True to expectations, Shilpa Shetty was crowned the winner of Celebrity Big Brother 5. The first Indian to be in the Big Brother House, she made Asians in London proud by winning by an overwhelming 63 per cent votes cast by viewers. She edged out Jermaine Jackson, who was the runner-up and Dirk Benedict.
Dirk was the favourite when the show started but he came third.
It was not the racism row but her elegance that matters at the final countdown. She won the public's affection during an extraordinary four weeks in which she was the victim of alleged racist bullying by fellow housemates Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd.
In Sunday night’s series apart from Jackson and Dirk, Ian H Watkins, Danielle Lloyd and Jack Tweed were all evicted.
Shilpa screamed with surprise and burst into tears as Davina McCall announced the news. "Chicken curry rules! Thank you so much!" she yelled as she was led out of the house by Davina.
Told of the international incident which had erupted outside the house, Shilpa said she had an "inkling" it was over the racism issue. But the big-hearted Shilpa looked stunned as she watched footage of Jade, Jo and Danielle mimicking her accent, swearing and abusing her behind her back.
She down-played the vicious and petty attack, excusing Jade and her gang of followers of racist behaviour. It was such an attitude that made her the winner. "Jade really didn't mean to be racist, I can say that for sure," she said. "Yes, she can be aggressive and short-tempered but she's not racist. So if this has created a furore I want to put things to rest and say she's not a racist.
"I just want to thank the whole Great Britain to give me the opportunity to make my country proud."