Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner at the end of last night’s show and was forced to not only correct his mistake but issue a live apology as well. Harvey announced Miss USA, as the third runner-up and then announced the first runner-up, Miss Colombia, as the winner when, in fact, it was actually Miss Philippines who had won.
WME IMG was in charge of Sunday’s pageant, and the company’s Chief Content Officer, Mark Shapiro, was backstage for the craziness that ensued. Shapiro joined The Jim Rome Show and explained exactly what happened with Harvey.
“It just was a flat-out mistake. I mean, on the left side of the card, and it’s been tweeted around, obviously, it says Third Runner-Up: USA, Second Runner-Up: Miss Colombia, and then, on the right side of the card in big letters, it says 2015 Miss Universe and right underneath it, Philippines,” Shapiro said. He also added that the card could be made simpler in the future, featuring only the winner and first runner up, but Shapiro admitted that the mistake should have been avoided. “It’s the same card he rehearsed with all day long. We did a dress rehearsal at 8am, so he knew the card, he’d seen it. He knew how to read [the card]. It was very clear who was Miss Universe.”
Shapiro said Harvey was extremely apologetic after the show, and he gave the host props for turning around after he had made the mistake and going back out to correct it live.
“That’s live television, the guy made a mistake. He felt terrible, he was humiliated, he felt he humiliated her. He was very regretful, he was very remorseful in that dressing room. That wasn’t a good scene. I mean, he just felt miserable that he let so many people down.” Shapiro said. “It was just literally like he just read it wrong, and I was trying to remind him, it really takes a man to turn right around and go back up there in front of the audience and live television and say ‘You know, I didn’t read this thing right.’”
Harvey initially thought the teleprompter said Miss Columbia was the winner, and said as much as he walked off the stage, but the host wasn’t correct and later realized that.
“I saw the freeze frame on Snapchat when he says it,” Shapiro said of Harvey. “When he goes into the green room right, stuff is spinning through his mind and he’s trying to trace what happened. I heard him say that and immediately said ‘Guys was that in the prompter?’ like live while we were still on TV and the prompter was totally blank, it just said ‘And the winner is…’ Nothing, it didn’t say Miss Philippines either, because we can’t type that in there. That’s why you have the card. So no, absolutely not. I think he was just like in his mind grasping like, how did I do this? Kind of talking to himself and because this age we live in, everything is captured and recorded instantaneously and then boom spun out.”
Those moments led to many conspiracy theories that Harvey’s gaffe was intentional, but Shapiro scoffed at the notion.
“That’s just humorous. All I can do is just laugh that off,” Shapiro said. “The ratings he had last night were going to be strong no matter what. He knew how well he had done, he was so excited, we were slapping high-five two minutes before the end of the show. We bought this from Trump for a lot of money and worked really hard to turn it around and kind of take it out of the pageant that it always was and modernize the show and humanize the women and tell more personal stories about their backgrounds and what they’re going to do and, as you saw last night and or even some of the Twitter moments that were going on, there was a lot of credit being given to the questions they were asked. This show was really smartened up, and to have this being the lasting moment is very bittersweet, but no, of course the staging stuff is just ridiculous.”
Shapiro said before the ending, Harvey had knocked it out of the park as the pageant’s host. When asked if he’d have the 58-year-old back again as host next season, Shapiro was completely sure in his answer.
“Absolutely, absolutely. If anything, I’m sure FOX would support it, because as I said, he did a great job. He was funny, he was informative, he’s high energy, he’s got a great following. The man is wildly successful in all different walks of life, with books and radio and television and so. I definitely want him back, and I would hate to see him not come back. He’s going to want a shot to redeem himself,” Shapiro said. “Look, the world forgives, the world forgets. It could happen to the best of us. He was so well intended, and he’s such a good guy, and it was really such a mistake that I hope people don’t hold this over him other than for just a good laugh and let it pass.”