MANILA – For the first time, host Steve Harvey spoke in detail about the controversial ending to the Miss Universe 2015 pageant which initially crowned the wrong winner.
During the coronation night in Las Vegas last December 20 (December 21 in Manila) Harvey first proclaimed Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe, only to return on stage to say that Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach is the real titleholder.
Speaking on the “Steve Harvey Morning Show,” Harvey said he only realized his mistake when he saw the “confusion” backstage after the pageant.
“All hell broke loose. All I heard people saying backstage was, ‘that’s the wrong name.’ And then a guy came to me and said… they say you said the wrong name,” he recalled.
“All I hear was confusion backstage. I was standing in the wing, so what I did was I said I’ll go fix it… I took it upon myself and walked out there to do something… All I could think of was, here’s a problem – the lady who won, Miss Philippines, is standing there as a loser. She got all the votes and the points. So I’m going out there and I will say I made a mistake. Did I make a mistake? Yes, I did, wholeheartedly,” he added.
While it was more convenient for him to let the pageant organizers resolve the mix-up, Harvey said he decided to correct his announcement on live television because it is the right thing to do.
“I did what I was trained to do by my father. I did what I did and be the man I’m supposed to be – you make a mistake, own up to it. I went out there and said I made a mistake. I tried to fix it, I tried to fix it right there,” he said.
“So why would I wait and whine in my head that we got to do something? We got to do it while we’re on TV… I could’ve just stayed back and let them fix it, let them deal with it… but I owned up to my portion of the mistake.”
Harvey vehemently denied that his mistake was part of a publicity stunt for Miss Universe, stressing that he never wanted the kind of attention he is getting now.
“That’s stupid. Why the hell would I do that? What I do not participate in is a bunch of BS… I’m already famous. Do you really think I wanted to be famous like this? In my wildest dreams you could not have told me this, not in a million years. I had to walk back out there and do what I thought was the right thing for Miss Philippines,” he said.
While he has moved on from the incident, Harvey admitted that he still feels bad for Miss Colombia, saying he has yet to reach out to her.
(READ: Miss Colombia speaks up: I was humiliated)
“It was horrible for Miss Colombia. She was the one I haven’t had the chance to talk to. I’ve had the chance to talk to Miss Philippines, I’ve talked to all the pageant people, I’ve talked to the people backstage. Even me and the director had a long conversation. I haven’t been able to reach out and talk to Miss Colombia. Have I tried? Yes, but I haven’t gotten a response,” he said.
He added: “The only regret I have is how this must have made the woman from Colombia feel. That’s my only regret. I don’t feel sorry for me… I don’t feel sorry for the pageant… My only regret is how this woman must have felt, and none of us know what that is. I felt for her more than me.”
But even if he feels sorry for Miss Colombia, Harvey maintained that Wurtzbach deserves the crown.
“I mean, look, I’m just a man here, I haven’t been waiting all my life for this moment. So I felt for that. But at the same time, how can I not let Miss Philippines, who actually won the event [be crowned]? She got the most points. She’s the real winner,” he said.