The moment AJ Odudu burst into tears and thought she blew Big Brother audition
AJ Odudu and Will Best both thought they’d lost their Big Brother jobs and breaking down in tears during their audition.
Big Brother finally returns after a five-year break on Sunday, this time on its new home at ITV2.
Breaking with tradition for the first time ever, Big Brother will have two presenters in AJ and Will who will greet and grill a brand-new batch of housemates in what they’ve teased will be the ‘most diverse cast ever’.
While Rylan Clark and Alison Hammond were firm favourites to follow in the footsteps of Davina McCall, Brian Dowling and Emma Willis as BB hosts, the honour has been bestowed on AJ who is long overdue her own giant reality TV show.
But until the news was finally out after months of speculation, AJ still felt like it could all be taken away.
‘Even after I got it, I remember auditioning with lots of different people and even then, you go “gosh they could change their mind, they could offer it to me and then unoffer it to me.” Sadly, that is not unusual…’
However, there was one moment with Will when they both thought they’d really fluffed it and potentially lost the job.
‘We had to do so much in the audition. We did a “hello” and a welcome; we had to basically act as though we were presenting the shows; we had to do an eviction interview, we had to watch clips, it was quite a lot actually.’
When AJ and Will had to watch the moment Cameron Cole, the last winner of Big Brother, came out to his housemates – the first time he’d ever openly discussed being a gay man at all – they just burst into tears.
‘We were so moved by the whole thing we both cried and then, bless Will, I just remember Will messaging me after going, “I think I really messed up that audition. Why was I crying?” And I was like, “Mate, me too. Why we were crying in an audition? Like we’re trying to get a job and we’re both sobbing! This is awful.” We’d absolutely dropped the ball.’
Instead, it was likely their vulnerability helped secure the gig. But given AJ’s ‘rocky road’ in the TV industry so far, as she puts it, she felt she couldn’t celebrate.
‘I guess just because of my journey in the TV industry, it’s so unpredictable,’ she said. ‘It’s a shame really, that you feel like you can’t fully celebrate.
‘I just remember eventually me and Will going out to have a really boozy posh lunch. Nothing says celebration like drinking a glass of fizz midday on a Tuesday!’
Davina and Emma did not pull any punches when it came to grilling housemates. Who could forget Emma’s ‘death stare’ to a petrified Roxanne Pallett after the Emmerdale star wrongly accused Ryan Thomas of punching her.
As for AJ, she’s putting her own stamp on being a Big Brother host.
‘What was brilliant about them is they were really firm, but they gave everyone a fair chance and that’s definitely what I want to do; I want to be firm but fair. I want to know the juicy gossip but do it in a kind way.
‘I trained for those little natters since I was very young sat at a bus stop so that’s going to be my energy. It’s just going to be me talking to someone that I’ve never met before, like down at the supermarket.’
But don’t be fooled: she won’t be scared to probe.
‘It’s my job to basically ask all of the questions that the that the viewing public wants to know the answers to but also push on certain things and just let other things go.’
After a turbulent TV career, to say the least, despite being one of the most promising presenters in the UK long before she became a household name on Strictly, Big Brother is finally the show AJ deserves.
I’ve been banging on doors for ages and ages
‘I’ve definitely grafted, that’s for sure. I’ve been banging on doors for ages and ages.
‘Certainly, now hosting Big Brother as the face Black female presenter of the show, it just feels like a really proud and moving moment because it’s been a very bumpy road.
‘I’ve always had this dream, I really have, I’m a big manifester, and I really visualised this life.
‘Luckily, I’ve got my family, but more so my mum – she’s really good at reminding me of why I started and where I was when I started because in some certain dark moments you think “this is just really a lot, it’s taken a lot out of me.”
‘This is a real big moment for me on a personal level, but it’s a really big moment for all of my friends and family who’ve really just by been propping me up.
‘I really hope it inspires people to just keep plugging away. You’ve got to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hopefully reach a destination that you’re happy with and I think this is that destination.’
Big Brother: The Launch airs Sunday at 9pm on ITV1, ITV2, and ITVX.
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