Hong Kong singer G.E.M was given a hero's welcome despite coming in second in the finale of singing contest I Am A Singer, a result that upset fans.
According to an article in The Straits Times, after losing to mainland balladeer Han Lei, 46, during Friday's Season 2 finale held at Changsha, Hunan, in China, the 22-year-old was on Saturday mobbed by about 300 fans at the Shenzhen airport while enroute home.
In the melee, some shouted their support for the star, who was a relative unknown outside Hong Kong till her participation in the contest, which started in January.
"I had expected this," she told reporters about the result, based on audience votes.
"Nobody knew me and they took a risk on me, so I'm already thankful. The finalists' performances are evident. There's no need to speculate," she said, about being invited to join the Hunan TV show and dismissing talk that the result was rigged.
In third and fourth places on Saturday were Malaysians Shila Amzah, 23, and Gary Chaw, 34. They were followed by mainland singers Jason Zhang Jie, 31, and Zhou Bichang, 28, and Taiwan's Phil Chang, 46.
G.E.M lost by 3.36 per cent of votes. She had been a favourite to win with her powerhouse vocals, having come in first in four previous rounds of the contest, which pits professional singers against one another.