NEW YORK — Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez thought she had won the Miss Universe pageant.
But then the host Steve Harvey said he’d made a terrible mistake.
“Okay, folks,” he said. “I have to apologize.”
Miss Colombia was the first runner-up, he said, holding up the card that contained the official results.
The real winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who looked astonished by the sudden turn of events.
The almost unbelievable ending to the pageant was televised live in many countries, including on the Fox network in the United States on Sunday night.
Wurtzbach covered her mouth in shock when Harvey announced the correction. Then she walked out to the front of the stage and waited for Gutierrez to hand over the crown.
Harvey stood to the side, visibly embarrassed, while the crowd cheered.
He called it a “horrible mistake.”
And many others agreed; social networking sites lit up with instant reaction.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell called it “the worst mistake in TV awards show history.”
Afterward, Harvey tweeted that “I want to apologize emphatically to Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia. This was a terribly honest human mistake and I am so regretful.”