[Daniel writes: Sofabet is delighted that our regular commenter Guildo Horn Forever has been kind enough to put together his thoughts on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother climax.
Those who have been following our discussion thread will know that Guildo, along with Natasha (as was: Tish), Andy and others have been debating the merits of each housemate for the duration of the series. Here’s his take on tomorrow’s final.]
CBB12 was launched onto our TV screens in August shortly after the final of the Endemol original, Big Brother (BB14). The early-bird market for the outright winner was headed by Charlotte Crosby (4/1), Abz Love (5/1) and Lauren Harries (8/1). With two days left, the order isn’t much different. However, those early odds underwent rapid fluctuations upon the arrival of the contestants in the house. Within a day, Charlotte’s dropped to 2/1, Abz became available at 14/1 and Lauren at anything up to 40/1.
At show’s start, the high-profile characters offering entertainment caught the eye, with the betting market reflecting this. However, over time, viewer familiarity with these show-ponies bred contempt. The noisier and more engaged contestants became involved in rows and bitching engineered by the BB production team. Fault-lines were exposed. The unpleasantness can make for cracking viewing but the milk eventually turns sour and the cornflakes lose their crispness.
As a rule of thumb: the bitchier the house, so the quieter tenants will become more popular. In this case, the sanctuary offered by an island of Love – Abz Love. He has been catapulted to favouritism in recent days. More on him later.
Usefully, he hasn’t got much male competition. Self-styled gentleman Mario, who – confusingly – also cheats on his girlfriends, has made lounge-lizard passes at engaged Carol and Sophie during his short stay in the house. Still, making moves on the middle-aged women has probably extended his stay.
The middle-aged female demographic may well have been flattered by the potential “availability” of such behaviour and been further impressed by his ostentatious rejection of teenage Courtney’s flirtatious dance moves upon him. (Courtney was the sweet, blonde, mega-breasted Barbie doll with a waist so slim it could be classified as phallic and who married a man in his fifties. You like her but she fancies and competes for men the same age as this demographic’s husband.)
Ultimately though, Mario’s still the lounge lizard who will eventually cheat on you – hence being the bookies’ outsider among the remaining six.
Fourth-favourite Carol McGiffin survived the double-eviction cut last night. In a mid-competition post on poll biases I overstated the chances of this veteran Loose Woman, based on previous successes in CBB for women with a similar profile: Ulrika Jonsson and Denise Welch.
Concentrating on historical precedent I had ignored the pathetic figure that Carol has cast in the house: a sour, miserable, bitchy lush. She may have a large base of support from middle-aged women who feel like they know her and (theoretically) want to vote for her, but I doubt they can respect her behaviour, like her behaviour, or even enjoy her behaviour.
At least Denise Welch seemed to enjoy the melodrama during her stay. Nothing seems to be a hoot to Carol. The alcohol seems to feed her unhappiness and depression, which she can’t deal with, which then sparks her miserable, bitching sessions. It’s hard to feel sorry for her.
Arguably, the middle-aged woman who it is easier to vote for is Vicky Entwistle, fifth favourite among the final six. A full-on slanging match with Charlotte in which she lambasted her for her “unladylike” behaviour in the house said what many viewers had been thinking but none of the lodgers in the house had been saying.
Vicky was true to her ex-Coronation Street character, battleaxe Janice Battersby. It was not just a good behaviour vs bad behaviour argument, it was a traditional soap opera (royalty) vs modern reality TV show (commoner) argument as well as a heated argument representative of one between a mother and a daughter.
I imagine mothers, plus the middle-aged in general, will now be casting their vote for Vicky rather than Carol. If monitoring the adverts during the commercial breaks is an accurate indicator of the main demographics watching the show, the “middle-aged female” and “mother” vote is substantial. That both Vicky and Carol survived a double eviction last night is further evidence of this.
Being true to the popular character you are best known for is key to delighting your demo. Vicky excels at this. (American, Dustin Diamond – fourth evicted – failed as he gradually let all the goodwill and popularity he had built from playing Screech in ‘Saved by the Bell’ ebb away. He was nothing like as funny and nerdy as Screech. He was a disappointment and let down those fond viewer memories. After his eviction, he twice repeated on BBBOTS that he was not himself as he had learnt that losing control or letting loose can ‘haunt you in the media forever’.)
Carol too is being more or less true to her ex Loose Woman “character”. On Loose Women she chatted and gossiped about her life and other’s lives. On CBB, she’s the same: but with the unpleasant further characteristics of being permanently bitchy and drunk while chatting and gossiping. (Her fellow honorary bitch, Louie, revealed himself to be different from the fun loving pirouetter from ‘Pineapple Dance Studios’. His energy and you-shouldn’t-laugh-but-you-do one liners kept him in for a while, but his scowl-faced bitchery eventually did for him and he was evicted last night.)
Then there’s third-favourite Lauren, the woman of a thousand likenesses. The face that launched a thousand quips. She will be the best remembered contestant of the series – probably of many series – having arguably provided the most unintended belly laughs of any contestant ever.
I’ve followed her progress closely and spoken at length about her in the comments section. In my opinion, she’s not going to win. Even the other day, when she was bookie’s favourite and Abz was third in the betting, I asserted that Abz had the better chance and would soon usurp Lauren at the top of the betting.
Why? The tide is turning against her. Louie made for a thoughtful and articulate eviction interviewee last night and his branding of her as ‘a fake’ has wounded her chances. The viewers watching Charlotte present Lauren with the Celebrity Big Brother Public Choice Award for Biggest Game Player will hardly help either. Also going against Lauren were the bizarre appearances of her ghastly mother – a sort of Norma Desmond crossed with Miss Havisham – with her disingenuous utterances, ‘Lauren is kindness, positive energy, Lauren is love etc’.
And although BB5 was won by Nadia Almada and BB13 by Luke A, it does not necessarily follow that Lauren will win tomorrow. Nadia was quiet and Luke was low-key. They were trans-sexual winners who didn’t crave the attention; although they obviously craved public acceptance and validation, in common with Lauren.
On the credit side: although she is 35-years-old, she appears much older, and CBB is a show that can be won by a woman who is, or appears to be, in her fifties. It’s possibly to her advantage and she shouldn’t be completely ruled out.
Second-favourite Charlotte Crosby is another Marmite character. Hugely popular from Geordie Shore, the Mackem girl delighted her demo by pissing in her bed and boasting about her regularly weeing and shitting herself. Twice being labelled a ‘Geordie Slag’ by middle-aged women on this CBB will have roused her wide regional base and the youth vote. ‘My greatest achievement is oral sex,’ is a boast that may appeal to the ladette demographic but it should be noted that there was a TV show entitled ‘Ladette to Lady’ but not one called ‘Lady to Ladette’.
Still, she’s a likeable, funny, intelligent girl with enormous fanbases. She knows how to party and enjoy herself. She has over a million followers registered on her twitter page and the feed is crammed with posts reminding them of the phone number to ring. As a result, we can’t rule out the possibility of Charlotte winning CBB either.
But her recent spat with Vicky, then sniping at Abz and Lauren are incidents that have hinted at a different side to Charlotte. The girl is determined to win and doesn’t want anyone getting in her way. Her likeability factor has also been harmed by constantly hanging around with the poisonous Carol.
Which bring us to Abz Love. Women, whose votes will decide this popularity contest, seem to appreciate the gentle charm of plant-watering, cushion-stacking, relatively young Abz. Such has been the pervasiveness of the bitching and arguing, Abz’s often solitary and contented existence in the house has developed a warmer aura. His simple apple-into-swan sculpture felt like a cultural and artistic oasis in an ocean of grubby seaweed and electric eels.
In the polls, Abz and Charlotte have been neck-and-neck, with Lauren well back in third and a similar sized chasm to the other three: in no particular order – Carol, Mario and Vicky. If Abz was behind in the polls I would still expect him to prevail, but he isn’t: he has no ground to recover.
Charlotte may well be very popular with the youth demographic, but then Abz is a handsome ex 5ive member, featured in ‘The Big Reunion’ and ‘The Big Reunion: On Tour’ and is an inked-up cool guy. For me, it is the middle-aged vote will decide the contest. And the questions they may subconsciously or consciously be asking themselves are these: Would I be proud of Charlotte if she were my daughter? Would I be proud of Abz if he were my son?
The answer is more likely to be the latter, though it’s worth reiterating that Charlotte has enormous fanbases, a massive social media presence and is a current reality show star. Against that, Abz has broad popular appeal across different ages and genders. Meanwhile, Lauren is the one with cult status.
Ultimately, at this CBB’s outset, there were two people who genuinely needed to win this contest: Lauren for the acceptance; and Abz to help him back on his feet after his career earnings were stolen from him. In this year-round of bitch-festing C5 Big Brotherdom, perhaps the need for a quiet, likeable winner is at its strongest.
What are your thoughts on the series and tomorrow’s final? Do you agree or disagree with the opinions in this preview? Are there other factors to share and discuss? Please do use the comments thread below to share your thoughts.