Backlash Against Wheel Of Fortune Is Heating Up Yet Again

"Wheel of Fortune" has irritated audiences once again with its very specific rules. Wrapping up 2021, contestant Charlene Rubush gave the correct answer during the final round, but due to a pause in her response, she had to leave without the grand prize of an Audi, per TMZ. This led to a bout of social media rage, but lucky for Rubush, the dealership gifted her one anyway. Many other players are not so lucky.

Criticism from fans has also been aimed at contestants as of late. After a fairly brutal response to a group unable to guess the phrase "another feather in your cap," per People, Pat Sajak was compelled to call for more viewer empathy while watching at home. After all, the stress of being on TV creates a very unique pressure. 

When it comes to being sticklers for rulings on phrasing, however, "Wheel of Fortune" is king. In 2019, one contestant proved how difficult it is to refrain from adding an "and" to the crossword-style puzzle on the show. According to USA Today, Sajak even offered a reminder of what they were looking for in the answer: "Say everything, don't add anything, go ahead." However, the warning was not enough, and Kristen Shaw said the four mystery words as: "Right, football, left, and Sally." The "and" cost her a trip to Nashville and $1,950. Contestants are thoroughly briefed on the strict rules before filming, but that doesn't prevent disappointment from players and fans alike. Here's the latest unfortunate botch.

Adding an article cost a contestant a fun prize

On the March 30 episode of "Wheel of Fortune," contestant Chris Davidson instantly regretted the way he phrased his answer for a puzzle. Rather than stating "frozen concoction," he added a brief article to the start — a seemingly honest mistake — but long-time rules of the show would not accept it as a winning response, per the New York Post. By saying "a frozen concoction," Davidson's turn ended and the $8,400 trip to Puerto Rico went to the next contestant.

Davidson quickly tried to remedy it by repeating the correct, desired response, but Pat Sajak confirmed it was too late. After the round ended, the host clarified the ruling: "He threw in that article. He threw in the 'A' in front of it, and we can't accept it. Just the way it goes. It's just one of the rules, and we gotta go by 'em." Fans of the show were quick to share their annoyance on Twitter.

There was a collective opinion that the article in question sounded more closely to an "uh." One viewer tweeted, "I think the contestant gets so excited that they accidentally add something that doesn't belong. Wheel really should change their rules." Another wrote, "People get nervous and make minor mistakes. It's not easy being on that show. At least he won!" Davidson ended the episode as the top winner and took home $13,900. Contestants will have to stay diligent with "Wheel" rules to avoid getting disappointing news from Sajak.