Finally they announced the third to the last lineup. This was the big one. The important one. This was the “interview” line up. You see, the Price is Right presents a sense of randomness when people are told to “come on down.” The camera zooms around the audience, the people look shocked. It give’s a sense that anyone might be called. But everything is pre-planned, the producers handpick the contestants.
During the interview, the would-be contestants have less than 30 seconds to impress the producers. I found out later that you could pay to attend nightly seminars on how to wow them in that all-important half minute.
Number one on the list of things they are looking for: you must look like you won’t hurt Bob. A few years back an excited housewife, over heated with the power of Bob’s presence, had tackled him and broken several of his ribs.
But I didn’t have to worry about it. I had the big black X through my special number. I THOUGHT that meant I was going to be spared more PIR madness.
Chuck asked anyone with the big black X through their number to step forward (246) and be escorted to a separate holding area. As I worked my way through the crowd, something was wrong. The zealots all started clapping, cheering me on and stretching to give me high fives.
I was really confused. My sleep depravation/Red Bull binge made it all the more surreal. When I got to the front, a page was waiting along with about five other people who had big black X’s on their special numbers. (246) As we were escorted off, the crowd erupted in cheers and some of the X people with me waved like celebrities back at the crowd.
We were escorted to yet another holding area where we had to wait for the other 244 people to slowly wander in after their interviews. The page that brought us in said “now I know some of you might be sad to be in here, but we all know that being in this room first makes you all pretty special people.”
They all nodded their heads with big grins on their faces.
As Chuck had stated, you needed the big black X through your special number (246) if you A. didn’t want to play. (me) or B. if you had been on the show in the last year and won. (the other five people.) I was sitting next to a young Canadian girl who turned to me and said “I won yesterday. when did you win?”
“I didn’t win. I just don’t want to play.”
She looked stunned.
“But you have the X. You have to have won.”
“No. I just don’t want to play.”
An old man sitting across from me piped in.
“Son, we know you can’t play, you’re here because you won. She wants to know WHEN you won.”
My teeth clenched into an awkward and embarrassed smile…as I found out the scoop.
A good percentage of people in the line had been there for weeks. They came in large groups and attended every show they could get into. The five people in the room with me hadn’t just won in the last year, they had won in the last two weeks.
By then the first of the 244 interviewees had started to trickle in. I was trapped with them and my secret was out.