‘Jeopardy!’ Kids’ Week Contestant Says He Was Cheated By Alex Trebek And The Judges

Quick recap: Last week was Kids’ Week on Jeopardy!. While nothing on the level of Leonard and his amazing Teen Tournament performance took place, there was some controversy. See, on Wednesday’s episode, a 12-year-old named Thomas Hurley wrote “The Emanciptation Proclamation” for his Final Jeopardy response, which, while basically correct, contained an extra “t” in emancipation. Because of this minor misspelling, Trebek and the judges ruled his response incorrect. Now people are pissed, including young Thomas, who used some strong language to voice his displeasure:

“I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final Jeopardy! question. It was just a spelling error,” said the Newtown Middle School student, who won $2,000 as the second runner-up.

I’m so torn on this. On one hand, he did get the answer wrong, if you want to be super technical about it. Yes, Alex Trebek and the judges clearly knew what he meant, but I can see why they’d want to draw a hard line on spelling, because there are situations where it makes a big difference (desert/dessert) and it’s easier to have a strictly enforced black-and-white rule than to make a fuzzy judgment call each time. And it’s not like it would have affected the game in any way even if the judges gave it to him, because the contestant to his right, Skyler, had almost four times his score going into Final Jeopardy, bet huge anyway, and nailed it, finishing with over $60,000. So, for the most part, no harm, no foul.

But. On the other hand, I love — love love love — that there’s a junior high student in Connecticut who is apparently willing to call a beloved, long-running syndicated game show’s integrity into question over a spelling mistake. LOVE. Trebek hung him out to dry by saying his answer was misspelled “badly” (which, I mean, come on), and then forced him to stand there at the end of the show during the credits while he was fighting back tears, so if young Thomas wants to go to the mattresses with him on this one, I’m on board. Trebek pulls a knife, we’ll pull a gun. He sends one of ours to the hospital, we’ll send one of his to the morgue, etc.


(Via TV Guide)