LAS VEGAS – The Miss Universe contestant from the Philippines is this year’s winner but for one brief moment, it appeared as if it might be a repeat win for Colombia.
Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was already wearing the crown as this year’s Miss Universe winner when host Steve Harvey returned to apologize.
Harvey says it was his mistake and that he would take responsibility for not reading the card correctly that named contestant Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach this year’s winner and Colombia the first runner-up.
I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible.
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015
Secondly, I'd like to apologize to the viewers at that I disappointed as well. Again it was an honest mistake.
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 21, 2015
A mystified Wurtzbach appeared stunned as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Arevalo before last year’s Miss Universe from Colombia removed the crown and placed it on Wurtzbach’s head instead.
During the coronation night, it’s the United States, Colombia and Philippines left vying for the Miss Universe crown of diamonds and blue topaz.
The final three contestants have outlasted the 77 other women since the start of the competition. They’ve worn costumes, swimsuits and evening gowns and have moved on after a question and answer round that addressed gun control, terrorism and marijuana legalization.
Asked about gun control in the United States following the shootings in San Bernardino and Sandy Hook, Miss USA Olivia Jordan says it’s important that people have the right to protect themselves but says “we need to look at the safety of the whole” including stronger regulations.
The final five contestants vying for the Miss Universe crown represent the United States, France, Colombia, Philippines and Australia.
The elimination followed the pageant’s evening gown competition that included a bit of an onstage stumble by Australian contestant Monika Radulovic wearing a long-sleeve, floor-length dress covered in gold sequins.
Viewers voting at home say Philippines contestant Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach wore her bright blue evening gown with a chevron pattern on the back, the best.
Contestants from Japan, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Curacao and Venezuela aren’t moving on to the question round.
Miss Universe judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton gets more cheers than a beauty queen wearing a bikini telling viewers watching the event at home that “thankfully Donald Trump no longer owns this pageant.”
Perez was asked by co-host Roselyn Sanchez what was different about this year’s contest.
Trump sold the pageant in September after facing a backlash earlier this year for controversial comments about Mexican immigrants as he launched his Republican presidential campaign.
The contest is down to 10 contestants from the United States, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Dominican Republican, France, Curacao, Philippines and Venezuela.
Viewers of the Miss Universe pageant at home say the tuk tuk-inspired costume from Thailand’s Aniporn Chalermburanawong that featured flashing headlights and the front of the popular taxi is the winner in the parade of costumes.
As for the swimsuit competition, viewers voting online say contestants from the Philippines and Colombia wore their bikinis best.
The show is on stage inside the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
For the first time, viewers at home are casting votes making them equal to a fifth judge determining the final result.
Miss Universe is down to 15 contestants including the 24-year-old woman representing Mexico who had threatened not to participate after the pageant’s co-owner at the time, Donald Trump, made controversial comments about Mexican immigrants in launching his Republican bid for U.S. president.
Trump sold the pageant in September and Wendy Esparza of Mexico reconsidered saying on her Instagram account that “love and respect between individuals and countries will always be more powerful than hatred.”
The other 15 contestants still vying for the crown represent the United States, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Philippines, France, Curacao, Belgium, Japan, Venezuela, South Africa, Colombia and Thailand.
The 2015 Miss Universe competition inside the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip begins with an elaborate parade of costumes with each of the 80 contestants representing their home countries.
Among the costumes are an “Ugly Duckling”-inspired costume from Denmark, a Rubik’s Cube headdress and body suit for Hungary’s contestant and one designed to look like a tuk tuk from Thailand.
Flora Coquerel of France is wearing a redesigned costume featuring glittery peace signs. The 24-year-old will also be among the final 15 to compete for the crown. In a video interview for the telecast, she says she was inside the soccer stadium that was attacked by Islamic State terrorists on Nov. 13 describing it as “horrible, inhumane.”