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At Miss Universe pageant, Steve Harvey couldn’t let go of last year’s disaster

Outgoing Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach gives host Steve Harvey a pair of glasses during the pageant. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Remember in December 2015 when Steve Harvey accidentally read the name of the wrong Miss Universe winner, and the agonizing scene when Miss Colombia’s crown was taken off and given to the actual winner, Miss Philippines?

Even if you managed to forget the incredibly uncomfortable live moment, Harvey and the Miss Universe producers want to make sure you remember. During this year’s pageant on Sunday night, which crowned Miss France Iris Mittenaere the winner, Harvey hosted again — and took every opportunity to poke fun at himself and his extremely embarrassing gaffe.

Can Steve Harvey finally (finally!) move on from Miss Universe debacle?

The show started with a pretaped bit, where Harvey came up with a covert escape plot to sneak out of the venue if he messed up again. As soon as he arrived on stage, he addressed the audience about the matter. “All right, let’s get it out of the way. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Is that the guy from last year? Did they bring back that guy from last year?’ Well, they did. It’s me. I’m back,” Harvey deadpanned. “Been a long year getting here too, cause boy, I paid the price for last year.”

Although that seems questionable on the surface — given that Harvey’s career is still going strong and the Miss Universe pageant received an unbelievable amount of publicity — he said that his family received death threats, and he lost sleep thinking about the humiliation he caused both finalists. Harvey addressed the aftermath last winter in a two-part special on his daily talk show, where Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez and Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach both forgave him on air.

Adding to the potential awkwardness of bringing Harvey back again? This year’s Miss Universe pageant took place in the Philippines, where fans weren’t thrilled that his mistake marred their contestant’s victory. Still, Wurtzbach appeared as the reigning Miss Universe and assured Harvey that everything was fine.

“Steve, I never got to thank you, but thank you for making me the most popular Miss Universe,” Wurtzbach said sweetly.

The crowd cheered. “That’s okay,” Harvey responded. “I want to thank you for making me the most famous host of Miss Universe.”

Harvey brought it up repeatedly, joking that he got eye surgery so he would be able to read the winner card correctly. He also asked the reigning Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar, a top 13 finalist, how the people of Colombia feel about him.

Miss France, Iris Mittenaere, is crowned Miss Universe in the Philippines. (Video: Reuters)

“A lot of people hate you,” she said bluntly, before graciously adding, “But you know I love you.”

Harvey kept psyching himself up each time he had to read a card with more finalist names. (“Every time I read off a card, I pucker up just a little bit.”) In the closing moments, the Ernst & Young accountant arrived with the results, and Harvey gave him a stern warning: “Listen to me sir, this has got to be right, okay? Can’t let this happen again — you will not leave the Philippines.”

Finally, just as he was about to announce the winner (the final three included Miss Colombia, Miss France and Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier), Wurtzbach arrived on stage with a comically thick pair of reading glasses.

“Thank you, Pia,” Harvey said as the crowd laughed. “A year late, but thank you.”

Read more:

Was Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe mix-up a publicity stunt? Conspiracy theories begin.

Steve Harvey is really milking that Miss Universe mistake

Five lingering questions from Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe disaster