Steve Harvey flub creates a “Universe” of scorn

“You had one job” has become a signature slam online, a quip that always pops up anytime someone flubs what should have been a simple task. That line has been getting a serious workout after Miss Universe pageant emcee Steve Harvey crowned the wrong winner on live TV at the conclusion of the annual international beauty pageant.

The stage had cleared, and the scene was set. The top two finalists – Colombia and Philippines – were waiting in radiant patience. Harvey glanced down at his cue card and up at the TelePrompTer. He dutifully announced that the winner of the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant was Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo. The beaming beauty queen was crowned as millions cheered.

Minutes passed before an obviously shaken Harvey came back out on stage. He’d made a mistake. Colombia was the runner-up. The true winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurzbach. What followed was the dictionary definition of awkward. The crown was passed from the runner-up to the real winner. Filipino fans cheered, and Colombian’s screamed in protest.

No one seemed to know quite what to do, so Harvey just winged it. He ate platters full of crow and begged everyone not to “blame the girls.” Although why anyone would is anyone’s guess.

Once the ‘net got wind of the flub, Harvey became an instant punchline. Memes were quickly generated depicting Harvey predicting all sorts of impossible victories and unimaginable successes. Poor guy.

Now there’s a rumor going around that Harvey isn’t really at fault. Some have said the wrong text appeared on the TelePrompTer. But it doesn’t matter. As far as social media is concerned, “Steve Harvey” is not synonymous with “fail”. Fair? Not in the slightest. Everyone makes mistakes, and this may very well have not been his fault in any sense of the word. Further, Harvey pulled out of the dive better than many others could have, a true pro on stage when it counted.

Unfortunately, none of that matters more than the cheap jokes folks can make at his expense. Now even Burger King is getting into the act. Recently on their Twitter feed, the fast food joint posted the following:

“At BK, everyone gets to keep their crowns.”

That may be the most innocuous reference to the event, but when a major international brand buys into the mythos of an event, the cultural penetration has pretty much reached capacity. No one needed that tweet explained to them. Worse, it started a trend in which BK patrons posted photos of themselves wearing crowns with a referential hashtag.

While some are postulating the entire scene was an elaborate ruse created to bring free publicity back to the flagging competition, there’s little evidence to support that allegation. Even if it were true, that’s neither the time nor the place for that sort of guerilla PR. At the biggest moment, when anyone who cares is already watching? Nope. If you want more eyes on your project, a major screw up is not the way to make that happen. Particularly after the fact. How many more people would actually tune in next year because of it. This isn’t the MTV awards.