Tonight, a fellow University of Miami student will try her luck at the wheel for huge prizes and a national shot of fame.
Amy Levine, a 19-year-old sophomore, will be in the national spotlight on an episode of the “Wheel of Fortune” game show, which she is participating in as a contestant for big prizes and large sums of money during their special “College Week” edition.
However, getting the opportunity to appear on the show certainly wasn’t easy. Her endeavor began a year and a half ago when she first visited the “Wheel Mobile,” an automobile that travels through some American cities in search of potential contestants for the show. After being randomly selected from a number of names from the Wheel Mobile, Amy received a letter in the mail welcoming her to an audition in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“We each had to call out a few letters and we had to do a word game that was similar to hangman but with categories,” Levine said. “You had to finish the puzzle.”
The number of potential contestants was limited to about 80 after the first audition. They were then paired in teams of three to practice spinning the wheel and were required to fill out an application and a host of other requirements in order to be considered for the show.
“They called me during the first week of February,” Levine said. “I was getting nervous they wouldn’t call me.”
However, she received the call after she had noticed that the woman that had auditioned right next to her had appeared on the show; it was only a matter of time before she was the next to participate.
After paying for her own airfare and hotel for her trip to Los Angeles, she was automatically awarded $1,000 – just for participating. However, the contest isn’t just fun and games. Contestants have a lot of responsibilities to remember as they are physically playing the game.
“There were so many things going on that they tell you before hand. Look at these cameras; don’t look at the wheel,” Levine said. “There were so many things going on around you that’s its really hard to focus on the actual puzzle.”
“It was the quickest 20 minutes of my life,” Levine added.
They were told to not allude to phrases of time, such as graduation or exam days, because they want to be able to rerun the episode at a later point. Also, if anyone in the audience yelled out an answer to a riddle, they had to restart the game all over.
She said that the size of the studio is deceiving. It really only holds 50 to 70 people, though it seems hundreds are watching as the contestants try their luck at the wheel.
As to what prizes she took home, Levine would not say.
“I’m not telling because it’s more fun for them to see what happens than for me to tell them,” Levine said. “[Viewers] won’t enjoy the show as much.”