The 64-year-old narrowly avoided calling the wrong name during the annual beauty pageant, which aired on FOX. After announcing Lalela Mswane, a contestant from South Africa as the second runner-up, the “Family Feud” host turned to the remaining two women from Paraguay and India and shouted “Congratulations Portugal” but was quickly able to catch himself.
The “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” actor instantly explained to audience members and viewers at home the reason behind his trip-up while playfully taking a jab at the show’s producers.
“They wrote Portugal on the damn sign, trying to play me — they’re trying to get me again. But I’m not going for it this year,” the host said, seemingly referencing one of a few past gaffes, including the 2015 Miss Universe competition where he mistakenly called first runner-up Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, as the winner, instead of Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, the actual winner. In 2019, Harvey also said he experienced a Teleprompter mishap when he introduced a video package about Miss Malaysia by mistakenly referring to Miss Philippines.
Harvey continued, “Congratulations, Paraguay. They had Portugal on the damn sign. I looked dead at it. Y’all saw it. Don’t try to blame this on me this year.”
Ultimately, the “Think Like a Man” star was able to pull it together when it was time to call the official Miss Universe 2021 winner, which went to Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu. The 21-year-old took home the crown, beating 79 other contestants. This was also the first time in 21 years that the title went to India.
This was Harvey’s first time back at the Miss Universe competition since 2019. During an appearance on Kevin Hart on his podcast “Comedy Gold Minds” earlier this year, the long-time funnyman said he regretted taking the fall for the 2015 incident, which was reportedly caused by a last-minute change in production.
“I knew it was bad when it happened. … It wasn’t my fault, so, like, I was tripping, man,” he recalled of the embarrassing moment. “Well, I wish I hadn’t took the bullet like I did,” he added, stating that the competition is the highlight of his year.
“Each show, I’m in awe of the smart, fiery, and talented women who take the stage. I continue to champion this show and participate, not only as a host but as a producer, to show the world what you can do if you put your mind to it,” he added.
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