Originally published on chicagotribune.com
It’s been a couple of days since Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez was awkwardly forced to remove her Miss Universe crown and give it to Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach, because emcee Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner. Yet the Internet is still buzzing about the incident, largely because it was one of the more mortifying moments in TV history. But there are some legitimate questions in the aftermath:
- Seriously, was it a publicity stunt?
That was the common assumption after that too-perfect viral moment. Viewers weren’t the only ones to instantly think it was all a conspiracy. “When we found out that there was a mistake, I was like, ‘They did this on purpose for publicity!'” Miss Universe judge Perez Hilton said on Good Morning America. “That’s how my mind works.”
Predictably, WME/IMG Chief Content Officer Mark Shapiro (the company bought the pageant from Donald Trump this year) shot down that idea. “That’s just humorous. All I can do is just laugh that off,” he told Jim Rome on CBS Sports.
- How will this impact Steve Harvey?
Maybe not at all! Except for being a laughingstock. Still, Shapiro insists he’ll be welcomed back again to host the pageant next year. “I definitely want him back, and I would hate to see him not come back. He’s going to want a shot to redeem himself,” Shapiro said.
Looks like damage control is already happening: Although some are pointing to a TMZ report that shows Harvey gambling in Vegas before the pageant, “sources” tell E! News that Harvey was very responsible over the weekend and showed up to every rehearsal.
- Did the teleprompter really say Miss Colombia was the winner?
After the incident, Harvey was shown on the Miss Universe Snapchat complaining that the teleprompter read “Miss Universe – Colombia,” even though his card said Miss Philippines was the winner. The snap was quickly deleted, so people pounced on this tidbit as more evidence that the mistake was planned. Hilton said that just wasn’t true: “Well, there is a prompter, but the moment where he crowns the winner isn’t on the prompter, because that moment, they don’t want the other girls to know,” he explained. “So it was just on his card, and he read it incorrectly.”
Miss Australia Monika Radulovic appeared to back this up: “All the girls saw on the prompter, ‘Philippines, you may now take your first walk as Miss Universe,’ ” she told ABC News.
- What happens now?
Well, other than everyone involved becoming a lot more famous than they would have been without the mix-up, it might just be a moment that lives in Internet lore. Although people in Colombia are furious, and the Miami Herald reports one Colombian law firm is planning to sue the Miss Universe pageant because “The crown is an acquired right that cannot be taken away from us.”
- How is Miss Colombia doing?
Perhaps a little traumatized? Actually, she’s doing OK, People reports. The magazine says Gutierrez is flying down to Miami to spend Christmas with her family before going to Colombia, where she will address the media about the aftermath.