Richard Stirton is announced as the first winner of The Voice SA. Photo: M-Net

Poor Richard Stirton.

He’s the first ever winner of The Voice SA – a prize which includes R800 000 worth of goodies, and a recording contract with Universal Music SA. But that’s not what people are talking about this morning.

A big question mark hangs over Stirton’s win because of the voting fiasco that put a dampener on this reality singing show finale. The Voice’s online voting system is said to have collapsed, which meant only the votes recorded up until Thursday were used to determine the winner. According to M-Net, it is not yet known why the system collapsed and, as such, they also do not know who viewers were siding with in the final outcome. Perhaps their system couldn’t cope with the large number of votes cast. Nevertheless, who’s to say that Stirton is the true champion?

The Voice host Lungile Radu was forced into an embarrasing concession during the finale last night, telling his audience that the votes cast on Sunday would not count towards the final result. He blamed “intermittent” voting platform issues.

At the press conference following the show, M-Net’’s head of publicity Lani Lombard tried her best to put a positive spin on proceedings.

“Basically The Voice South Africa broke the internet on Sunday night,” she said, before admitting that the broadcaster wasn’t entirely sure of what had gone wrong.

“There was a massive number of votes coming through on our voting platforms and as a result of that – as you know we are a responsible broadcaster – we are always very transparent what is going on in our voting platforms and we work with our auditors as well to make sure that the results are fair.”

“Because of this we decided to go back to what the results were at the close of voting lines on Thursday night. And that is as per the terms and conditions. So if you go into the terms and conditions, it clearly says that if there are any technical issues, that we will go back to the previous votes.

“This is the fairest decision because you don't know how many people voted for who. So it makes it very difficult to make a decision based on guessing work. The best possible thing was to revert back to the roll-over votes made until Thursday.”

“It would be impossible to say how many votes went to the other contestants as well. I do think that we saw this week as well that Richard was number one on iTunes, he was extremely popular throughout the competition, and we could just have guessed how the voting would have gone tonight but it probably would have been very similar.”

“We would have wanted all of the voting platforms to have worked 100%, so that is unfortunately how it happened.

“Just to make sure that you are absolutely clear about this: Tonight's votes would have been added to this week's votes.”

That’s cold comfort to those who spent money voting for their favourite singer on Sunday night.