One former “Jeopardy!” contestant, Andrea Asuaje, lost to current champion Amy Schneider, who, as of Friday, now holds the third-longest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history.
In a new article, Andrea dishes on what it was like to be a contestant on the long-running game show, and what Amy Schneider was like both on and off set!
Andrea Asuaje Achieved What Many Have Not: A Chance At ‘Jeopardy!’ Fame!
As Andrea states, only three percent of people who take the “Jeopardy!” online test make it to a live audition, but she was one of the lucky few who did!
She revealed that she started the process in the fall of 2020, going all the way through two tests, an audition, an interview, and a mock game.
In early September 2021, she got a call from “Jeopardy!” saying that she was going to be on the show. She immediately stepped up her “nightly ‘Jeopardy!’ ritual” and religiously watched Matt Amodio’s “unstoppable” run.
She was taping her episodes on October 4th and 5th, so she practiced her buzzer skills and tried to learn as much as she could before appearing on the show.
When she flew out to Los Angeles for her taping, her mom decided to take the trip along with her for moral support. Andrea taped on a Monday and dressed in what she would call “librarian chic”: a black sweater with a bow and sheer sleeves, a green pleated midi skirt, and a pair of black flats that would later be swapped out for nude suede heels.
Amy Schneider: The Woman With The ‘Quiet But Warm Smile’
When she got to the studio, she was relieved that Matt Amodio wasn’t there, but she did notice “one contestant who seemed more comfortable than the rest.”
Andrea wrote: “And there she was, her hair in a soft, strawberry blonde bob, a dainty string of pearls around her neck and a quiet but warm smile: Amy Schneider.”
Although Andrea knew that Amy was on a hot streak, she had no idea how hot that streak would eventually be! As of Friday, January 14, Amy now has the third-longest streak in “Jeopardy!” history!
During the rehearsal, Andrea noticed that Amy “knew where to stand, when to buzz in, how much to wager, how to search the board for Daily Doubles, and how to chat with our host, Ken Jennings, without her voice getting shaky.”
After Amy “trounced” all of the previous contestants, Andrea returned the next day to try her hand at taking down the current champion.
‘I Can Only Remember Bits And Pieces’
“It’s amazing how your mind reacts to an adrenaline rush,” Andrea wrote. “I can only remember bits and pieces: a few right answers, all of my wrong ones; chatting with Ken Jennings about my rabbit, Falafel; buzzing in extra hard on a clue with the correct response, ‘What is a coxswain?'”
However, Andrea ultimately admitted defeat, writing, “it was Amy’s day. I missed the Final Jeopardy question (19th Century Lit, response: ‘What is ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame?’), but it didn’t matter: Amy breezed by fellow constant Nysanth and me.”
After she said her goodbyes, she hopped in a Lyft and headed back to her hotel room, where she ended up crying beside her mother.
‘I Got A Lot More Questions Right Than I Remembered’
Andrea recalled how, six weeks later, her parents, brother, and best friend all gathered together to watch her episode air on television. “To my surprise, I got a lot more questions right than I remembered,” she wrote.
She admitted that she was so anxious over her “Jeopardy!” run that she hadn’t actually tuned into the show since they taped her episode, but after watching her run with the support of her family, she realized “just how much I love the game.”
“How much fun it was. How unbelievable it had all been,” she went on. “Sure, I got a few creepy or mean messages, but they were overshadowed by the love so many showed me — friends from high school, college professors, former coworkers, even family living abroad. It was overwhelming in the best way.”
‘I Lost To Amy Schneider, But Now I Want Her To Keep Winning’
As for Amy, Andrea has nothing but respect for her as a player.
“She’s an incredible player, navigating the board like she’s been doing it her whole life,” she added. “She’s also handled the absolutely vile comments she’s received on social media from bigots and narrow-minded jerks with grace and strength.”
“I lost to Amy Schneider, but now I want her to keep winning,” she continued. “I want her to keep breaking records. I’m rooting for her with my whole heart. And as cheesy as it sounds, being a part of Amy’s winning streak — even as someone she defeated — is an honor.”
Fans of “Jeopardy!” are looking forward to seeing Amy Schneider return on Monday to keep up her winning streak. At 33 games, if she manages to keep up her hot streak, she will tie with Matt Amodio’s second-place record of 38 games by next week.
But will she be able to top Ken Jennings and his all-time record of 74 games? Fans will just have to tune in and find out!