On Thursday morning, as Bachelorette fans spewed their distaste for James’ premature exit from the show online, Sophie Monk told Sydney radio listeners she was struggling with the onslaught of criticism.
“I can’t even tell you I am so upset,” she told Kylie and Jackie O.
“I can’t read it [the social media posts]. We can only delete a certain amount… I don’t think people realise that I can’t choose everyone. I can only choose one person.
“I can’t make everyone happy. I’ve got to make me happy.”
It was the second week in a row an audibly upset Monk was forced to defend her decision-making, after James and Luke were sent packing despite being tipped to be in with a chance for the singer’s heart.
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In the weeks after the eliminations, Monk’s taste in men was under fire, while fans questioned her authenticity. She asked for a nice, normal bloke, they cried, and she sent the best two packing.
But many are forgetting the very reason we were so intrigued by this season in the first place: Sophie Monk is famous, and Sophie Monk isn’t like the Bachelors or Bachelorettes that have come before her. Therefore, this season was never going to follow the familiar pattern we’re used to.
Here’s the thing.
Monk is used to the TV business. She knows how production works. She knows about image and PR and contracts and lights and glamour. The TV business is her jam, and that gives her power. In a setting like The Bachelorette with someone with a profile like hers, there’s no reason she doesn’t have monumental power behind-the-scenes.
In past seasons, the likeable ‘characters’ make it to the end. The Nikki Gogans, the Elise Staceys, the Matty Js. They make it to the end, because unfortunately, it makes better TV. The competition is a little less obvious, the suspense a little greater and the finale, therefore, surrounded by bucketloads of hype.
Past Bachelorettes and Bachelors don’t have as much power to change a producer’s story arc, because past Bachelorettes and Bachelors have been plucked from oblivion, far from the bright lights of fame.
Sophie Monk entered the fray from show business, and that means Sophie Monk has more power for a free reign.
In past seasons, the Jameses and the Lukes would have made it to the end, because the Jameses and the Lukes make for better storylines, and better storylines make better TV.
But as Luke told Mamamia himself last week, he believes one of the key reasons he was let go so early is to be spared heartbreak. Monk had no intention of stringing both men along, so she let them go before things got a little more intense.
That fact – combined with the knowledge that Sophie Monk is far from the only Bachelorette to be attracted to the one that isn’t sold as a crowd favourite – doesn’t mean Monk has bad taste in men at all.
It doesn’t even mean she sees Blake and Jarrod as better catches than James or Luke.
It actually just means she understands the world of TV, how damaging it can be to string the nice guys along and how much power she has to refute the recommendation of an eager producer. For the first time, we’ve seen someone who can overrule what the producers might want; who can decide what’s best for her, or the contestants, not necessarily what’s best for TV ratings.
Sophie Monk can flip the narrative and re-write the script, because Sophie Monk is Sophie Monk.
And it may mean, out of everyone we’ve seen grace the screen on the show, she’s the face of authenticity. Because there’s no bullshit when Sophie Monk’s around.