Top 10 Biggest Fails on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" features a lot of happy endings, but these contestants failed to make it far. For this list, we'll be looking at times contestants on this show washed out early or went home empty handed. Our countdown includes a college junior failing to realize what surge protectors are used for, a contestant answering "owl" for an animal that sprays ink, another contestant thinking the depth of golf holes reaches 4 feet, and more!
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" features a lot of happy endings, but these contestants failed to make it far. For this list, we’ll be looking at times contestants on this show washed out early or went home empty handed. Our countdown includes a college junior failing to realize what surge protectors are used for, a contestant answering "owl" for an animal that sprays ink, another contestant thinking the depth of golf holes reaches 4 feet, and more! Which of these moments make you face-palm the hardest? Let us know in the comments!
You don’t need to be a literary scholar to be familiar with Jane Austen or one of the many adaptations of her works. However, this one contestant clearly hadn’t even seen as much as the Paltrow movie based on one of the author’s books. Five questions in, John Davidson was asked which of four listed names was also the title of an Austen novel. He thought the author took inspiration from her own name and went with "Jane." Although Davidson seemed certain of this, the answer was actually "Emma." He was visibly crushed to realize he’d lost here and wouldn’t take a cent home. Hopefully, he didn't hold too much of a grudge against Ms. Austen.
There’s a big difference between playing along with a game show at home and actually being in the hot seat. Contestant Michelle Simmonds says as much before incorrectly answering a question about a word that links a kind of mammal to a religious authority figure. She takes her time and even comes close to choosing the correct response. But she ultimately chooses “Marsupial." Even an audience member is visibly stressed by the response. While Simmonds is disappointed, she still manages to handle her loss with good humor. Meanwhile, we’re left imagining a church service run by a kangaroo.
The “Thirty Days Hath September” rhyme is a great tool for remembering precisely how many days are in each month. However, it didn’t do this contestant much good. On his fifth question, contestant Martin Baudrey was asked to name the second month of the year with only 30 days. You can already see him going in the wrong direction when he seems to think that April has 31 days. Unfortunately, he ends up choosing “September.” Saying that month instead of the correct answer of June was his downfall. Something tells us he couldn’t bear to listen to a certain Earth, Wind & Fire classic on the drive home.
#7: Water Flow
Getting on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” as a college student is impressive. But getting booted after the first question is less so. On his $100 question, college junior Chase Sampson was asked what surge protectors are used for. It seems easy enough for people to remember they protect against electrical incidents. But Sampson seemed to think they prevented flooding and immediately committed to the answer, "Water Flow." Although he tries to go back to correct his mistake, he’s crestfallen to realize it’s too late. To be fair, Sampson mentioned being sleep-deprived and relying on caffeine to stay awake. Maybe he just needed some stronger coffee.
#6: “Jolly Good Fellow”
“Happy Birthday” is a song everyone knows the lyrics to. Well, almost everyone. All contestant Kevin Brown had to do for $1,000 was name what song ended with the words “and many more.” While you’re probably already picturing the cake and stacks of gifts, he confidently chose “Jolly Good Fellow” without a moment’s hesitation. When host Meredith Vieira breaks the news, you can tell Brown is absolutely shocked. He probably would’ve nailed this easy question if he’d just taken more time to nail his response down. We just hope that Brown was able to keep enjoying his birthdays after that.
Lifelines are great for “Millionaire” contestants who aren’t sure of the correct response. But this contestant might’ve wished he phoned a friend. When asked about a weather term for his make or break the bank question, contestant Dave Snaith opted for a “50:50” lifeline to cut options in half. He could’ve chosen either “Front” and “Climate” to describe normal weather conditions for an area. But he got a cold and hard truth when he put in his final answer. While weather fronts are a real concept, they describe something very different from the question. There’s no lifeline that could’ve saved him from leaving empty handed after this round.
Contestant Brenton Andreasik had just graduated from medical school when he appeared on “Millionaire. While he might know a lot about the human body, his retail knowledge was severely lacking. For $500, Andreasik was asked a cheeky question about a store where you can take pictures in expensive kitchens and enjoy some meatballs. Those activities are practically guaranteed to happen when you go to IKEA. While Andreasik remembers the store has meatballs, he bafflingly rules it out as an answer. He thinks another country is the key and even brags that he’ll go there if he wins everything. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even earn enough for half the airfare because of his wildly incorrect answer. It must’ve been almost as frustrating as putting IKEA furniture together.
#3: “4 Feet”
Sports questions can be tricky. But even if you don’t know golf, you might be able to figure out the correct answer to this question through logical reasoning. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for contestant Sarah Arora. For her very first question, she’s asked about the depth of a regulation golf hole. After nearly choosing the right answer, she ultimately goes with “4 feet.” We don’t think golf would’ve caught on nearly as much if players had to reach four feet into the ground to retrieve their balls. Arora certainly didn’t get a hole-in-one with that incorrect response.
#2: “That’s the Last Stick!”
For his $100 question, contestant Paul Weir Galm was asked about a common phrase meaning someone is fed up. As is typical for the first query, this was meant to be an obvious softball question that has a few funny joke options. Galm answers right away while smiling at making what he thought was the right selection. Unfortunately, his response wasn’t as rock solid as he believed. Host Meredith Vieira offers some emotional support once he realizes his mistake. We wonder if he took cues from one of his choices and moved to Canada after missing his opening question.
While we’re not bird experts, we definitely know owls don’t spray ink. But this contestant was a little less sure. For Lovi Yu’s first question, she was asked about an animal that uses ink to defend itself against predators. She managed to dodge the parody “Paris Hilton” answer. However, Yu somehow still missed the squid answer. Like many contestants before her, she only realizes her mistake after it’s too late to go back. Yu gasps in shock and puts her head in her palms as she gets the bad news. While we know owls say “Who.” we bet she was probably saying “Why?” after leaving the game show.