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tuesday, july 22nd
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Outback Jack - JD Roberto's Outback Diary - Episode Three
Each week, host JD Roberto gives us the inside scoop on the production of Outback Jack. Get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes peek at this hilarious new reality TV show!

If you've missed an episode, and don't know what JD's talking about, be sure to check out the videos and episode guide from this week.

Episode Three, July 6, 2004

The instant Jack eliminated Shannon, he regretted it. This is an opinion, of course, I'm not in his head or his heart, but I am standing there on the rocks watching and they are both tearing up. The goodbye hug--the off-camera goodbye hug--is long enough to make all the remaining girls a little uncomfortable.

And then they're off, charging through the bush in their Bullcatchers. There are just enough girls who can drive a manual transmission and they have a great time getting dust ridden and sweaty--a new experience for all of them, I think.

You can tell they are all starting to feel more and more confident. They have made it through two eliminations and they all think they have the inside track. Maybe, for the first time, they can each picture themselves as the winner. Oh, and they all want to throttle Marissa. Some more, some less--but Marissa has chosen her strategy and it's not making her any friends. Then again, the show's not called "Outback Friends." She's here for Jack, and from what I've seen, she's doing a pretty good job.

Of course, she has no idea that I'm about to turn things upside down.

When I deliver the news, jaws drop and everyone starts to worry again. And with good reason--strategy suddenly matters, alliances are suddenly a consideration. It's easy for everything to be waterfalls and swimming holes when Jack is doing the dirty work of sending them each home. But this time--this one time--they have to vote out one of their own and the gears are spinning in their heads.

A few of the votes are obvious. But there's also the danger of thinking you know how it's going to unfold. No one expected Natalie to adapt to the conditions, but she's really starting to find the joy of the adventure. No one thought Mary would still be here, but everyday she finds a new way to make us all laugh (the overnight camera crew always shows up at 5am with a good Mary story). If I'd made bets on who would stay and who would go up to this point, I'd be hitting the ATM daily (no, there's no ATM out's a figure of speech. Just go with me on that one).

There's also the "Jack Factor." He's going to know who you voted for and it's definitely going to effect what he thinks of you. He loves an underdog, an under-appreciated person. He loves to be a protector. If the girls gang up on someone, they may do themselves more harm than good in Jack's eyes.

Personally, I don't like keeping this from Jack. He's a good guy and he doesn't see this twist coming. He's agonizing over whom to send home next with no idea that it's not his decision. But that's the point, isn't it? So much of this is about how people react under pressure and out of their element. It's the kind of environment where you can truly prove your character or truly come unraveled--we have both types on this adventure.

And--again, trust me on this one--this is far from the last surprise that we've got in store for Jack and the girls.

The Aboriginal performance is stunningly beautiful. I don't know how this will play on TV but in person it's an incredible sight (I hide in the background, far out of sight of the girls--the show is for them but it's not something I'm willing to miss). Our crew has done every adventure reality show on TV; these are the best-traveled, most talented people you'd ever want to work with. And despite all they've done and seen, there isn't a dry eye in the house when the show is over.

I hope that the ladies have a sense of just how lucky they are to witness something like this. In the glare of TV lights and competition and all that goes with being on a reality show, I guess it would be easy to miss what's right in front of you. This is an extraordinary sight to see. I hope at least some of them really saw it.

The matching ceremony is hilarious (Marissa, thinking she's on the chopping block, dances her heart out). In the end, the elders pick Mary as the perfect match for Jack (obviously they didn't hear her sing) and the rest of the girls start their plotting.

It's going to be an early morning and--just in case--everyone needs to pack.

Of course, they have no idea that I'm about to turn things upside down...again.
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