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The Miss Universe pageant took a strange and humiliating turn in Las Vegas Sunday night when pageant host Steve Harvey made a huge mistake during the crowning by announcing the wrong winner on live TV!
During the final moments of the pageant, Harvey announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutiérrez-Arévalo as the winner. However, she was actually supposed to be the first runner-up. It grew even more embarrassing as Miss Colombia was crowned and given flowers and a Miss Universe sash before Harvey realized the mistake and had to speak up to correct the error. Both contestants looked absolutely shell-shocked.
The real winner, as written on the card held by Harvey, was supposed to be Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Miss Philippines' eyes grew wide when Harvey apologized and said he made a mistake, that Miss Colombia was the first runner-up and that she was the winner. Harvey showed the card on camera, apologized once more and then jetted off the stage. Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines stood side by side, neither one seeming to believe what had just happened. Miss Universe 2014, fellow Colombian Paulina Vega, removed the crown from Miss Colombia's head and gave the crown to its rightful owner. The whole thing could be summed up with one word: Awkward.
Afterward, Harvey took to Twitter with a mea culpa. (The first tweet misspelled Colombia as "Columbia" and was later deleted, but not before it was retweeted more than 30,000 times.) "I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible," he wrote. "Secondly, I'd like to apologize to the viewers at [home] that I disappointed, as well. Again, it was an honest mistake."
Miss Colombia shared a video on Twitter, which has since been removed, saying "everything happens for a reason" and that she was grateful for the experience. She thanked fans and all who voted for her.
The morning after the pageant, Steve Harvey again apologized about the mistake at a press conference.
"I just made a mistake. Now, do I have to be here? No, I don't. Could I just go home? Yes, I could. But I'm a man. I made a mistake. I'm standing here, so don't beat me up. … It has never happened before, and it may not happen again, but it happened today. But the right person got crowned Miss Universe. Nobody feels worse about this than me. My God, I feel horrible for that young lady. ... If I could do it over again, I would."
Mark Shapiro, chief content officer of WME/IMG, the company that owns and operates the pageant, also took the microphone at the press conference to say a few words.
Shapiro explained that Harvey realized the mistake and corrected himself before he was directed to do so by anyone from behind the scenes.
"It was humiliating for the women, it was humiliating for him, but it was an amazing production," said Shapiro. "Steve worked incredibly hard, he practiced incredibly hard, he took this job very seriously and he was honored to be the host of this show. … He's a human being, he made a mistake, he owned up to it and he corrected it immediately."
Photograph by Getty Images
Earlier this year, Univision decided to cut ties with the Miss USA pageant after Donald Trump, then-owner of the pageant, made anti-immigrant remarks. About 80 percent of Univision's employees are Latino. The Spanish-language broadcast's hosts weren't going to let Trump get by with his remarks, though. Miss USA pageant co-hosts Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian De La Fuente, as well as musical artists J Balvin, who was scheduled to perform on the Univision broadcast, all pulled out of the show and said they didn't want to be associated with him.
Univision said it would not only stop broadcasting and co-producing the pageant with NBC, but it would also sever all business ties with the Miss Universe Organization and Trump. NBC sold its stake to Donald Trump and then he sold the organization to talent agency and entertainment company WME/IMG in September. In October, the pageant's new owners struck a deal with Fox to air Miss Universe and Miss USA.