Miss Philippines Wins Miss Universe In Bizarre Finish [Updated and with comment by Paul]

Tonight’s Miss Universe pageant concluded with a fiasco, as the announcer apparently misunderstood the final rankings and announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez Arévalo, as the winner. Miss Colombia was crowned, presented with flowers and paraded around the stage for a couple of minutes when, to the astonishment of all, the announcer returned and said that he had made a mistake: the real winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. They mercifully pulled the plug on the broadcast a few moments later. I don’t think the television audience saw the crown lifted from Miss Colombia’s head.

This must be the worst disaster in pageant history. The bizarre finish will overshadow what was otherwise a top-notch competition, which we covered here, here, here and here.

For the record, the ten finalists were France, Curaçao–one of the underdogs whom I promoted–Colombia, Philippines, Venezuela, Japan, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Australia and USA. For the most part, this list parallels the betting favorites leading up to the finale. Viewers around the world cast more than ten million votes, which played some role in the selection of the top ten.

The ten were winnowed down to three, Miss Colombia, Miss USA and Miss Philippines. Of the three, my favorite by far was Miss Colombia. Miss USA enjoyed a home field advantage but was overshadowed, I thought, by a number of other competitors. Miss Philippines came across to me as robotic. It looked like two in a row for Colombia, as Paulina Vega, Miss Colombia 2014, is the reigning Miss Universe.

Then came the announcer’s appalling blunder. Tonight’s fiasco will no doubt reverberate for some time. Meanwhile, let’s have a last look at the finalists. I probably will update in the morning when photos from tonight’s finale are available, but for now, here is Miss USA, Olivia Jordan:


The winner, Miss Philippines:


OK, we can do better than that:

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 9.34.42 PM

Honestly, though, I think Miss Colombia should have won, and she has had a tough night to say the least. So let’s wrap up with a tribute to this year’s first runner-up, Ariadna Gutierrez Arévalo:




Let’s hope things go a little more smoothly next year!

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds asks: “Was Obama somehow involved?” Good question! We associate this level of incompetence with our president, but I think he is in the clear on this one, as he is haplessly golfing–as usual–in Hawaii.

PAUL ADDS: I wonder whether FIFA was involved.

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