It’s already aggravating to watch contestants on game shows struggle to piece together a puzzle when the answer is already obvious. But to watch a contestant struggle to pronounce the answer already solved in the puzzle is even more painful.
This past week was ‘College Week’ on Wheel of Fortune. Julian Batts, a freshman from Indiana University was the leading scorer on the board. Solving the puzzle that read “Mythological Hero Achilles” he spun the wheel and had a shot at the $1 million prize. All the contestant has to do is read off the answer to his solved puzzle. Easy right?
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But Julian pronounced the word ‘Ay-chill-us’. “It just kind of hit me like a train and I really didn’t know how to react to it – the game continued on and [another contestant from] Texas A&M, she solved it and it hit me right then and there that it was Achilles,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake but I feel like I solved the puzzle entirely and all I had to do was read it and I just went for it and I did my best.” Batts went on to lose his turn and his chance at the million-dollar prize. In a statement to ABC News, “Wheel of Fortune” said: “When a contestant tries to solve a puzzle, they must pronounce it using the generally accepted pronunciation.”
But that wasn’t the only flub of Julian’s night. The Indiana student also missed out on solving a puzzle in the “Person” category with the letters “The World’s Fastest _a_” filled out and Julian guessing C for car. And in another costly mistake, Batts guessed ‘On the Spot Dice Spin’ when the answer was clearly ‘On the Spot Decision’.
Despite the mishaps and some people ruling the young man as the worst Wheel of Fortune player ever, Julian still won the most cash and prizes and made it to the Bonus Round. He left the show with just under $12,000 in winnings. So is the college freshman embarrassed? “It was a dream and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve accomplished so far,” he said.
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