While tensions are rising on screen as My Kitchen Rules Group One and Group Two go head to head for the first time, Season 10 villains Josh and Austin say the on-camera drama was nothing compared with what was going on behind the scenes.
The Sydney home-schooled brothers reveal exclusively to New Idea that Group Two "bullied" them after discovering how honest and at times hurtful the siblings could be.
"Group One was pretty evil, but Group Two are move evil. It’s just intense," Austin says.
Josh is quick to add: "The reason we don’t get along with Group Two was because they actually bullied the s**t out of us on screen and off screen."
According to Josh, 25, arch rivals Stacey and Ash are the reason they got off on the wrong foot with Group Two.
"When we all met for the first time Ash told Group Two what his perception of me and Austin was from the very beginning and Group Two just treated us like s**t because of that," Josh explains.
"We would just sit by ourselves but they would come and bother us on the bus.
"People would follow us outside off camera and start harassing us, telling us they don’t like us and stuff like
that. I’m like, 'Can you just leave us alone?'"
"Honestly, you could write a book on the BS that happens, but I think Austin and I, going into the challenge phase, we really honed our practising and our cooking skills."
As Josh and Austin’s new feud with Group Two is set to rev up this week on screens, another surprising turn of events is also taking place.
It seems Josh and Austin are colluding with former enemies Ibby and Romel, who are keen to get Group One to join forces and eliminate Group Two.
Does this mean there will be some strategic voting going forward?
According to Ibby, it’s only a matter of time.
"As much as people say they don’t strategically vote, everybody does. It’s whether they admit it or not," he states.
"In my opinion, everybody comes to a point where [they] may be a little biased and love a certain dish over another because of how they feel about who made it.
"Scoring them higher is going to work in their favour because they’re friends and they want them to stay."
"People will say, 'We’re against strategic voting.' But there comes a time where they’re either going to lose someone good or keep someone around because they’re friends."
"As you keep watching the show, a lot of s--t happens with the voting," Ibby says.
And while it seems the whole nation is ganging up on the most controversial duo in MKR history, there's one team that is on Josh and Austin's side - Mick and Jodie-Anne.
The down-to-earth country couple say they have a soft spot for the divisive brothers.
"We weren’t offended by their comments," Jodie-Anne tells New Idea.
"We took those boys under our wing. I was calling them 'son' and they were calling me 'mum. Mick would teach them what a filter was 'cause they’re unsocialised but they really didn’t get it.
"They thought honesty was the best policy and we tried to teach them it’s good to be honest but it’s how you word it."
The 49-year-old reveals her husband Mick has made an effort to check in with Josh and Austin amid the online backlash they’ve received for their behaviour on the show.
"Mick has spoken to the boys to make sure they’re OK and coping," she says.
"They’re young, Josh is 25, but he’s got the emotional level of what we think is a 17-year-old."
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