This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Bed & Breakfast|
POSTED on Thursday, December 6th, 2012
It was the day of the show, and I was bursting with excitement! I went down to the lobby of the hotel, had a light breakfast, and began chatting with the other contestants. We got on the shuttle to the studio and continued talking about our audition experiences. I was surprised to learn some people had been trying to get on the show for 10-15 years! I remember looking around and thinking who was going to be the big winners later that day.
The shuttle arrived at the studio, and a show coordinator was waiting to whisk us away to the contestant dressing room. We started by filling out a lot of paperwork, and then we went to make-up, which was a first for me. We also randomly drew to see which out of the six shows being taped that day we would appear on. I got the third show, middle position, which I thought was perfect. Then one of the many highlights of my day happened when Vanna came in the dressing room to wish everyone good luck. She was so sweet and genuinely nice, and I think everyone was as ecstatic as I was to see her. It was time for rehearsals, so we made our way out to the famed studio.
I began giggling like a child when I walked out into the studio. There everything was; the Wheel, Puzzle Board, Mini Cooper, it was all there and I just couldn't stop smiling. We practiced spinning the wheel and calling out letters. The show coordinators did a fantastic job of keeping the energy level high and getting the contestants ready to play the game. They gave us tips throughout the day that were very helpful. I was also impressed with how encouraging everybody was. You could tell everyone that worked on the show truly wanted you to do well, which was a good feeling.
I also had a wardrobe malfunction. I was told that the stripes on my shirt were doing funky things to the HD camera, and that I needed to change to my back-up shirt. Well, my back-up shirt was literally wadded up in my suitcase, and was the most wrinkled shirt you've ever seen. I couldn't wear it without it being ironed, so the show coordinators promptly took it away and took care of everything. They returned it and informed me that I was a lucky guy. They had taken my shirt up to Pat Sajak's dressing room and his wardrobe guy pressed my shirt for me, which I thought was very cool!
The first two shows came and went, and it was finally my turn. It was show time, and I was ready. Pat got us ready for the first Toss-Up, and, amazingly, I got it! This gave me a huge amount of confidence, which made the interview go very well too. Pat was great about talking to all of us during the breaks and keeping everyone relaxed. The rest of the game was a blur of solved puzzles, bankruptcies, and near misses. But, when the dust settled, I had won the most money and was off to the Bonus Round!
I had been eerily calm throughout the show, and the Bonus Round was no different. I was still just so excited to be there that being nervous was the furthest thing from my mind. My category was "THING," and it was only one word, which I thought was great. "S" and "E" popped up on the puzzle, and I gave them the consonants that I wanted (I can't really remember which ones I said) and my vowel was "O." The "O" popped up and I immediately knew the puzzle.SHOEBOX!!! I shouted out the answer, and the crowd went wild. I took off running to the right and Pat had to get me to come back over and actually see what I won, which turned out to be $35,000!!! During the celebration, a cameraman poked his head up from behind the camera and said, "Michael Jackson, you have to do Michael Jackson!" He was referencing me saying I practice Michael Jackson moves during my interview. I look at Pat and he motions for me to do it, and, let me tell you, when Pat Sajak tells you to moonwalk, you better moonwalk! So, I proceeded to do the worst moonwalk ever televised on national TV. Not one of my best dance moments, but I had just won Wheel of Fortune, so I didn't care much.
After all was said and done, I had won over $50,000 in cash and prizes. I have no big plans for the money yet, but it sure is nice to have. This whole journey has been like a dream, and I want to thank everyone involved with the show. From Pat and Vanna, to the show coordinators, to the camera and make-up people; everyone was great, and you gave me an experience of a lifetime, so a special thanks to you all.
If you have ever thought about trying to be on the show, I say go for it! All it takes is a positive attitude, a lot of enthusiasm, and a little luck, and you could end up with an experience that you'll be talking about for the rest of your life.