ENTERTAINMENT

The MAFS experts weigh in on the show’s success rate

"There are a number of wins that come out of the experiment not just the relationships."
Loading the player...

With the eighth season of Married At First Sight approaching we have a lot to look forward to. And according to the show’s trio of experts, there will be drama and love stories in abundance.

Know a contestant or have a tip-off about the 2021 season of MAFS? Send us an email at Tips@aremedia.com.au

WATCH BELOW: Married At First Sight 2021 promises the biggest year of love

Speaking exclusively to WHO ahead of the new season, John Aiken, Mel Schilling and new expert Alessandra Rampolla say that unlike last year, season eight will be “very different”.

“If we look at the broader journey of MAFS it’s more of a throwback to seasons five and six in that the love stories have become more the focus,” relationship expert Mel says.

“Obviously last season there was a lot of drama as we know (we’re still getting over it!) but we had a group of people who probably weren’t as engaged in the process as we would’ve liked. All of us behind the scenes worked really hard to make sure that we got a very different set of people who genuinely want to fall in love and are willing to try absolutely anything to make that happen.”

mafd
“All of us behind the scenes worked really hard to make sure that we got a very different set of people who genuinely want to fall in love and are willing to try absolutely anything to make that happen.” (Credit: Instagram)

That doesn’t mean there won’t be conflicts and drama by any means, though.

“We don’t go into specifics but certainly when you think about them there are certain key players that I think some people are going to love and some people are going to hate,” John says of this year’s brides and grooms.

“Some of them are very polarising and one of the great things about Married At First Sight is that it is very diverse and we get all sorts of different people of different ages, cultures, sexual orientations and so I think there’s certainly a number of them there that you will get very invested in like most series.

“This one particularly there will be issues of power and control that come out, there will be issues around secrets, there will be concerns around boundaries so a lot of really juicy stuff.”

g
This year’s contestants are set to be polarising. (Credit: Nine)

Since the show’s inception, the experts have matched over 60 couples but diehard fans will know that only three of their matches are still together in the real world.

Season two’s Bryce Mohr and Erin Bateman met in 2016 and are still going strong as are season six’s legally married couple Cam Merchant and Jules Robinson and Martha Kalifatidis and Michael Brunelli, the latter couple recently appeared on the reunion special event.

With such a low track record, it’s fair for fans of the show to assume that couples are matched for drama rather than true compatibility but the experts deny that’s the case.

MAFS
MAFS experts Alessandra Rampolla, Mel Schilling and John Aiken. (Credit: Nine)

“If we did that we wouldn’t have any matches!” laughs Mel.

“It is a scientific match but that term is only as helpful as getting the couple to the altar. A lot of in-depth work went on behind the scenes in terms of bringing these matches together and we did a lot more this year because of COVID as we were in different geographies so we had extra interviews via Zoom.

“But we can’t control the spark so when people do get together one of the unknowns is whether they’re going to physically spark with each other and the other point is how each individual and then the dynamic as a couple are going to work under pressure because it’s such an incredible pressure cooker. Then of course there’s the group dynamic and the impact of that pressure and judgement of other people on them so there are so many factors that we can’t control.”

In fact, the experts admit that they don’t measure success in the relationship experiment in terms of how many couples remain intact beyond the show.

“I know some people do and I can understand why but I guess we look at it more broadly – so many people come through this process with incredible growth and breaking old patterns so that the next relationship they go into they do differently because of things that they’ve learned. There are a number of wins that come out of the experiment not just the relationships,” Mel adds.

a
The experts don’t measure success in the relationship experiment in terms of how many couples remain intact beyond the show. (Credit: Nine)

Sexologist Alessandra, who is making her MAFS debut and replacing Dr Trisha Stratford, adds: “Coming into the show, for me it’s very important to not have that be the measure of success.

“There is no formula that will guarantee that two people will fall in love and be happily ever after forever. There are things that indicate that two people can probably mesh and work well together but there is no guarantee and it depends on so many factors. We put all the ingredients together and we help them with the issues that come up each week but they also have to be ready and willing to do the work.

She adds: “The real value is in everything that’s learned and in the journey and their growth so I certainly didn’t come into it measuring the success of the experiment based on how many couples make it through to the end. In general looking at the seasons I think it’s amazing that there’s life coming out of MAFS – there are MAFS babies in the world and that alone is a great success for the experiment and the fact that some people really have found the loves of their lives through the experiment.”

Related stories