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Miss Universe executive: Steve Harvey 'absolutely' welcome to host pageant again

Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey holds up

Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey holds up the card showing the winners after he incorrectly announced Miss Colombia as the winner during the show's finale on Dec. 20, 2015, in Las Vegas. Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was the real Miss Universe and later received the crown and sash. Credit: AP / John Locher

A key Miss Universe pageant executive says he would enthusiastically welcome back Steve Harvey to host next year’s show, despite announcing the wrong winner.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Mark Shapiro, chief content officer of WME | IMG, said on the syndicated radio program “The Jim Rome Show.” “He was funny, he was informative, he’s high energy, he’s got a great following,” Shapiro told Rome. Saying he believed that the pageant’s broadcaster, Fox, would support it, he added, “I definitely want him back, and I would hate to see him not come back. He’s going to want a shot to redeem himself. . . . It could happen to the best of us.”

Less forgiving was gossip blogger Perez Hilton, one of the pageant’s four telecast judges. Harvey “just didn’t do his job well, period,” Hilton, 37, said Tuesday on “Good Morning America.” “There is a prompter, but the moment where he crowns the winner isn’t on the prompter because that moment, they don’t want the other girls to know, so it was just on his card and he read it incorrectly.”

Hilton told the morning show his first thought was that the outcome had been “rigged.” “All of us voted for Philippines to win, so we were in shock and then when we found out that there was a mistake, I was like, ‘This is brilliant. They did this on purpose for publicity,’ ’ Hilton said. “I mean, that’s how my mind works.”

He was equally caustic toward first runner-up Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo, saying on his podcast Monday that she was a “straight-up diva” who was rude to her translator. “She came across not just to me, but several of the other judges . . . arrogant” and that the winning Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, showed “a real beauty and grace and elegance.”

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