A 26-year-old actress and model from the Philippines was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday (December 20) after host Steve Harvey mistakenly first announced that Miss Colombia had won the 64th edition of the pageant, broadcast live on the Fox television network.
The pageant ended with a gaff, after its first edition since the annual beauty show was thrust into controversy when then co-owner and US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, made disparaging remarks about immigrants.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, a Filipino-German actress and model born in Stuttgart and raised in Cagayan de Oro, was announced as runner-up to Miss Colombia, before Harvey announced to the audience that he had made a mistake.
Ariadna Gutierrez Arévalo, 21, of Sincelejo, Colombia, had already been crowned by Miss Universe of 2014, Paulina Vega of Barranquilla, Colombia, who was forced to remove the crown and give it to Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Olivia Jordan, 27, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, finished third.
"It was my mistake, it was on the card. Horrible mistake," Harvey said in an apology to the contestants from Colombia and the Philippines during the live broadcast. "The first runner-up is Colombia," he continued.
Israel's candidate, 19-year-old Avigail Alfatov
, was eliminated from the competition early on when she failed to make it past the initial qualifying round where 80 contestants were whittled down to the top 15.
Afimov, a national fencing champion, was raised in Acre, a coastal community and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Middle East. Its population is a mix of Jews, Muslims, Christians and Bahais.
Minutes before the pageant ended, a vehicle drove up onto a sidewalk near the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was held and plowed into pedestrians, killing one person and injuring at least 36, officials said.
Las Vegas authorities said they were trying to determine whether the driver, a woman who was detained, drove onto the sidewalk intentionally or due to impairment.
Among the notable moments of the pageant, Flora Coquerel of France, who was at the Paris stadium the night of the November attacks by militants, reached the final five and Ariana Miyamoto of Japan, whose father is African-American, reached the last 10.
Miyamoto's height of 1.73 m (5.7 ft) and bronze skin are unusual in Japan and her selection to represent Japan created an online firestorm in her native country.
For the first time, viewers had a chance to vote on the winner, rating contestants in the swimwear, evening gown and interview competitions.
Until recently, the pageant was co-owned by Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal and Trump, who is leading national polls in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination race.
Earlier, Trump's remarks about Mexicans in announcing his presidential candidacy in June drew sharp criticism, and the Spanish-language network Univision pulled out of a deal to televise the pageant.
Trump, who has sued Univision for $500 million, bought out NBC's stake in the Miss Universe Organization, which produces both Sunday's pageant and the Miss USA contest. He sold the company in September.
The panel of judges included former National Football League great Emmitt Smith, celebrity blog mogul Perez Hilton and 2012 Miss Universe winner Olivia Culpo. Hilton said the two most important things about the pageant were the vastly larger audience and Trump was no longer owner. JTA contributed to this report.
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