Host Carson Daly opened Wednesday's The Voice results show by announcing that there had been "inconsistencies" found during the first round of live playoff voting, but assured fans that the situation did not affect the outcome.
Daly brought on stage Jason George, the CEO of Telescope - the company which oversees voting for not only The Voice, but other reality competitions as well. Daly then revealed, "We noticed some inconsistencies in this week's texting and online voting."
"For complete fairness, votes cast via text and online were not included in the voting results," he went on to state, adding that, "Telescope certifies removing those votes did not affect the voting for any team."
Neither Daly nor George explained specifically what was meant by "inconsistencies," nor did they offer any details about how the issues were detected.
The admission did not come as a surprise to many The Voice fans, who reached out to the show's official Facebook and Twitter accounts on Tuesday to speak up about problems voting. As of 11:30 PM PST (an hour and a half after the show's West Coast airing), both The Voice Facebook app and show website were stating that voting was closed, when in reality it ended at 10 AM EST on Wednesday morning.
Further complicating matters, a Twitter user with the handle @NAIDetectives tweeted on Tuesday that the phone number given to vote for Team Shakira's Karina Iglesias was wrong. Iglesias was eliminated on Wednesday.
Yet with Daly asserting that the removal of text and online votes made no difference, four artists were dropped from The Voice as scheduled: Iglesias, Caroline Glaser, Justin Rivers and Cathia.
Did the voting issues really not affect Wednesday's results?
Without knowing the specifics of the tabulation process, it's hard to say for sure. However, it seems doubtful. With the disqualification of text and online methods, the only votes that counted were from iTunes and phones. Yet at least one phone number may have been wrong.
In addition, iTunes voting was more difficult this week, as the usual link to purchase The Voice singles was missing from the iTunes Store front page. Not to mention that iTunes voting is one of the least popular methods to use, as it requires that a fan must purchase an artist's single for each vote they want to cast - at $1.29 a pop. If you vote the maximum number of times, that will cost you $12.99.
It's not implausible to say that there may have been many more votes cast by people who prefer to vote strictly online - people who were not able to vote at all because of the website and Facebook errors.
The Voice has a recent history of complicating voting. Starting in season three, the show introduced a new rule in which an artist's number of iTunes votes is multiplied by 10 if their song is charting in the iTunes Top 10 at close of voting. This greater emphasis on downloads may have proved which artists sell better, but it also marginalized the other methods. Fans could easily tell which artists would be leaving by inspecting the charts, with eventual winner Cassadee Pope a virtual lock due to her string of iTunes hits. Meanwhile, those unwilling or unable to spend money questioned how much their votes mattered.
Now The Voice has another voting controversy. Despite the reasonable doubt, it's not hard to see why NBC proceeded with Wednesday's elimination show. The alternative would have been to allow all 16 artists to perform again next week. But that would also have required adding a week to the season's schedule, and the network has already set The Voice finale for June 18.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.