Monday 5 December 2016

The best Miss Universe shambles conspiracy theories

Sasha Brady

Published 22/12/2015 | 10:50

Miss Columbia has the crown taken from her head as Miss Philippines waits to be crowned Miss Universe in the farcical affair
Miss Columbia has the crown taken from her head as Miss Philippines waits to be crowned Miss Universe in the farcical affair

Fans around the world are claiming that the Miss Universe shambles - where Miss Colombia was mistakenly crowned as the winner - wasn't an honest mistake.

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A few painful moments passed before Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was correctly named winner.

To show it had been an 'honest mistake', host Steve Harvey held up a card which clearly laid out the second and first runners-up and the winner.

It was an embarrassing gaffe that was aired live worldwide but many people believe that the beauty pageant was rigged and are taking to social media to share their conspiracy theories.

Miss Philippines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (L), reacts as Miss Colombia 2015, Ariadna Gutierrez (R), is incorrectly named 2015 Miss Universe (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Miss Philippines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (L), reacts as Miss Colombia 2015, Ariadna Gutierrez (R), is incorrectly named 2015 Miss Universe (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

US radio host Michael Smerconish polled people on his website and 79 per cent say it was not a publicity stunt.

On voy.com, a popular beauty pageant message board, users are critiquing how many minutes the contestants stood still. “Why didn't someone step in immediately to correct the 'error'. They could have intervened before the crown was on Colombia's head' said one.

Another user replied that Miss Colombia (Ariadna Gutierrez) stood suspiciously still for too long: “Once Colombia was crowned there was a good four minutes where she stood there stationary which has NEVER happened in the last 20 years.”

Sample comment on Facebook from Raoul Martinez, a TV anchor in San Diego: “You guys buying this? I’m no conspiracy theorist, but this smells fishy to me. Sounds like a big PUBLICITY STUNT to get everyone talking about Miss Universe, when normally (let’s be honest, now!) NO ONE would be talking about Miss Universe.”

Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is finally announced as the correct Miss Universe (AP)
Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is finally announced as the correct Miss Universe (AP)

Similar thoughts were echoed by many — here are some of the other reasons some think it was planned all along.

1. Ratings boost for Miss Universe

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 20: (L-R) Miss Australia 2015, Monika Radulovic, Miss Philippines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, and Miss France 2015, Flora Coquerel, stand onstage during the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on December 20, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (2nd L) went on to be crowned the new Miss Universe. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 20: (L-R) Miss Australia 2015, Monika Radulovic, Miss Philippines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, and Miss France 2015, Flora Coquerel, stand onstage during the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on December 20, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (2nd L) went on to be crowned the new Miss Universe. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Miss Universe pageant only garned about 7.6 million viewers in 2015, hardly a ratings success and the event is fairly under the radar in the United States. Plus, a Sunday night in December (five days before Christmas) isn't the ideal time to show any programme apart from football. The pageant, airing on Fox for the first time, needed to make an impact to get people talking. And it did.

2 Publicity stunt for Steve Harvey

Host Steve Harvey holds up the winners' card after incorrectly announcing Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe (AP)
Host Steve Harvey holds up the winners' card after incorrectly announcing Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe (AP)

Harvey also hosts American show Family Fued which operates in a similar concept to ITV'S Family Fortunes. He was the biggest talking point of the whole evening... which might remind people about his other TV presenting duties and encourage them to tune in.

3 Donald Trump was the mastermind behind the mistake

The Miss Universe franchise faced drama this year when US presidential candidate Donald Trump sold the pageant to WME/IMG. The beauty contest's former home, broadcaster NBC, cut all ties with Trump after his negative comments about immigrants, which also resulted in Univision dropping the pageant.

But some were convinced that Trump (even if he no longer owns the pageant) was still involved, somehow... because the story needs a villian.

4 The teleprompter said "Miss Colombia"

Harvey took full responsibility for the mix-up on stage, apologising to the audience. But according to the Miss Universe’s Snapchat, as Harvey left the stage, he said the teleprompter read “Miss Universe – Colombia.” Though that snap is now nowhere to be found, several media outlets have screengrabs, including USA Today.

However, later in the Snapchat story, Harvey is seen talking to the press and takes the blame again: He says he should have said “runner-up” instead of “winner” when making the announcement.

However, Miss Universe organisers remained silent about the theories.

In a statement they said: "The excitement of live TV was evident tonight on The Miss Universe stage with over 10 million live fan votes tabulated. 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."

Former Miss Universe, American actress Olivia Culpo, congratulates Miss Philippines
Former Miss Universe, American actress Olivia Culpo, congratulates Miss Philippines

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