Buth Seyha got his start singing sad love songs to beer garden crowds in Kompong Speu province.
On Sunday night, he performed Khemarak Sereymon’s pop hit Sralanh Bong Kmean Anakot Te, or Love Me Have No Future, in front of some 600 people at Aeon Mall—a rendition good enough to make him The Voice of Cambodia.
And while the precise results of the final vote, which saw the last four of more than 5,000 hopefuls sing for stardom, remained secret, 21-year-old Mr. Seyha seemingly had his victory rubber-stamped by the government Monday morning.
In a post to his Facebook page, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who was in the audience on Sunday, confirmed that The Voice has penetrated the highest levels of government.
“In the morning, Prime Minister [Hun Sen] and Chumteav [Bun Rany] said they saw me on The Voice dialing [on my phone to cast a vote] and they asked me who I voted for,” Mr. Kanharith wrote.
“I would see that they were watching and they praised the vote as correct.”
Correct or not, Mr. Seyha will go down as the first-ever winner of the global franchise’s Cambodian version, which has proven wildly popular among local viewers.
At the conclusion of Sunday’s show, Mr. Kanharith presented Mr. Seyha with $25,000, a new Honda Dream motorbike, a refrigerator and 25 cases of Cambodia Beer.
In an interview Monday, Mr. Seyha thanked his supporters for their votes and said: “I will use my voice to pay them all back.”