| Updated at: 0856 PST, Wednesday, September 29, 2010|
SYDNEY: The showpiece finale of a popular Australian reality modelling show ended in a toe-curling blunder when the wrong winner was announced on live television.
Australia's Next Top Model's two finalists had already made their winner's and loser's speeches when presenter Sarah Murdoch, daughter-in-law of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, revealed the mix-up.
"Oh my God, I don't know what to say right now. I'm feeling a bit sick about this," Murdoch said during Tuesday's broadcast. "This is what happens on live TV, folks. This is insane, insane, insane."
A bewildered Amanda Ware, 18, finally accepted the award and made a brief victory sashay down the catwalk, as 19-year-old Kelsey Martinovich took the bizarre defeat gracefully.
"It's an honest mistake, it's fine," she said, consoling the red-faced Murdoch.
Broadcaster Foxtel blamed the error on a "miscommunication" between backstage operators, and offered Martinovich a cash gift and a trip to New York as compensation.
Local media rated the error as one of the most embarrassing moments on Australian TV. "And the next top model is... no, wait a second," headlined the Daily Telegraph.
Judge Alex Perry later denied the incident was a publicity stunt to boost the show's ratings.
"I would stake my life on it," he told Sydney's 2DayFM radio.
"There's no way that she (Murdoch) would do that. I think you saw that the instant that she knew something was wrong, you could see it in her eyes, that wasn't lying, that wasn't acting."