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Miss Universe Judges Thought Pageant Was Rigged After Steve Harvey ‘F–ked Up Big Time,’ Says Perez Hilton

Emmitt Smith, Olivia Culpo, Niecy Nash and Perez Hilton
Judges Emmitt Smith, Olivia Culpo, Niecy Nash and Perez Hilton attend the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Tell Us what happened! Miss Universe judge Perez Hilton tells Us Weekly what his fellow pageant judges were thinking after Steve Harvey “f–ked up big time,” when the host mistakenly announced Miss Colombia as the winner over Miss Philippines during the live broadcast on Sunday, December 20. 

“My initial reaction was that it was rigged,” the gossip blogger tells Us in an exclusive interview. “I was like, ‘How is this possible?’ Because I knew how I voted and I knew that all the other judges voted for Miss Philippines to win. And then I started to really do the math and that was four. I know they have the world vote and the contestants themselves judging but that’s still four out of six judges that voted for Miss Philippines [Pia Wurtzbach]. So how is this possible?”

Like Hilton, 37, his fellow panelists were equally shocked when Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, was crowned in the closing moments of the pageant. “Everybody was [stunned],” he tells Us. “We were like, ‘What is going on? This is crazy.’ We were all making videos in disbelief.”

Related: Miss Universe 2015: Top 10 Bikini Bodies

Then, Harvey, 58, admitted his huge blunder to millions. “When Steve Harvey came out, I thought, ‘OMG, they totally did this on purpose,'” Hilton recalls to Us. “But the more I thought about it, I don’t think that’s a real possibility just because that’s illegal and Fox has their standards and practices. It was really truly just a mistake on Steve Harvey’s part. It was the best possible mistake though. Yes, it sucks for Miss Colombia, but now the pageant and Miss Philippines and everybody wins. Everybody got so much more publicity than had it just gone off as expected.”

Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey hosts the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Hilton says he understands Harvey’s mix-up. (The card listing the winners was, after all, slightly confusing.) “At first, honestly, I didn’t think it was his fault,” Hilton tells Us. “The way he came out, he didn’t say, ‘It was my fault, I read it wrong.’ He said, ‘I will take responsibility for this,’ or something like that. So to me, I was inferring in the moment that it was somehow the pageant’s fault. But in the subsequent days, it seems to be his fault. So I just thought it was unfortunate that Miss Philippines didn’t really get her moment to shine because everyone was more concerned about Miss Colombia and the awful thing that just happened to her.”

After admitting his blunder, Harvey *poof* vanished. “He disappeared, so I’m assuming that’s when they told him,” Hilton tells Us. “To me it seems real simple. Like, ‘How could you mess that up?’ But he did.”

Related: Celebrity Flubs! Biggest Mistakes on Live TV

However, Hilton says Harvey generated great publicity for Miss Universe. “They need to bring Steve Harvey back again next year,” he tells Us. “And bring me back as a special backstage correspondent. I was a little bummed he stole my thunder because I had a good Trump moment earlier in the telecast that nobody remembers now because of everything that happened. … Everybody forgot about it after Steve Harvey f–ked up big time.”

Miss Universe executive Mark Shapiro, the chief content officer of the company that owns the organization, told the Jim Rome Show after the incident that he would love to have Harvey return to host in 2016. “I definitely want him back, and I would hate to see him not come back,” Shapiro said on Monday, December 21. “He’s going to want a shot to redeem himself.”

Hilton had some not-so-nice comments about Miss Colombia’s conduct during and after the pageant this week. However, Gutierrez posted on Wednesday that she was accepting the situation for what it is.

“After the storm comes the calm,” the first runner-up, 21, wrote on Instagram. “I want to thank each and everyone of you who have sent messages of support and strength. Every one of you has become an incredible human being in my book and I am the most fortunate and thankful for having the support not only from one country but from the whole entire world.”

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