Tuesday 23 January 2018

No crowning glory as the winner isn't...

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

kimberly Pierceall Las Vegas

The Colombian contestant was already wearing this year's Miss Universe crown when host, Steve Harvey, returned to announce on live television that he had mistakenly crowned the wrong winner.

In one of those immortal TV bloopers that keeps live TV interesting, he revealed that the contestant from the Philippines was, in fact, this year's winner.

So, as the crown was duly removed and placed on the head of a mystified Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines, other contestants rushed to console Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo of Colombia - and a sheepish Harvey felt compelled to apologise on Twitter and to reporters assembled backstage. "I feel horrible for this young woman," he said.

Mr Harvey said it was his mistake alone and that he would take responsibility for not correctly reading the card, which said that Wurtzbach was this year's winner and Miss Colombia was actually the first runner-up.

He held up the cue card for Fox network cameras to see up-close afterwards. Talking with reporters, Harvey and an executive for pageant owner WME-IMG called it human error.

"Nobody feels worse about this than me," he said.

Ms Wurtzbach appeared stunned as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Ms Arevalo, before last year's Miss Universe, from Colombia, removed the crown and placed it on Ms Wurtzbach's head.

Ms Wurtzbach later said she felt conflicting emotions as the mistake happened: joy when she was told she had indeed won, concern for Ms Aravelo and confusion at the whole situation.

Ms Wurtzbach said she tried to approach Aravelo onstage afterward, but the Colombian was crying and surrounded by a crowd of women. She said she realised 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, apologising on behalf of the organisation she now represents. She said Harvey told her afterward that she "should just enjoy the moment".

As all this was unfolding, a car drove up onto a sidewalk and struck dozens of people just outside the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino where the pageant was taking place.

The Las Vegas Strip was soon jammed with ambulances and fire trucks, and authorities said at least 30 people were taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries, with one person dead.

Meanwhile, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos had to reverse a celebratory tweet after discovering that Miss Colombia had been mistakenly named the winner. Before the error was discovered, Santos posted on social media: "Colombians! The most beautiful in the world. Miss Universe 2016!!!! What pride!"

But just seconds later he tweeted: "For us, you'll always be our Miss Universe. We feel very proud."

Irish Independent

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