Why all signs point towards I’m A Celebrity’s Josh and Simone becoming an actual couple.

Video via Channel 10

Simone Holtznagel and Josh Gibson… Jimone, if you will. It’s the I’m A Celebrity pairing that has viewers and fellow contestants fantasising about the possibility of a new Aussie power couple.

Between all the staring and the massaging and the staring and the flirting, the 24-year-old model and 33-year-old retired AFL star have formed a highly charged, erm, friendship in the African jungle.

Fellow contestant and comedian Fiona O’Laughlin spoke for us all during a recent episode when she said, “There is so much going on between Josh and Simone… in my head.”

Of course, an environment replete with bugs, baboons and hidden cameras, where showers are cold and food is scarce, might not exactly seem like fertile ground from which a romance could spring.

But according to psychologist Dr Arthur Cassidy, the I’m A Celebrity jungle actually offers uniquely ripe conditions for the formation of a relationship. And not just because the contestants have been thrust together in close (and boring) quarters.

Dr Cassidy argues that relationships on the program are likely to occur for more strategic reasons – essentially, as a form of alliance. This paring off, according to the celebrity specialist, is a subconscious, primitive reaction to being placed in a stressful social situation.

“To combat the stress some campmates will form alliances rather spontaneously, [which becomes] a predominant and extremely important gamesmanship tactic,” he wrote on his website.

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“Alliances are vital as people have to stay alive and survive in restricted diets, so strategising is central. Getting people to like you means a lot.”

Who they choose to form these alliances with, Dr Cassidy says, is a decision that tends to occur on a subconscious – and rather shallow – level.

“People have a strong tendency to associate physical beauty with positive personality characteristics. If a campmate views another campmate as more attractive, then he or she will see that other person as a possible alliance,” he wrote.

“In past series of I’m A Celebrity these alliances often become jungle romances, with potential for off screen romance.”

If something more explicit – by which we, of course, mean obvious – were to happen between Jimone (No? Sosh?), it certainly wouldn’t be the first time romance has ripened in the jungle.

The original UK version of the show, in particular, has bred several relationships, most famously that between singer Peter Andre and model Katie Price.

The pair got together during the 2004 season and married a year later – a union that lasted for five years and gave them two children.

Unlike O’Laughlin and her fellow celeb cupid Kerry Armstrong, we’re trying not to get too excited about the possibility of a local love story.

To start with, Holtznagel, who is based in Los Angeles, recently told OK Magazine that “a relationship with someone in Australia would be pointless”.

Also, there’s a hell of a lot of ravine-dangling and offal-eating left to do yet.

Listen: From Anthony Mundine’s comments to Bernard Tomic’s departure and Julia Morris’s insensitive joke – there’s something wrong with the new season of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

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