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Australian Idol 2023: Emily Williams slams 'whitewashed' new judging panel


EXCLUSIVE: Australian Idol star Emily Williams slams ‘whitewashed’ new judging panel and says she is ‘disappointed’ to see the lack of diversity: ‘I thought we had evolved’

The new judging panel for Australian Idol was announced on Wednesday, but one former contestant is less than impressed with the line-up.

Emily Williams, who placed runner-up on the third season in 2005, has hit out at Channel Seven for the lack of diversity among the celebrity judges.

The reboot’s panel includes a mix of local and international talent, including Kyle Sandilands, Amy Shark, Harry Connick Jr. and Meghan Trainor.

Former Australian Idol star Emily Williams (pictured) has slammed Channel Seven for the lack of diversity on the judging panel for the upcoming franchise reboot

Former Australian Idol star Emily Williams (pictured) has slammed Channel Seven for the lack of diversity on the judging panel for the upcoming franchise reboot

‘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 Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

The New Zealand-born singer added: ‘I thought that we had evolved from the years that I was an idol. Even then the diversity of having Marcia Hines on it gave it a little spark.

‘I was disappointed. Everybody is saying that it’s whitewashed. Absolutely, I agree. Does it look that way? Unfortunately it does,’ she said.

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

The panel includes a mix of local and international talent, including Kyle Sandilands (bottom right), Amy Shark (top right), Harry Connick Jr. (top left) and Meghan Trainor (bottom left)

The panel includes a mix of local and international talent, including Kyle Sandilands (bottom right), Amy Shark (top right), Harry Connick Jr. (top left) and Meghan Trainor (bottom left)

Sandilands, who scouted the panel himself, responded to Williams’ claims on The Kyle and Jackie O Show on Thursday morning.

He revealed he spoke to several black artists, including 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, about joining the panel but they couldn’t do it due to scheduling conflicts.

Sandilands said they cast the net wide to find the right judges, adding that the line-up ‘has nothing to do with who’s black and white’.

He concluded by saying the ‘real world’ shouldn’t be ruled by gender and race quotas.

'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 Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday

‘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 Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday 

Williams said she would’ve loved to have seen a drag queen or anybody who represents ‘something different’ join the panel to make the show ‘more welcoming’.

The Young Divas star said her ideal line-up would have included at least one world-famous Aussie pop star like Kylie Minogue, plus either Jessica Mauboy or ARIA winner Kaiit.

‘I was just a bit shocked that Seven wouldn’t want to get the same message out [about diversity],’ she continued.

'I was disappointed. Everybody is saying that it's whitewashed. Absolutely I agree. Does it look that way? Unfortunately it does,' she said

‘I was disappointed. Everybody is saying that it’s whitewashed. Absolutely I agree. Does it look that way? Unfortunately it does,’ she said 

‘I know for a fact that being a coloured girl and going into going into auditions like that for the first time at the age of 20, I was so scared,’ she recalled.

‘But when I walked in there, I saw diversity [in Marcia]. I saw someone there that I could look at and go, “If this person is here, and she looks like me, that means I can do it. If she’s sitting there encouraging me, there’s a chance that I can do it.” It was just a lot more soothing.’

Australian Idol will air on Channel Seven in 2023

Emily said she would've loved to have seen a drag queen or anybody who represents 'something different' join the panel to make the show 'more welcoming'

Emily said she would’ve loved to have seen a drag queen or anybody who represents ‘something different’ join the panel to make the show ‘more welcoming’ 

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