Not It

Well, this is it. The last Wheel of Fortune blog post. I went to the second audition on Friday, and I was one of the 50 who didn’t make the cut. It’s disappointing, because I now realize that I was really hoping to be one of the 20(ish) chosen for the final portion of the audition, but you know what? Not everyone gets picked. Some of us have to be the people who DON’T get called back. Who get to do the walk of shame out of the Hilton ballroom. And my parents didn’t raise a poor loser, so here are a few thoughts I’ve had since that sad moment on Friday when the Wheel of Fortune dream ended:

  • 2 years ago, I thought the closest I’d ever get to WOF was submitting an online Contestant Application.
  • 3 months ago, I thought being one of thousands in the crowd at the Wheelmobile event was the best I could do.
  • 2 weeks ago, I was pretty well convinced that I had failed to impress at the Wheelmobile event, and that was that.

So, even though, “the story of Megan and Wheel of Fortune” doesn’t have a spectacular, fairy tale ending, it’s still pretty impressive how far I was able to get over the course of my two-year quest.

If you’re curious, here’s how the final audition went:

Around 70 people were seated in rows of 5 in a ballroom. We filled out applications: basic info, what makes you unique, are you willing to be on any of the special “themed” shows, have you ever been on TV before, have you ever committed a crime…blah blah blah. One of the WOF crew went around the room making a seating chart of everyone there. There was someone behind me named “Meg D.,” and I remember thinking that it would be a bummer if she was selected and I wasn’t, because hearing a name so similar to my own was bound to give me a heart attack.

Then, they spent 5 minutes seeing if anyone in the room were friends, spouses, or relatives. This is apparently how they get contestants for the “Best Friends” and “Family” shows, which seemed a little odd to me. I mean, if I had had Scott or a friend with me at the Wheelmobile event, what are the odds that both of us would have been called up on stage then, and then selected to come to this audition as well?

After that, the fun began. They put a puzzle up on the projector and started calling names. When your name was called, you had a chance to play a round of the game. One of the WOF people would spin a wheel for you, and then you got to guess a letter. If your letter was on the board, you could spin again, buy a vowel, whatever. They warned us at the beginning that, occasionally, the spinner might deliberately give a person a “Lose a Turn” or “Bankrupt,” and not to take this personally. If someone got on a roll and was calling letter after letter, they might do that to keep the game moving. There were 70ish people to get through, after all.

So, they started calling names. I tried to pay close attention to each puzzle so that I’d already have a good letter to guess when they called my name. I also listened for feedback from the casting people to apply to myself. To the person who said, “Well gosh, I’ll try a T,” they said, “Try not to say too many words. Just go for the letter.” To the person who said, “I’d like to solve. Is it <insert puzzle solution here>,” they said, “we’re not that picky, but just so you know: don’t say ANY WORDS between “I’d like to solve” and the puzzle solution.” Others were asked to speak up, move their hands, smile, or annunciate.

Finally, my turn came. “Megan N.!” I was lucky in that the puzzle was already partway complete.

Thing: __ __ __ __ __    __ O __ __ O N   __ __ __ __ __ O __ __

I was pretty sure the middle word was “cotton,” so I guess T.

Thing: __ __ __ T __    __ O T T O N   __ __ T __ __ O __ __

At this point, I probably should have been bouncing up and down more that I had gotten 4 T’s, but the lady at the front was gesturing for me to speak louder and it flustered me. Ah, well. I’m already forgetting the order, but at various turns I asked for a C, an E, and a W.

Thing: W __ __ T E    C O T T O N   __ __ T __ __ O __ E

I wish now that I would have asked for the H in “white” instead of the W, because I’m fairly certain that would have given me enough to solve “white cotton bathrobe,” and I would have gotten a WOF bag, shirt, or other small prize. Instead, I asked for the W and then another spin, and the designated spinner decided I had had enough turns and gave me a Bankrupt.

Wah-wah.

Even though they told us not to get upset if we were given a Bankrupt or Lose a Turn, it still felt like the door had been closed. The next person guess H and B, and then solved the puzzle. They had time to play a few more puzzles, and some people were called to take a second turn. I was not, and that seemed ominous as well.

Then, they gave everyone a written test. We had 5 minutes to solve as many puzzles as we could. I had expected to rock this bad boy and have no troubles whatsoever, but I was only able to solve about half the puzzles. It was tough! They give you relatively few letters, so there weren’t too many solutions that just jumped out at me.

Following the test, they took 15-20 minutes to evaluate everyone, and came back in to deliver the news. Meg D. was asked to go on to the next round, and this Megan was not. And that’s that.

There was one day over the weekend that my perfectionist side spent tormenting me with all the ways I could have improved my chances. “They wanted outgoing, bubbly people, dummy! Couldn’t you have faked that?” “Chicago Cubs! The last Proper Name puzzle on the test was Chicago Cubs! How could you have forgotten that?” “Well of course you didn’t get picked. What did you put on the application under what makes you unique? RUNNING? Oh, geez. Congratulations. You have the same hobby as millions of people. The chick behind you does ROLLER DERBY. The guy 3 rows up is a volunteer fire fighter. You think your boring self can compete with that?”

Now, I’m OK with it. The casting folks know who they were looking for. I did what I could: I played a good round of the game, I clapped and cheered for everyone, I did at least passable on the test, and I looked super cute in my sparkly shirt. It just wasn’t meant to be…but the next time the Wheelmobile comes to town, you’d better believe I’ll try again. 🙂

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