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Kyle Sandilands defends Australian Idol having an all-white judging and host panel

Rachel Lang

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Kyle Sandilands defends Australian Idol having an all-white judging and host panel

Radio host Kyle Sandilands has hit back at criticism of the new judges and hosts for the upcoming Australian Idol reboot after former contestant Emily Williams labelled the show's revival as 'whitewashing'.

Williams, who was the 2005 runner-up on Australian Idol, lashed out at the all-white panel, which is made up of Sandilands, Aussie singer Amy Shark, US singer Meghan Trainor, and American entertainment heavyweight Harry Connick Jr.

The show will be hosted by Scott Tweedie and former Idol contestant Ricki-Lee Coulter, both of whom are also white.

"I look at the four judges and I'm like, 'Okay, here we go again, straight and narrow'. There's no room for change. It's 2022," Williams told the Daily Mail.

The New Zealand-born singer added: "I was disappointed. Everybody is saying that it's whitewashed.

"Absolutely, I agree. Does it look that way? Unfortunately it does.

"I thought at least one person would be gay or non-binary."

Sandilands was less than impressed by her comments and took to his radio show on Thursday (September 29) to hit back.

"You can't say, 'One judge has got to be a non-binary black person'. That's not how the real world works. And it shouldn't," he told his co-host Jackie 'O' Henderson.

"It should be whoever is worthy of doing it - gay, straight, black, white, non-binary, whatever - that's not taken into consideration and it shouldn't be."

He added: "That's how we went wrong in the first place. That's how hate started. 'That guy, don't hire him, he's gay', that's how hate starts.'"

The controversial radio host also revealed he had spoken to several black artists about joining the reboot, including 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, but they were unavailable due to scheduling conflicts.

Sandilands added that 'hate will continue to grow' if race and gender quotas are reinforced, and 'humans should be treated like humans'. 

The Australian Idol reboot, slated for release on Channel 7 in 2023, has already copped its fare share of criticism on social media as the hosts and panel were announced.

One person asked: "Why are they all white?"

A second jokingly added: "Not sure what everyone is complaining about. Looks all-white to me."

One person just piped up with a reference from the iconic Will Ferrel film Anchorman: "Diversity is an old wooden ship."

Others pointed out that second season winner, Indigenous woman Casey Donovan, would have made a great choice for a judge.

Featured Image Credit: Kyle and Jackie O/Instagram. Kiis FM

Topics: Australia, TV and Film, Music, Celebrity, News, Racism

Rachel Lang
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