This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Sandals® Resorts Week|
POSTED on Monday, March 11th, 2013
For as long as I can remember, I have been watching Wheel of Fortune. Some of my favorite memories include playing a hand-held version of Wheel of Fortune with my grandma, a board game version with my siblings and parents, and watching the show alongside my grandfather. At some point in high school, I began applying to be on the show. Every few weeks, I would apply again, with fingers crossed.
Fast forward to last year, and I decided to step up my Wheel of Fortune audition efforts by signing up for a “Wheelmobile ID number” through the Wheel of Fortune website. This process allowed me to receive updates from Wheel of Fortune, including the fact that the “Wheel Mobile” would be coming to Atlantic City for open auditions. Only one problem: I had work. I took a gamble, found a sub (thank you, Nancy!) and my husband, Bobby, and I drove to Atlantic City for the auditions.
What a blast that day was. The energy was high as we got into line with many (many) other Wheel of Fortune hopefuls. There were three auditions scheduled for that day and I wondered how it would go. We filled out brief personal information onto a thin piece of paper, dropped them into a large bin, and walked into a massive auditorium with a stage set up as a mock version of Wheel of Fortune, complete with “Vanna” and “Pat” hosts, and music to pump up the crowd. They called a few names up at a time to play on stage, answer some questions and take a photo. The first audition came and went, but my name was not called. We got back into line for the second audition. Again, no such luck. I looked at my husband and told him I was okay with heading home. After all, I reminded him, the Wheel of Fortune website says, “Last year over a million people requested the chance to audition for Wheel of Fortune. Fewer than 600 people were selected to appear on the show.” He was not deterred. He gave me a look and said, “Are you kidding me? You got a sub for work and this has been your dream since forever. We are staying for the final audition!” And so we got into line for the third and final show. A few names at a time were called and before I knew it, it was down to the final group of names for the day. Name one, name two, name three, name four... “Danaaaaa!!!!!!!!” I have never screamed so loudly in my life. I took off RUNNING for the stage, missed the correct aisle, kept on running and finally made it up there, knees shaking and blinded by the stage lights. This was my big chance!
The mock game flew by and I felt I did an okay job. I guessed good letters, did well on my interview and had an overall decent experience. The next few weeks passed by and I tried to ignore my anticipation for a phone call or a letter telling me I had made it to the next round of auditions. One night while browsing the internet, the big moment came: I received an email informing me I had made it to the second next round of auditions, again in Atlantic City. I started screaming and jumping and running through my house - you would have though Pat and Vanna had actually knocked on my door!
I arrived at the second round of auditions to find there were approximately 60 or 70 of us in the room and while the energy was still very exciting, my competitive juices were flowing. I was ready to rock the Wheel of Fortune audition. We took turns calling out letters, giving the contestant coordinators a chance to see if we could speak clearly and loudly. We also took a five-minute written puzzle test. The time flew by, but I did a pretty good job on those and was feeling hopeful. The contestant coordinators left the room and joined us a little while later. It was at this point that they cut the group down to about 25 people. I had made it through! We then played mock games, answered some interview-style questions, and it was over. The waiting game began again.
A little less than three weeks later, my letter arrived. I had been officially selected as a contestant for Wheel of Fortune! I could not believe it. The letter informed me that I could be called any time in the next 18 months and so I tried to put the anticipation out of my head. Well, one month later “the call” came. I was at the gym, running on the treadmill, when my music cut out and my phone started ringing through my headphones. “Culver City, Ca” it read on my phone. I knew what it must be! I FLEW off the treadmill while it was still moving and answered the phone while running like a mad woman through the gym. “Dana, congratulations - ...” “YES I’LL COME!”....it was really happening.
Throughout the audition process, my husband and I met great people who we keep in touch with today. The audition experience alone was worth the adventure.
St_y t_ned to see how I do on Monday, March 11th!