‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Opens Up About ‘Nerve-Wracking’ Audition Test for the Show

by Madison Miller

Amidst the bright studio lights, flashing screens, famous hosts, and all-around stressful situations, “Jeopardy!” isn’t all fun and games.

However, at the end of all the difficult trivia and prep work, contestants have the chance to walk away with some really life-changing money.

That’s if they get on the show in the first place. Shows like “Jeopardy!” are infamous for their difficult audition processes. Millions apply to be on the show, but few are picked to grace the iconic stage each year.

A recent contestant on the show opened up about the audition process that very few people get to be a part of.

Recently, a 12th grade English teacher named Jeffrey Mitchum graced the “Jeopardy!” stage. He was on earlier this month when Bill Whitaker was the guest host in charge. His episode aired on May 11.

‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant On Audition Process

Mitchum prepared for the show by watching past episodes and looking at the archives. That’s after he found out he actually made it onto the show in the first place. It all started with an online test that each interested contestant must complete and score well on. It is timed and has 50 questions.

“I hear stories about people who have auditioned 10 to 15 times. This was my first audition … I gave them my email address and got a message, ‘We’ll email you when the test is happening’ … I had to be sitting in front of my computer,” Mitchum said to The Reporter.

Mitchum notes that he was surprised to even get his spot behind a podium.

However, even with a remote audition process, the experience was still terribly nerve-wracking. He had 10 seconds to type in responses from a wide variety of categories, which is typical of “Jeopardy!” From sports to history to literature to science, contestants must know a dash of just about everything.

“Once you started taking the written test, it becomes nerve-wracking. And the more questions you answer, the more nerve-wracking it becomes,” Mitchum confessed.

The best part is, Mitchum got to do it all over again a couple of months later in another online test. This time he got to do it with a crew member on Zoom.

To put it all in perspective, this entire process for the contestant started in March with the first test. His second test was in May. Then he eventually was notified he would participate in a simulated audition that is meant to mimic “Jeopardy!” gameplay.

Taping The Show And Success As A Contestant

After that, he received news that “Jeopardy!” would be in his near future. His taping days at the studio began in March of 2021.

Mitchum found the online test-taking process nerve-wracking, so how did he do on the real stage? In Culver City, he was surrounded by crew members, Bill Whitaker, and a number of other stressful components of any game show.

“I think a certain type of stoicism is required, having gone through the experience. If you let your nerves get to you too much, it’ll sink you pretty quick. I think the biggest emotional requirement is not to let the stress get to you too much,” he said.

Unfortunately, Mitchum did not walk away as the winner that night. Instead, Juliet Mayer, a graduate student, was the winner. Her two-day winnings were $53,200. Despite losing, it seems to have been quite the experience for the high school English teacher.

The chance to be on “Jeopardy!” is so rare, experience has a way of trumping money.