LAS VEGAS (AFP) - Miss Philippines was named Miss Universe Sunday in a drama-filled turn worthy of a telenovela.
The pageant’s host, comedian Steve Harvey, misread his cue card which he initially said had Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, as the winner.
She was briefly, very fleetingly, crowned in Las Vegas and started the customary smiling and waving.
But not for long.
As she blew kisses, Harvey awkwardly said “I have to apologise. The first runner up is Colombia.” “Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines,” he added, with the Colombian contestant left like a deer in headlights and the actual winner, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, looking stunned.
And all on live television with millions watching from Manila to Manchester.
“It was my fault,” Harvey stammered as a perplexed audience held its breath.
“Please don’t hold it against the ladies,” added the talk show host.
The contest, held in Las Vegas this year, is wildly popular in Latin America and much of Asia.
Separately, one person has died and at least 14 others were injured in what Las Vegas police called a “major accident” near the hotel and casino where the pageant was being held, officials said.
University Medical Centre spokesman Danita Cohen said the 14 survivors of the incident on the famed Las Vegas Strip included men, women and one child. Two adults were in critical condition and the others were in serious condition, Ms Cohen said.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper said a car ran into a throng of pedestrians outside the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, injuring as many as 27 people.
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