Shortly after singer Ally Brooke, 26, opened the show accompanied by the 90 Miss Universe finalists, Harvey launched into a monologue complete with some self-deprecating humor. Harvey had an assist from Vanessa Lachey and Olivia Culpo (Miss Universe 2012), plus an enthusiastic audience with plenty of patriotic fans hoping to see their country’s contender take home the crown. The night also featured yet another mistake from Harvey thanks to a teleprompter issue, and culminated with South Africa winning it all.
Here are the biggest moments you missed from the 2019 Miss Universe pageant:
Miss South Africa was crowned Miss Universe
South Africa, Mexico and Puerto Rico were the finalists and the three women faced off for the crown as the evening came to a close.
Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi was named the winner. Second place went to Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson.
Right before the winner was announced, the show added a segment to let each contestant share her closing statement.
Steve Harvey had another mix up
Harvey introduced the winner of the national costume contest. After showing a photo of Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados in costume and declaring her the winner, Harvey then said, “This is it right here,” and introduced the contestant beside him, who was very clearly in a different outfit than the one that was just shown on screen.
“It’s not Philippines, it’s Malaysia,” contestant Shweta Sekhon said firmly.
Earlier, Harvey joked about his 2015 flub with a cartel joke that fell flat
Shortly after coming onstage in an eye-popping teal blazer with gold appliques, Harvey quipped about the time he announced the wrong winner in 2015.
“I’m hosting again. Fifth time. Can you believe it? I can’t,” he said. “Ya’ll never really did let go of that Miss Colombia thing. … I survived it all. When you fall, get up. Colombia has gotten over that, too. They’ve forgiven me. Well, not all of them. The cartel is still trippin’ a little bit.”
The joke got some backlash on social media, and as the pageant trended on Twitter, many users expressed anger that Harvey was making jokes about cartel violence.
“Stop messing up with our country, we demand respect, we are not just cartels, just like you’re not funny! Don’t be such a moron!” wrote @KairosKatzen.
“Why is Steve Harvey still hosting #MissUniverse2019?” wondered @MichelleMorenoo. “He’s making cartel jokes about Colombia. Mistaking Malaysia for the Philippines. It’s not funny.”
Later in the show, when Harvey named Miss Colombia as a top 20 semi-finalist, Gabriela Tafur Náder had some fun at Harvey’s expense and asked him if he was sure he’d read the results correctly.
Miss Dominican Republic and Miss USA showed their personalities
Clauvid Dály, the contestant representing the Dominican Republic, gave a lengthy answer to her Q&A with Harvey that showed off her bold personality. When asked “How are you?” by Harvey, Dály replied, “Well, I won’t lie, Steve, I’m a bit cold. I feel like an ice cream in a freezer.” She then said it would heat up when the swimsuit competition kicked off and prompted the crowd to applaud before sharing a story about a bracelet from her mother that was special to her.
In a powerful moment immediately after Dály’s time in the spotlight, Mexico’s contestant Sofía Aragón reminded us that the people who look up to Miss Universe “aren’t looking for a model; they’re looking for a role model.”
Then, the United States’ Cheslie Kryst, who has worked as a TV correspondent, shared her camera-ready tips for Harvey. “I usually pin my hair back so it’s out of my face, but I don’t think you’ll have that problem.”
Yes, there was still a swimsuit competition
Though the Miss America pageant has done away with the swimsuit competition, Miss Universe still featured a swimwear segment.
As the top 10 finalists walked the catwalk in colorful swimwear, the music playing was interspersed with voice-over of the women discussing when they feel most powerful. Miss USA said she feels empowered in a swimsuit, but more “in a different kind of suit” since she built a career as an attorney.