"There's a need for more protection": Karl Stefanovic criticises The Voice Kids.

Karl Stefanovic.

A rejected 12-year-old contestant burst into tears on last night’s episode of The Voice Kids, sparking criticism from fans on social media and, perhaps surprisingly, from Channel Nine host Karl Stefanovic.

Romy, now 13, sang Adele‘s Turning Tables in a blind audition, and started crying when none of the coaches turned their chairs to select her for their team.

The moment provoked criticism of the network and an outburst of support for Romy on social media — but many were surprised to hear the Today show host Karl Stefanovic criticise the episode on air this morning.

On the Today show, which airs on the same channel as The Voice Kids, Stefanovic said “it was hard to watch”.

“I just wonder if it should have been shown in the first place, from my perspective with kids watching it last night,” he said.

“I found it incredibly uncomfortable and I just don’t know if my kids needed to see it, that level of rejection… I think it could potentially do more damage than anything else to that child. There’s a need for more protection in that situation.” 

Child psychology experts have also weighed in on the debate, with child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg telling the Daily Telegraph Channel Nine should not have aired the footage.

The expert told the Daily Telegraph the network was “more interested in ratings than a child’s psychological well-being”. 

Romy crying after her audition.

“They are children. We are asking them to deal with disappointment — not on a private scale but on national television,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

But a spokesperson from Channel Nine defended the decision to air the footage this morning, telling Mamamia the decision was made in consultation with Romy and her parents.

“As with all artists that appear on the show, the lines of communication remain open prior, during and after broadcast and we are in constant contact with the families,” the spokesperson said.

“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. “

You can read Mia Freedman’s post in defence of the decision to air the footage here.

 Take a look at the performers from last night’s episode: 

Do you think the footage of Romy’s breakdown should have been aired?