WHEEL OF FORTUNE, THE COMPLETE SAGA: our contestant audition experience, part deux

Yup, that’s us!

Welcome back to WHEEL WEDNESDAY! (aka Monday.)

On February 15, 2012, my wife and I appeared on Wheel of Fortune during their valentine’s couples’ week. I am writing a detailed account (in parts) for those interested (and because in the months before our show we read as many blogs as possible from former contestants). I plan to post one new part each week for the next few weeks. My original intent was to have a Wheel Wednesday, but I started last Monday, thus, the reason for the first line of this post.

You are about to embark on the second leg of our journey together.

If you have not already embarked on the first leg, you are one step behind. You may take the first leg of this journey here. Happy embarking. When you’re done, don’t forget to come back to continue this epic journey.


Kristi, after much deliberating, decided on white capris and a super-cute black top (her words) for this legitimate audition. I stopped at T.J. Maxx on the way to the audition and grabbed a new blue polo. (Now my favorite shirt. Thank you WOF!)

The official audition was a grueling, three-hour-long process. Kristi and I were invited at separate auditioning times. As I walked in, I asked the Wheel auditioner if we should audition together. He said it was up to us, then he said, “No, we will see you both separately, and note that you are a couple,” So, Kristi waited while I auditioned.

Outside the audition room!

The auditions began with about 60 people in the room. They had us all shout out our first name and last initial as they made a seating chart to keep their notes on. I don’t typically like to stand out in a crowd, but I realized I needed to in this room. I took every chance I had to make an impression. When they came to my row, the two ladies to my right both had the same first name, Sandy. They shouted out in turn, “Sandy S.” Then came “Sandy H.” When they got to me, I told them my name was “Sandy Q.” The director started to write it down, then realized what I had done. He looked at me with a wry smile and pointed his pencil my way. I then told him my real name. Impression #1 was a success.

For the first hour, we each took one quick turn playing a mock game. The Wheel Staff was loud and in-your-face. They constantly yelled and told us to smile, trying to make the situation as pressure-filled as possible to see how we would react. They also only gave us a few seconds to speak. If anyone paused too long to think about their next move, they were buzzed out and their turn was over. It was intense.

Next, they handed out a test of half-filled word puzzles. Most completed 5 or 6 in five minutes. I completed about 17 of 20. (Feel free to stop reading, stand, and applaud here. When you finish your applause, you may sit down and begin reading again.)

Thank you for that standing ovation. It was highly unexpected. I am humbled.

After the test, the staff came back and weeded 60 prospects down to about 20. We then began a more intense game-playing scenario. They looked for people who spoke clearly, made logical choices, and who did not hesitate when making decisions.

Weeding down contestants is easier than you might think. Playing the game in real-life is NOTHING like playing it on the couch. You either can, or you cannot. There is no in-between.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

It is intense, fast-paced, and nerve-wracking. You have to pay attention to several different things all at once: where the wheel lands, what letters have been called, who’s holding the platypus at any given moment, and when you can and cannot buy a vowel, all the while paying attention to the board as you try to solve the puzzle. Not quite as easy as sitting on the couch staring at the white tiles while eating ice cream. (That’s right, I saw you.)

Once the audition ended, we were told that if we were selected we would hear from them within two weeks. Our two weeks came and passed, but we heard nothing. We left for a mini-vacation at the end of two weeks, and by that point, Kristi had given up hope.

But just in case, I asked my brother to check our mail while we were gone—mistake #1.

To hear about how horrible(clever) my brother is, tune in next week… same bat time, same bat channel (ZAP, BANG, KAPOW!) on WHEEL WEDNESDAY (also known as Monday).

CLICK HERE FOR PART THREE: WHEEL OF FORTUNE: THE COMPLETE SAGA, our contestant experience, part tres


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