South Korean broadcasting company, Mnet has released a public apology regarding the recent controversy around the voting of the final line-up of their debut group, X1. Produce X 101 is a K-pop survival reality show, similar in concept to talent shows such as American Idol, whereby the contestants that receives the highest votes will form a group and debut as X1.
As the show came to an end, Produce X 101 released the final debut lineup of the group X1. X1 consists of 11 members; specifically the top 10 trainees with the most public votes and the 11th member being the trainee with the most overall votes. The trainees that will be making their debut are Lee Eun-sang, Kang Min-hee, Cha Jun-ho, Nam Do-hyun, Lee Han-gyul, Son Dong-pyo, Cho Seung-youn, Song Hyung-jun, Han Seung-woo, Kim Woo-seok and Kim Yo-han.
After the final episode was aired, Produce X 101 came under fire for allegedly synthesising votes — netizens noticed that a strange coincidence in the differences in the total number of votes per contestant.
Netizens demanded an explanation for the strange coincidences in the voting numbers and wanted to know if the voting process was at all rigged. Mnet initially denied these allegations, stating, "It's even weird for us to confirm or deny rumors about rigging the votes from a live broadcast. We have no reason to manipulate the votes. We decided to not make an official statement because we feel that in itself will cause more issues."
This created more backlash against the production team of the reality show.
On 24 July, they made another statement, explaining their calculation process via social media outlets.
"This is an announcement regarding the controversy over the gaps in total votes for the "Produce X 101" live show.
First of all, as the production staff in charge, we express sincere apologies for causing controversy over the "Produce X 101" text votes.
During the [July] 19 live show, Produce X 101 revealed the total numbers of individual votes based on combined online pre-votes and live text votes when announcing each of the 11 members who will debut.
Following the broadcast, the Produce X 101 production staff recognized that the gaps in votes between some of the trainees are identical. After checking, we discovered that although there are no issues with the total ranking, there were errors in the process of calculating and relaying the total numbers of individual votes.
This is an explanation regarding the identical gaps in votes between the trainees.
The Produce X 101 staff in charge of calculating the votes during the live show validated the rankings via multiple methods by recording the rankings based on vote counts and also calculating based on the percentage of each trainee's votes. However, in the process of validating the rankings, this staff rounded the vote percentages up to two decimal places, and the vote counts that were converted from the vote percentages were relayed to the live show.
We once again confirm that there were no changes in the rankings in this process.
We once again apologize to all of the national producers who supported and voted for Produce X 101 and also to the trainees and related parties.
We will improve our text voting system and calculation system to prevent this problem from occurring again the future.
Our production staff will put in our full effort to produce more transparent and fair programs in the future."