“Jeopardy!” champion and community college instructor Courtney Shah created a buzz when she triumphed in seven consecutive games. But the Portland, Oregon, native’s victory streak eventually came to an end on the Wednesday, July 7 episode.
Shah lost to newcomer Nikole Villanueva, a direct service provider from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The “Jeopardy!” champ started in last place going into the “Final Jeopardy!” round with only $6,200, and she wagered only $800 on her eventual correct answer.
Despite Shah’s loss and low earnings for her eighth game, she still walked away from the quiz show with a sizable pot of cash. Over the course of her seven victories, Shah raked in $118,558, plus $2,000 for her second-place finish. Not bad for eight rounds of intense trivia competition.
In addition to the money, Shah also earned herself a spot in “Jeopardy!’s” next Tournament of Champions. So far, the only other eligible contestants are fellow seven-time winner Brian Chang, six-time winner Zach Newkirk, and four-time winner John Focht.
Surprisingly, Shah has the lowest amount of earnings compared to her three Tournament of Champions Competitors. Chang, who won just as many rounds as Shah, earned more than $45,000 more during his time on stage. Newkirk, who only won six games, cashed in more than $6,000 more than Shah. And if you average it out, Shah earned a total of just under $17,000 per game, while Focht earned almost $26,000 per game.
Maybe Shah just wanted to play it safe, but whatever her strategy, it still guaranteed her seven-straight wins. And no one can come close to “Jeopardy!” Hall of Famer James Holzhauer, who earned $131,127 in a single game back in 2019. He holds the top 10 spots in the Single-Game Winnings category, all from his 32-game streak back in the spring of 2019.
‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Courtney Shah Continues Supporting Contestants
Shah took to Twitter right before last night’s July 8 episode to send her love to fellow contestants Nikole Villanueva, Ellen McKeeman, and Jen Jazwinski.
“Y’all it’s another ladies’ night on @Jeopardy tonight! And all these ladies are wonderful (I was lucky enough to meet them all),” Shah wrote with a gif from the movie “Grease.”
Though she lost in the Wednesday, July 7 airing of “Jeopardy!”, Shah technically lost in the middle of the day this week’s shows were taped. One whole week of “Jeopardy!” shows are filmed in one day, with contestants and returning champions playing game after game until all five games are recorded. So when Shah lost in the third recorded game, she stuck around to see the other two play out.
She even took the time to go to lunch with fellow Oregon native McKeeman, adding to her original tweet, “Shout out to Ellen, a fellow Oregonian. We spent lunchtime during filming gushing about how awesome Diego Valeri is.”
Shah wrapped up the thread with a heartfelt message about her experience on “Jeopardy!”
“Having a mostly-ladies filming day was one of the best experiences of my life, even though I didn’t win. I’m so happy to hear that this is a common theme! Is there anything better than lady nerds supporting other lady nerds? I really don’t think so.”