBS/Ch. 2 — Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. — and episodes also stream on Paramount+.
But that’s only part of it. Paramount+ will also stream a live feed from inside the “Big Brother” house 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Big Brother” episodes can sometimes be slow and awkward. The live feed is, for the most part, tedious and mind-numbing.
Capener will learn Sunday if he’s nominated for eviction. If so, he’ll learn Wednesday if he’ll get a reprieve. If not, he’ll learn Thursday, July 14, if he is the first one evicted from “Big Brother.”
Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.