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The painfully awkward moment when they crowned the wrong Miss Universe live on television

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Harriet Hall
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If you thought watching First Dates was the most cringeworthy viewing on television, think again.

Last night, following three weeks of competing in Las Vegas, the 2015 winner of the Miss Universe competition was announced, live on television, shortly before being decrowned when the real Miss Universe was announced.

Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, was proclaimed to be winner of the beauty pageant by host, Steve Harvey, presented with an enormous bouquet and crowned as Miss Universe 2015. She wept tears of joy at winning the title for the second year running.

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The two finalists await the announcement

But, midway through blowing kisses of gratitude to the audience, Harvey interrupted to say:

“Folks, I have to apologise.”

He then explained that actually, Miss Colombia was not the winner but the first runner-up. Instead, the real winner of this year's contest was Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

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Miss Colombia has her crown removed and passed to Miss Philippines

The mistake came out because host Harvey read his cue cards in the wrong order.

“I will take responsibility for this, it was my mistake,” he said.

Wurtzbach looked on in complete shock and confusion, as the $30,000 (£20,000) blue diamond and topaz crown was then removed from Gutierrez’s head, and transferred onto hers.

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Philippines is crowned Miss Universe 2015

The live broadcast was swiftly cut from air, and Miss Philippines was not able to do her live victory lap.

Following the monumental error, Harvey took to twitter to apologise, saying:

“I want to apologize emphatically to Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia.”

Having misspelt both contestants' countries, he deleted the message and tweeted it again to say:

The Miss Universe organisation also released a statement saying:

“The excitement of live TV was evident tonight on the Miss Universe stage…

“Unfortunately, a live telecast means that human error can come into play. We witnessed that tonight when the wrong winner was initially announced. Our sincerest apologies to Miss Universe Colombia, Miss Universe Philippines, their families and fans.”

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Backstage, Miss Colombia dealt with the humiliating and upsetting blow gracefully, saying:

“Everything happens for a reason. I'm happy for all I did, I'm so happy. Thank you for voting for me.”

Meanwhile, Miss Philippines said: “It's a very...non-traditional crowning moment.”

Well, that’s for sure.

Watch the full announcement in the video below.