Latin America & Caribbean

Miss Universe mistake: How Colombia reacted to 'stolen' crown

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (left) and Ariadna Gutierrez (R) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The two women shared the stage after Mr Harvey's mishap

For a brief moment on Sunday evening, Miss Colombia's dreams came true.

Ariadna Gutierrez was mistakenly crowned winner of Miss Universe 2015 in Las Vegas before host Steve Harvey recognised his error.

A few painful moments passed before Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was correctly named winner.

Mr Harvey called it an "honest mistake".

Image copyright Twitter

To show it had been a mistake, he held up a card which clearly laid out the second and first runners-up and the winner.

That left some observers scratching their heads over how the mistake could have happened.

Image copyright Twitter

Ms Gutierrez was instead declared runner-up and gave her crown to Miss Philippines, Ms Wurtzbach.

#MissUniverse2015 soon became Twitter's biggest trend of the night.

Media captionHost Steve Harvey revealed the mistake shortly after Miss Colombia was declared the winner

Some tweets trending in Colombia showed rage at Mr Harvey's mistake.


At the scene - Natalio Cosoy, BBC Colombia correspondent

Here the reaction went from surprise to shock to anger and, in some cases, to mockery.

The story is on the cover of every news media outlet in Colombia.

Even President Juan Manuel Santos had something to say. During the ceremony he tweeted: "Colombians are the most beautiful in the world! Congratulations @gutierrezary miss universe 2016!!!! I am proud!"

And his political enemy, former President Alvaro Uribe, tweeted: "All our support to our Queen, her dignity is that of the Colombian woman, the mistreatment is to all the citizens."

#MissUniverse2015 was trending on Twitter in Colombia. Now it´s the tag #LaCoronaSeRespeta (#TheCrownMustBeRespected), which is used to talk about the incident.

In general, there is massive support for Miss Colombia, although some do not take the affair so seriously. Lots of memes started to show up on social media.

Some show Steve Harvey saying the Balon D'Or goes to Cristiano Ronaldo, and then correcting himself saying it goes to Lionel Messi.


Many took issue that in his original apology tweet, he added insult to injury by spelling Colombia incorrectly as "Columbia".

Image copyright Twitter

Colombia was thrilled to nearly have back-to-back Miss Universe titles - Colombian Paulina Vega won in 2014.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who originally sent out a celebratory tweet, had to then take it back: "For us you'll always be our Miss Universe. We feel very proud."

Image copyright Twitter

"Mafias are everywhere. They stole the title," said Efrain Salinas, from Bogota.

"After winning last year's Miss Universe we're a beauty pageant powerhouse and nobody wants us to win again."

Piers Morgan suggested the two women share the title in the "spirit of Christmas".

While Mr Salinas pointed to mafias, others claimed the mishap was a publicity stunt to get people talking about the event.

Image copyright Twitter

Not everyone is so quick to point to a conspiracy theory, though.

US radio host Michael Smerconish polled people on his website and 79% say it was not a publicity stunt.

A BBC inquiry to Miss Universe about the theories went unanswered.

More on this story