Big winners in Ms. U tilt
The minute American author, comedian, actor and TV host Steve Harvey stepped on the stage of the 65th Ms. Universe beauty pageant, he wasted no time in trashing himself for the blunder committed during last year’s Ms. U. To recall, Mr. Harvey made a humongous mistake when he announced that Ms. Colombia won the pageant when in fact our own Ms. Pia Wurtzbach was the real winner.
“That was four minutes of pure hell,” Mr. Harvey described the moment, from the minute Ms. Ariadna Gutierrez was crowned to the time she was dethroned and Ms. Philippines rightfully crowned as Ms. Universe 2015.
Harvey repeatedly joked about the flub at least four times during the event: in his opening spiel, when he received the preliminary results, when he asked Andrea Tovr, the current Ms. Colombia who later emerged as second runner-up, how her countrymen felt about him after the sorry incident. Of course, he knew that Colombians wanted to lynch him during that time. In fact, Ms.
Colombia told him her fellowmen are still slighted by the enormous blunder.
The final reference was when he was handed the results of the pageant and Ms. Pia Wurtzbach gave him a pair of reading glasses to be sure he won’t commit the same mistake. I wonder if Mr. Harvey scripted the pageant flow but by recalling the incident in practically the same stage, he showed his vulnerability. It was hard to predict how the audience would have reacted to his presence but somehow he managed to rise above the mistake by joking about it.
Ms. U emcees usually roast politicians and notorious celebrities who make headlines, but this time around, Harvey’s gag was at his own expense. The spontaneous laughter and applause in the jampacked SM Mall of Asia Arena each time he poked fun at himself showed that Filipinos have not only forgiven him but also have all forgotten about the incident. I also think they have embraced him as one of them, kalog (funny guy) who does not take himself seriously.
That is why Mr. Harvey is one of biggest winners in this year’s Ms. U tilt. The coverage of the Ms. U has even shifted from the newly crowned queen, Ms. France, to the emcee who did it right this time.
Still, did Mr. Harvey allude to the Philippine situation when he remarked that he’d better do it right this time (while he was about to reveal the names of the 13 finalists) or “you won’t be able to leave the Philippines”? As we know, the extrajudicial killings related to the current antidrugs war of the Duterte administration has been making international
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The Department of Tourism DOT who organized the pageant and Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson whose LCS Group of Companies funded the event are the other big winners. By bringing some of the events to other parts of the country like Vigan, Davao and Cebu, the pageant brought to the fore the natural beauty of our country. US representatives of the Ms. U franchise and the candidates were all overwhelmed and impressed by the warm welcome and festive atmosphere of the places they visited.
Governor Singson has plunked in $15 million for the tilt but he is confident he would be able to recover the expenses together with a profit margin that can’t be quantified — his personal credibility well-enhanced. That will also bring in much-needed sheen to his business empire.
Kudos as well goes to the Philippine National Police for keeping the peace throughout the event which officially started days ahead of yesterday’s coronation. As I write, I haven’t heard of any major disruption or violent incidents. Terror threats have almost become commonplace whenever people are gathered in great numbers and although the PNP is being roiled by serious controversies, this corner commends the police for a job well done.
I think the only sad note to our hosting of this year’s Ms. U is the constant bashing of our own Ms. Philippines Maxine Medina in social media. I don’t know why there is so much negativity going around. Our official candidate may not have bagged the crown, but being in the top 6 is recognition enough. Maxine did her best given her limitations.
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