The X Factor in New Zealand just crowned singer Jackie Thomas as champion, but the finale is surrounded in controversy due to a voting glitch.
Some viewers casting their vote for the finale of the singing competition received messages that their votes were not counted and would not count toward the end result. Though they sent the text message votes while voting lines for X Factor were open, they did not get the error message until after voting had already closed, saying their tally was received too late.
For X Factor fans, it was not only a lost chance to support their favorite singer, it was a waste of 99 cents.
The show’s producer said there was actually no error in the voting.
TV3 said in a statement:
“We can assure the people who got that message that their votes did go through and were included in those that were monitored on the night.
“Since then, as part of our verification process, all votes have been checked and recounted. The overall voting is being independently audited. Once that audit is complete, we will release percentage results.
“We can say without a doubt that Jackie Thomas is the winner of The X Factor NZ. Verification to this point confirms she was ahead both when voting paused and still further ahead when voting finally closed.”
The finale drew close to 1.3 million viewers, up from the average audience of 576,800.
The controversy did little to dampen the win for Jackie Thomas and her family. Her grandmother, Barbara Cohen, said friends and family have been calling non-stop about Jackie’s win.
“I had a really busy night last night answering all the phone calls from family and friends – I was running around and trying to use the phone as the TV remote and all sorts of things,” Cohen said. “There were a few tears and I told myself she was so clever. Then of course I didn’t get much sleep.”
Sources close to X Factor said the voting glitch would not have affected the outcome anyway — Jackie Thomas had so many votes that even given the voting discrepancies she would have won easily.