Miss Philippines explained what she was thinking after Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey announced that Miss Colombia had been mistakenly crowned in Sunday night’s mix-up.
“I was confused. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I didn’t expect that to happen at all,” Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, the actual Miss Universe winner, told “Entertainment Tonight” after the program.
A few minutes after announcing Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner of the pageant, Harvey walked back on stage. He interrupted Miss Colombia, who was in the middle of her winners’ walk, newly crowned and wearing the Miss Universe sash, with flowers in hand.
“I was hesitating, as well, to go up front, because that could have been a mistake as well,” Wurtzbach said. “I wasn’t sure. I was looking at the people off-stage, like the staff, and looking for signals or cues… But even they were confused.”
Harvey said he read the wrong name off the ballot he was given. It said the second runner-up was Miss USA, the first runner-up was Miss Colombia, and the winner was Miss Philippines, although the countries were all written in small print.
The ballot card that gave Steve Harvey problems pic.twitter.com/RE9CyTlNIx
— Robin Leach (@Robin_Leach) December 21, 2015
“I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake. It was on the card. Horrible mistake, but the right thing. I can show it to you right here,” he said while showing the card to the cameras.
Confirmation for Wurtzbach didn’t arrive until she was able to speak to her newly appointed Miss Universe manager.
“I had to ask my new manager, Esther, many times like, ‘Did I really win? Am I really Miss Universe? Are you going to take the crown from me now?’ And they [said], ‘No, no, you’re really the winner,'” Wurtzbach recalled.
As for Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez, Wurtzbach wasn’t able to speak with her in the moment: “I decided that maybe it was bad timing to do it now — to apologise to her for what happened. So maybe I’ll do that in the future.”
But Gutierrez showed a lot of grace in a video after the mistake in which she said, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Watch ET’s interview with Miss Philippines below: