Pageant error gives wrong woman crown

Contestants Denise Garrido (left) and Riza Santos.
Contestants Denise Garrido (left) and Riza Santos.

CALGARY — On Saturday night, Denise Garrido had the crown, the sash and all the glory that comes with being crowned 2013 Miss Universe Canada.

Twenty-four hours later, Garrido’s crown was gone and placed on the head of another Canadian woman after the revelation that a pageant employee’s typo had crowned the wrong woman.

“I was shocked and disappointed and kind of embarrassed because of all of the celebrations and congratulatory messages I’d received,” Garrido told of the moment Sunday when she was shown the correct scores by Miss Universe Canada national director Denis Davila .

“I knew it wasn’t my fault,” she said. “I have no bitterness or anger or resentment towards the organisation at all. They’ve been very transparent.”

The newly crowned Miss Universe Canada is Riza Santos, a 26-year-old engineering student from Calgary, who found out she was the real winner Monday while unwinding from the pageant stress poolside in Las Vegas.

Santos was originally named first runner-up in the pageant, the winner of which goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. On Sunday, the pageant completed a third-party audit comparing the judges’ handwritten scores with the inputted computer scores, the same process the pageant follows every year. It was during the audit that the human error was discovered, moving Garrido down from pageant queen to third runner-up.

“A typo was discovered in the top 5 entries, which significantly impacted the final results of the competition,” Davila said in a statement. “This is the first instance of this type of error in the 11 years that Beauties of Canada has produced the Miss Universe Canada pageant.”

Pageant officials decided it was best to quickly admit their mistake and honor the judges’ decision, according to a spokesman. (ABC)

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