Content warning: this article contains discussion of disordered eating
Australia Decides 2020 star Jack Vidgen has been eliminated from ‘I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here’ after participating in the ‘Hell Hole of Destiny’ challenge, where celebrities had to guess the correct number of rats in a box using only their hands.
Jack and fellow contestants Travis Varcoe and Ash Williams were up for elimination after giving the most incorrect guesses for the distance that they had travelled during the previous round of the challenge.
After the celebrities stuck their hands into a hole full of rats, Travis was revealed as safe as his guess was closest to the correct number of rats. Jack’s guess was furthest from the actual number of rats, ending his ‘I’m A Celebrity...’ journey.
From his time as a team captain to being the first person ejected (literally, by an ejector seat, into a pool of grotty swamp water - ick), let’s take a look at some memorable moments from his time on the show:
Jack Vidgen and his Green Team teammate Abbie Chatfield competed in a trial involving “ups and downs” - the Dipsticks challenge! The challenge involved one team member climbing up a wall and “sticking” their hands into holes containing everything from rats to cane toads and even scorpions to collect five stars, while the other team member controlled their ascent by climbing a rope upside down and “dipping” into the water. The higher the climb, the deeper the teammate had to dive.
Jack soared to great heights as Abbie plunged into the water and their efforts were rewarded by completing the challenge with all five stars collected in a total of 9 minutes and 5 seconds, winning them the challenge and a hot, freshly-cooked meal for the Green Team!
Jack took part in his first Tucker Trial, ‘Candy Shop of Horrors’, where he ate pig’s brains and jelly-coated insects. Fellow celebs Jess and Pettifleur proved to be tough competition for Jack, with all contestants in the challenge eating all of the disgusting “delicacies” without vomiting, bringing the competition to a second round. In this round, contestants had to drink a milkshake consisting of all of the stomach-turning jungle ingredients on the menu. Jack finished his shake the fastest, winning the Green Team another freshly cooked meal!
In the ‘Ice Ice Baby’ challenge, Jack was pushed to his limits and nearly passed out when competing in a challenge that involved him swimming to the bottom of a tank filled with freezing cold, icy water and continuously pumping a lever.
Jack broke down in tears after the challenge, saying “I’m in a lot of pain. I can’t move my hands. I’m just really scared.” He and fellow challenge participants Grant Denyer, Travis Varcoe and Pettifleur Berenger all received medical attention after participating in the challenge.
The slogan for Eurovision 2020 and 2021, #OpenUp, is a phrase that Jack has truly embraced during his time on ‘I’m A Celebrity…’, sharing his experience with fame at a young age, online bullying, body image, coming out, and his relationship with his mother.
Becoming famous as a teenager brings with it many challenges, one of which is encountering online bullying. Jack opened up about the experience, explaining that he gets many hurtful comments about his appearance or sexuality and tries to avoid them as much as possible. He revealed that he doesn’t read the comments sections of articles to avoid the mean jibes.
Feeling homesick in the jungle and missing his mum, Jack described her to fellow contestant Jess Eva as “Caring, loving, the most generous mum ever. She's always worked three or four jobs just to keep a roof over our head”.
He confessed that the power dynamic in his family and his relationship with his mother changed dramatically once he won ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ at age 14.
Jack explained the situation through tears:
"Our relationship has been hard over the years. Like when I won [AGT] our dynamic completely switched and I was the breadwinner. The power dynamic with my mum being a single mum really changed.
"There was nothing she could do but I felt like I was almost parenting myself. I have so much resentment now that I can't control."
The other ‘I’m a Celeb’ stars were saddened by this confession, with chef Colin Fassnidge telling the camera: “I was very shocked and a little bit worried when he said that.”
Another impact of Jack’s rapid rise to fame included body image issues. Jack told all about how he lost 20kgs after being called “fat”.
“I had someone when I was 15 give a message to my manager that I was too fat,” he told his fellow campers. He continued,
“I had huge body issues, especially around 16, 17 years old. It felt like my career was riding on [my weight]... so I lost 20kg when I moved to the [United] States.”
Vidgen revealed that he lost the weight unhealthily, saying:
“I stopped eating. It was horrible. I tried to mask it with a healthy way and say, ‘I’m in LA and I’m doing the green juices and I’m going vegan,’ but really I was just starving myself and having a juice for dinner.”
Jack also shared his coming out experience. Jack came out at the age of 19, when he was dating a man. Jack revealed that he “probably would have been ready” to come out earlier, were he not thrust into the spotlight at a young age.
“I feel like I probably would have been ready to come out a bit earlier, but probably ‘cause just everything that happened (winning ‘Australia’s Got Talent’) and being known in the public … it wasn’t going to be like ‘tell a few friends’ coming out.”
Jack described coming out as “one of the most incredible feelings” of his life. However, he also admitted to his struggle on the journey towards coming out.
'It becomes just something in your head that's like... dirty and disturbed. And it becomes... you think something's perverted when it really isn't,' he went on to say.
'Love is love... but hearing other people accept it and say, "That's so normal. That's so okay",’ he continued.
Singing his heart out
Of course, Jack is famous for being a singer and he certainly hasn’t gone without his passion during his time in the Aussie jungle. From giving comedian Mel Buttle a singing lesson, in which she and Australia learnt about the secrets behind his vocal “waves”, to joining in a rousing rendition of the “Rice and Beans” song, Jack lifted the spirits of his campmates through his positivity and his vocal talents.
Jack may have been eliminated on his birthday, but being out of the jungle meant that he could celebrate it with his friends. ‘I’m a Celebrity… ’ star Grant Denyer wished Jack a happy birthday on Instagram, expressing pride and admiration for the young singer.
We at Aussievision have put our ‘YES BITCH!’s out for Jack and wish him a very happy birthday. While we will miss seeing you on ‘I'm A Celebrity…’, we are immensely proud of you!
Jack Vidgen’s chosen charity for ‘I’m A Celebrity Australia’ this season is the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation, whose aim is to find a cure or preventative strategy for Multiple Sclerosis. You can find out more about the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation here.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, there are people you can talk to.
The Butterfly Foundation:
Phone: 1800 334 673
Eating Disorders Victoria:
Phone: 1300 550 236