Instant Hotel: “I wanted to walk out.”

Luke Jacobz admits the Reality TV drama on new Seven series was sometimes more than he signed up for.

When Luke Jacobz was hosting The X Factor the young singers were shooting for the stars and the show’s conflict was usually reserved for celebrity judges squabbling over their wards.

But on Seven’s new travel-reality show Instant Hotel, he has sometimes found himself in the crossfire.

“I’m not going to lie –there are a few times with confrontation and I felt very uncomfortable. I spent 6 years working on a show where people were positive to each other and very encouraging.

“But a few times (here) I had a director in my earpiece telling me to stay there. I wanted to walk out,” he tells TV Tonight.

“I’m not fantastic with confrontation. So when it was happening around me, I felt uncomfortable.

“But it’s not about my opinion. I’m just the middle-man.”

In the Seven original series there are 10 duos, all of whom offer “sharing economy” accommodation, such as that offered via AirBnB. 4 couples will each spend several nights together, collectively rating the house, location, nearby attractions, value for money and quality of a good night’s sleep.

“People love to see confrontation.”

Not unlike My Kitchen Rules or House Rules, there is plenty of rivalry amongst contestants with their eye on the prize and a nose for reality TV drama.

“You need to have the conflict but to be honest with you some of them are so overly-opinionated that a lot of the stuff they are saying contradicts what they have just said. They are making it up just to try and find some kind of negative,” Jacobz explains.

“People love to see confrontation. And in this there are people wanting their 5 minutes of fame who pick out the smallest thing and make it out to be the most hideous thing they’ve seen in their life. Seeing people argue about that, is great.”

The series films in the Top End, tropical North Queensland, Bondi, the Barossa, Byron, Melbourne and the Murray River. Contestants only learned of their destination shortly before arriving, left to their own methodology on how they would negotiate sleeping arrangements. While each home offered sleeping for 8, it wasn’t always with private rooms and double beds.

“Some places had single beds, or bunks.”

“Some places had single beds, or bunks. Some are romantic couples, some are brother & sister, and some were ‘just friends’ –which was the funniest element we’d seen. There was so much touchy, feely of the ‘just friends,'” he continues.

“The first group was so diplomatic, and talk about which couple is suited to which room.

“The second group, that conversation never happened once. It was literally ‘If I get there first…’

“We had a few mornings where we had to wait a little while because of hangovers. Some of the contestants were in bed when we had to film and they said ‘Just wait!’ But we said if you don’t get up we will film you like that!”

“This is about showing people the diversity of holidays you can have”

Jacobz has stayed in share-economy accommodation overseas, from single bedrooms to luxury B&Bs in the Napa Valley, California. But when he has multiple nights in one location his preference is a serviced apartment.

“If I’m going to be there for a few nights I want to put something in a fridge, not a mini-bar. Or get up and make breakfast, because that’s ‘homely’ to me,” he explains.

“This is about showing people the diversity of holidays you can have and what is needed for an instant hotel.

“It’s almost like travelling without any rules. Some people need to have a schedule but others just like to go with it.”

Joining him across the series is designer and judge Juliet Ashworth, who also scores each accommodation. But while she scrutinised the finer details of each home, Jacobz reveals neither of them stayed overnight in the same way as contestants.

“I asked at a few of the places if we could stay there. The Adelaide one I would love to stay at with a couple of mates,” he suggests.

“There were a few time she was mentioning things and I thought ‘Oh yeah?’ I had no idea what she was saying because it’s not my world. I had to ask her so many times to explain herself, and I know there will be a lot of Australians thinking ‘Thank god you asked that, Luke.’”

Since stepping into The X Factor on short notice, following the sudden exit of original host Matthew Newton, Jacobz has been something of a go-to guy for Seven. He was acting on Home and Away when he got the call from then-Programming Director Tim Worner to be parachuted into the role. He still remembers the call, because he was enjoying a weekend in the snow, which was against network rules given the risk of broken bones.

“I thought he’s found out I’m at the snow! Samara Weaving was next to me with her headphones on, so I had the conversation pretty quietly because I couldn’t say anything. The next day I was taken out of (Home and Away), went to see (head of publicity) Susan Wood, Tim Worner & (head of production) Brad Lyons and that afternoon I did a Today Tonight interview and was on air the next night!,” he recalls.

“Everything that had been filmed in auditions as pieces-to-camera couldn’t be used so it was all voice-over. I was drinking lemon, ginger, garlic, tea because I was so exhausted!”

“The dream that you go over there and become Chris Hemsworth doesn’t happen”

Since the show ended he has been largely based in the US, pursuing acting classes and auditions. But it has been character-building, to say the least.

“The dream that you go over there and become Chris Hemsworth doesn’t happen easily or straight away. I did a lot of auditions and you get a lot of setbacks. But you just have to keep going,” he says.

“When they offered me this, being on set and working again with crew that I knew was really nice to have positive energy around me.

“You can understand why people get depressed over there. You go from working hard on an amazing show to not working at all. And you think ‘What am I doing?’ But it’s been great to have this. And now I want to travel more!”

The prize at the end of the show’s brief run is a holiday at luxury B&B on California. Jacobz says he hopes the show encourages more people to pursue travel through share-economy sites, but acknowledges there is plenty of drama in store, in keeping with the show’s Reality TV brief.

“There’s so much reality in this, otherwise it would be a travel show on a Saturday afternoon for people who don’t watch sport.”

Instant Hotel airs 7:30pm Tuesday – Thursday on Seven.

4 Responses

  1. I really like Luke – he’s always come across as a down to earth, decent and intelligent bloke. Unfortunately, Seven keeps putting him on shows I want no bar of. I actually think Ten would be a better fit for him. Or even on Nine – he’d be much better than Ben Fordham on Australian Ninja Warrior.

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