Benjamin wins Big Brother Australia
Big Brother 2012 finale
Estelle arrives after coming third ... Big Brother final 2012 Photo: email@example.com
Heroes were made. Lives were changed.
This wasn't the tagline for the US election, but part of the opening sequence for the Big Brother Australia grand finale on Wednesday night. Producers at Channel Nine were laying it on thick, to say the least.
The finale show on Wednesday night was staged to name a winner from three remaining contestants - Estelle Landy, Benjamin Norris and Layla Subritzky. It took nearly two hours to get there.
Jumping for joy ... Ben celebrates his victory.
Host Sonia Kruger declared Benjamin, a 32-year-old accounts manager from Victoria (who has previously struggled to hold down a job) the winner of the $250,000 first prize.
He cried and swore and kept on crying, tried a bit of deep breathing, but was clearly completely overcome. Then there was a genuine jump for joy as Big Brother congratulated him for winning. He opened the case containing the prize and said "that's real money".
Ben, who is Australia's first gay Big Brother winner, was cheered on by his boyfriend who is also named Benjamin, and his mother from rural Victoria. His Mum was the first to greet him in excitement with hugs and tears before he left the house.
Last contestant standing ... Big Brother winner Benjamin.
"I've never really won anything in my entire life," he later told Kruger. "I'll never have words to describe how thankful I am."
Layla seemed unfazed by second place, saying "oh my god, it was amazing".
Estelle was evicted part way through the finale, leaving Layla and Benjamin in the running for $250,000 and a car.
Estelle said: "Third place I'm pretty happy with that. I can't believe I've been this far."
From the word go in the grand finale, Nine was trying to create "event" television and they pulled out every cliche in the book.
That included an ultra-cheesy song and dance routines by former housemates which would have made Johnny Young proud. (Let's hope Nine is not planning a repeat performance at the Logies).
With Josh Moore front and centre, the group sang and danced with kitchen implements to "oats a la Layla" in a choreographed routine.
It segued into them dancing to Psy's Gangam Style. By this point the three remaining inside the house were probably thanking their lucky stars they didn't have to dance awkwardly with all the others on national television.
But the "musical" feel didn't stop there. (Did someone secretly invite Mr G from Summer Heights High?) Another number later in the evening featured all the evicted housemates in a song 'n dance number with all the production staff on the show including one bloke with his back to the camera, sitting in a chair.
Was that the audiences one and only tantalising glimpse of Big Brother?
Host Sonia Kruger was resplendent in floor-length silver sequins but was almost immediately overshadowed in the fashion stakes by the show-stopping orange feathered creation worn by finalist Layla, which screamed "look at me". (How on Earth did that dress fit inside the single suitcase they were allowed to take into the house?) All the former housemates appeared for interviews during parts of the show. Most notably, Bradley the geek, looked stoked to reveal he is now getting phone numbers off girls because of his TV stardom. As you do.
He is also the first breakout star from the series, scoring a role advertising The Big Bang Theory on Nine.
Moore, who lost his older brother Toby while the show was being filmed, made a brave appearance onstage, joining in the same interviews as the other former housemates.
But even amid the nostalgic flashbacks, staged performances and excitement from fans, there was still tension inside the Big Brother house in its final moments for 2012.
Shortly before she was evicted, Benjamin's dislike of Estelle was palpable, particularly after flashbacks showing him bitching about Estelle throughout the series.
So close to finishing line, Benjamin was unrepentant. "I meant every word I said" he declared. When Estelle seemed noticeably upset, Benjamin said "she plays the victim so well".
It seems being mean is no barrier to winning big on Big Brother.
20,000 people applied to be on the 2012 series of Big Brother. But only one 32-year-old from Victoria has the cash.