A simple mistake was an Aussie man being bombarded with thousands of text messages and voicemails from people who voted in the final of The Voice.
A simple mistake made by thousands of Aussies when casting their votes for The Voice final has left a number of votes uncounted.
Controversy erupted on social media on Sunday eveningwhen the winner of the singing competition was announced as 24-year-old Lachie Gill from Rita Ora’s team.
Fans of Channel 7’s The voice expressed disappointment at the result with “three people of color” missing out on the $100,000 prize and a record deal from Universal Music Australia.
Now it can be revealed that thousands of votes were not counted after fans keyed in the wrong phone number when voting via text message.
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Viewers were encouraged to vote by texting their favorite artist’s name to 0417 779 667, with a maximum of three votes per person.
However, Brisbane man Antoni, whose personal phone number is one number off the correct line of text, told news.com.au that many people had accidentally sent their votes to him.
The 50-year-old said he had received thousands of texts and hundreds of phone calls since the final vote began on May 22, and things skyrocketed on Sunday night.
“I deleted the first few hundred (posts) because I thought I was getting spam, not knowing people were voting. I haven’t seen the show and had no idea why people sent me the names of the contestants,” he said.
“It wasn’t until I saw an ad with the mobile number that I realized how close it was to my number…and the penny dropped.
“I probably have a few thousand texts that can be added up, and a few hundred voice messages where people have voted orally.”
At no point during the voting period did Channel 7 post the wrong number on its social media, website or on the air.
According to Antoni, the situation got even more out of hand on Sunday evening during the final.
Photos of Antoni show hundreds of messages and dozens of calls that came in within minutes.
Screenshots of a small portion of the texts Antoni received show that the majority were in favor of Lachie.
About half of just under 50 posts in the screenshots showed votes for Lachie, with the second highest number of votes for Jordan, followed by Faith and then Thando.
However, with thousands of uncounted votes and hundreds of deleted posts, it’s unclear how many more votes were intended for each participant in total.
As an IT consultant with a busy schedule, Antoni said the whole situation was extremely stressful, as getting hundreds of calls and texts a day meant it was nearly impossible to use his phone normally.
“As you can imagine, my cellphone is an important part of my job, so if I turned it off at any time of the day and night, it got to a point where I had to put it on ‘do not disturb’ mode, which meant I missed a lot of calls and texts because I had to try to decipher between real messages from colleagues and all the voice messages from random people,” he said.
Antoni told news.com.au that he had tried to raise the issue with his wife on The Voice and Channel 7 through multiple channels, including email, Facebook and Instagram.
In a response his wife received via Instagram, the program said the vote was handled by an outsourcer and “had nothing to do with it,” the Brisbane man claimed.
“(For) my email complaint, I got a response on Thursday, I believe my complaint was passed on to the appropriate department to handle it,” he said.
“I haven’t heard anything since then.”
Channel 7 responded to a message from Antonio’s wife apologizing for the inconvenience caused by people texting incorrectly or calling their number.
News.com.au understands that public voting is handled by a third-party company and compliance protocols mean they cannot accept votes made through an incorrect phone number.
This follows online controversy after Lachie defeated a diverse trio, including Team Keith Urban’s Thando Sikwila, Team Guy Sebastian’s Jordan Tavita, and Team Jess Mauboy’s Faith Sosene.
Second place for The Voice also commented on the show’s finale†
Faith, 25, took to Instagram to say she was “so proud” of Lachie, before seemingly suggesting there was a bigger problem at play.
“We already knew Australia would love you and choose you! You are just perfect for them.”
Faith has since edited the caption, removing “for them” and replacing it with “You’re just perfect.”
She added: “[Thando and Jordan] We must work harder for our future generations to win. We’re going to work.”
Elsewhere, Thando, 29, said Lachie was a “legend” and that he “definitely deserves it”.
“Can’t wait to see where this win takes you,” she captioned a photo of the pair.
Jordan, 23, echoed Thando’s sentiment, while also throwing his support behind his fellow runners-up.
“My sisters WOW! We have a bright future ahead of us,” he wrote. “One door closes and 1,000 open for us!!!”
Lachie also posted a lengthy statement on his Instagram page congratulating the three finalists.
Jordan Faith & Thando. What can I say but thank you,’ he began.
“Thank you for sharing your gifts with me and Australia. You will continue to inspire me every day to move forward and I KNOW it and I mean it! That you will have great careers in this industry and so much to (sic) offer to Australia and beyond.”
Channel 7 has been contacted for comment.
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