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The top moments from the Miss Universe pageant — and one monumental mistake

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

And things had been going so smoothly. Steve Harvey had been doing a nice job hosting the 64th annual Miss Universe pageant — the first in 12 years without Donald Trump’s involvement — in a number of flamboyant dinner jackets; sure, Harvey’s jokes were mostly of the “my wife has her eye on me during the swimsuit competition” variety, but it wasn’t, y’know, anything phenomenally, painfully, gut-wrenchingly bad. Until the one moment that truly mattered…

At the end of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, host Steve Harvey announced Miss Colombia as the winner, she was crowned and spent about a full minute walking the stage and waving to her adoring new universe of fans. The only problem? Miss Colombia wasn’t the winner of Miss Universe — Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was the winner written on the card, and Miss Colombia was the first-runner up. Is it too late now for Steve Harvey to say sorry?

Too late or not, he certainly had to try, live ON THE AIR to correct what was probably the worst mistake in televised pageant history, and while it was a rough moment for almost everyone involved, for those at home, it sent a last-minute jolt of — shall we say — liveliness to an evening that seemed like it would come to a close without much to write home about. But thanks to Harvey’s blunder, plus a few slightly less eye-bugging moments, there’s plenty to say about the 6Miss Universe three-hour event. Let’s get down to the good, the bad, and the Harvey:

Ya Had One Job, Steve

As I’ve said, hands-down the No. 1 moment everyone will remember when they think of Miss Universe 2015 — and perhaps the most awkward television moment this year — was when Steve Harvey came out after a full minute of the universe celebrating its new queen, Miss Colombia, to announce that he had made a “horrible mistake” as Miss Colombia stood, still crowned and beaming. “Okay, folks. I have to apologize — the first runner-up is Colombia.” My gut actually clenched…for all parties involved: Miss Colombia who thought she was Miss Universe, Miss Philippines who looked on confusedly from the background, and Steve Harvey, who will surely be haunted by the beautiful, furious faces of these women forever. Harvey said he would “take responsibility for this” and proceeded to show the card that correctly listed Miss Philippines as the 2015 winner of Miss Universe, albeit in a font so small, it’s not hard to imagine that that’s what ol’ Steve was trying to show off.

New Crown in Town

And what felt like the most awkward moment imaginable just kept breeding more awkward moments as Miss Philippines had to descend from the loser rafters to take her rightful crown. Literally. In probably the blunder’s cruelest twist, television audiences watched as Paulina Vega had to take the crown off of Miss Colombia’s head, but the footage cut off just before we could actually witness Miss Philippines receive the crown that was hers all along. Yeah, don’t worry, Steve, we shan’t be “hold[ing] it against the ladies”; I’m mostly concerned with making sure someone got Miss Colombia a warm blanket and some tea after the shortest — and likely, most traumatic — Miss Universe run in history.

Later, Trump

Remember when it seemed like Perez Hilton’s comments about Donald Trump would be the most dramatic thing that happened at Miss Universe 2015? Ah, we were so young then. As the competition’s celebrity judges were introduced, blogger Perez Hilton (along with Niecy Nash, Emmitt Smith, and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo), clad in a blazer that appeared to be made of snowman wrapping paper, used his moment to say he was glad to be a part of Miss Universe this year and even more thankful that Donald Trump no longer had anything to do with it. His comments were met with great applause from the audience and surprised laughter from his fellow judges — and that one, Harvey actually handled fine.

Miss Congeniality

The crowning chaos wasn’t the only moment reminiscent of Miss Congeniality at Sunday night’s pageant. If four seems like a small judging panel, that’s because there was a surprise sixth judge, in addition to the four celebs and at-home votes of the audience: This year, the already-axed contestants would be tallied into the vote for the Final 3 — Miss USA, Miss Colombia, and Miss Philippines — making this the one TV competition where it actually was important to come there to make friends.

Flora, and Feathers, and Wings — Oh My!

By far, the best part of the Miss Universe pageant each year is the National Costume portion; not only is it the only time we get to meet all 80 contestants, but it’s fun, colorful, and this year, featured a surprising amount of beards (still just two, though). Miss Myanmar’s dress was made of solid brass, Miss Honduras had a train of skulls on her gown, Miss Ukraine just carried a big ol’ loaf of bread onstage with her, and Miss Thailand, the winner of Favorite Costume in the at-home vote, was dressed as a tuk-tuk, in what has to be the first dress with a handlebar-waistline.

A Moment of Perspective

The most impactful moments of the 2015 Miss Universe competition weren’t all drama doozies; in fact, one was quite sweet. Miss Slovenia Ana Halozan was supposed to be competing in Miss Universe alongside her fellow pageant queens but had to drop out of the competition when she experienced a frightening seizure the day before and awoke to find the right side of her face paralyzed. Ana spoke to the cameras with grace about the scary incident but was obviously heartbroken to not be able to complete in something she had worked so hard for. It was a lovely gesture then, when she was invited to take a moment onstage in her evening gown and was surprised by Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega with flowers. Ana was clearly touched, and I was totally not crying, not one little bit.

And the Winner Is…

One-hundred percent sure, no takebacks this time:

2nd runner-up: Miss USA (Olivia Jordan)

1st runner-up: Miss Colombia (Ariadna Gutiérrez), who graciously allowed the crown to be taken right off her head and given it to…

Miss Universe 2015: Miss Philippines (Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach), who unfortunately had her big moment overshadowed by a much more monumental mistake but seemed lovely throughout the competition. She spoke of being the breadwinner for her mother and sister from a young age, and when asked why she should be the next Miss Universe, she said she would use her voice to influence youth and raise HIV awareness and that she hoped to show the universe that she is “confidently beautiful with a heart.” Sure seems like it.

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