If you’ve ever wondered why game show contestants seem to talk three times louder than what appears necessary and annunciate to the extreme, it’s because if they don’t it can cost them cash. In fact, contestants are told to speak as clearly as possible when they’re out on the studio stage. It will lead to fewer misunderstandings and mistakes.
Whether it’s someone carefully breaking down a word on “Jeopardy!” or a contestant loudly screaming “B as in boy” on “Wheel of Fortune,” contestants typically are cautious in giving their answers.
However, there are several instances where a misreading or mispronunciation has cost a contestant thousands of dollars.
For example, on “Jeopardy!” one contestant learned the hard way that they need to brush up on their knowledge of rap music.
According to People, Nick Spicher, a contestant from 2018, started out his New Year a bit embarrassingly. He appeared on the New Year’s Day episode. The clue was “A song by Coolio from ‘Dangerous Minds’ goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton Classic.” The clue references both a Coolio song as well as the book “Paradise Lost.”
Nick answered “Gangster’s Paradise Lost.” His answer was originally accepted. However, several minutes later the judges had decided that saying “Gangster” instead of “Gangsta” just didn’t work for them. Alex Trebek delivered the news in his lovingly stoic nature.
Nick learned that if you’re not “Gangsta” on “Jeopardy!” you may lose $3,200.
Second-Hand Embarassment on ‘Jeopardy!’
Watching Nick isn’t the only time viewers at home felt a combination of pity and second-hand embarrassment while watching.
There have been plenty of cringy, funny, and even embarrassing contestants on the trivia show.
A part of what makes it so entertaining was longtime host Alex Trebek. He had a way of subtly joking and teasing contestants in a very natural and not forced way. One of the best was when contestants got the clue “A blow to the back of the neck is the punch named for this animal.”
One person responded with “What is a donkey” instead of “What is a rabbit punch.” Unfortunately for him, this phrase has a more inappropriate second meaning that social media was astoundingly quick to point out at the time. While Nick lost $3,200 for his mispronunciation, he still won that episode and walked away with the money.
A three-way tie on the show is incredibly rare. However, there have been instances where three contestants tie for $0. Viewers can almost feel the embarrassment radiating off their television screens. One example of this was when three teens tied for nothing during the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament.
The look of pure unhappiness on the kids’ faces is undeniably awkward, especially as Trebek just ignores them and proceeds to explain what the tie means for future episodes.