A lot of us game show fans have our own favorite game show moments...from when John Carpenter became the first US Millionaire winner, to Nancy Christy becoming the first female US Millionaire winner, to Dan Avila's heart-breaking $2.2 million loss on Greed, to, of course, Ken Jennings' amazing 74 victories and $2.5 million + on Jeopardy!. At the same time, we've all seen the worst moments, from the Stempel-Van Doren scandal on Twenty One to Terri's heart-breaking $62,400 Wheel loss.
But the moment I am about to refer to not only fits the latter category, but has also been the most-talked about on social media. Yes, I am referring to the fiasco that is Thomas Hurley from Newtown, Connecticut (yes, the same place as the shootings). He was on Jeopardy! Kids Week 2013 competing against Shuli Jones from Toronto, Canada and Skyler Horn from Sonora, Kentucky.
Going into Final Jeopardy!, here's where the scores stood: Shuli was in third place with $6,400, Thomas was in second place with $9,600, and Skyler was in the lead with $36,600; needless to say, the game was pretty much Skyler's to lose.
And speaking of Final Jeopardy!, the category was "The Civil War". The clue: Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, "A fit and necessary war measure". The correct response: What is the Emancipation Proclamation?
Shuli put down "What is the Second Amendment?", and bet $3,200, leaving her with that much.
Now, the shocker that everyone has been talking about. Thomas put down "What is the Emanciptation Proclamation?". Unfortunately, even though he had the correct response, he put in an extra "T" (not "P" as Alex said) that changed the pronunciation of the word. As far as the rules say, misspellings are OK, as long as pronunciations remain intact. In this case, since it DID change the pronunciation, the judges had to count it wrong. He bet $3,000 and dropped to $6,600. Had he spelled it to the right pronunciation (phonetic spelling probably would've been deemed acceptable), he would've been up to $12,600; but it didn't really matter, because....
Skyler could not be caught. In fact, Alex pointed out that the games were put together in advance, and that Skyler had a great interest in the Civil War. In fact, he knew it enough to where he put down the correct response, had the correct spelling, and more importantly, spelled it to where the pronunciation remained intact. He bet $30,000, which took him up to $66,600 and he set a new Kids' Week record. Shuli got $1,000 and Thomas got $2,000 to take home.
But apparently, the mess didn't stop there. As I pointed above, it became the talk of the mainstream media as well as social media. Thomas and his parents contend he was "cheated out" of the Final Jeopardy! question, as well as a possible victory.
No Thomas, the judges were absolutely RIGHT to count your response wrong, because, as I said above, according to the rules, misspellings are OK, unless it changes the pronuniciations. The way you wrote down your response changed the pronunciation, so they had to count it wrong. And even if you had gotten it right, you still wouldn't have caught Skyler; he had the game pretty much locked up.