A familiar face was up to familiar tricks on Sunday’s 70th Miss Universe competition, when longtime host Steve Harvey made yet another miscue during the night’s most tense moment.
After announcing South Africa as the second runner-up, Harvey turned to the two remaining contestants – from countries Paraguay and India – and began by saying, “Congratulations Portugal.” That’s when the host caught himself.
“They wrote Portugal on the damn sign, trying to play me– they’re trying to get me again. But I’m not going for it this year,” Harvey said. “Congratulations Paraguay. They had Portugal on the damn sign. I looked dead at it. Y’all saw it. Don’t try to blame this on me this year.”
Harvey might have been referring to the 2015 Miss Universe competition, where he accidentally announced first runner-up Miss Colombia as the winner, instead of the actual winner Miss Philippines.
Or he could be talking about the 2019 pageant, where the host set up a video package by referencing Miss Philippines when it was actually Miss Malaysia. He chalked it up to a teleprompter miscue for that one, much like this year’s mixup.
But of course the show, which took place in Eilat, Israel, continued on, and while things didn’t get any better for Miss Paraguay, Harvey was able to nail the most important moment of the night when he officially named Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu as Miss Universe 2021.
The 21-year-old Sandhu beat out 79 other contestants, including runner-up Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira and second runner-up Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane. And Sandhu, an actor who draws inspiration from Priyanka Chopra, discussed how she is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment.
With India bringing home the crown for the first time in 21 years, it was an historic night. Made even more notable as it marked the first time that a delegate from the United Arab Emirates has ever competed, and the first time in over four decades that Miss Universe Morocco has returned to the pageant.
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