A bombshell upset at the Australia’s Next Top Model finale has resulted in host Sarah Murdoch announcing the wrong girl as the contest winner live on air.
Murdoch declared 19 year old Kelsey Martinovich as the winner tonight as the crowd erupted.
But no sooner had Kelsey made her thankyou speech did a gobsmacked Murdoch begin to backtrack before a stunned audience.
“Oh my God, I don’t know what to say right now,” she said.
“I’m feeling a bit sick about this. 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….”
18 year old Amanda Ware was suddenly elevated as the series winner.
The two girls, in a clearly embarrasing live television moment, consoled one another and Murdoch.
“It’s ok, it’s ok,” said Kelsey.
The disastrous moment is unprecedented in the show’s history.
The mix-up stemmed during the show’s first ever three-way finale, which saw 19 year old Sophie Van Den Akker from Melbourne placed third.
The finale of the FOX8 series aired live before an audience of 2000 at Luna Park, Sydney.
For the first time the winner was chosen by the viewing audience via SMS and interactive Red Button. The choice left the judges Alex Perry, Charlotte Dawson and Jez Smith urging for their favourites during the show.
During the show Perry openly campaigned for Amanda Ware from the top of the show whilst voting was still open. His fellow judges didn’t reveal their picks until an hour later when Smith agreed with his choice whilst Dawson favoured Sophie Van Den Akker.
The 2hr finale brought back all the former contestants from the series for group fashion parades, joined by male dancers, DJs, aerial performer and band. It also included video messages from models including Megan Gale and Elle MacPherson.
Amanda wins representation by modelling agency Priscilla’s, a $25,000 contract to appear in a Levi’s campaign, a trip to New York to meet ELITE agency, a Ford Fiesta Zetec, $20,000 cash and an eight-page spread for Harpers Bazaar Australia.
No doubt many fans will be campaigning for Kelsey to be awarded significant prizes as well.
UPDATE: “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 apologise 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.