Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo of Colombia thought she had achieved the pinnacle. During the live broadcast of the Miss Universe pageant, host Steve Harvey announced she had won the global competition.
The Colombian contestant had the crown on her head when Harvey returned to the stage to state he had read the wrong name on the cue card and that Filipino Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach had won with Arevalo being the runner up.
“I feel horrible for this young woman,” Harvey told reporters backstage. He also turned to Twitter to apologize for his mistake. Harvey said he took responsibility for reading the card wrong, which accurately read Wurtzbach as the winner.
Harvey held the card up to the cameras for FOX to show that the card had the right information. WME-IMG, the pageant owner, had an executive join the host afterwards with a gaggle of reporters to say that the incident was nothing more than human error.
“Nobody feels worse about this than me,” Harvey said.
After the correction was announced, Wurtzbach appeared stunned, slowly approaching the front of the stage alongside Arevalo. Last year’s Miss Universe, who is also from Colombia, had to take the crown off of her compatriot and place it on the Filipino’s head.
Wurtzbach later said she was conflicted about the mistake. She said she was joyful that she’d won but also had concern for Aravelo’s situation and confusion over the entire scenario. She said she tried to approach Aravelo afterward, but the Colombian was crying and surrounded by a crowd of women. She said that the situation was “probably bad timing.”
“I did not take the crown from her,” Wurtzbach said after the pageant, saying she wished Aravelo well. “None of this was done on purpose. It was an honest mistake.”
Harvey later apologized on Twitter, first misspelling the two nation’s names before tweeting a fixed version. “I’d like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake,” he wrote. “I feel terrible.”
This was the first time hosting the pageant for Harvey. He said re-read the card and alerted producers of his apparent mistake. Mark Shapiro, who is an executive with WME-IMG, confirmed Harvey was the one who alerted people of the error, correcting his himself to right his wrong.
“It was humiliating for the women. It was humiliating for him,” he told reporters after the pageant.
As the debacle unfolded inside the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino, a driver plowed into the crowded sidewalk, injuring at least 30 people and killing one.
It was just the latest in the long line of problems for the popular beauty contest, with Donald Trump, the former owner of Miss Universe, embroiled in controversy with Univision, one of the broadcasters, over Trump’s political statements since announcing his presidential candidacy. Univision pulled out of the broadcasting for the American event and Trump sold the pageant.
This marks the third win for the Philippines.
And, for what its worth, Miss USA’s Olivia Jordan came in as the second runner-up.