Sonia spills on Big Brother contestants
Big Brother 2020 host Sonia Kruger has dished on what viewers can expect from Monday night's premiere episode, listing the contestants that stood out most during filming.
Discussing the format changes to the new season, Kruger said it's the "heart and soul" of the program that will resonate with viewers, a testament to the casting.
She said there were two contestants in particular that made the most interesting impressions.
Competing for the top prize of $250,000, the cast brings together 20 individuals from all around Australia with former Channel 9 star Kruger jumping networks to Channel 7 to continue her hosting duties.
Unlike previous seasons, this year's series has already been filmed, and for the first time in Australian Big Brother history, housemates will nominate and evict each other from the house, with the winner decided by fans in a live finale.
"It's the first time this has been done globally," Kruger said of the eviction switch-up.
"They're changes that hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit, because it's made the competition so dynamic," she added.
But while Kruger admits there's a "Survivor element" to the competition style this year, she says it's the contestants themselves that will really have viewers talking.
"They haven't chosen Instagram influencers, they've chosen real people that live next door, that work in your office, but just have unique qualities and personalities," she said of the 20 housemates holed up in the custom-built Manly property competing for the prize.
Listing the stars that struck her as among the most interesting, she said Angela was a "firecracker" and Ian was "a real enigma".
"Angela is originally from Kenya. She's a real firecracker, she's really assertive," she said of the 38-year-old Perth local.
"I guess the thing with Angela is she's one of the funniest people I've ever really met, but she doesn't know she's funny.
"Also a standout for me was Ian from Perth," she added of the 25-year-old waiter.
"Ian was a real enigma. He's a fossil collector, he's very shy, he's not a typical Big Brother housemate who you think of as outgoing and gregarious and a type A personality.
"Ian almost … lacks in social skills," she explained.
"The weird thing is, he turns up with a backpack for potentially a two-month stay. Everyone else had a suitcase that weighed 50 kilos.
"It's what's he's got in the backpack … You would never guess in a million years what it is," she teased.
Monday night's episode will see a contestant sent home on the very first night following one of the "physically demanding" challenges Kruger touched upon.
But while the "epic challenges" bring an exciting element to the show, Kruger described them as a "poisoned chalice".
"They're tough on physical and mental strength," she said, adding that there's an important focus on strategy this season.
"It's a bit of a poisoned chalice because if you win the challenge, you are safe from eviction, but you choose the three people who go up.
"Of the three people who go up, only one goes home, which means the other two people now know that you nominated them and they're going to come for you.
"There's a certain degree of paranoia that goes on in the house," she added.
Having taken up the hosting role just over five years after the beloved reality show wrapped on her former network Channel 9, Kruger admits her initial contract discussions with Seven made no mention of Big Brother.
"James Warburton the (Channel 7) CEO was talking to me about Holey Moley (a miniature golf competition series), the Olympic Games coverage in Tokyo which is obviously postponed this year, and being a judge on Australia's Got Talent that appealed to me … Bizarrely, Big Brother wasn't actually part of that initial discussion."
She added that given her move to Seven was everything to do with "trying something new", there was a slight initial hesitation in taking up the role as Big Brother host again.
"But as soon as they spoke to me about what they were going to do with Big Brother I didn't have to think twice," Kruger said.
"It's an exciting place to be, and I actually felt like all through the series, that I'd actually taken this massive step into 2020 and I think when you see the show you'll understand what I mean by that, because the game has changed in ways that make it much more sophisticated."
She added that despite reports she inked a "seven figure" deal to jump across to Seven, it was "nothing about money".
"There's been a lot of stuff written that it was about money - it wasn't, both networks were about on par.
"I loved my time on Nine working on Today Extra and The Voice, but I had been there eight years and I wanted to do something different."
Big Brother premieres Monday June 8 at 7.30pm on Seven (and continues Tues-Wed 7.30pm).
Originally published as Sonia spills on Big Brother contestants