X Factor fans have gone into a frenzy after a satirical website posted a fake story announcing Tom Batchelor as the winner.
The Civilian appeared to have crashed as viewers of the show flooded the site.
The story said a technical error resulted in TV3 airing the final episode months before it was supposed to.
It said the finale was hosted by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and joked that Batchelor had himself tweeted weeks ago: "Thanks to everyone who voted, so proud to win X Factor".
Fans vented on Twitter, with one woman writing: "Uh oh some one at tv3 is gonna lose their job...spoiler alert..tom wins xfactor."
But producers on the X Factor's official Twitter account reiterated that the shows are filmed live and there was no winner yet. The winner is decided by public vote.
Former University of Canterbury student Ben Uffindell, 22, started the website this year.