Round and round goes the “wheel of fortune,” literally and figuratively, as audiences found out on Friday, April 11. In possibly one of the most frustrating moments to ever occur on a game show, a student from Indiana University was so close to winning a chance at $1,000,000 on the Pat Sajak-hosted Wheel of Fortune, when an embarrassing, epic blunder handed him a huge loss (see video below). Furthermore, college freshman Julian Batts was victim to his own mistakes an unbearable three times throughout the course of the program. Unfortunately for Batts, his errors, which may be easily forgivable under “normal” circumstances, become highly scrutinized when played out on a national stage.
Wheel of Fortune has been entertaining its fans since 1975. As the contestants attempt to “solve the puzzle” one can almost hear home viewers across the country shouting out cheers, answers and even jeers at players who seem unworthy of competition. However, Friday’s show was undoubtedly one of the more anger-causing episodes for avid “wheel watchers,” when Indiana University student Batts actually solved the puzzle by choosing the correct letters, but then failed to pronounce the answer correctly. In an amazing spin of fate, Batts actually landed on the chance to win one million dollars. This was especially noteworthy as the marker for that prize is remarkably smaller than the other possible prizes on the wheel.
If that was not fortunate enough, Batts went on to actually solve the puzzle – well, almost. He had gotten all the letters on the board to spell out the answer in entirety: “mythological hero Achilles.” So, without anything in his way (seemingly), Batts asked host Pat Sajak: “Can I solve?” To which Sajak jokingly replied: “Yeah that’d be a good idea.” This is when everyone watching the show went from feeling anticipatory excitement to total disappointment. The moment when Batts mispronounced Achilles as “A-chill-us,” was possibly the most frustrating blunder to ever happen on Wheel of Fortune. Yes, there have been other mistakes, such as when another contestant left out the letter g in her pronunciation of “swimming,” costing her a nice chunk of change (see video below). However, it was the loss of a possible million dollars that has now led to Batts being dubbed “the worst contestant ever.”
One could feel sympathy for the guy. After all, maybe he never studied mythology. Maybe he has no idea who Achilles is. Even so, no one is immune to making mistakes, no matter how colossal they may seem to others. But then, Batts continued to err, which did not help his chances of saving face. Faced with solving the puzzle “the world’s fastest man,” Batts only needed to complete the word “man” which was missing the “m” and “n.” He asked for a “c.” Was he trying to spell “car,” even though the category was “person” and not “thing?” Finally, instead of completing the puzzle “on-the-spot decision”, he exclaimed “on-the-spot dice spin” – despite the fact that there was no space that would allow for both “dice” and “spin” to fit.
So, how does Batts feel about his performance on Friday? Well, despite his blunders on one of the most frustrating episodes of Wheel of Fortune ever, the guy actually won! Yes, he still walked away with over 11 thousand dollars. According to Batts, just being on the show was a “dream” and “one of the greatest experiences” he has had. Now, that is a good attitude.
Opinion by Josh Taub