Big hair: Twenty-nine-year-old university student, Tim, joins the BB House.

Big hair: Twenty-nine-year-old university student, Tim, joins the BB House. Photo: Supplied

I woke up with a head still throbbing from the three-hour sensory assault it had undergone the night before.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Ludovic experiment from A Clockwork Orange would actually be like, never fear: I went to the Big Brother 2013 launch taping on the Gold Coast so you didn’t have to.

I’ll spare you the hour or so of cheery prep before the show actually starts; save to say there is dancing, and pep rallies, and prize giveaways, and Mike Goldman working the microphone like a Jedi master.

Cosmic Barbie: Big Brother 2013 compare Sonia Kruger.

Cosmic Barbie: Big Brother 2013 compare Sonia Kruger. Photo: Supplied

Instead, I’ll jump to the TWISTed dance routine, pyrotechnics and blasting steam pumps that herald the arrival of host Sonia Kruger, looking out of this world in a sequinned silver dress with matching thigh-high boots. She’s like Space Barbie. She’s amazing. You just want to fluff her perfect hair, and make her kiss Ken...

Big Brother himself sounds a bit like Duffman from The Simpsons. I kept waiting for him to exclaim "Big Brother is thrusting in the direction of the house", but maybe he’s saving that for later in the series.

Sonia takes the audience on a brief video tour of the new abode, Big Brother "stops the signal" to prevent her from revealing the TWIST too early.

Sports agent: Ed, 26, makes his BB debut.

Sports agent: Ed, 26, makes his BB debut. Photo: Supplied

Mikkayla is the first housemate, and she’s a good choice to get out early because she’s absolutely adorable despite her terribly-spelled moniker.

The high school teacher loves her food, and when Astro Barbie tells her she’s also been carb-loading, Mikkayla answers with exactly the response I had in my head - "I don’t believe that!".

Sonia then reveals the first aspect to the TWIST. Mikkayla must choose a key, which will open one of two doors. She picks number 11, and winds up going straight into .... the TWIST.

The TWIST is the "Halfway House", a tiny enclosure within the greater BB house full of chopped-up furniture and dodgy decor. It’s Salvador Dali meets The Block. The other half of the house is the plush "Safe House", which will no doubt be home to housemates with better luck.

"I should’ve picked a better number," comes Mikkayla’s plaintative mourn as she explores her new surroundings, like a hamster disappointed its cage only has the top half of the running wheel. Her pining for the sexy side of the house, so tantalisingly within reach, is genuinely hilarious.

Xavier is next down the runway, and again, he’s very likeable. A wannabe AFL player who couldn’t kick an iron ball with magnetic shoes, Xavier straight away cements himself as The Quick Wit. He works the live crowd like Larry Emdur, hitting on The Price is Right comparison when it comes time to choose a key.

Sadly it’s the Halfway House for him too, but he seems to approach it cheerily enough, aided by a tour from Mikkayla.

Back onstage, Cosmic Barbie is introducing Tahan, another oddly-named contestant who was raised in Darwin and is a part-time model. She’s as pretty as a Kewpie doll. It’s obvious producers are going to try to paint her as The Bitchy One because she Doesn’t Have Girl Friends Because Girls Just Don’t Seem To Like Her.

I sympathised with her slightly because I too suffer from debilitating DHGFBGJDSTLH, but then I remembered I’m not appearing on national TV dressed as a canary. Shoot, maybe envy explains the DHGFBGJDSTLH?

Tahan is not impressed with the TWIST, and is devastated that she has no mirror, no shower and only white bread to feed upon. Line of the night comes from Mikkayla when she asks Tahan: "You look like a girl who doesn’t eat carbs – can I have your piece of bread?" APPLAUSE.

Xavier jokes about how much it sucks to be in the crap house, but given that he’s flanked by two hot chicks, he does not truly sound like a man unhappy with his current situation.

Contestant number 4 is Ben from Brisbane. Ben, bless him, is a beautiful, wonderful freak. He loves Kerri-Anne Kennerley. His favourite record is The Bert and Patti Family Album. He wears his trousers inside out. OK, I made that last one up, but you get the picture.

Ben is a gentle soul who is justly rewarded by becoming the first person into the Safe House. His OMG-ing at virtually everything from the furniture to the oysters is again, entertaining viewing. And his desire to stay close to the trio on the other side of the perspex is sweet.

"I like that I don’t look like a typical lesbian," says 25-year-old social media strategist Tully in her introductory package. Sadly for Tully, she does look like a typical hipster.

She winds up in the Halfway House, adding yet more bounty to Xavier’s collection. But how will she do without her phone and the ability to, as she puts it, Instagram every minute of her life? Hashtag firsworldproblems.

Next up is Tim, whose wild hair is a one-man homage to the BMX Bandits-era Nicole Kidman. Ten years into it, he still can’t finish his science degree, probably because he has about as much ability to concentrate on complicated biodiversity issues as one of his amusingly-named guinea pigs. But now HE will be the guinea pig in the sexy side of the house! Did you see what I did there?

Housemate number 7 is Sharon, the 41-year-old ex-cop, fitness trainer, mother-of-three who seems to view the BB house as a blissful escape from being the one in charge all the time. I’m so pleased she picked the fancy side; although that did put her in the same pen as Ben, who immediately attached himself to her like a limpet. He’s going to see her as a substitute Mum who can protect him, so good luck with that Shaz.

At this point, we were halfway through the housemate revelations, but almost two hours into the taping, and the once enthusiastic audience started to tire rapidly.

The last hour became an endurance event as I sat in the gathering cool, waiting for more housemates, the shrill sound of cheering boring into my brain, each whoosh-bang of celebratory steam blasts adding an extra layer of throbbing to the ache swelling behind my eyes.

Housemate #8: Ed, a blandish sports manager from Melbourne they’re trying to set-up as McDreamy. Sexy House.

Housemate #9: Matthew, ex-army dude turned tradie from the Sunshine Coast. His package focused mostly on his ... well, package, as he turned out to have mecha-abs and a Southern Cross tattoo, pre-requisite items for hotness these days, apparently.

I had pondered if the whole “choose a key” thing was set up so they’d get particular people on each side, but then why would they let Matt go in the crap house? “He’s never going to take his shirt off and swim on that side!” I said, loudly enough for three women in front of me to turn around and nod.

Housemate #10: Heidi. Gabby breakfast radio host from Newcastle. That station must be ecstatic about the cross-promotion. She seemed sweet, was slightly chubby, so I guess she’s the one I’m supposed to identify with given the state of my thighs. Sexy House.

Housemate #11: Jasmin. Flight attendant and unlucky in love. Endearing, cute, fantastic ‘fro. The final chick to go in, and like every one before her (except sensible Sharon), tottered down the gangplank – sorry, runway – in a mini-skirt and towering heels. You’d think pants and flats would be safer, surely? Sexy House.

Housemate #12: Caleb. Friendly 33-year-old fireman with a skanky sleeve tatt (yes, I’m judgmental about sleeve tatts, it’s just my thing) and a bleaching obsession. When Intergalactic Barbie first interviewed him, she said “Liz Hurley called and she wants her boyfriend back,” which WAS TOTALLY MY JOKE SONIA. Crap House.

And finally, it’s over! Over! ... Over?

Not quite.

First, the Sexy House peeps have to be briefed in their private diary room, which features the most glitteringly golden phallus-shaped chair I’ve ever seen. They’re told they pretty much have control over the Crap Housers, who must do all their laundry and only eat what the Sexy Housers provide. Nice gig.

Is it over now?

A family in front of me try to make a break for it, Von Trapp style. Except unlike The Sound of Music, this time voiceover extraordinaire Mike Goldman (who’d been doing the heavy lifting of keeping the audience pumped) spotted them and demanded they remain seated. Did I just compare Mike Goldman to a Nazi?

Anyways, the final TWIST (if I never hear the word TWIST again, it’ll be a century too soon), is that MORE housemates will go in later this week, housemates who have never met but must PRETEND TO BE MARRIED. Holy smokes, it’ll be like the green card office at US Customs in there.

And then, it really is over, and the audience bleeds out of the Dreamworld live studio like a great... big... bleeding ... river....of bleediness. And that was where my brain shut down for the night, capable only of saying things like "I wish I could wear Sonia’s dress" and "I probably should pick up some merch".

Wrap up thoughts? The contestants didn’t seem to to all be self-obsessed narcissists, which is the main fault that people find with Big Brother.

Some of them seemed like human beings with whom you would genuinely enjoy sharing a meal, or at least a polite conversation in a lift.

The split house concept is interesting, but it can’t last the whole season.

Poor Tahan will go crazy without soap or a hair straightener.

My picks for first evictee? Tim, because he’s ... Tim; Caleb, because of that skeevy sleeve tatt; or Ben, ‘cause he’s a little strange.

My picks at this point for the winner? Sharon, for being tough and sensible; Mikkayla for being adorable; or Ben, 'cause he's a little strange.