Channel Ten’s pick for the next Bachelorette has been criticised by viewers who claim she will be “boring” to watch and is undeserving of the role after she was embroiled in an alleged cheating scandal.
Ali Oetjen, a 32-year-old from Adelaide, appeared on both the first season of The Bachelor in 2013 and the first season of Bachelor in Paradise this year, but viewers were left lukewarm by her appointment as the star of The Bachelorette‘s upcoming season.
Following the April 30 announcement, social media users said Oetjen was a “bland” and “surprising” choice, given she was far from a fan favourite on Bachelor in Paradise, where she found love with US Bachelorette contestant Grant Kemp.
But Oetjen’s popularity took another hit this week when Kemp, in a series of media interviews, accused her of cheating on him shortly after she moved to Los Angeles to pursue their fledgling relationship.
“That is literally one of the most disrespectful things you can do,” Kemp told New Idea magazine on May 7, after alleging Oetjen had been unfaithful with one of his best friends.
“There’s your Bachelorette,” he added.
Channel Ten, however, has dismissed Kemp’s claims as “false rumours” and a spokesperson confirmed to The New Daily that Oetjen remains locked in to be The Bachelorette.
“Ali left Bachelor in Paradise committed to developing her relationship with Grant further,” the spokesperson told The New Daily in a statement.
“Unfortunately they broke up a few months later. There are two sides to the story of why they broke up. However, this is a private matter and Ali will not be commenting on the misleading claims being made by other parties or the false rumours that are being spread.”
But viewers on social media were seemingly more concerned by Oetjen’s lack of entertainment value than her alleged indiscretions, with many claiming her performance on Bachelor in Paradise didn’t bode well for her starring role.
“The most boring bachelorette on tv… I’ll need several bottles of wine to make her remotely interesting to watch,” Facebook commenter Jasmine Brill wrote.
Viewers were also angered by the lack of new names in the dating franchise’s line-up, with Ten recycling past contestants like Sam Frost and Matt Johnson or hiring celebrities like Sophie Monk and Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins.
“So over celebrities and repeats!! Fresh face pleeeeaaaseee!!” commenter Taylor Jane complained.
“She’s had her time and her chances,” another wrote of Oetjen.
I can’t imagine anything more boring than Ali as the bachelorette #BachelorInParadiseAU
— Amy (@solargirl84) April 30, 2018
Ali, The Bachelorette?! 50 Shades of Beige #BachelorinParadiseAU
— Artemis (@ThisisArtemis) April 30, 2018
— WK (@Wickedkate2) April 30, 2018
Even Oetjen’s fellow Bachelor in Paradise contestant Jarrod Woodgate said the self-described “healthy lifestyle motivator” would be “boring” as the show’s lovelorn lead.
Asked by Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa how he thought Oetjen would go as the star of the show, Woodgate said: “Honestly she was there on the island [on Bachelor in Paradise] for a long time and basically all we saw was very lame, it was boring.”
Posting on Instagram about her upcoming role, Oetjen wrote: “I’m 32, I’m ready to be married & have kids but I’m willing to wait until I find the right one,” she wrote when she was revealed as the star of the next season.
“I’m so excited to have the chance to make meaning of my heart breaks & pick wisely to find an ever lasting love. I have so much love to give.”
Beverly McGarvey, Ten’s Chief Content Officer, insisted, “we have all been captivated by Ali’s search for love”, and described Oetjen as “Australia’s sweetheart”.
“We can’t wait to see the country’s most eligible bachelors compete to win her heart,” McGarvey said in a statement.