The Block: Do contestants with “bogan” names do better?

Angus Kidman 19 November 2015

The Block Bogan Names

It certainly helps if your name starts with a J or a D.

Kingi. Caro. Karstan. Waz. Lysandra. It sometimes feels like the best way to get onto The Block is to have a first name that's tinged with a whiff of bogan. But do names actually impact anyone's chances on the show?

Having already compared every season of The Block to identify if winning room reveals leads to winning the show, whether auction order makes any difference to the results and what happens to Block properties when they get resold, now we're tackling the big question: are your chances of getting on and winning The Block better if you have a ludicrous name like Karstan, a classic Ocker abbreviation like Chez or just a bland everyday moniker like Andrew? And do people with names beginning with certain letters really have better odds?

We've analysed the first names of every contestant across the Block's 11 seasons. (Returning contestants get counted twice -- after all, their names potentially had an impact both times.)

Sounding like a bogan doesn't lead to winning

Firstly, we've got bad news for Kingi and Caro, Season 11's most oddly-named contestants. That whiff of bogan isn't particularly likely to result in a victory. Check out the full list of Block winners:

  • Season 1 (2003): Adam & Fiona
  • Season 2 (2004): Jamie & Andrew
  • Season 3 (2010): Neisha & John
  • Season 4 (2011): Polly & Waz
  • Season 5 (2012): Brad & Lara
  • Season 6 (2013): Alisa & Lysandra
  • Season 7 (2013): Phil & Amity
  • Season 8 (2014): Steve & Chantelle
  • Season 9 (2014): Shannon & Simon
  • Season 10 (2015): Deanne & Darren

Only two of the people on our shortlist of "most bogan Block contestant names" from the first 10 seasons are in there. For the record, here's that list, an assessment based on a combination of Ocker abbreviations, odd spellings and a general air of "who chose that name?":

Chez copy Chez, Season 3 (2010)

Waz copy Waz, Season 4 (2011)

Dani copy Dani, Season 5 (2012)/Season 7 (2013)

lysandra copy Lysandra, Season 6 (2013)/Season 8 (2014)

Johnno copy Johnno, Season 6 (2013)

Kyal copy Kyal, Season 8 (2014)

Kara copy Kara, Season 8 (2014)

karstan copy Karstan, Season 9 (2014)

carlene copy Carlene, Season 9 (2014)

So Waz and Lysandra prove that having a bogan name doesn't stop you winning the show. But it doesn't appear to make it much more likely.

Your first name plays a part in getting on the show

While the bogans might be punching below their weight as winners, names do have an impact on your chance of getting selected for the renovation reality show. Of the 94 contestants to date over 11 seasons, more than 50% (54 of them) have a first name starting with one of just five letters: J, D, A, K and M. While some of those letters do show up in lists of the most common first letters for first names, the concentration is still pretty remarkable.

Conversely, there has never been a contestant on The Block with a name starting with H, I, O, Q, U, X, Y or Z. While some of these are extremely uncommon (sorry Xavier), if you're called Helen, Ian, Owen or Zoe you can feel hard done by.

The other evident trend? The shorter your name, the better. The average length of a Block contestant's first name is 5 letters, and the longest so far is 9 (Charlotte and Anastasia from Season 10, and Chantelle from Season 8).

Fewer syllables also helps. 84 of the contestants have had either one or two-syllable names. Only one four-syllable name made the list: Anastasia (four in normal pronunciation, five syllables if you really want to stretch the friendship).

First names generally are short, so we can't assume that this is entirely a deliberate choice on the part of Block producers. Nonetheless, if you've been weighing up auditioning for next year's version and your names are Jodie and Marc, the odds do seem stacked a little more in your favour.

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