Miss Colombia was yesterday stripped of Miss Universe crown after host’s gaffe.
Miss Colombia was declared the winner of the beauty pageant – but then host Steve Harvey announced he’d made a mistake and the crown was handed over to Miss Philippines
Colombia erupted with fury on Monday after their beauty queen was crowned Miss Universe – only to be stripped of the crown minutes later, when the host realised he had made a mistake.
Ariadna Gutiérrez Arevalo, Miss Colombia, was wearing the crown and smiling tearfully on stage in Las Vegas. The beauty pageant-obsessed nation was dancing with joy at winning for two consecutive years, boasting of how beautiful their women were.
“We laugh about beauty queens, but we’re all glued to it and tweeting,” said Luis Carlos Velez, a Colombian journalist.
But then host Steve Harvey realised his error.
The 21-year-old, beaming with her bouquet of flowers, was forced to remove the bejewelled crown and give it to Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Miss Wurtzbach appeared stunned as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Miss Gutiérrez.
Mr Harvey made a clumsy attempt to apologise on Twitter, emphasing how “regretful” he was to Miss Colombia – whose country he misspelt – and Miss Philippines, who he referred to as “Miss Philippians”.
“I want to apologize emphatically to Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia. This was a terribly honest human mistake and I am so regretful,” he said.
Miss Wurtzbach described her crowning as “non-traditional – very 2015,” while Miss Gutiérrez, through her tears, said afterwards: “everything happens for a reason.”
Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, comforted her, saying: “For us, you will always be our Miss Universe. We are very proud.”
The front page of El Tiempo, Colombia’s leading newspaper, said: “Colombia was Miss Universe… for a few minutes.” And on Twitter, the reaction was extreme, with millions of Colombians cheering – then voicing disbelief and anger.
“I’m in shock – what just happened there?” said Carolina Cruz Osorio, a model and television presenter, who was hosting the show in Colombia.
It was the first Miss Universe since the show was thrust into controversy when then co-owner and US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, called illegal immigrants “criminals” and rapists”.
Mr Trump’s remarks about Mexicans in announcing his presidential candidacy in June drew sharp criticism, and the Spanish-language network Univision pulled out of a deal to televise the pageant.
After the event, at least one person was killed and several injured in what Las Vegas police called a “major accident” near the hotel and casino where the pageant was being held.
And the billionaire mogul could not resist gloating over the fiasco.
“Very sad what happened last night at the Miss Universe pageant,” he said. “I sold it six months ago for a record price. This would never have happened!”