Since all my intelligence resides on the language side of my brain, I've always been freakishly good at Wheel of Fortune. The Wheelmobile came to the DeSoto Civic Center this weekend, the closest it's ever been to Memphis. When my mom told me about it, I knew I had to give it a shot. I had no expectations - I just wanted to go for the experience.
The tryouts were held Saturday and Sunday, with three "shows" each day. Upon arrival, we filled out applications, which were put in a giant drum and drawn at random onstage. They called five people up to the stage at a time. Each person was briefly interviewed by the host (Pat and Vanna were NOT there), and then the group played a speed round - where each person guesses one letter, gets a few seconds to solve the puzzle, and if not, it moves on to the next person.
Before anything started, the host gave a brief rundown of how everything would work. He said they were looking for personality and energy, and suggested we all think about how to make ourselves stand out in the interview portion. As the randomness of this blog attests, I have MANY interests and hobbies I could have talked about. But only one of them might make people remember me in that setting. So I planned exactly what I would do if I got called up.
The hopefuls (before the show started - a few minutes later it was much more crowded)
I was prepared to be there all afternoon and not to be chosen at all. I was fine with that - as I said, no expectations. But I was in the third or fourth group called to the stage! I went down, got my picture taken, and had a few much appreciated minutes to compose myself while the previous group finished their puzzle. When I went up for my interview with the host, I told him where I was from, where I work, that I like reading and cooking, and that I had been line dancing for four years. Exactly as I had expected, he asked if I would be willing to dance. I said yes. So he had the sound guy cue up some music (I think it might have been "Viva Las Vegas"), and I line danced in front of several hundred people. :)
My family and friends were shocked that I did this, and I admit, I've never been a performer (at least not since early childhood). But I have confidence in my line dancing, and darn it, I want to be on the show. :) If you're wondering, I did the Catfish because it's the easiest dance I know that isn't just back and forth steps. I knew I wouldn't mess it up no matter how nervous I was. The crowd clapped along and was into it, so I took it as a success!
Then it was time to actually play the game! The category was Phrase, which was kind of lame since other groups got specific categories like College Life or What Are You Doing? We went around a couple of times guessing letters, and I ended up solving the puzzle!!! :D (It was "And Away We Go.")
Callback final tryouts will be held here in town sometime in August. If you make it through those, you get to be on the show. The host said solving the puzzle doesn't guarantee you a place in the finals, but since I solved AND entertained the crowd, I feel pretty confident that they'll call me. Either way, I know I did the best I could, so I'm at peace with my Wheel of Fortune experience. :)
My brother's friend's wife also tried out - I saw her before the next show started. She got called up and solved a puzzle too! :) I was also approached by two sweet older ladies who were interested in joining a class, and one older man remembered me from a dance I went to with my mom on Friday night. This isn't the first time line dancing has helped me connect with people - it seems to be happening more and more. Who knew it could open so many doors?