Reality TV

OPINION: Why Lachie Gill’s The Voice win and the new Bachelors announcement proves Australia still has a long way to go

One step forward, two steps back.
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When Lachie Gill was crowned the winner of The Voice 2022 on Sunday night, he was unsurprisingly over the moon.

By all accounts, the endearing 24-year-old is a talented artist with a successful career ahead of him.

But Lachie’s victory has spoken to a wider issue Australia is facing – and seemingly struggling to rectify; a lack of diversity and celebration of people of colour on our TV screens.

Within hours of being crowned the winner, viewers took to social media in droves to share their disappointment (but not their surprise) that Lachie, a white man, had defeated three finalists who are all people of colour.

Lachie came out victorious over his three fellow finalists, who are all people of colour.

(Image: Instagram)

Lachie and his fellow top four, Thando Sikwila, Jordan Tavita, Faith Sosene, advanced to the grand finale after the judges whittled down their teams week by week.

But it was ultimately the Australian public’s vote that handed Lachie the win, as well as $100,000 prize money and a recording contract.

Enraged viewers weren’t suggesting Lachie’s fellow finalists deserved to automatically win due to the colour of their skin. Many argued their voices were objectively stronger and more powerful than the 24-year-old’s.

“3 People of colour, all unbelievably incredible singers and the white boy wins it!! Bloody Straya!! If you seriously believe that Lachie is a better singer than #Thando then you are a part of the problem!!! Bulls–t!!!!” one viewer tweeted.

While Lachie is an undeniably talented singer, fans have questioned his win.

(Image: Seven)

“OF FU–ING COURSE THE GENERIC WHITE MAN WINS,” another tweet read.

“Really bad, 3 people of colour with incredible voices and the one white guy with the average voice wins. Well done Australia proving yet again if you aren’t white you can’t win.”

The sentiment that Lachy was rewarded for being a white man was shared by hundreds of viewers who argued Thando, Jordan and Faith’s voices were objectively greater than his.

Lachie himself has acknowledged the obvious differences between his softer voice and the powerhouse baritones of his co-stars.

Channel 10 has been slammed for casting three white men as leads.

(Image: Ten)

“I was constantly like: ‘These people around me have such big voices’ and I guess my voice isn’t that big, booming voice,” he told TV WEEK ahead of the finale.

And if dialogue around diversity on our screens is giving you déjà vu, you aren’t alone.

Just last week, Channel 10 sent social media into a spin for all the wrong reasons after announcing three seemingly straight, Aussie white men would become this year’s Bachelors.

While the format is undoubtedly a clear and deliberate shakeup to the usual one-man formula that has left the franchise in a ratings slump in recent seasons, it’s a tale as old as reality TV time to have no racial representation as a lead.

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Fans of the show flooded the snaps shared to the official Bachelor Instagram page with comments like “great diversity” and “three white men? Groundbreaking”.

Former Bachelorette Angie Kent aired her frustrations, writing: “Two + cis het men instead of one and no female lead… groundbreaking.”

After making strides in diversity by casting Brooke Blurton as Australia’s first indigenous and openly bisexual Bachelorette, less than a year later, the network has already deviated back to its whitewashed roots.

It begs the question: Where’s the diversity?

With three lead positions up for grabs, surely it would have been possible – if not preferred given the momentum the BLM movement has gained over the past two years – to cast at least one man of colour.

Felix Von Hofe is one of three white men to be cast as this year’s Bachelors.

(Image: Ten)

You’d be forgiven if Channel 10’s quick reversion back to a white lead (or should we say, leads) has given you whiplash.

After Brooke’s season, Bachie fans were hopeful the network’s newfound POC representation would be here to stay rather than a quick diversity quota-filler to appease audiences.

The announcement of Thomas Malucelli, Felix Von Hofe and Jed McIntosh as the 2022 Bachelors was an even harder pill to swallow given fans’ intense push for indigenous TV presenter Tony Armstrong to be cast as the franchise’s next star.

Fans were pushing for indigenous TV presenter Tony Armstrong to be the next Bachelor.

(Image: Ten)

Given his star-power and undeniable charm, it seemed like a no-brainer to cast Tony, who no-doubt could have carried the show on his own without two unknown fellow leads by his side.

Fans already love him, and Tony, 32, has a hefty following of his own that he could have brought to the show’s existing fanbase.

A proud Barranbinya man, Tony could have brought a healthy dose of culture to the historically whitewashed franchise, as well as his signature sense of humour and wit.

Now To Love has reached out to Channel 10 and Seven for comment.

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