Whether you love it or hate it, Married At First Sight is one of the most popular reality TV shows in Australia. And so it's no surprise that Channel 9 has brought the program back for season 9 in 2022.
I like to describe the show's concept as a string of arranged marriages of sorts, where two strangers meet at the altar for the first time and tie the knot in front of their family and friends.
This season, there are eight couples to kick off the drama, with popular Home Stays Week returning, as well as Alessandra’s Intimacy Week, Confessions Week and the spicy Couples Retreat where all our brides and grooms go away together.
If you're a dedicated viewer of the series, you'll recall the infamous wine-throwing incident between Martha Kalifatidis and Cyrell Jimenez-Paule in season 6 (2019). Or you might remember I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!'s Davina Rankin's 'affair' with Dean Wells in season 5 (2018). With explosive dinner parties and commitment ceremonies being confirmed fixtures on the show this year, we can only expect more fireworks and bombshells to be dropped left, right and centre.
One hope I have for MAFS in 2022 is that there's less gaslighting and toxic masculinity on display, and that the experts actually intervene when a relationship is heading south. It's important for all contestants to feel safe on any reality show, especially one as intimate as Married At First Sight. As much as the drama is a drawcard to the popular show, the welfare of the cast should also be a priority.
On that note, here is a rundown of everything we know about this season of year's Married At First Sight.
Who Is In The Cast of MAFS this year?
Here's hoping the NSW bride, who likes to go by the nickname of Dom, gets her happily ever after.
Hailing from Victoria, straight-talking beautician Ella Ding is ready to meet her best friend and biggest fan on the reality show, after not being in a relationship for nine years. The 27-year-old is in tune with her sexuality and is on the hunt for a thrilling relationship where a strong sexual connection is at the core.
Her biggest turn-offs are close-minded and lazy guys and here's hoping there's none of those on the show to begin with!
She's familiar with the screen as a cinema manager, but this is most likely Holly's first time being front and centre on the screen herself. The 36-year-old from NSW has been unlucky in love for years and really wants to meet the love of her life as she'd like to settle down and have children.
Her last relationship ended after her partner, who already had kids from a previous relationship, told Holly he didn't want to have any more children.
Olivia has decided that now is the time to focus on her love life, after putting it on the backburner when she dedicated her time to looking after her terminally ill father as his carer.
The bubbly 27-year-old says she's previously lacked self-confidence while on the dating scene. She had a gastric sleeve to lose 50 kilos when she was 22, but is ready to now look ahead and find the love she yearns.
Career-driven fashion designer Samantha wants to fill a gap in her life: romance. Up until now, fashion design has taken up so much of her time that it's been difficult to date someone as well.
The fiercely ambitious woman was previously in a four-year relationship but unfortunately, her ex-partner cheated on her. With a few trust issues still on her mind, the MAFS experiment will be quite the journey, but here's hoping she finds who she's looking for.
As a single mum to a son who's almost three, Selin is nervous going on Married At First Sight but is hoping the sacrifice of time away from her little boy will be worth it.
The 32-year-old executive assistant from NSW comes from a close-knit Turkish family and wants a "good man" who's a gentleman and is willing to be a part of her son's life.
The 32-year-old hairdresser from South Australia has always followed her gut, whether that's straying away from her parents' career expectations (a doctor or lawyer) and becoming a hairdresser instead, or making sure that she bought her own house to be self-sufficient.
Now Selina Chhaur, the half-Cambodian, half-Chinese 32-year-old is hoping the MAFS experts can help her in her quest for love.
Operations manager Tamara absolutely says it like it is, so we can probably expect some drama at the dinner parties when Tamara's around this season.
The 29-year-old Queenslander, who describes herself as an Alpha personality, expects her partner to take pride in their appearance, not be intimidated by her, and be someone who will keep her attention as she tends to get bored quickly by guys she dates.
Loveable and cheeky carpenter Al still lives at home, and has never had a serious girlfriend or relationship. Something tells me he's going to be in for a bit of a shock on this show because marriage is quite the commitment.
The 25-year-old has only recently thought about being in a committed relationship, and while he appears rather confident on the outside, he still fears rejection.
Andrew, 39, is a straight-talking Texan who moved to Australia four years ago with his second wife, who she shares a two-year-old daughter with. Twice divorced, the motivational speaker and personal trainer hopes that the third time's the charm and he gets to meet his soulmate on the show.
When he's not working his day job as a salesman, Anthony is in the ring as a semi-pro wrestler. But despite his buff physique and alter ego, there's a sensitive side to the 38-year-old, and he hopes to show that on television.
The Victorian has a nine-year-old daughter and is looking for a partner who will challenge him intellectually and emotionally.
After running a successful event management company in Dubai for seven years, Brent made the move back to Australia and set his eye on rebuilding his life — and that involves meeting his one and only.
The 33-year-old from NSW has a very interesting dealbreaker. His wife must have well-maintained feet. Well, then.
Hailing from Sydney's Northern Beaches, the swim coach and personal trainer loves some adventure. But now that he's turned 30, he's realised that he wants a person he can share his adventures with — which brings him to auditioning for Married At First Sight.
Having lost his father when he was only 15, Cody has had his walls up for some time and rarely allows himself to show vulnerability, especially in relationships. Will the experts encourage him to open up to his TV bride? Let's wait and see.
Despite the popularity of dating apps, Jack Millar says he prefers old-fashioned courtship, though I'm not sure we'd call whatever's going on Married At First Sight traditional.
The 26-year-old financial planner from NSW is actually a hipster at heart. He wants to share his love for music and adventure with his wife but he has one special condition: she must love dogs.
He describes himself as the class clown who's always up for a laugh, but Jackon also has a sensitive side, especially given his time being the protective older brother to his younger sisters and mum.
The 30-year-old plumber from Victoria is looking for a genuine commitment from his wife, and someone who has nice eyes, a great smile and is shorter than his six-foot-three self.
We have another financial planner in the mix. Mitch has a side hustle too as a part-time model on the Gold Coast and so is used to drawing attention from women. Tired of the online dating scene, the 26-year-old from Queensland is keen to give MAFS a go. He is a bit sceptical of the social experiment though, so it will be interesting to see his storyline unfold.
Who Are The Experts?
Clinical sexologist Alessandra Rampolla, relationship expert John Aiken and dating & relationship expert Melissa Schilling are all back as experts on season 9 of Married At First Sight.
Going onto the show is quite a big step to take and Schilling says that contestants need to be open to change.
"One of the great challenges for our couples is to let go of old behaviour patterns," she says in an official Channel 9 press statement.
"When they enter the experiment, they have often been single for a long time and there are always underlying reasons for this.
"Our couples need to unlearn old habits, trust the process and take risks in order to learn new ways to not only communicate but also flourish in relationships."
What Is The Air Date for MAFS?
Married At First Sight's ninth season will premiere on Monday, January 31 at 7:30pm on Channel 9 and 9Now. It will be going up against Australian Survivor: Blood v Water which premieres the same night on rival network Channel 10.
What Is The Prize?
There's no specific prize as such, apart from being happily married if you decide to stay with your partner at the final commitment ceremony. After all, isn't finding true love the entire point of the show?
Watch the Married At First Sight trailer below: