The Miss Universe pageant people ought to give Steve Harvey a raise.
Genius. Pure marketing genius.
Until Mr. Harvey opened his yap and committed the biggest blunder in history since George Custer, did you even know Miss Universe was happening?
Of course not. You’re busy with Christmas. The only tiara in your life is atop the tree.
Then, suddenly, Miss Universe is the biggest story of the season. Twitter’s head is exploding. Facebook is flipping out. The water cooler is running dry.
Unless your nose has been in your eggnog the past hours, you’ve seen the debacle.
Mr. Harvey was hosting the pageant at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. At the customary climax, he announced a winner. Miss Colombia cried for joy, donned the crown and sash and sashayed to the front of the stage.
Visions of fashion contracts and B-movie roles danced in her head — until Harvey sheepishly announced he’d goofed. He’d read the card wrong. Miss Colombia was actually first runner up. The winner was Miss Philippines.
Oh, the humanity.
To ice the cake, Harvey, best known as star of game show Family Feud, tweeted an apology … and misspelled both Colombia and the Philippines.
Man, you can’t buy this kind of publicity. Former pageant owner Donald Trump — he sold in September — could not have dreamed up a better story.
Frankly, as a former judge, I’d been wondering how Miss Universe would top itself in the headline-grabbing department. A partial recap of pageant pandemonia:
Canadian Miss Congeniality 2012 was leggy blonde Jenna Talackova, who was born a boy but sure doesn’t look like one.
A Miss Universe Canada 2010 hopeful, Sophie Froment, of Gatineau, was dropped after starring in racy commercials for the infidelity website Ashley Madison.
Miss Universe 2005, Toronto’s own Natalie Glebova, was barred from Nathan Phillips Square. Some zealous bureaucrats considered her a symbol of evil sexism.
I wrote a rebuttal of sorts, and Natalie was back in, thanks to then-mayor David Miller, the only thing he ever did right.
For six years, I had a front row seat to all this drama, as a Miss Universe Canada judge, until my blood pressure couldn’t take it any more.
The Steve Harvey horror story is not even the first time they’ve got the winner wrong.
Miss Universe Canada 2013 was queen for a day, until it was discovered she’d won by typo. Bradford beauty Denise Garrido was meant to be fourth, until a misplaced decimal point in the scorecards bumped her up.
“Everything happens for a reason,” the classy miss told me later. “It’s just part of my story.” Quite a story, too. Denise was Miss Earth Canada 2008 and Miss World Canada 2010 before narrowly missing the hat trick. Now, she’s a pageant coach and motivator.
“My heart goes out to Miss Colombia,” she tweeted. “I can personally empathize. You should still be proud.”
Courtesy of The Toronto Sun BY MIKE STROBEL, TORONTO SUN
Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez, left, and Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach react as they make the final three at the Miss Universe pageant Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)