Sonia Kruger has put her foot in her mouth many times in her career, but this one was particularly cringe-worthy.
Sonia Kruger has put her foot in her mouth many times in her career, but this one was particularly cringe-worthy.

Sonia’s cringe-worthy moment

OPINION

SONIA Kruger shocked viewers last night when she boldly walked up to a 19-year-old contestant on The Voice and started gesturing towards his chest.

The host of the popular reality show was acting after two male singers had battled it out, and the female judges were clearly enamoured.

Brock Ashby, 24, and Jackson Parfitt, 19, had gained the affections of the female judges way back in their respective blind auditions.

Last night, they were battling it out to see who would remain in the competition.

But instead of commenting on their talent as performers, they were objectified.

Joe Jonas started the incident innocently enough: "Jackson you've grown a lot as a singer.

"Having Kelly as a coach has really helped you. You are trying new things and it's really impressive. You forgot a few buttons on your shirt though, I noticed."

It was Delta Goodrem's reply that took it to another place: "No he didn't"

And host Sonia Kruger not only crossed a line, she crossed a highway, with this response: "No you're right. You forgot to undo this one and this one" she said, as she walked over and pointed to the two lower buttons done up on his shirt.

This is not OK.
This is not OK.

As an avid watcher of The Voice I imagine the outrage if the scenario was reversed, and it was female performers targeted.

And yet, here we are, the next morning and there isn't outrage or uproar anywhere.

The female judges in question are The Voice favourites, Kelly Rowland, 37, and Delta Goodrem, 33. The host is, of course, well-known Australia TV personality Sonia Kruger, 52.

In last night's battle round episode, Brock and Jackson were paired as part of Team Kelly, after Kelly didn't hesitate to steal Jackson from Team Joe in the knockout rounds.

Together they battled it out singing Dean Lewis's hit song Waves.

The act went well with both singers showing off their vocal talents but within seconds of the battle ending instead of a professional critique of the performance, the audience saw host Sonia offer to Kelly that she would "keep" the artist Kelly didn't pick for herself.

Delta then assured Sonia her reaction was "perfectly normal," and the boys are "very talented, gorgeous looking men".

The moment may have been over within seconds and the contestants seemed to laugh it off but what we are forgetting here are the double standards in society that make behaviour like this okay.

Just moments earlier two young female artists, Jacinta Gulisano, 24, and Somer Smith, 18, competed in a similar battle.

Can you imagine the response that would have been caused if Joe had swooned over the two girls and then told Jacinta her clothing looked good because it exposed her?

To his credit the only comment Joe made towards the girls was "you both should be very proud. It was amazing, it was magical, so well done." Nothing about their outfits, their looks, or motioning for them to change clothes or reveal more skin.

The social media gurus running The Voice AU sites thought it was all a great laugh posting on Twitter about the battle with a GIF of the two boys and the statement "*splashes water on face*". They also asked their Facebook fans "is it hot in here?" then claimed Team Kelly was "only big enough for one heart-throb."

The double standards on the show are shocking. Picture: Channel 9
The double standards on the show are shocking. Picture: Channel 9

There is a time and place for jokes, and yes consensual flirting and banter is completely fine by consenting adults, but these women are working in the role of mentor.

They are paid to work as a coach and as a role model to the contestants on The Voice.

In no way would it be acceptable for a teacher to crush on a student as openly as these women continue to do on the contestants throughout The Voice.

Even in an adult education environment the relationship between student and teacher should remain just that.

The giggling schoolgirl actions of the female mentors on The Voice Australia come just weeks after US singer Katy Perry was put under fire after she kissed a male contestant in her role as a judge on American Idol.

It seems the women put in this roles are forgetting the importance of what it means to be professional in these settings.

The show is quite literally called The Voice, but once those chairs turn it is clearly not the voice that is keeping the attention of the female coaches and host.

As we continue to push the issue of consent and respect with young women in our society, the least we can do is extend the same courtesy to young men in the same position.

Lucy Almond is a freelance writer and avid Voice watcher.



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