Her time Down Under has seen the popstar blossom into far more than just the heavily-accented way she pronounces “flour”; the past three weeks have seen Nadine change and reshape the narrative that has plagued her since the end of Girls Aloud.
Compared to woman-of-the-people and national treasure Cheryl, Nadine was one of the more Untouchable members of Girls Aloud – not really known beyond the rumours of catfights and feuding that surround pretty much any girl band.
Now finally on her own, Nadine has shown she’s totally different to what many first thought – despite looking perfectly preened and polished at all times, she’s not been afraid to really get stuck in and get her hands dirty.
Describing the Movile Home Bushtucker Trial as only “quite horrendous,” Nadine put macho men Ian Wright and James Haskell to shame as she managed to untie knots (see, Ian?) with ease, despite being bombarded with slime, fish guts and offal. It’s a million miles away from the tearful, quivering wreck we first saw on day one after she had to be comforted by Caitlyn Jenner. She even managed to retain a sense of humour when clearly distressed, engaging with brief flirty banter with Dec about being “shown the bedroom”.
She’s been refreshingly open about her dating life, spilling the beans on her now-forgotten relationship with Jesse Metcalfe, but never strayed into being rude or catty about anyone from her past. Yes, Nadine is hugely media trained, but when she earnestly described the other members of Girls Aloud as being like her sisters, it was perfectly believable and sincere.
Nadine has also won over audiences as a peacemaker when tensions are high – refusing to participate when Roman Kemp made a bitchy comment about Caitlyn Jenner and staying out of the regular bickering. In a series of I’m a Celebrity that has mostly been defined by its fall-outs and rows, it’s refreshing to see someone who’s kept out of the drama and taken us by surprise by actually being really quite nice.
So Nadine, we’re going to Stand By You and your truly fantastic hair to win this year’s I’m a Celebrity. Even if you can’t speak French.
I’m a Celebrity is on ITV, tonight at 9pm