Mikella Abramova won The Voice Kids with the help of thousands of fraudulent votes
The 10-year-old winner of a Russian spin-off of the popular singing competition The Voice was forced to relinquish the top prize this week after it was determined that her victory was the result of thousands of fraudulent votes.
Mikella Abramova, the daughter of Russian singer Alsou and millionaire businessman Yan Abramov, was forced to give up her win of The Voice Kids on Thursday, the New York Post‘s Page Six reports.
After Mikella won the sixth season of the series, fans questioned how the young competitor had managed to win a staggering 56.5 percent of the phone-in vote, which led Channel One TV — the state-owned station which airs the program — to task a cyber-security firm, Group-IB, to look into the matter, the BBC reports.
Although the investigators’ final report has not yet been issued, Channel One confirmed in a statement that “there was outside influence on the voting, which affected the result,” according to the BBC.
In its own statement, Group-IB shared that initial results confirmed that “automated cheating tools were used…in favor of one of the project participants.”
“In total, about 300 phone numbers were involved in this manipulation, with more than 8,000 SMS messages sent from these numbers,” they shared, adding that one contestant received “more than 30,000″ votes “from such numbers.”
As a contrast, other competitors received less than 3,000 votes each, according to Russia’s Kommersant Daily reported, according to the BBC.
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Channel One has since announced in a statement they have canceled the results of the season, and will be holding a special show on May 24, which will feature “all the season finalists and the semi-finalists,” according to the BBC.
“We believe that children should not be held accountable for actions not taken by them,” the tv station said, adding that “the goal of this audit was not to put the blame on anyone but to re-evaluate the data received during the voting.”
Additionally, Channel One announced that a new voting mechanism will also be introduced ahead of the next season to deter voting interference in the future.