Wheel of Fortune fans were not happy on Thursday (May 18) evening as a contestant lost out on a $100,000 prize due to a final puzzle that many deemed “impossible” to figure out.
Cesar Redaja, a clinical pharmacist from Tampa, Florida, was the unlucky contestant in question. He made it all the way to the bonus round, where he was tasked with solving a puzzle under the “Phrase” category, but he struggled to work it out in time.
After picking the additional letters “H, G, M, and A,” Redaja was left with a board that read “THAT _AS A _ _ _ _ TAL _A_T_R.” As the timer ran down, the Tampa native tried guessing, but nothing was coming to mind. “That was a… That was a capital,” he said.
With his time up, Pat Sajak and Vanna White revealed the answer, which was, “THAT WAS A PIVOTAL FACTOR.” The audience groaned as the answer was unveiled, with Sajak saying, “That’s a toughie.”
Things only got worse for Redaja when Sajak opened the bonus prize envelope and revealed he could have won $100,000, which has only been selected four times this season. The studio audience groaned again as Redaja looked absolutely shocked.
“You know, Cesar did really well tonight, I just wanna point that out,” Sajak said, trying to comfort the disappointed contestant. “But see, this is fake money. This is just numbers printed on cardboard.”
Viewers at home sympathized with Redaja and slammed the show for such a confusing final puzzle.
“”That was a pivotal factor” no one says that smfh,” tweeted one fan.
“That was a pivotal factor” no one says that smfh #WheelOfFortune
— 🇹🇹🇹🇹🇹🇹 (@CJG_TT) May 18, 2023
“Yeah, I’m always going around saying “That was a pivotal factor!”. It’s so common!!! How could he not get that?! What the hell is wrong with Wheel of Fortune?” wrote another viewer.
“”That was a pivotal factor”….that’s a phrase?? Caesar got jobbed!!” said another fan.
Yeah, I’m always going around saying “That was a pivotal factor!”.
It’s so common!!! How could he not get that?! 😂 What the hell is wrong with Wheel of Fortune?
— Bill_Flynn🙂♥️🏳️🌈☮️🌊🇺🇦 (@Atheist_Unbound) May 18, 2023
@WheelofFortune “That was a pivotal factor”….that’s a phrase?? Caesar got jobbed!! pic.twitter.com/BIxjrawjdG
— Matthew Alan (@Hankdiggy) May 18, 2023
It wasn’t all bad for Redaja, whose husband Chris was in the audience cheering him on, as he still walked away with $26,398. Still, quite the drop from a potential $100,000.
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This story originally appeared on TV Insider