“Wheel of Fortune” watchers don’t think Thursday’s bonus puzzle was fair.
Contestant Cesar Redaja, a clinical pharmacist from Tampa Bay, Florida, entered the special prize round with $26,393, but the final phrase he had to solve proved difficult.
Choosing “phrase” as the category in the bonus round, the standard letters “LNRSTE” with the additional letters “HGMA” Redaja chose, he attempted to solve a four word puzzle reading “THAT _AS A ____TAL _A_T_R.”
He began to guess “That was a … uh …” as his husband cheered him on from off-stage, but he failed to correctly guess the answer, which turned out to be “That was a pivotal factor.”
Host Pat Sajak noted the phrase was a “toughie” as he showed Redaja the amount he would have won had he guessed correct — $100,000. It was only the fourth time that amount was selected for the bonus round prize money this season.
Sajak called the lofty amount of prize money “fake money” in an attempt to comfort Redaja, who still left the game show with his $26,000. Viewers expressed their frustration at the combination of words, claiming that it is not used often enough to be guessable.
“‘That was a pivotal factor’???” one user wrote. “Who has ever said that??”
“Yeah, I’m always going around saying ‘That was a pivotal factor!’ It’s so common!!! How could he not get that?!” another user sarcastically wrote. “What the hell is wrong with Wheel of Fortune?”
“‘That was a pivotal factor’ no one says that smfh,” one wrote, while another added, “‘That was a pivotal factor’….that’s a phrase?? Caesar got robbed!!”
Another user joked, “‘That Was a Pivotal Factor’ is a ‘phrase’ in the same Universe that Bon Jovi is ‘Metal.’”