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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – It was a mistake seen ’round the world – or rather, the universe.
Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach won the crown on Sunday, December 20 (Monday, December 21 in Manila) after a mix-up in the winner’s announcement.
At Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas that night, host Steve Harvey misread his cue card and initially announced that Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez was Miss Universe 2015.
Ariadna was crowned and started the customary winner’s walk, waving and smiling to the crowd.
But not for long.
As she blew kisses, Harvey awkwardly stopped the program and said, “I have to apologize. The first runner-up is Colombia.”
“Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines,” he added, with the Colombian contestant left like a deer in headlights and the actual winner, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, looking shocked.
All of this on live television, with millions watching from Manila to Manchester.
“It was my fault,” Harvey stammered as a perplexed audience held its breath.
“Please don’t hold it against the ladies,” added the talk show host.
He later apologized on Twitter, but misspelled “Philippines” and “Colombia.”
@SeanTPendergast My apologies it was an honest Mistake— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015
After deleting his previous tweet, he sent out the following apology:
I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible.— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015
Secondly, I'd like to apologize to the viewers at that I disappointed as well. Again it was an honest mistake.— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015
I don't want to take away from this amazing night and pageant. As well as the wonderful contestants. They were all amazing.— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015
He also apologized on Facebook, saying, “I made a terrible mistake tonight in announcing the wrong winner and runner-up for the Miss Universe pageant. I know how much pride many countries, fans and most importantly, the contestants take in preparing for this night. I hope that you can forgive me.
All contestants were amazing but I want to specifically apologize to Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines again and wholeheartedly. You both represented well for your countries, families and yourselves.”
Harvey also apologized to Pia after the show.
Harvey, 58, is best known as the host of the long-running US game show “Family Feud,” as well as the shows The Steve Harvey Morning Show.
He is also the author of the book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.
Miss Universe also released an apology on Facebook, saying, “Unfortunately, a live telecast means that human error can come into play. We witnessed that tonight when the wrong winner was initially announced. Our sincerest apologies to Miss Universe Colombia, Miss Universe Philippines, their families, and fans. We congratulate miss Universe Philippines as Miss Universe 2015.”
‘You had one job’
Online, social media users reacted to Steve’s mistake, saying that he “had one job.”
Many expressed sympathy for Ariadna, but some were also forgiving of Steve, as he apologized for his mistake.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump retweeted a social media user, who said, “Where’s @realDonaldTrump when you need em? #MissUniverse2015.”
He later sent out this tweet, saying that if he still owned the pageant, the incident would never have happened.
Very sad what happened last night at the Miss Universe Pageant. I sold it 6 months ago for a record price. This would never have happened!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2015
Trump co-owned the Miss Universe pageant with NBC Universal. In June, when he announced his plans to run for US president, Trump angered many with his comments on Mexican immgrants to the US.
Following his comments, NBC cut ties with Trump, saying, “To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Apprentice on NBC.”
On NBC’s Today show on December 21, Trump spoke more about what he thought about that night.
“Well it was something I guess that can happen. Steve Harvey is a great guy, I like the way he got out and did it. It certainly was terrible for the young woman from Colombia, but you know, things happen, it’s live television, and you know, the new owners are tremendous people,” Donald said.
He also said that if he still owned the pageant, he would make Miss Philippines and Miss Colombia co-winners. ” I would recommend that they go have a beautiful ceremony, which is good for the brand, and good for Miss Universe, and do a co-winner, and I think something like that could work.”
Long road to Miss Universe
Regardless of the mix-up, Pia Wurtzbach’s Miss Universe win has been a long-time coming.
Pia first joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2013, where she placed first runner-up. She then joined again in 2014, but only made it to the Top 15.
The day before the coronation night, Pia sent out a message to her supporters, acknowledging her 3 attempts to win the crown.
She wrote, “I hope I inspired you. Never give up on your dreams and believe that dreams do come true! Walang susuko! Ang Pilipino, palaban. (No giving up! The Filipino is a fighter.)“
Pia is the 3rd Miss Universe from the Philippines. Gloria Diaz won the title in 1969 and Margarita Moran won in 1973.
What did you think of Steve Harvey’s announcement mix-up? Let us know in the comments! – with reports from AFP/Rappler.com
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