Miss Universe pageants seem synonymous with missteps and blunders these days with every other year offering up another cringe-worthy example of the perils of the teleprompter.
This year’s Miss Universe final was no exception, with what seemed like a major mix-up seriously embarrassing all concerned, only for an unexpected twist to turn it all on its head.
Miss Philippines Miss Malaysia mix-up
It all started when Steve Harvey, host of the pageant since 2015, appeared to mix up Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados and Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon in a seriously uncomfortable moment.
“Earlier this week, all the contestants competed in a National Costume contest. Here’s a look at the winner, Miss Philippines,” he said while in fact standing next to Miss Malaysia, who didn’t take the seeming slight lying down.
“It’s Miss Malaysia,” she interrupted the host.
In a searingly awkward few seconds, the 62-year-old host explained the mistake was actually written on the teleprompter.
“Let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter,” he said.
“Ya’ll got to quit doing this to me. I can read.”
Steve famously announced the wrong winner during the 2015 competition, a similar situation he even mentioned as they fumbled to recover from what seemed at that stage to be a mistake.
“This is what they did to me back in 2015 — played me short like that,” he joked, pointing out the teleprompter was being ‘fixed’ by staff as they spoke.
Twist reveals no mistake made
It turns out however, there was no teleprompter mistake to fix.
Event organisers later cleared up that Steve had in fact named the correct winner of best costume.
Miss Philippines did take out best costume, but Miss Malaysia, who was beside him on stage, thought the host was referring to her as the winner, and judging by his reaction he appeared to think the woman next to him had won as well.
It seems someone mixed up somewhere, with the official Miss Universe Twitter account tweeting out Miss Malaysia as the winner, and placing her on the stage during the segment, clearly believing she was the winner.
The Twitter account later revealed that Steve was not behind the mistake.
“@IAmSteveHarvey had it right: Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados is the winner of the #MissUniverse2019 National Costume competition! Congratulations, Gazini,” the tweet read.
South Africa takes out top spot
The competition was won overall by Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi who won crowds over with her thoughtful and powerful words, both on stage and off.
Upon winning the coveted crown and sash the 26-year-old took to Instagram with a powerful message.
“Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it. May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine,” she wrote.
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