Sydney, NSW, Australia (AHN) – Spoiler alert for any U.S. viewers: the winner of Australia’s Next Top Model was announced on the live finale. But people weren’t talking about who won, they were talking about the mistake the host made when it came to the actual winner.
Australia’s Next Top Model host Sara Murdoch announced the wrong winner when the live finale aired. Murdoch declared 19-year-old Kelsey Martinovich as the winner and a live studio audience erupted in cheers, according to TVTonight.com.au. The finale of the FOX8 series aired live before an audience of 2,000 at Luna Park, Sydney.
But after Martinovich made her thank you speech did a noticeably shocked and embarrassed Murdoch backtrack before the stunned audience in the studio, and most likely, at home, as well.
“I’m feeling a bit sick about this,” Murdoch said on live TV. “No. I’m so sorry about this. Oh my God. I don’t know what to say. This was a complete accident. It’s Amanda, I’m so sorry. It was fed to me wrong. Oh God. This is what happens when you have live TV folks. This is insane. Insane, insane, insane….”
Amanda Ware, the 18-year-old finalist, was suddenly elevated as the series winner in an awkward revelation. The two girls consoled one another and Murdoch.
“It’s ok, it’s ok,” said Martinovich.
This disastrous moment is the first of its kind to happen in the show’s history. This was the first time Australia’s Next Top Model’s winner was chosen by viewers at home and in the audience, a la the U.S. show “American Idol,” using SMS and the interactive Red Button.
Because the judges, Australian fashion designer Alex Perry, model and TV host Charlotte Dawson and photographer Jez Smith, couldn’t decide on a winner together during this live finale, they urged for viewers to vote for their personal favorites during the show.
The two hour live finale had all the former contestants from the series on the show for group fashion parades, and also celebrated the finale with male dancers, DJs, aerial performers and a band. It also included video messages from models including Megan Gale and Elle MacPherson.
Ware won representation by modeling agency Priscilla’s, a $25,000 contract to appear in a Levi’s campaign, a trip to New York to meet the ELITE agency, a Ford Fiesta Zetec, $20,000 cash and an eight-page spread for Harpers Bazaar Australia.
After the live mix-up and embarrassing, awkward aftermath, Foxtel Director of Publicity Jamie Campbell issued a statement: “Tonight we saw the perils of live TV. At the time of the result announcement there was a miscommunication between the broadcast truck and the stage,” said Jamie Campbell, Foxtel Director of Publicity.”
“Sarah handled what was a difficult situation with utmost professionalism and grace. Amanda and Kelsey were neck and neck in the voting all night.”
“We apologize to Kelsey for the error, and Foxtel will be sending her to New York as well as awarding her $25,000 as a prize,” he said.