Steve Harvey was the host of this year’s Miss Universe pageant and made a huge mistake at the end of the show. Harvey accidentally named Miss Colombia as the winner and then, after a couple minutes went by, he came back on stage to announce his mistake and named Miss Philippines as the rightful champion.
Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was already wearing the crown as this year’s Miss Universe winner when host Steve Harvey returned to apologize.
Harvey said it was his mistake and that he would take responsibility for not correctly reading the card, which said that contestant Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was this year’s winner and Colombia was actually the first runner-up.
He held up the card for Fox network cameras to see up close afterward. Talking with reporters afterward, Harvey and an executive for pageant owner WME-IMG called it human error.
“Nobody feels worse about this than me,” he said.
A mystified Wurtzbach appeared stunned as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Arevalo before last year’s Miss Universe from Colombia removed the crown and placed it on Wurtzbach’s head.
Wurtzbach later said she felt conflicting emotions as the mistake happened: joy when she was told she had indeed won, concern for Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Aravelo and confusion at the whole situation.
Wurtzbach said she tried to approach Aravelo onstage afterward but the Colombian was crying and surrounded by a crowd of women. She said she realized it was, “probably bad timing.”
“I did not take the crown from her,” Wurtzbach told reporters after the pageant concluded, saying she wished the contestant from Colombia well and hoped the Latin American community understands that “none of this was my fault.”
“None of this was done on purpose. It was an honest mistake,” she said, apologizing on behalf of the organization she now represents. She said Harvey told her afterward that she “should just enjoy the moment.”
Harvey also apologized on Twitter, but at first misspelled the home countries of both contestants before also fixing that.
“I’d like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake,” he wrote. “I feel terrible.”
Harvey, who was hosting the contest for the first time, said he re-read the card and noticed it said “first runner-up” next to the Colombia contestant’s name before he asked producers if he had made a mistake.
“I feel horrible for this young woman,” he said after the pageant.
An executive with pageant owner WME-IMG, Mark Shapiro, said Harvey caught the mistake and corrected it on his own, saying he wanted to make a wrong into a right.
“It was humiliating for the women. It was humiliating for him,” he told reporters after the pageant.