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edge staff writer


Celebrity Slam - (12/23/15)

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Heavy is the head

There are some weeks when it's tough to make this space happen. Despite how it may seem, there are always going to be stretches in which all the celebrity-types out there manage not to say or do anything particularly untoward. While that's probably good for them, it's decidedly not good for me; it leaves me to search out deep cuts involving a) people that aren't that famous doing b) things that aren't that interesting.

But then there are those other weeks when a gift from the Celebrity Slam gods drops out of the heavens and into your lap. Those are the weeks when the universe practically does the job for me.

This week, that gift is Steve Harvey.

For those few who have somehow managed not to hear about this yet, here's what went down. Harvey and his mustache were serving as the MC for the Miss Universe Pageant. It played out as these things do, with two final contestants Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines anxiously awaiting the decision of the judges. Harvey announced Miss Colombia as the winner and the crowning and sashing and whatnot commenced.

Only as it turns out, Harvey was mistaken. Miss Colombia had in fact been named runner-up, meaning that the actual winner was Miss Philippines. And so on live television Harvey had to confess his error and the no-longer-elated Miss Colombia had the crown taken from her head and handed off to the true victor. As to how the mistake was made, Harvey seems to have misread the card with the results though video has surfaced of him complaining that the teleprompter had been in error.

(There was also a snafu with Harvey's social media apology; while the sentiment was no doubt sincere, the fact that he misspelled both Colombia ('Columbia') and the Philippines ('Philippians') in his apology tweet.)

So yeahnot a great time to be Steve Harvey.

As you might imagine, the internet has been having a field day with this. On top of that, there have been some pretty harsh reactions coming from the other contestants. Miss Germany has gone on record as saying that she and others weren't happy with the choice and thought Miss Colombia actually deserved the crown.

The truth is that it's kind of surprising that stuff like this doesn't happen more often. Live television is a highwire act under the best of circumstances. People are going to make mistakes. Granted, they rarely happen on this large a stage, but still they happen. Harvey owned his error and handled things as best he could.

As to how it happened, wellthere are plenty of possibilities. Maybe the card was different than the ones from rehearsal. Maybe there was an error on the teleprompter. Maybe the reflected light from his white tuxedo blinded him and he couldn't even SEE the teleprompter. Maybe not being able to say 'Survey says!' threw him off his game. Really, it could have been anything.

There's something undeniably entertaining about the whole thing. Call it schadenfreude if you will, but there's a weird undertone to beauty pageants that makes them feel dated in a kind of unpleasant way. Really, they're a bit of an anachronism at this point mishaps like this might be the only way for them to garner much mainstream attention now that their former owner has moved on to running for president.

One could argue, in fact, that this whole mess is actually a good thing for them.

If you think about it, the folks at the pageant should probably thank Steve Harvey and give him a bonus. Seriously how long has it been since this many people knew who won Miss Universe? Since this many people even cared that Miss Universe is still a thing? It's a bonanza of publicity for contest organizers. Be honest would Miss Universe have even crossed your radar without the bumbling nudge from Mr. Harvey? Instead of a pop culture footnote, it's something that people might actually talk about for a little while. It's relevance temporary relevance, to be sure, but relevance nevertheless.

Stick to the Feud, Steve it's what's best for everyone.


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