Yes, I’m getting a little bit excited about next week! One of the questions I hear quite a bit is “How did you ever get on that show?” To be honest, pregnancy/labor/delivery takes less time! It began in Jan-07 when I took the online contestant exam. I was notified that I passed in March and invited to audition in May. Here’s a recap of that experience:
Swimming in the Contestant Pool
Whew! Today’s Jeopardy audition was a blast, and whetted my appetite for the real thing, but I’m also glad it’s over for now. Time to concentrate on things like weddings, school, anniversaries, and other real life matters.
Before I go any farther, thank you everyone for your prayers. Sweet friends from all over, known and unknown (thanks Mom!) were pulling for me. No matter what happens from here on out, I want all of you to know that, yes, the Lord is very good! I wasn’t at all nervous (except for that 90 minutes in traffic), and what’s more there were no world capital questions from countries beginning with M! A few sports dates popped up, but thankfully not during my practice game.
“I’ll try Houston Traffic for $200, Alex”
My audition was scheduled from 9:30 – 11:30 and I thought an hour and a half would be plenty of time. Wrong. I spent an hour sitting on Hwy 290 before even getting close to the Galleria area. I kept myself calm by –I’d like to say reciting Scripture, but honesty compels me to confess–singing the “Song of the US Presidents”. I was running so late that I decided to fork over the money for valet parking, only to find out that valets don’t show up for work that early. Time to find a spot in the (thank the Lord) empty parking garage and make my way upstairs to the meeting room. No time for a leisurely Starbucks triple-espresso latte today!
“How about Audition Antics for $400?”
Upon arriving and being greeted by the lovely contestant coordinator, I had a polaroid snapped and then was sent to fill out some paperwork. Have I ever been on a game show before? No. Have I ever been on TV before? Local news in 1976 when I won the spelling bee. Do I know anyone who has ever been on Jeopardy? Hey! I have an autographed picture at home of 74-game champion Ken Jennings. Have I ever committed a felony???? Safe there. When can I not appear on the show? Oh dear! Katie is graduating this December, but when? I frantically call but she’s already in class. Just guessing on this one, but I’ll put down the week of Dec. 8 -1 5. (It turns out I was right! Whew). I am afraid of looking like a complete idiot, as no one else is on their phone, and now everyone is taking their seat. Too late to grab a glass of ice water, so I succeed in jostling the table enough to spill the man’s glass next to me. Back up to go get him a napkin. (Do we moms ever get away from wiping up spills? I don’t think so.) I am really wishing I had that cup of coffee right about now!
“I’ll take a Fifty Question Test for $600”
Yes, really. We had to take another 50 question written test, this time with only 8 seconds per question. Yes, thanks to the Presidents Song, I even answer the one about a particular first lady.
“Practice Makes Perfect for $1000”
No, Alex wasn’t actually here, but we heard Johnny Gilbert’s voice read the clues during our practice rounds. We were called up front, three at a time, to get the feel of ringing in with the buzzer (a misnomer if there ever was one. I think technically it is a “signalling device” because it doesn’t buzz.) Guess whose name is read first? I’m in between B. the film student from Beaumont and D. the Canon Lawyer from San Antonio. I don’t get corrected for my buzzer technique nor am I told to speak up. I think my energy level is just fine. I can do enthusiastic! The questions aren’t too difficult and the whole thing is a chance for the contestant coordinators to see how well we follow directions. I answer when called on in the form of a question of course. The ones I miss, so do the other two, which gives the “peanut gallery” a chance to show off their smarts.
After our round, we are each interviewed for a minute or so. It’s fun to hear the variety of jobs and hobbies represented. My group consists of 18 men and 6 women. Eight came from out of town, including LA, MS, NM, Austin, and San Antonio. Occupations are heavily weighted toward teachers, with a few lawyers and engineers thrown in. Five potential contestants are students. I’m the only Homeschool Mom, leading me to hope that perhaps I’ll satisfy their “homemaker demographic”. The interviewers seem very interested in hearing all about homeschooling and ask all the usual questions.
“Final Jeopardy Category: Don’t Call Us We’ll Call You”
What now? The show has stopped filming for now but will resume in July. That means the earliest I could be called is mid-June, and the latest probably next March or April. The staffers were very clear about the fact that just being in the contestant pool is no guarantee we’ll get called. They have 400 slots to fill starting now. I’m confident that I did the best that I could and it’s out of my hands now anyway. No matter what happens, the experience was worth it! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.