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Jeopardy! visits Grounds; students try for show spot

More than a few students heard "Weird Al" Yankovic's "I Lost On Jeopardy" playing in their head yesterday. About 800 students auditioned for a chance to appear on "College Jeopardy!" By the end of the day, the contestants narrowed to 30 students.

"I've watched 'Jeopardy!' all my life and thought it would be a cool opportunity," said Alden Kline, a second-year College student and final round contestant. "I'm a 'Jeopardy!' junkie."

The first round, a 10-question pre-test administered under the tent in Newcomb Hall Plaza passed on 225 students.

After passing the first round, students completed a 50-question video test. The top 10 scorers from each of three test sessions then competed in a mock "Jeopardy!" game and finally a short interview.

According to "Jeopardy!" Promotion Manager Rebecca Erbstein, the program looks for well-rounded and personable students to compete.

"It's not enough to just be intelligent," Erbstein said. "We're looking for more than just numbers."

Erbstein said the 30 contestants who passed the second round will enter a nationwide pool. "Jeopardy!" will then choose 15 students from across the country to appear on the "College Jeopardy!" television tournament in February.

"We take the pool back to Los Angeles and deliberate about who we would like to be on the show," Contestant Coordinator Glenn Kagan said.

Kagan said the selected contestants receive notification in early December.

"College Jeopardy!" came to the University because of the school's first-place finish in the "College Jeopardy! Online" tournament last semester, Erbstein said. As a result, the University is the only school "Jeopardy!" will visit this semester, although the program does audition in major cities around the country.

Even though the student turnout exceeded organizers' expectations, tough questions weeded out many contestants.

"There were some unusual categories," fourth-year College student James Luckard said.

Although the second round of most "Jeopardy!" audition sessions consist of a single group of approximately 70 people, yesterday's auditions were unusual in terms of the number of people auditioning. Three sessions of 75 students each took place in the ballroom.

"It gives us more flexibility in terms of judging," Kagan said. "The difficult thing is we fill 15 slots for college, whereas on the adult game we have 400 slots to fill."

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