Business magnate and US presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday said Miss Philippines and Miss Colombia should be declared “co-winners” following Sunday night’s controversy.
“I’ll tell you what I think I’d do. I think I’d make them a co-winner. It would be very cool,” Trump, who used to own a substantial stake in the pageant, said on a US television morning talk show.
Earlier, the Republican presidential frontrunner took to Twitter to say the incident would not have occurred on his watch.
“Very sad what happened last night at the Miss Universe Pageant . . . This would never have happened!” the billionaire businessman tweeted.
Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, was wrongly named Miss Universe in a dramatic mix-up watched live by millions before the glittering crown was bestowed on the rightful winner, Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
The pageant’s host, comedian Steve Harvey, misread his cue card in front of a global television audience late Sunday and initially announced that Gutierrez had triumphed.
Half-laughing, half-sobbing with emotion, Gutierrez was fleetingly crowned and congratulated at the ceremony in Las Vegas, waving to fans as she cradled a huge bouquet of flowers. But as she blew kisses to an adoring crowd, Harvey was forced to come clean about his blunder.
“OK folks, I have to apologize. The first runner-up is Colombia.”
“Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines,” he added as the music picked up again, with the actual winner, Wurtzbach looking stunned and mouthing “What?”
Harvey attempted to explain the error to a perplexed audience, who greeted the news with both cheers and boos.
“This is exactly what’s on the card. I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake, it was on the card,” he said.
The glittering crown was then promptly placed on Wurtzbach’s head. She later told reporters she wished the best to the crestfallen Miss Colombia.
“I’m very sorry, I did not take the crown from her and I wish her well in whatever she wants to pursue after this pageant,” Miss Philippines said.
Harvey later took to Twitter to ask forgiveness for what he called “an honest mistake,” but even then managed to misspell the name of the two countries involved—“Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia—before quickly correcting his mistake.
“I’d like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible,” said one of his messages, retweeted more than 85,000 times.
Speaking on NBC’s the “Today” show on Monday, Trump said, “I would recommend that they go have a beautiful ceremony, which is good for the brand and good for Miss Universe, and do a co-winner”.
According to a CNN report, Trump sold the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants three months ago after a campaign controversy had imperiled the pageant organization.
Miss Universe and Miss USA were co-owned by Trump and NBC Universal. But NBC broke off its ties with Trump in June amid widespread criticism of his comments about Mexican immigrants. The network decided not to televise the Miss USA pageant in July.
Trump also took the cudgels for pageant host, Harvey, whom he described as a “great guy.”
It was a “terrible error,” he said, but “things happen. It’s live television.”
Pia deserved crown–Perez Hilton
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, one of the pageant’s judges, said he was certain when the candidates were down to just three that Wurtzbach deserves to win the crown.
In his podcast on Monday, he explained that the judges were told to consider everything about the candidates—including personality and how they could represent Miss Universe as an organization.
Perez said although Miss Colombia was an early favorite, he was turned off with the way she acted while answering the second question: “Why do you think you deserve to win the Miss Universe crown?”
“I don’t know if the people at home could see this, but Miss Colombia was being straight-up diva b*tch rude to her translator. She was giving the most awful side-eye, throwing major shade,” he noted.
“Miss Colombia was not happy with the pace or the way that the translator was translating.”
Perez said Wurtzbach’s answer to the same question nailed her win.
“It wasn’t just that [Gutierrez] came across—not just to me but several of the other judges—bitchy and arrogant. It was that Miss Philippines gave a better answer. It was the second time she [Wurtzbach] gave a great answer, actually a better answer,” Perez said animatedly, “I was like whoa, [Wurtzbach] really brought her A-game and was super competitive but also . . . she just deserved it. To me, there was a real beauty and grace and elegance… she was Miss Universe.
“I will go on the record now and state: Miss Colombia was the most beautiful contestant. But I don’t think she deserved to win the title—and she didn’t win the title.”