While “Jeopardy!” always hosts an interesting number of brilliant contestants, this week is truly the best of the best. As one of the semifinalists said in a new “Jeopardy!” Instagram clip, “Everyone is amazing.”
This week and next week is the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions. Former champion Buzzy Cohen is filling in as the guest host during the tournament. This two-week event has been going on since 1965.
For the first part of the competition, each winner of the show was named a semifinalist. Now, heading into the second week, semifinalists will then go face-to-face in the hopes of making it to the finals.
Why are some of the best “Jeopardy!” players returning to play the game? There’s a grand prize of $250,000 and a position of glory at the end of the grueling competition. The second and third place winners will walk away with $100,000 and $50,000. The show is also matching that prize amount and donating to the Hope of the Valley Trebek Center for the Homeless, a charity especially close to the late Alex Trebek.
The “Jeopardy!” tournament is currently boasting its semifinalists. Each of the five individuals won on their first appearance in the 10-day tournament. The winners of the quarterfinals will be joined by four Wild Card players in the semifinals during week two. The Wild Card players are the players who hold the highest scores amongst the non-winners.
Then, the three players who win the semifinals will go head-to-head in the finals for that massive prize. The semifinalists are Kevin Walsh, Sam Kavanaugh, Jennifer Quail, Karen Farrell, and Ryan Bilger. There are also five Wild Card players as of now.
Ryan Bilger ‘Jeopardy!’ Finalist
Amongst the five finalists going into next week is Ryan Bilger. He has stirred up quite the controversy after his behavior and personality while playing the game has turned off a lot of “Jeopardy!” viewers.
“I kind of needed to prove myself a little bit more. Remind people who I am,” Bilger said in the Instagram clip.
As a reminder, Bilger earned over $100,000 when he won over four games in 2019. He was on the first episode of the tournament on Monday against Jason Zuffranieri and Sarah Jett Rayburn. While playing, Bilger would bang on his chest dramatically and say things like “go for the kill.” His arrogance proved somewhat valid, as he is now a semifinalist. He also earned the most in the first round than any other semifinalist so far. His total was $32,405.
“It’s one thing to get excited. It’s another to have some semblance of humility. This guy and his smug attitude turned me off to the tournament,” a viewer tweeted.
Ryan Bilger responded to the hate comments. He wrote on Twitter and Reddit, “Look, I get it. I had a ton of adrenaline flowing through my veins. I got a daily double on a piece of Pennsylvania history I’ve known since I was a child … was playing better than I ever expected. Yes, I got pretty loud and excited.”
He later went on to apologize for ruining people’s experience watching the show that night. He also happened to go in for the kill and say, “See you next week through the TV, whether you like me or hate me.”