Although Julian Batts (pictured) pocketed more than $11,000 during his appearance on “Wheel of Fortune” Friday during College Week, he is being dubbed as the show’s worst contestant ever.
When Batts filled in the letters to solve the puzzle “Mythological Hero Achilles,” he mispronounced the hero’s name. The mistake cost him $1 million.
“Wheel of Fortune” rules state that the puzzle must be pronounced correctly to be accepted.
The Indiana University freshman also blew the Person category. With just one letter missing from the phrase “The World’s Fastest _a_,” Batts chose a letter “C.” There was no “C.”
Another contestant solved the puzzle correctly: “The World’s Fastest Man.” The blunder cost him a new car.
And then there was the puzzle where Batts said, “On the Spot Dice Spin” instead of “On the Spot Decision.” The misstep cost him a trip to Jamaica.
Though he went on to win the show, his mistakes cost him big money and some social media embarrassment as commenters lambasted him on his misfortune.
Watch Batts’ appearance here:
“It just kind of hit me like a train and I really didn’t know how to react to it – the game continued on and [another contestant from] Texas A&M, she solved it and it hit me right then and there that it was Achilles,” he told Good Morning America in an interview. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake but I feel like I solved the puzzle entirely and all I had to do was read it and I just went for it and I did my best.”
The show’s host did highlight the bright side of Batts’ appearance.
“I don’t think anyone has ever taken a more circuitous route to victory, but the important thing is you’re here and you’ve got $11,700 dollars and we’re pleased about that,”Pat Sajak said during the episode.
But Batts isn’t the only contestant to botch a puzzle, according to ABC News:
Paul Atkinson was on the way last year to living the dream: the “Wheel of Fortune” contestant had landed on the million-dollar wedge, which would have put him one spin closer to the coveted prize.
All he had to do was solve the clue, and there was only one letter missing from the three-word phrase, “Corner Curio Cabinet.”
Atkinson had never before seen the word “Curio,” and he mispronounced it. When he read the phrase, it came out sounding more like “Corno Curro Cabinet,” and the answer was not accepted.
In another instance of a pronunciation frustrating a player’s success, contestant Renee Durette was on a roll toward thousands of dollars on the game show in her 2012 appearance. She had the winning answer to the word puzzle “Seven Swans a Swimming,” or so she thought.
Durette, a Navy intelligence specialist from Merritt Island, Fla., dropped the “g,” pronouncing “swimming” as “swimmin’.”
Host Pat Sajak had to backtrack and said he couldn’t accept her answer, costing her the $3,850 she had accumulated.
Judges said the answer violated the rules because it was spoken in vernacular.
The decision sparked outrage on Twitter and even the other contestant who was handed the win couldn’t believe it.
As for Batts, it seems like the young man had a brain freeze. Too bad. Well, at least he came away with some money and a win–something that he should feel good about.