Steve Harvey’s snafu Sunday sent the social media stratosphere into a frenzy. I’d call 2015 the most memorable Miss Universe pageant ever. Harvey announced the wrong winner as the world … er, the universe watched. As a former broadcast journalist, my mentors taught me experience means knowing what to do when you don't know what to do. It’s crucial for live television.
For pageant watchers, Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was the clear winner after the second question-and-answer portion. She managed to tie into her answer the pageant’s “Confidently Beautiful” social media campaign. She showed herself a proficient spokesperson by re-enforcing the positive message.
When Steve named Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez the winner, I thought, “He must’ve read the wrong name.” I didn’t really expect to be right!
My heart goes out to Ariadna. I held my breath hoping the former Miss Universe would not remove the crown on camera. Unfortunately, she did. The producers could have gone to another camera shot or told Harvey to toss to a commercial then, come back to a re-adjusted scene.
This pageant was a true test of the grace and poise befitting a Miss Universe. This shows both ladies are deserving of the title. With the right publicist and a positive attitude Miss Colombia can become a media darling. And it doesn’t hurt she’s a dead ringer for her fellow country woman Sofia Vergara. Vergara even tweeted in her honor, “Still the queen.”
Any publicity is good publicity. #MissUniverse2015 became the night’s biggest Twitter trend as users expressed their disbelief. For an up-to-the-minute play-by-play, I checked the social media pages of the pageant, judges, host and top 2 contestants. I am certain all accounts gained droves of followers.
It’s no doubt the new Miss Universe will have an unforgettable reign. For years to come, Pia can have her own campaign (books and speaking engagements) on how to remain graceful when in your heart you know you’ve won.
Poor Steve! He took responsibility for his mistake, apologized and faced the press. Harvey remains one of my favorite entertainers. He shouldn’t book any flights to Colombia next year but, this will not stop his reign as a made man in the media. This may even be the running joke in his next movie or standup routine.
If Vanessa L. Williams can rise above the embarrassment from her pageant days, I think these parties can also make the most of this mistake.
Stephanie Palmer is a marketing and public relations professional in Houston, Texas. Formerly, she worked as a news producer and reporter in the top 10 media market.