‘Australian Idol’ judging panel slammed for lack of diversity

The Australian Idol reboot set for 2023 has unveiled an entirely-caucasian judging panel, sparking backlash for lack of diversity.

As announced earlier this week, the iconic and nostalgia-inducing talent show, Australian Idol is set to make its grand return to our screens via Channel 7 in 2023. It will be hosted by none other than former contestant, Ricki Lee, along with E! News presenter, Scott Tweedie.

Unveiling details about the forthcoming reboot on the Kyle And Jackie O Show on Wednesday (September 28), Kyle Sandilands confirmed that he will be among the new judging panel, which comprises Aussie musician, Amy Shark, and American singer-songwriters, Meghan Trainor and Harry Connick Jr.

Credit: Australian Idol

Unsurprisingly, the revelation of this all-white judging panel sparked backlash from media personnel and social media users nationwide: “Where is the diversity?” stated Mark Kearney, a former ABC News reporter. “The OG Australian Idol had, at the heart of its panel, Marcia Hines. This one has … a foul shock jock with a history of racism, misogyny and homophobia? Yucky.”

In the latter part of his statement, Kearney may very well be referring to radio host and former Idol judge, Kylie Sandilands, who is set to return despite being reportedly fired from the programme in 2009, due to a disturbing interaction he had with a 14-year-old girl, aired on a segment of the Kyle And Jackie O Show.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, comments made by critics and former fans alike further emphasise the disappointment being felt across the country by the lack of diversity present among the selection of judges: “Not sure why anyone is surprised about the Australian Idol judging panel – the other talent shows on our screens are just as bad. If they want diversity they always just have Mel B on,” wrote @muminprogress.

@antoinette_news wrote, “This is an epic and exciting opportunity to get judged by six white people. (To be fair there is some diversity, one has a hyphen in their name).”

Channel 7 first announced the impending return of Australian Idol in 2020, but it was halted due to COVID-19. As for details on a 2023 premiere date, we’re keeping our eyes peeled. If you’re keen to audition though, you can apply now here.