What's your motivation for being on the show?
Well, ever since I was a little boy, I watched Jeopardy! fairly religiously, and, when I watched it with my grandparents, they would tell me, "Anthony, one day, you can go on, and be on Jeopardy!" And, it looks like they were right, although I would have never expected it.
Do you think your major will give you an advantage in the College Championship?
I'm an economics major, and, um, the only way I can see that having a real impact is in helping me, uh, figure out how much to wager on Final Jeopardy!
What will you do with your winnings?
Uh, when I got on the show, my, uh, parents made it pretty plain to me that I'd have to use it on tuition, but, hopefully there'll be enough left over for, y'know, a fun vacation.
Show your school spirit and tune in!
2009 College Championship quarterfinalist: $5,000.
19 and from Manhasset, New York at the time of the College Championship.
Anthony Dedousis Blog Entry 3
May 11, 2009
Although I was a little disappointed about not advancing to the next round, it was much more important that I had played well and given the game my best shot. Besides, I would be a lot less nervous than the semifinalists on the next day of taping.
Looking back, I'm really thrilled with the whole experience of being on Jeopardy! In fact, I'd say that it was one of the best weeks of my life. I've always wanted to be a Jeopardy! contestant, so being in the College Tournament is a dream come true for me. When all was said and done, I got paid to go to California, play a game, be on TV, and spend four days with really cool people—this sort of awesome opportunity doesn't happen every day.
I'm going to use my winnings to fund a semester in Paris next spring. I want to learn more about French culture and literature, as well as brush up on my French. Plus, I'll have the chance to travel to other places in France and Western Europe, which will be fun. The prize money will also make my summer a lot more enjoyable, since I can accept a job in advertising and marketing at my beloved New York Mets without worrying about making a lot of money.
But even after the prize money is spent and the memory of being on Jeopardy! fades, I'll still remember how great it was to become friends with the other contestants. It was really refreshing to spend time with people as smart and interesting as them. One girl knew the capital of every country in the world—even Mauretania, Brunei, and the Solomon Islands. Another could name every Academy Award winner and Best Picture since the ‘30s. You could say we were united by our vast knowledge of otherwise useless trivia.
After the last day of taping, we all boarded the “Party Bus,” where we clowned around until we got to the hotel. From there, we went to the mall outside Universal Studios to have dinner together. At the restaurant, we talked about how we would spend our prizes, what we were going to do after college, and teased one of the big winners for not treating us to our meal. Back at the hotel, we told stories and jokes long into the night. Even though we were only together for four days, we got to be pretty close. I guess spending nervous hours on end in the Green Room builds strong bonds between people. I hope we'll be able to keep in touch.
If you're reading this, and you're in college, try out for the Jeopardy! College tournament next year! If you get picked, I promise you'll have an amazing time.
Anthony Dedousis Blog Entry 2
May 8, 2009
After weeks of anticipation, the big day finally came! Maggie arrived at the hotel bright and early to take us to the Jeopardy! studio in Culver City. Once we arrived, there were a few things we had to do before taping could start. First, we were given make-up, so that we'd look our personal best in front of the cameras. Then, we taped short promotional films and commercials for our local TV stations and the Jeopardy! website. Finally, we played mock rounds of Jeopardy! to familiarize ourselves with the buzzer and the pace of the game.
We were then escorted to the Green Room, where I would be sequestered for most of the day until my episode taped. As the day dragged on, I got more and more nervous. Not even watching Mean Girls or playing cards with the other contestants could take my mind off of my date with destiny.
Finally, after four hours of waiting, it was my turn to play. I took the stage along with Erica from Princeton and Larissa from Rice, who would prove to be two excellent players. We practiced using the buzzers for a minute or two, heard a few final words of encouragement from Maggie, Glenn, and Robert, and then it was showtime at last. As soon as Johnny Gilbert said the magic words—“This is the Jeopardy! College Championship!”—and Alex Trebek walked onto the set, any thoughts of nervousness were replaced by awe. It finally clicked that I was really on Jeopardy!
The first round of Jeopardy! didn't go so well for me. Although I was able to answer a few questions correctly, I was beaten to the buzzer too many times. Before I knew it, I found myself $3,500 behind Erica. During the commercial break, I remember thinking to myself, “I'm about to get owned on national TV.” Thankfully, I had better luck in Double Jeopardy! I found both the Daily Doubles; though I missed the first one, I correctly answered King Hussein of Jordan for the second one. After that, I felt much more confident, and was able to finish out the round strong. I vaguely remember St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Francisco Franco as correct answers I gave. After Double Jeopardy!, I was in front, but by only $200—as Alex Trebek would say, it was anyone's game going into Final Jeopardy!
Final Jeopardy! would prove to be my undoing. The category was “B.C. Thinkers,” and the question asked which Greek philosopher's nickname was given to him for his wide, disk-like shoulders. I wasn't really sure, but the Think Music made thirty seconds feel more like ten, so I scribbled down my guess, Socrates. Unfortunately for me, both Erica and Larissa came up with the correct answer, which was Plato. Then it dawned on me that the word “Plato” in Greek is similar to the word for “back.” As the credits rolled, I remarked to Alex Trebek about the irony of losing on a question relevant to my Greek heritage.
Anthony Dedousis Blog Entry 1
May 4, 2009
My name is Anthony Dedousis, and I'm a sophomore at Harvard majoring in economics. I'm originally from Manhasset, New York. My interest in Jeopardy! goes back as far as I can remember. As a child, I spent a fair amount of time watching Jeopardy! with my grandparents and playing along with the show. Even today, I'll watch an episode or two with them when I'm home from school.
I found out about the online test from some friends who knew I was a Jeopardy! fan. A few weeks after taking the test, I was invited to an audition in Boston. There, I met some of the Jeopardy! contestant coordinators—Maggie's ultra-high energy level is infectious, and helped us all snap out of our early-morning daze. As the months following the audition went by without a phone call from the show, I assumed I hadn't made the cut. But while riding the BoltBus home for spring break, I felt my cell phone buzzing in my pocket. I picked it up, heard the words, "This is Glenn from Jeopardy!..." and my heart skipped a beat. Somehow, some way, I'd been picked for the show! I resisted the urge to whoop and holler in front of fifty strangers, and kept my excitement to myself until I got home.
My family was thrilled to hear that I would be on Jeopardy! My grandparents can't wait to see me on TV, and my mom and dad are happy that the prize money can fund some of my college tuition. When I got back to school the next week, my friends all wanted to know when the show would air. My fraternity brothers insisted that I wear a Sigma Alpha Epsilon shirt under my Harvard sweatshirt on Jeopardy! and reveal it during my interview with Alex Trebek. (Of course, that would be against the rules of the show, so I had to decline the offer.)
People often ask me how I'm preparing for the show. Well, college students are champion procrastinators, and I'm no exception. Instead of doing actual work, I've taken knowledge-based quizzes at www.sporcle.com (don't go there, you'll never get a problem set done ever again) and www.j-archive.com, an astonishing database of every Jeopardy! clue ever asked. This is a great arrangement, because I can justify my time-wasting to myself by chalking it up to Jeopardy! preparation.
I leave for Los Angeles in a couple of days. Aside from getting to be on Jeopardy!, I'm most excited about spending a few days in sunny California and getting to meet Alex Trebek. The other week, when I told my grandmother that I would be appearing on Jeopardy!, she replied, "I always told you that you would go on Jeopardy! and win lots of money." It looks like she was right about the first part. I guess I'll find out next week if the "winning lots of money" part comes true as well.