Paul T's Blog Post
POSTED on Monday, December 24th, 2012 Wheel of Fortune has definitely been one of those shows that I've watched since I was a kid, but kind of lost touch with once I went to college and went into the "real world." When I was younger, my family actually made me watch Wheel and Jeopardy every night since they thought it was educational and would help me school. At first I didn't like these educational game shows, but after watching them for a while, I grew to love them and looked forwarding to watching Wheel every night. It helped that I grew to be quite good at it, at least in my living room! Years later, after college was done and I started working, I grew back into the habit of trying to watch Wheel at least fairly often, and a few years later, I decided to apply online on a whim. I had completely forgotten I had even applied until months later when I got an email asking me to come to an audition. I thought it was just spam mail at first, since it seemed so official and unlike emails I normally receive at my personal address, but once I went through it and confirmed my attendance, it suddenly became very real! I was unbelievably nervous for the audition, but I did know that I was supposed to be as energetic and excited as possible, to show the contestant coordinators that I would make for decent TV at least, so I downed a Red Bull right before the audition and probably was the most bouncing-off-the-wall I have ever been on a normal weekday afternoon. There were far more people at the audition that I thought there would be, and the written part of the audition was definitely much harder than I would have ever imagined, but I also knew that I had been pretty decent at the energetic and fun part of it, so I really couldn't tell at the end whether or not I had gotten in. That plus the fact that the invitation to actually attend the show was sent by snail mail made the next two weeks seem tortuous as I checked my mail every day. Lo and behold, I did end up getting invited of course, and posting the news on my Facebook page sparked the most commentary and likes that I had ever gotten before. I was pleasantly surprised, since I work in the music industry and most people I know would be too "cool" to care about things like this or TV shows as popular as Wheel - who knew that becoming a contest on Wheel of Fortune would be so popular among 20-something year olds in LA? I guess it goes to show that no matter how "cool" you try to be, you can't beat a good old fashioned game show to drum up excitement. A while later, after an initial run-through as an alternate, the day to appear finally came. Whether or not I was able to put my years of Wheel watching to good use is something you'll have to find out when you watch me on TV! Watch me spin on Monday, December 24th! POSTED on Tuesday, December 25th, 2012 I don't think I've ever been as nervous as I have been when I arrived at Wheel of Fortune's studio that morning. First off, it was earlier than I had woken up in a long time for any kind of non-early-morning-flight situation, so the coffee and pure adrenaline that I was running on had my nerves pretty frazzled. Secondly, I WAS ABOUT TO BE ON NATIONAL TV! The money and prizes would be nice, but, in all honesty, my main concern was to not look like a complete idiot in front of millions of people. The shame of saying a letter that was already on the board or having a brain fart in the middle of solving a puzzle I would have sworn I had known two seconds earlier were what haunted me in my dreams the night before and were all I thought about during introductions, rehearsals, and everything else that morning. Being on the week of Christmas and the holidays was even more nerve-wracking, because I figured that meant there would be higher ratings since more people are home with their family and looking for something fun to watch together! I figured it was a blessing and a curse, because what if I tripped? What if I drooled on air and didn't realize? More people than most episodes would be watching! Of course, my team of three was randomly picked to be the first episode taped that day, so I had no time to scope my surroundings or put my brain back together. Once the music started and Pat and Vanna walked out, what was probably the quickest twenty or so minutes of my life happened. I didn't get the first Toss-Up Puzzle, which was a bummer, but I at least didn't make a complete fool out of myself in the interview, so I figured the first few minutes were a draw. Luckily, I was able to figure out the second Toss-Up Puzzle and as soon as I got that, I was able to calm down a bit. I knew I wasn't going to go empty-handed and I could say that I solved at least one puzzle! Things kept on rolling my way throughout most of the rest of the game, as I got enough of the puzzles to get to the Bonus Round. I was a bit embarrassed at interrupting Pat at the end when I knew the Bonus Round puzzle as soon as my letters came up, but hey, when I knew I was about to win something big, how could I not get a little impatient? I ended up winning a brand new car in the Bonus Round, and that plus the $11,000+ I won in the earlier rounds meant I went pretty nuts once I found out all my winnings. I mean, getting given a brand new car is something that people just dream of! I'm still figuring out how I'm going to allocate everything. Definitely a decent chunk of the money will go towards my college loan debt, and most of the rest will go towards helping my family out with some bills. I'll save a little to have fun with for myself as a treat, of course, so we'll see what kind of mini shopping spree I allow myself! Either way, being on Wheel has been by far one of the most fun and rewarding (and I don't mean that financially) experiences in my life. I got to meet so many other contestants from around the country, the staff behind the show, and experience what it was like working in such an American institution, that even if I had walked away empty-handed, I'd have still been a pretty happy person! As long as I had my dignity intact (which I didmostly), that's all that really mattered.