Channel Nine has been accused of rigging The Voice, using a loophole to dodge its “no family” rule after Guy Sebastian’s brother took out the reality singing competition.
Chris Sebastian, the younger brother of coach Guy Sebastian was announced as the winner of the series last night, despite the show’s rules banning family from taking part.
His crowning moment was met with controversy, with fans claiming the competition had been rigged to give the famous brother an advantage.
There is no suggestion by thewest.com.au that Chris or Guy are involved in rigging the competition.
In Sunday night’s live TV finale, Team Guy Sebastian’s Johnny Manuel, Team Boy George’s Siala Robson, Team Delta Goodrem’s Stellar Perry and Team Kelly Rowland’s Chris faced off.
While Siala Robson and Johnny Manuel were the favourites to win, it was Sebastian who came out victorious with a rendition of Linkin Park’s Numb and Horses, by Daryl Braithwaite.
The 31-year-old was crowned the winner via a public voting system which, according to Channel Nine, was so close there was only 0.5% between first and second place.
With the win, he will pocket a $100,000 cash prize and record contract with EMI Music.
But as the finale was aired, the hashtag #Rigged began trending on Twitter.
Many were sceptical over his win, pointing out his older brother Guy’s close ties with the show.
“Anyone else feeling like the @TheVoiceAU result has some optics issues? Brother a judge, other contestants far more talented and interesting. I cant enter a cooking show because 30+ years ago I qualified as a chef. Not sure it passes the pub sniff test #rigged #TheVoiceAU,” Twitter user Pete Dillon wrote.
Others said there was no way the finale could have been corrupted due to the fact the winner was determined by a public vote.
Some fans shared the terms and conditions for contestants, pointing out family members of staff are not allowed to take part.
Nine has defended its inclusion of Chris in the show, saying he was exempt from the usual rules due to being an All Star — a contestant who has previously starred on the show.
Chris first appeared on the show in 2012, while Guy didn’t become a coach until 2019.
“All Stars do not apply to appear in the program through open casting due to the unique situation of having previously appeared on the show. The T&Cs on My Casting Net are for direct applicants to the program only,” a Nine spokesperson said.
Nine said the vote was heavily regulated.
“The public vote for The Voice winner is highly regulated, operated by an independent third party, and overseen by lawyers. This year’s result the tightest ever, with less than half a percent of the votes separating the winner and runner-up,” the spokesperson said.
Chris spoke to KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O this morning and said he expected the fan backlash due to his famous links.
“I knew it was coming, but I weighed up the risks,” he said on the radio show.
“I was like, look, this isn’t even about me anymore. I’ve got a family to provide for, I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life.
“I’m not going to allow a couple that are upset (to upset me). At the end of the day, there are people that voted for me so I’m going to sing for them. If the others don’t want to listen, that’s all good.”
The brothers watched the grand finale together last night, with Chris saying he had no idea he had won until he watched the show.
Jackie O also asked if he thought Guy wanted him to win more than his own contestant, to which Chris responded “He likes to win … I think a part of him was gutted but the other part was stoked.”
“I was trying to get a gauge … you should have seen the look on his face, it was pure shock. I was like, ‘thanks man.’
His brother, who won the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, also took to social media to congratulate him on the win.
“What a win .So stoked for you legend. I’m proud of all these artists for putting themselves out there and throwing everything at this, during a challenging time in the world. The fact that we were able to pull this show off against all odds is such a blessing,” he wrote.
“What a privilege for all these artists to have a stage to showcase their wonderful gifts, collaborating with the most incredible creative team from @thevoiceau . Big love to all of you who tried out this year, keep kicking goals and live off the positives.”