I know the competition series is insanely popular, but the idea of watching a bunch of folks squabble over wombat brains while clamouring for Instagram followers filled me with dread. So, imagine my surprise in discovering that that not only is the show quite entertaining (a fact millions knew before I did), but the celebrities all seem like genuinely good people.
It has been really refreshing to see the cast, which includes Grant Denyer, Toni Pearen, Jess Eva and Ash Williams, allow each other to speak without interruption, open up about issues close to their heart, encourage each other during challenges and just generally get along with one another.
So far, the contestant who has captivated me the most has undoubtedly been Jack Vidgen – the 23-year-old singer who won Australia’s Got Talent at the age of 14.
Vidgen was the first celebrity to enter the competition during the season premiere, immediately poking fun at himself for his inability to show emotion as a result of his plastic surgery and confessing to not being a fan of the outdoors. He then jumped out of a helicopter-like a total boss and has just been winning points with me ever since.
For someone who says they don’t like bugs and creepy crawlies, Vidgen seems perfectly at home in the “jungle” and gets along easily with his fellow castmates. His friendship with former Bachelor star Abbie Chatfield is especially sweet, with the two sharing witty banter and working exceptionally well as a team.
I only wish that I had Vidgen’s composure when sticking my hands inside boxes full of snakes and spiders, but what absolutely blew me away was the way he tackled the horrifying “Candy Shop” challenge during which he was tasked with eating things I shall not repeat here for fear of puking on my keyboard. The singer just got right down to it, not making a fuss (which I totally would have done) and winning the challenge for his team.
Each night, I find myself enjoying Vidgen’s presence on my television screen – whether he is debating the hotness of castmate Williams, sharing his touching coming-out story with Dipper — he had a girlfriend for two years in what he called a “glorified friendship”, or chatting plastic surgery with Pettifleur. The kid is just cool, no two ways about it.
Also, have you checked out his Instagram? Because he has got serious style.
Speaking of Instagram, even his admission that he has been the victim of rampant online bullying from people who are apparently sad enough to think that someone’s sexuality is ripe for weaponisation was delivered matter-of-factly and without the slightest hint of wanting pity. Rather, this is a young man who is sure of not only himself but the powerful role he has and will continue to play in helping LGBTQIA youth feel seen.
I sincerely hope that Vidgen, whose charity of choice is the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation, remains in the competition for many nights to come because watching him and his effortlessly lovely personality in the “jungle” is as comforting as the oversized hoodie he requested as his luxury item.