For a moment, all was right with the universe for Miss Colombia. Indeed, Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo had just been crowned Miss Universe on national television in Las Vegas by co-host Steve Harvey — the pinnacle of any pageant contestant’s career.
Then, quickly and devastatingly, her dream died. It turned out Harvey had read the wrong name.
“Okay, folks,” said Harvey, clad in a white tuxedo with a red-and-white polka dot bow tie as Miss Colombia waved to a cheering crowd, said. “I have to apologize.”
The crowd erupted again — perhaps expecting one of Harvey’s patented slow-burn bits. But this was no joke.
“The first runner-up is Colombia,” Harvey said.
Miss Colombia looked ready to kill — as it suddenly dawned on Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, that she, the former first runner-up, had actually won the night. The incredibly awkward outcome: Miss Colombia was uncrowned, and Miss Philippines crowned.
“I will take responsibility for this,” Harvey said. “It was my mistake. It was on the card. Horrible mistake, but the right thing — I can show it to you right here. The first word is ‘Colombia.’ It is my mistake.”
Harvey — like any comedian flopping – made the best of a bad situation. Or tried to.
“Still a great night,” he said — though Miss Colombia might not have concurred. “Please don’t hold it against the ladies. Please don’t. We feel so badly. But it’s still a great night.”
A few minutes later, Harvey apologized again via social media.
“I want to apologize emphatically to Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia,” Harvey tweeted in a typo-ridden message later deleted. “This was a terribly honest human mistake and I am so regretful.”
Harvey later posted a copy-edited apology.
I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible.
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015