Queensland The Voice contestant Sheldon Riley. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Queensland The Voice contestant Sheldon Riley. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Dream come true for new Boy George

THE Voice's Sheldon Riley says being compared to his idol and coach Boy George was the moment he finally felt accepted.

The Gold Coast teenager became the first Queensland contestant through to the live shows on the Channel 9 singing contest tonight, following a battle round in which George described Riley as a young version of himself.

Queensland The Voice contestant Sheldon Riley. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Queensland The Voice contestant Sheldon Riley. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

The comparison rang true for Riley, 19, who battled bullying and depression over his sexuality and ethnicity growing up on the Gold Coast.

"He's iconic so to be related to him is just insane," Riley said.

"It was a happy, emotional moment to think that someone was actually seeing me for who I am. I'm not a Gold Coast surfer guy. I was a six-year-old kid dancing around to (Cyndi Lauper's) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. I've come from the Gold Coast and I'm not a Gold Coast boy and he came from somewhere in the UK where he didn't fit in."

Riley, who came on the show hoping to inspire others who had been bullied to embrace their personalities, said singing against Mikayla Jade, also a victim of bullying, had been difficult.

"It was really upsetting actually. I didn't want to go against someone I came here to inspire," he said.

Following their performance of Rihanna's Diamonds, George offered Mikayla his wildcard, a new feature of the show.


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