‘Idols’ winners in turmoil

2009-05-07 00:00

THE Idols winner and the runner-up spent yesterday in turmoil as M-net recounted the votes after a cellphone network glitch.

Sunday night’s vote, which saw midlands singer Jason Hartman lose out to Capetonian Sasha-Lee Davids by a mere 5,54% of almost 1,8 million votes, is in doubt after M-Net revealed that many SMS votes sent before the 6.05 pm deadline cut-off time were not received by M-Net until afterwards.

The Witness has been inundated with web comments and phone calls from Idols fans saying their SMS votes weren’t received until after the deadline, even though they were sent in ahead of time.

M-Net announced yesterday that a fresh result is expected to be announced today.

The investigation will determine whether these SMS votes were sent before the final cut-off time, thus making them legitimate and possibly changing the result of the competition.

Jason and Sasha-Lee have been made aware that the result may change, and M-Net says they “will receive all the necessary support”.

Theo Erasmus, channel director, general entertainment, of M-Net SA, told The Witness: “We started with the post-show analysis when we received the data file from our service provider, which showed that a large number of votes came in much later than the cut-off time. Various tests were conducted with our service provider and it then became apparent that there was a problem and management immediately instituted an investigation.

He said Sasha-Lee’s supporters voted more by phone, while Jason’s sent more SMSes. By 5.45 pm on Sunday, she had 791 898 phone votes and 141 771 SMS votes, while he had 442 467 SMS votes and 359 352 phone votes.

The three mobile network operators and M-Net’s service provider, are all co-operating with M-Net.

M-Net has not commented on the phone-in lines being unavailable throughout the weekend for many local Jason fans.

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