Many reality television viewers’ jaws dropped on Tuesday morning when Channel 10 announced that ‘The Bachelorette Australia’ will feature two women looking for love on the show this year.
Former ‘Bachelor Australia’ contestant Elly Miles and her older sister, Becky, will share the journey of handing out roses to strangers in the hope of finding romance.
While it’s a world first in the dating show franchise to have two sisters star as bachelorettes simultaneously, other countries, such as New Zealand and the US, have already tried the double-bachelorette formula. In the case of NZ, it sparked a race debate.
‘Bachelorette NZ’, which aired earlier this year, initially featured 32-year-old Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster, who is of Samoan, German, Trinidadian and Lebanese descent, as the main star before Lily McManus, 22, was brought in as another love prospect for suitors.
Some viewers argued that bringing in Lily was robbing Lesina, a woman of colour, of the chance to shine in the spotlight.
Broadcaster TVNZ issued a statement at the time saying the season “brings in a real friendship” between the two women as opposed to competition.
“The Bachelorette NZ focuses on two strong, successful women. With 3-4 episodes a week, the season can explore both Lesina and Lily’s stories in full detail, and they’ll be there to support each other through the trials of modern dating,” the statement read.
“Rather than pitting the women against each other, this season brings in a real friendship we think viewers will be excited to see. This twist was planned with Lesina and Lily prior to filming and with their collaboration we moved ahead.”
In the end, Lesina Nakhid-Schuster walked away from the show a single woman after turning down finalists Quinn Ryan and Aaron McNabb. Meanwhile, Lily found love with Richie Boyens.
In 2015, ‘The Bachelorette’ in the US introduced two bachelorettes for the first time. However, a subsequent twist meant the bachelors voted for whether Britt Nilsson or Kaitlyn Bristowe would then continue as the woman whose heart they would try to win, while the other would have to leave the show.
‘The Bachelorette Australia’ will air on Channel 10 later this year. The network is currently airing ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ ahead of ‘The Bachelor Australia’ premiere on August 12 starring former ‘Survivor’ contestant Locky Gilbert.