A heart-rending, teary meltdown by The Voice Kids contestant Romy,12, sparked outrage following her unsuccessful audition last night.
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Karl Stefanovic has criticised Channel Nine for showing a 12-year-old girl cry on singing competition show The Voice.
Surprisingly one of the biggest critics has been a Channel Nine host, Karl Stefanovic.
On the Today show this morning, a grimacing Stefanovic said "it was hard to watch". He later expanded on his thoughts saying he didn't like seeing a child crying on national television.
"I just wonder if it should have been shown in the first place, from my perspective with kids watching it last night, I found it incredibly uncomfortable and I just don't know if my kids needed to see it, that level of rejection," he said on the channel that also hosts The Voice Kids.
"I think it could potentially do more damage than anything else to that child. There’s a need for more protection in that situation."
But despite questions being raised over the value of putting children under such an intense spotlight, Romy says she is "happy" with the audition and will learn from the experience.
"I can see what I can improve upon and what I did right," she told Channel Nine. "I am also happy for people to see my audition as all my friends have been nagging me as to whether I got in," she said, referring to the fact the show is filmed in advance.
A Nine spokesperson defended the decision to air the episode, saying: "The decision to put this blind audition to air was made after consultation with Romy and her parents who are very proud that she reached the top 100 young singers in Australia - an impressive achievement in itself.
"Despite her initial disappointment, Romy has taken only positives from her experience on The Voice Kids and remains dedicated to develop her voice ready for the next opportunity, whatever that may be."
In response to questions over monitoring the children's health and safety after such a public rebuke, the spokesperson said Channel Nine remained in "constant contact" with the families and "lines of communication remain open prior, during and after broadcast".
Romy started bawling after her rendition of Adele's song Turning Tables failed to get a mentor to spin their chair during the blind auditions on Sunday night.
Her breakdown on the Nine Network series showed just how tough it is for children to face rejection from their idols.
Feeling her pain and and distress, mentors Mel B, Joel and Benji Madden and Delta Goodrem, rushed to the stage to lift Romy up from her emotional fall.
"Before I turned (at the end of the song) I thought I want to hear this voice next year," Joel said trying to console her.
"I'd love to hear a year of practice, a year of experience and falling down and getting back up again."
Goodrem earlier told Fairfax Media that The Voice Kids has a very different feel - and pressures - to the adult version. "The kids have a very different excitement about them. There's not as much pressure, they're just enjoying loving music.
"They're there because they just love it so much and they're excited to sing these songs and see how it all works."
She said the show aimed to protect the young contestants as much as possible. "But at the same time, they're kids and they're quite resilient and they're there to enjoy it."
Mel B also spoke of the number of times she'd been rejected and soon after Romy had wiped the tears away and bravely departed the stage.
While Romy's heart was broken, nine-year Tamara told everyone how to fix a broken trophy.
"I put sticky tape on it," Tamara said after her duet partner 10-year-old Anthony dobbed her in for breaking the first trophy they won some six years ago.
Anthony also dobbed Tamara in for getting too excited when they perform.
"She gets over-excited and goes out of tune," Anthony said with a smile during the pre-performance interview.
The friends were brought together by their mums and on Sunday's episode they not only performed a sassy version of We Go Together, from Grease, they topped it off with a choreographed dance number.
It was good enough to get Goodrem to recruit the duet as one of nine acts on her team so far.
The coaches need to recruit 15 acts each to take through to the battle rounds.
While Goodrem now has nine, Mel B has six young artists and the Madden Brothers have eight.
The Madden brothers failed to turn for the opening act, Jamie, who then decided to put Benji in his place.
The Good Charlotte member had just finished praising the 14-year-old when he cut to the chase and turned to Mel B and Goodrem and asked the coaches what they had to offer him.
"That's the best way anyone has told me to shut up in a long time," Benji said.
It's a tough call by Jamie, as Benji has usually been seen and not heard on The Voice Kids.
- with Aja Styles and AAP