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

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 on a Monday, thus, the reason for the first line of this post.

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

If you have not already embarked on the first and second legs, you are two steps behind. You may start this journey here. When you’re done, don’t forget to come back to continue this epic journey. Happy embarking.


Once the official Wheel of Fortune 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 (what is a mini-vacation, you ask? It’s a vacation that’s smaller than the  normal vacation, obviously), 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.


My brother, Mike, went to the mailbox while we were away and found our acceptance letter. Rather than calling us, he decided to post the announcement on his Facebook page. Here’s what the post said:

“Wanna hear something funny? Darren & Kristi have both been selected to be on Wheel of Fortune. But, and this is the funny part, they don’t know, and we do.”

Thankfully a friend had pity on us and texted Kristi after it had been posted for an hour or so. (If you would like to send your comments of anger to my brother [and I KNOW you would], he can be found here. Ahh, revenge is so sweet.)

Letter that makes us good contestants

We were told we would get a call from the Wheel Staff at some point in the next few months informing us of our recording date, and that we’d have only two weeks from our notification till our recording session. THIS was a nerve-wracking wait. They said we could call them with dates we would not be available, and we did have one or two, so we informed them. Thankfully, our dates were not their dates.

We got the call three months later to be on the Sandals Resort Couples’ Week celebrating Valentine’s Day! We only had two weeks to make our travel arrangements and get to L.A., but everything fell into place and we were soon off to Los Angeles.


 They recommend staying at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles – Westside in Culver City, CA, which offers a slightly reduced rate for contestants, as well as a shuttle to Sony Studios the morning of your taping (I know, sounded like a commercial, sorry). This hotel was booked solid by the time we got to them. We ended up right across the road at the Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles Westside. It was a little more expensive, but worth the money. They provided excellent accommodations and felt very secure. There’s a mall just across the road that we visited a couple times. It was a very nice area.

Our trip to L.A. was good, but it’s not a place we’ll ever need to revisit. It was great to see all the major sights. We went to Hollywood, marched over the walk of fame, drove down Rodeo Drive (and then went to the Beverly Hills Goodwill to make a few purchases!). We saw the Santa Monica Pier, and drove the Pacific Coast Highway. But between the ridiculous traffic, dirty city, and scary gas stations, we’d had enough of our sightseeing after two days.

they call me “Hollywood”

Shrek loves me

He asked for a tip. Did he get one?

My dad pastored a church in L.A. for about two years when I was twelve. I had not been back, so we went to see the old church. The best part of the trip for me was the fact that the window I had broken on the church when I was twelve was still unmatched.

The one that doesn’t match is the one I broke over 20 years ago


Thankfully, the third day was the taping of our show. We had to be at Sony Pictures Studio at 7:00am. We woke up about 5:00am and started the day with a 30 minute workout to clear our heads. We then readied ourselves and went down to the hotel lobby for a good breakfast buffet. The day started off well, as the waiter gave us a 25% discount on our check for seemingly no reason. We thought this to be a good omen. But the best was yet to come…

breakfast of champions

camera ready

a good omen?

For the info on the initiation process, meeting Vanna, and me with makeup, tune in next week… same bat time, same bat channel (ZAP, BANG, KAPOW!) on WHEEL WEDNESDAY (also known as Monday).

KEEP READING! WHEEL OF FORTUNE: THE COMPLETE SAGA, our contestant audition experience, part four


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