Miss Universe mix-up gives national costume award to Malaysia instead of PH


Posted at Dec 09 2019 02:41 PM | Updated as of Dec 09 2019 05:22 PM

(UPDATED) This time, Steve Harvey got it right.

During the early part of the Miss Universe 2019 pageant, the host proclaimed the Philippines’ Gazini Ganados as the winner of the national costume award.

Consistent with Harvey’s announcement, both the teleprompter and the images projected on stage showed Ganados in her silver eagle-inspired gown by Cary Santiago. 

But for some reason, it was Shweta Sekhon of Malaysia who ended up beside Harvey to receive the award. 

The costume-clad Sekhon grabbed the microphone from Harvey and said: “It’s not Philippines, it’s Malaysia.”

Visibly confused, Harvey replied: “Okay, well, let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter.”

“You all got to quit doing this to me,” he added, drawing laughter from the audience. “See, this is what they did to me back in 2015. Played me short like that. This is Malaysia, I really love this national costume.” 

“This is crazy.”


Harvey is the same host during the controversial crown mix-up in 2015, which involved Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines and Ariadna Gutierrez of Colombia.

He mistakenly announced that Gutierrez is the new Miss Universe, only to return on stage minutes later to say that Wurtzbach is the real winner.

Harvey has since apologized to Wurtzbach, and remains the host of the Miss Universe pageant. 


Hours later, the social media accounts of Miss Universe posted a photo of Ganados, saying she is the real winner of the national costume competition.

“[Steve Harvey] had it right: Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados is the winner of the Miss Universe 2019 national costume competition! Congratulations, Gazini,” read a post on the pageant’s Twitter page.

The previous post showing Sekhon as the best in national costume awardee has been deleted.

In a press statement, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) reiterated that Harvey did not make any mistake in announcing Ganados as best in national costume.

“Mr. Harvey made a joke out of it, but no mistakes regarding the national costume winner were made by him, the prompter, or production,” it said.

The MUO went on to explain that they did not expect Sekhon, who was supposed to be featured on the sidelines of the pageant, to “jump the gun.”

“As part of the broadcast, we also featured Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon’s national costume. Miss Sekhon wasn’t aware we’d be announcing Philippines first, so she jumped the gun when Mr. Harvey started with that news,” the pageant organizer said. 


Ganados finished in the Top 20 of Miss Universe 2019, which was won by Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo after the pageant, Ganados was surprised to hear that she won the award.

“Thank you so much! Oh my gosh, I’m so proud of Mommy Cary (Santiago),” she said, adding that Santiago “deserves it.”