After a timing technicality caused Wheel of Fortune contestant Charlene Rubush to lose out on taking home a brand-new Audi on Tuesday, December 21’s episode, the company will gift the contestant a car following viewer outcry over her “unfair” loss.
Advancing to the final round of the episode with the category “What Are You Doing,” Charlene incorrectly guessed the phrase “choosing the right card” before correcting herself by changing her answer to “choosing the right word.” Her unfortunate loss came from the seconds-long pause between the words “right” and “word,” as host Pat Sajak clarified that answers have “got to be more or less continuous.”
Charlene’s loss sparked a major debate among fans regarding what time pauses should be considered acceptable during final round guessing, with one fan comparing the incident to others like it, concluding that the show tends to “draw the line at 3 or 4 seconds.” Other fans also took to social media to express their opinions, both for and against the timing rule.
Here is a comparison of other Wheel of Fortune Bonus Rounds with pauses. Although they were stricter about it back in 2013, it seems they now draw the line at 3 or 4 seconds. A 2.7s pause was okay, but a 4.9-5.0s pause is not. #WheelofFortune #ChoosingTheRightWord #Audi pic.twitter.com/4Fgs8JrqqO
— WheelRob (@WheelRob10) December 22, 2021
Come on @WheelofFortune, the woman literally chose the right word. Give her the car. pic.twitter.com/aAaMyFeEZl
— Alex Jacob (@whoisalexjacob) December 22, 2021
Rules are rules! You READ and agreed to them before you were on the show. And as Pat told you, you got all the right words, but paused to long. If you were to say the entire thing over, it would of been good! Sorry, but, you gotta play the game the way the rules are written.
— Kenneth Duke (@newsguy99) December 22, 2021
The show was right to deny the prize. If it was a two word final puzzle, say for example “Beautiful Sunset”, the contestant wouldn’t be allowed to say the first word, then pause for 8 seconds & then say the second. Tough but fair.
— Keers10JAY (@KjirstenJohnson) December 23, 2021
“More or less continuous” – what does that mean? Anyone have the actual rule? There was nothing in between “right” and “word,” not even a sound. How is that not continuous?
— Jennifer Trippetti (@jennt1111) December 22, 2021
After former Jeopardy! contestant Alex Jacob’s tweet garnered lots of traction, Audi announced the news of Charlene’s gift the following day, tweeting, “You’re a winner in our eyes, Charlene. Now, let’s get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3.” In an article by Newsweek, an Audi spokesperson stated, “[We] saw Charlene’s Wheel of Fortune episode on Monday and were collectively disappointed that she missed out on the opportunity to take home an Audi Q3 due to a technicality. So in the spirit of the holidays, Audi of America will be gifting her with an all-new Audi Q3.”
You’re a winner in our eyes, Charlene. Now, let’s get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3. https://t.co/x0e3j1CqY9
— Audi USA (@Audi) December 22, 2021
— Alex Jacob (@whoisalexjacob) December 23, 2021
The decision brings up the question of whether the show should penalize contestants for response pauses, despite providing a correct answer. While it is unknown if the rule will ever change, Charlene is certainly feeling grateful this holiday season thanks to Audi and supportive Wheel of Fortune fans.
Wheel of Fortune, Syndicated, check local listings