Steve Harvey and Miss Universe—two people you likely weren't thinking about Sunday afternoon—abruptly became the Internet's top topics Sunday evening.
Harvey spectacularly botched the announcement of the winner, accidentally giving Miss Colombia the crown. Then, at the most awkward moment possible (the new Miss Universe's celebratory wave to the crowd), he whipped the audience into a hooting frenzy with the words "I have to apologize," noting that the real winner was Miss Philippines.
The whole scenario, frankly, felt like a twist from WWE's WrestleMania rather than from a hyperproduced global pageant.
So was it scripted? A manufactured moment of controversy to push Miss Universe to the top of social trending topic lists? And if so, who would have been in on it?
Even Harvey's first attempt at an apology—a tweet that misspelled both Colombia (as Columbia) and Philippines (as Philippians)—felt like it was taken from a page in some modern PR playbook. A quickly deleted tweet that fanned the flames further? Who could resist?
Admittedly, there are several reasons it's unlikely to be fake, the most prominent being the enduring smear it has likely placed on both the pageant and Harvey's hosting abilities.
But many still seem skeptical (and understandably so).
I mean be honest — did you even know Miss Universe was on tonight? You get my point. Anyway, carry on.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) December 21, 2015
Does anyone else but me think this Miss Universe screw up was staged? When was the last time Miss Universe got this much publicity?
— Marcos (@TheCoster) December 21, 2015
you didn't care about Miss Universe until … * *hoax
— Caro (@socarolinesays) December 21, 2015
No chance the Miss Universe deal is real. No chance. Gotta be staged.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) December 21, 2015
After watching the Miss Universe pageant ending, I'm almost 90% sure that was staged…
— Dip Jr. (@D_Tolb) December 21, 2015
.@serial Please find out whether the Miss Universe thing was staged. And whether Don picked up a shift at LensCrafters tonight.
— Karen Howell (@karenehowell) December 21, 2015
90% of me thinks that Miss Universe thing was staged. Because who watches beauty pageants?
— John Mousis (@jmousis) December 21, 2015
So how soon are we going to find out the Miss Universe Steve Harvey mix-up was completely staged to make people talk about Miss Universe?
— Andrew Dyce (@andrewbdyce) December 21, 2015
If staged, the Miss Universe thing is like Andy Kaufman level genius.
— Paul Pfeifer (@pmpfeifer) December 21, 2015
I mean it just seemed fake and staged but there's no way that they would actually do that is there? #MissUniverse
— Hank Allen (@HankAllenWX) December 21, 2015
I'm sorry but that "error" was so staged #MissUniverse
— Nady (@NMarieGonzalez) December 21, 2015