Congratulations to Waz & Polly for winning The Block 2011. In what was a confusing and almost bewildering end to the series, the lucky couple were the only contestants to sell their house at auction – leaving Rod & Tania, Josh & Jenna and Katrina & Aime still to secure a buyer for their hosues with all three properties passed in below the producer-set reserve price.

It was a night of extremes, with Josh proposing to Jenna just before their auction (the first for the night) kicked off – she said yes, gleefully sliding the Tiffany’s ring as they settled into their unsuccessful auction. At least Rod & Tania walked away with the viewer’s prize of a new Toyota Corolla for their efforts.

The outcomes were pretty bleak across the board:
Josh & Jenna
Reserve – $950,000
Highest bid – $901,000

Waz & Polly
Reserve – $840,000
Highest bid – $855,000
SOLD ($15,000 profit)

Katrina & Amie
Reserve – $860,000
Highest bid – $822,000

Rod & Tania
Reserve – $850,000
Highest bid – $832,000

Further disappointment for Katrina & Aime after hearing within 24 hours of the show auction for their reserve price, meaning the sisters walked away from the show with nothing but experience and exposure. Their pot of gold, sadly, failed to materialise.

Reaction was mixed across social media channels, with cheers for the winners, lots of concern for the contestants that didn’t sell, and barbs for the high valuations of the properties in a flat Melbourne market. Given the four properties sold to the producers for $3.6 million dollars to initiate this season, perhaps the valuation in the first place was too high? There was also significant concern over the number of promos for Underbelly Razor with many suggesting the ads were inappropriate for a show many children would be watching.

The producers are to be applauded for again delivering the final hour of the show edited for air within 24 hours of filming. A hercluean effort in any sort of television language. The delivery of the auction at Fitzroy Town Hall held the night before was an ecclectic mix of family, friends, onlookers, tyre-kickers and a guy in a pink suit(?!)… ultimately leading to a disappointing result. This year the contestants were visible to the assembled throng as the auction took place – turning it more into a pantomime at times than a serious auction.

Perhaps it was best summed up by Aime, when asked by Scott Cam how her and Katrina felt after their property was passed in below reserve: “Well… it’s all for nothing really, isn’t it?”

Either way, this fourth season of The Block was a success not seen by a reality television program in some time – averaging 1.3 million viewers per episode. The eleventh hour change by producers to strip the show across 5 (and eventually 6) nights a week proved extremely successful for the brand, the network and the sponsors. While some discontent will linger over the valuations and result from this series it will be soon forgotten as season 5 launches onto our screens in 2012 (pre-production commences shortly).