Nerves were running high at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, January 29 — but perhaps no one was more nervous than the host. After he named the wrong contestant as the winner at the previous competition, Steve Harvey had been asked back again. He made it clear from the start of the event that he did not intend to let history repeat itself.
Over the course of the three-hour-long show, beauty queens from countries around the globe strutted their stuff in evening gowns and swimwear, and struggled to answer questions on topics ranging from body image to Donald Trump‘s presidency. While the night went smoothly, there were still some memorable moments. Here are the top five, including the night’s big winner!
1. Steve Harvey Pokes Fun at Himself
Steve Harvey opened the pageant with a meeting to discuss his “escape plan,” in case he messed up the big announcement again. The plan involved him dropping through a trap door on the stage, zip-lining down the building and escaping to the airport in a bakery truck. Later, when he took the stage, he said, “Let’s get this out of the way. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Is that the guy from last year? Did they bring back that guy from last year?’ Well, they did. It’s me. I’m back!”
He went on to assure everyone that he had gotten eye surgery to ensure he would get it right this year. Showing there were no hard feelings, however, the reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, thanked him for making her the “most popular” Miss Universe ever. (Not sure how she calculated that title, but what mattered was that they were still on good terms.)
2. Miss Canada Talks Body-Shaming With Ashley Graham
Backstage, Miss Canada, Siera Bearchell, discussed body confidence and body-shaming with host Ashley Graham (who famously flaunted her curves for Sports Illustrated). The two bonded over how they approached the topic of body image — especially when being surrounded by so many insanely fit (read: tiny!) women so much of their lives.
Bearchell kept it positive, explaining, “We are confident with ourselves. We love ourselves.” She advised girls facing similar issues to “focus on what you love about yourself” because “that’s what’s important.”
3. Colombia and Philippines Both Make Top Six
When Colombia and the Philippines both made the top six, Harvey couldn’t help but laugh nervously. (He mistakenly announced Miss Colombia as the winner last time around, when the actual victor had been Miss Philippines.) Ultimately, Miss Philippines didn’t make the final three, so he could at least breathe a (small) sigh of relief there.
4. Audience Boos Women Using Interpreters
Before the QA round began, Harvey announced that four of the contestants — Miss Colombia, Miss France, Miss Thailand and Miss Haiti — would be using interpreters to help them, and the audience booed (or part of the audience, anyway). It wasn’t clear what the booing was about, exactly, but it was quickly quelled — though not before it was obvious to everyone watching at home.
5. Miss France Wins the Ultimate Title
In the end, it was Miss France, Iris Mittenaere, who took home the top prize. The stunning brunette, who is pursuing a degree in dental surgery, looked completely shocked when her name was (correctly!) called by Harvey. After announcing her as the winner, the Family Feud star congratulated himself briefly on getting through it without any errors.
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