Miss Philippines crowned Miss Universe after mix-up
MISS Philippines was named Miss Universe on Sunday in a drama-filled turn worthy of a telenovela.
The pageant's host, comedian Steve Harvey, misread his cue card and initially announced 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 at an adoring and ecstatic crowd, Harvey awkwardly delivered a shocker.
"OK folks, I have to apologise. The first runner-up is Colombia.
"Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines," he said as the music began anew, with the Colombian contestant left like a deer in headlights and the actual winner, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, looking stunned and mouthing "What?"
And all on live television, with millions watching from Manila to Manchester.
"Listen folks, let me just take control of this," Harvey stammered as a perplexed audience held its breath, cheers mixing with boos.
"This is exactly what's on the card. I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake, it was on the card. It was my mistake, still a great night."
The talk-show host then pleaded: "Please don't hold it against the ladies, please don't. We feel so badly but it's still a great night. Thank you all."
The glittering crown was then promptly placed on Ms Wurtzbach's head and that was that.
Not so on social media, where the awkward mistake spread like wildfire, with the #MissUniverse2015 hashtag trending.
"People are human, mistakes can happen. Luckily some have the bravery to own it & take a step to correct it. Hugs to #MissUniverse2015 wow," tweeted Audrey Bolte, who described herself as Miss Ohio USA 2012.
Ms Wurtzbach told reporters after the ceremony that she wished the jilted winner well.
"I'm very sorry, I did not take the crown from her and I wish her well in whatever she wants to pursue after this pageant," she said.
CRASH NEAR CONTEST VENUE
Minutes before Sunday's pageant ended, a vehicle drove up onto a sidewalk near the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was held, and ploughed into pedestrians, killing one person, officials said.
Las Vegas authorities have given injury tallies ranging from 26 to 36 people, with as many as seven in critical condition.
The authorities added that they were trying to determine whether the driver, a woman who was detained, drove onto the sidewalk intentionally or due to impairment.
She had a three-year-old in the car with her and was being tested for drugs and alcohol. The three-year-old was not hurt.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS