‘The weirdest Idols’

2009-05-08 00:00

Jason Hartman is South Africa’s only Idol. This is the view of a large number of angry Idols fans after M-Net announced yesterday that by rights Hartman won the competition by 200 000 votes.

But he has to share the title with Sasha-Lee Davids, who was named the winner on Sunday night during the live broadcast of the final round.

A total of 600 000 votes were not delivered in time to be counted for the final round and be verified by the auditors.

After a recount by the auditors KPMG, it was announced that a total of 2,4 million votes were cast — 1,3 million for Hartman and 1,1 million for Davids.

M-Net announced the new result during a media conference at its offices in Randburg.

But viewers are angry and have vented their displeasure on numerous Internet forums. On the Idols forum on M-Net’s website, there are already two petitions going (one in Afrikaans and one in English) for “Jason to get his crown as Idol 2009”.

Many forum members believe M-Net has acted unethically by naming both finalists as winners. Some members also believe Davids should “graciously” have relinquished her winner’s crown.

M-Net CEO Patricia Scholtemeyer yesterday told Beeld that she is standing by her decision, despite viewers’ unhappiness.

“I understand that a lot of people are angry about our decision, but I am not going to reconsider it. The circumstances were unusual and unforeseen and beyond our control, and that is why I felt comfortable about the decision to make them both winners. They have very diverse styles and I believe there is room for them both in the market,” she said.

Scholtemeyer also said she would not have taken this decision if she did not believe both Hartman and Davids to be winning material.

Hartman said during the media conference yesterday that the past few days have been like a “whirlwind”.

“It’s wonderful for me to know that my fans voted for me like this. To know I won, and to have won with Sasha-Lee, is a privilege. It’s like shared love.”

The fact that he wasn’t named the winner during the broadcast in front of the live and TV audiences doesn’t worry him, he said. “I was part of the weirdest Idols ever and no one will forget us. This is so much better.”

No final decision has yet been taken about which of the two Idols’ albums will be released first. Hartman said if it isn’t his, he would regard it as having extra time to get his album perfect.

Davids does not have to forfeit her prizes or Idols title. Scholtemeyer says all the sponsors have agreed to double their prizes so that both Hartman and Davids can walk away with all the prizes. Davids said she did not think it was unfair for her as the runner-up to receive the same prizes as Hartman.

She acknowledged that the error that crept in with the voting wasn’t “very nice” and that she was “shocked” when she won.

“I still feel that I won Idols, even though I wasn’t the real winner. My main aim was to get a CD contract and I’ve got it,” she said calmly.

M-Net is still investigating the technical reasons for the problem. Scholtemeyer would not comment on possible causes.

“We will know by early next week what caused it and will then make an announcement.

“If it transpires that the fault was on M-Net’s side, we will accept responsibility and apologise. At the moment, the only people we owe an apology to are Jason and Sasha-Lee for the difficult time they have been through.”

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