It should have been the perfect end to an otherwise successful Commonwealth Games but last night's Closing Ceremony instead had Channel Seven commentators unleashing on live TV and the event's bosses scrambling to apologise.
Even before Channel Seven host Johanna Griggs slammed the ceremony on-air, it was clear she wasn't happy with the network copping criticism for not showing the athletes entering the stadium — including flag bearer Kurt Fearnley.
Griggs went into damage control more than an hour before the ceremony had even wrapped up, furiously tweeting that GOLDOC, the event's organising committee, was to blame.
"There was no arrival of the athletes as part of the show. A decision by the artistic creative team of the ceremonies. Not us," she wrote, an hour before the ceremony had even finished.
"They have actually minimised the value of any nation having a flag-bearer for closing. Athletes arrived in drugs [sic — dribs] & drabs with ... no mention or fuss being made of any flag bearers. So not Seven's fault," she added.
Griggs fired off another 20 tweets, including ones blaming the host broadcaster NEP, before her and her co-host Basil Zempilas were tasked with wrapping up the tedious broadcast mere seconds after the ceremony had finished.
Standing in front of an already empty stadium, Griggs and Zempilas wasted no time tearing strips off the two-and-a-half hour ceremony, labelling it "disappointing".
But Griggs said Zempilas' admission the ceremony hadn't "lived up to expectations" was too polite.
"I'm sorry, you're being way too polite," Griggs told her co-host. "People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not to show pictures of athletes or not to show the flag bearer, Kurt Fearnley ... We can only show the pictures that are provided by the actual host broadcasters. They made the decision not to have athletes enter the stadium. I'm furious. Actually wrecking a tradition that is so important ... You want to see the athletes come in," she said.
Griggs' anger at host broadcaster NEP however was misplaced, with GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie admitting to Sunrise this morning that the "buck stops with us".
"You can have a blame game from now until eternity but the reality is, I'm chairman of the organising committee, the buck stops with us. I'm not interested in blaming anyone but us," Mr Beattie said.
"That's our fault ... that's my fault ... I apologise to you and anyone else," he added.
NEP, the American broadcast company in charge of sending footage to every Commonwealth nation, referred blamers to a statement from the GOLDOC Chairman this morning, tweeting they were "just as disappointed in tonight's outcome" as the viewers.
Mr Beattie accepted blame this morning admitting they "got it wrong" and the decision to not broadcast the athletes entering the stadium — including flag bearer Fearnley — was for their "welfare".
"We were concerned about the athletes' welfare," Mr Beattie told Sunrise.
"When you've got thousands of athletes, the problem is, where do you put them? They've competed, they're exhausted. The last thing they want is to stand in a field for an hour waiting for the closing ceremony.
"But we made a mistake.
"That wasn't shared with viewers, that was clearly a stuff-up, if I get a chance I'll apologise to Kurt [Fearnley] this morning," he added.
When Sunrise host David Koch told Mr Beattie the ceremony appeared to have been "put together by some arty farty entertainment organiser who doesn't know what the games are all about", the GOLDOC chairman admitted "it's true".
Responding to the backlash from last night's ceremony, the chairman issued a statement this morning.
"It was the intention of the Closing Ceremony creative to have the athletes involved from the very start of the show, enabling them to all be part of the celebrations. This resulted in the athletes entering the stadium during the pre-show, rather than during the live broadcast.
"GOLDOC appreciates that this decision therefore did not provide the opportunity for the television audiences to share this moment.
"With over half the athletes scheduled to depart the Gold Coast tomorrow, it is understandable that large numbers of athletes chose to depart the ceremony early, to prepare for their journey or attend their own team celebrations.
"It was the intention of GOLDOC to celebrate the accomplishments of the athletes and provide them with a great experience. We are naturally disappointed that the good intentions of the creative did not necessarily work for some of the athletes involved and the broadcast audience," the statement said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also hit out at the ceremony's organisers, today telling reporters those behind the debacle should "hang their head in shame".
"I'm just as disappointed as anyone else," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I've been talking to families that were there as well and Kate Jones (Commonwealth Games Minister) also shares that view. We wanted to stand there and celebrate our athletes and it didn't happen.
"Whoever was responsible for making that decision (not incorporating athletes march in to the televised ceremony) should hang their head in shame," she said.
While a number of Channel Seven commentators hit out at NEP's apparent decision to not broadcast the athletes entering the stadium, the reality is every network showing last night's Closing Ceremony would've been given a broadcast briefing well in advance of the event.
The briefing is provided so networks across the globe have an exact understanding of how the program will run — so commentators can prepare what they are going to say and will understand exactly how the event will be shot and formatted.
But the ceremony wasn't just panned for not showing the athletes enter the stadium, the event was also criticised for its lengthy speeches and "self-indulgent" promotion of Birmingham hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Mr Beattie also copped the blame for that this morning, tweeting it was another part GOLDOC got wrong.