There’s no weeklong vacay this year. Like Miss Colombia, her fellow countrymen celebrated her Miss Universe victory for a few minutes — until host Steve Harvey admitted during the live broadcast on Sunday, December 20, that he had mistakenly crowned the wrong winner.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos took to Twitter to initially celebrate her victory, congratulating Ariadna Gutierrez for her supposed win. In fact, it would have been the second consecutive year for a Miss Colombia to nab the Miss Universe title, after last year’s crowned winner, Paulina Vega.
Instead, Harvey interrupted Gutierrez’s triumphant moment with the heartbreaking message that there had been “a horrible mistake” in the announcement, and that the crown actually belonged to Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
Santos then sent another message to Gutierrez. “For us you’ll always be our Miss Universe,” he tweeted at Miss Colombia. “We feel very proud.”
In a separate statement to TMZ, the president was more direct about the blunder. “I was watching Miss Universe with my family and we even celebrated when we heard Colombia was going to be Miss Universe for the second year in a row. Miss Colombia was marvelous and spectacular,” the leader said via his country’s counsul general in NYC. “It was a letdown when the host said he made a mistake. I don’t believe this has ever happened in the history of Miss Universe. For me, Miss Colombia is Miss Universe and will continue to be Miss Universe. They placed the crown on her, there is a photo and for me as a Colombian she will continue to be Miss Universe.”
Meanwhile, Colombia’s counsul general, Maria Isabel Nieto, told TMZ that the issue was incredibly sensitive and traumatic for Gutierrez, and thought Donald Trump‘s statements on the Today show on Monday were on point. (In an interview, the former owner of the Miss Universe Organization said: “I’d tell you what I think I’d do: I’d make them a co-winner,” he continued. “Because what happened to the girl from Colombia is devastating. To give it to her for a couple of minutes, and then to take it away. I think … you have [hurt] a whole country.”)
Like the country’s officials, Miss Colombia’s cousin also shared the nation’s sentiments. “The entire country, and our family, was overcome with emotion,” Alvaro Arevalo told Blu Radio. “The truth is, we’re a little shocked.”
As is Colombian-American actress Sofía Vergara. “Still the queen,” the Modern Family star wrote on Instagram alongside a snap of Gutierrez from her short-lived moment of victory.
The Miss Universe pageant is a huge deal for Colombia. In 2014, after Vega (somewhat controversially) won the title of Miss Universe, Colombia celebrated for close to a week. “They were wild,” Trump recalled on Monday on the Today show about the Colombian people. “I would recommend that they have a beautiful ceremony, which is good for the brand and Miss Universe, and do a co-winner, and I think something like that can work.”
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