Benjamin Norris has won Nine’s Big Brother 2012 winning $250,000 and a new car -but he capped off his win with a proposal from Benjamin to his partner Ben live on stage.
“Since I met Ben all I’ve ever wanted is for him to be a part of my family. No-one’s going to tell us sitting on the couch at the end of the day pretending that we’re married that we’re not married,” he said.
The 32 year old Victorian accounts manager becomes the first gay man to win an Australian Big Brother Series. His mix of gossiping, analysis and humour saw him triumph over Layla Subritzky for the title. Fan favourite Estelle Landy was eliminated at the eleventh hour.
Final votes were Benjamin 40%, Layla 31% and Estelle 29%.
“I’ve never really won anything in my life,” Benjamin said. “I thought the only way I could win was to be myself.”
It was ten years since he had first applied for the series.
Runner up Layla Subritzky, branded as the “English Rose” of the series, proved to be a popular housemate with her vibrant personality, romantic storylines and occasionally ditzy comments. As the series runner up she won $10,000 on top of her previous prize of a new car.
Second runner-up Estelle Landy survived multiple eviction nominations but her exit on the Finale night mirrored 2001 third placegetter Sara-Marie Fedele. After being eliminated she remained resilient about her time in the house and defended her individuality. Upon being evicted she was trending worldwide on Twitter (#LegalizeGayMarriageInAustralia also trended in Australia) and took home the third prize of $5000 cash.
Nine turned it on with a dynamic finale with fireworks, dancing and surprises. It began with footage from former series on TEN and an opening number from evicted housemates. Choreographed by Tony Bartuccio, they performed Oats a la Layla and Gangnam Style (including a video appearance by Korean pop star Psy). They also led a congaline through the backstage area and the house.
All the evicted housemates also appeared on stage accompanying a montage of series highlights as glammed-up Sonia Kruger looked back on the series.
Peter Overton appeared in a news package bringing Layla and Benjamin up to speed on headlines (including Obama’s re-election just hours before) -always one of the most fascinating features of the finale.
Benjamin’s mother Jane also entered the house for one of the show’s most emotional moments as mother and son re-bonded. Sonia Kruger also snuck into the Diary Room to surprise Benjamin, by taking him to the eviction stage.
Despite the sudden departure of one housemate for personal reasons, Nine’s Reality series managed to avoid a controversy all season -a feat in itself given the show’s tarnished reputation. It has also performed well in advertiser-friendly Demos.
The show ended with Big Brother thanking Australia for watching.
“Big Brother will get back to you.”