MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach appeared on Steve Harvey's show, Monday, January 18 (Tuesday, January 19 in Manila) more than a month since the controversial Miss Universe incident last in Las Vegas.
In the two-part interview on The Steve Harvey Show titled "Miss Universe: The Truth," Steve answered questions from the audience before Pia went onstage. Pia also came to Steve's defense, saying he attended all the rehearsals of the competition, contrary to rumors that he was at gambling at casinos and drinking.
"Steve was there throughout all the rehearsals. He was there during technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals, even on the pageant day itself when we had the dress rehearsals early in the morning. He was there all throughout. We rehearsed everything from start to finish. He made us very comfortable. We know exactly how the show was gonna go, the flow was gonna go... He was there throughout everything," Pia said.
During the interview, Steve asked Pia what she felt when he came back onstage after Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, was crowned. Pia shared that when she was called first runner-up, she was already happy because of the Filipinos audience's support. But when she saw Steve come back onstage, that she knew there was a problem.
"When we rehearsed it, everything happened so fast. As soon as the girl was crowned, she gets to do her first walk right away. And I was waiting for that. We were all waiting for it," said Pia.
Miss USA Olivia Jordan, who won second runner-up at the pageant, was in the audience of The Steve Harvey Show episode. She said that when Steve went up onstage to correct his mistake, she thought he was going to tell a joke, given that the comedian joked around a lot during rehearsals.
Pia added that she had mixed feelings about winning, because of her concern for Ariadna.
"I tried to keep a safe distance from her as not to disrespect her," said Pia about how she felt as she stood next to Ariadna during the coronation. "Because I didn't want her to feel bad. I was being sensitive to her feelings."
Later in the interview, Steve asked Pia if she had a message for Ariadna. Pia said: "I'd like her to know that I hope this doesn't change her perception of Miss Universe, of the organization, of you, of me. It was an honest mistake, you know, mistakes happen, especially on live television. I hope that she realizes very soon that she's strong, she's beautiful, with a lot of potential. And I hope she sees the positive in all of this."
When asked what she hopes people take away from the controversy, Pia answered that she wants people to be as inspired with her story as she was with a quote she read before: "A real queen knows how to make an empire with the same stones thrown at her."
"And you too, Steve, don't beat yourself up for this anymore," Pia added. "Come on, let's move forward, let's just be happy."
@MissUniverse An absolute class act! A photo posted by Steve Harvey (@iamsteveharveytv) on Jan 18, 2016 at 1:59pm PST
Last January 4, Steve spoke up for the very first time about the incident, saying he tried to reach out ot Ariadna after mistake, but never got any response.
"I tried to fix it and I tried to fix it right there. And when I did it, it was horrible. It was horrible to Miss Colombia. And she's the only one I haven't had a chance to talk to," he said. (READ: Steve Harvey releases first statement on Miss Universe 2015 mix-up)
"Now, have I tried?" he asked later. "Yes. But I've got not a response."
Steve also said that he did not do it to boost the pageant's popularity and that the only thing he regretted about the situation was how Ariadna felt.
Steve is set to speak with Ariadna on January 19 (January 20 in Manila) on his show. – Rappler.com
Pia Wurtzbach as Miss Universe 2015