Report: Steve Harvey missed rehearsal before crowning wrong woman Miss Universe
Miss Universe host Steve Harvey said that he misread the cue card when he mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia the pageant’s winner instead of the actual winner, Miss Philippines, but sources say that the comedian had also skipped out on a crucial part of the live broadcast's rehearsals.
"Steve went to the beginning of rehearsals but missed the last hour, at least," an unnamed source told the New York Daily News. "He did not practice the ending."
And while Harvey took the blame onstage, a behind-the-scenes Snapchat post, which is no longer accessible, showed the comedian claiming that the teleprompter fed him the wrong name.
"The prompter said 'Miss Universe — Colombia,'" Harvey told a producer while waving his hands on the 7-second video, according to the Daily News.
The unnamed source told the paper, however, that the name of the winner isn't displayed on the teleprompter.
"They don’t want the girls to see it," the source said.
The fallout from Sunday's show made Harvey an online symbol of "oops" moments, drew a reaction from Colombia's president and even a gloating tweet from Donald Trump, the pageant's previous owner.
As televised on Fox, the contest was down to Ariadna Gutiérrez Arevalo of Colombia and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines when Harvey, a first-time host, proclaimed Gutiérrez the winner after a long, dramatic pause.
Music swelled, Gutiérrez was fitted for a sash, given flowers and a crown was placed on her head. That made it two consecutive Miss Universe winners for Colombia, where the pageants are taken seriously. Gutiérrez bathed in applause for nearly two minutes before Harvey slowly made his way back onto the stage.
"I have to apologize," he said. "The first runner-up is Colombia."
The camera switched to a bewildered-looking Wurtzbach, who came back on the stage to get the crown as the same celebratory music played. Harvey said she'd be taking her first walk as Miss Universe, but mostly she stood immobile.
Two minutes later, the comedian who hosts his own daytime talk show as well as the game show "Family Feud" returned, saying, "Let me just take control of this."
Harvey explained on the air that he misread the card he was given that had the names of the winner and the first two runners-up. Colombia was listed as the first runner-up, and he'd been confused with how it was written, he told the audience. He held up the card for the camera.
"It is my mistake," he said. "Still, it's a great night. Please don't hold it against the ladies. We feel very badly, but it's still a great night."
Harvey later tweeted an apology to the women and viewers. "I feel terrible," he wrote. The Miss Universe organization also issued an apology on Monday.
Wurtzbach later said she was happy to win but confused and concerned for her rival. She said she tried to approach her backstage, but the Colombian contestant was crying and surrounded by a crowd of women.
"I did not take the crown from her," Wurtzbach said.
Celebrations quickly turned to anger in Colombia, where the hashtag "Respect the Crown" was the country's top trending topic on Twitter. Even the president was upset.
"They put the crown on her head," President Juan Manuel Santos said Monday. "The photos are there to prove it. To me, as a Colombian, she is still Miss Universe."
It was the pageant's first time on the Fox network, and the Nielsen company said the contest was seen in the United States by 6.2 million people — strong numbers for the network. The previous Miss Universe on NBC, in January 2015, reached 7.7 million people.
NBC dumped the pageant after Trump, its then-owner, angered many people with comments about Mexicans and immigrants. Trump subsequently sold the pageant.
After Harvey's flub, the Republican presidential candidate tweeted that the mistake "would never have happened" on his watch. He retweeted someone else's comment that Trump must be happy that the pageant had gone "off the rails" after he sold it.
He softened his tone in an interview on NBC's "Today" show, calling Harvey a "great guy" who handled the situation well. Trump said if he were still in charge of the show, he would have the women share the title.
"Things happen," he said. "It's live television."
Harvey, the comedian, found himself the butt of Internet jokes Monday. One prominent post showed his smiling face under the headline: "Happy Friday!" followed by "Wait, sorry, it's Monday."
Last year, the winner of the Miss Florida pageant had to give back her crown following a vote-tabulation error that was noticed days later. And a transcription error caused the wrong author's name to be announced for a National Book Award in 2011. Neither of those events happened on live television, however.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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