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'Wheel of Fortune' fails: Contestants who totally blew it
March 06 2023, 08:00

"Wheel of Fortune" has been on television since 1975 – so a few mistakes are expected.

The game show's longtime host, Pat Sajak, recently scolded a contestant who got ahead of themselves and made a wrong move during an episode.

In another moment during the show's Teen Week last month, viewers were in shock when a contestant couldn't solve a puzzle so easy it made an audience member yell out.

In 2020, Sajak jokingly called a contestant "ungrateful" after the player questioned the wording of a phrase despite winning.

Here's a look at some of the wildest moments, including contestants' fails, in "Wheel of Fortune" history.


During an episode of "Wheel of Fortune" at the end of February, a player named Khushi shocked the audience after she gave the wrong answer to a puzzle. 

The episode was for the show's Teen Week and the contestant had two more blank spaces before the puzzle in the "Food & Drink" category was complete.

The letters remaining on the puzzle board spelled out "FRE_ _ TROPICAL FRUIT."

After guessing the second-to-last letter "H" correctly, "Wheel of Fortune" co-host Vanna White revealed the letter. Sajak advised the contestant to "solve it or spin it, but do something quickly."

Khushi spun the wheel one last time before hesitating to announce the letter "G."


Immediately after, an audience member is heard saying, "What?" in the background, following a couple of disappointed groans when the contestant did not correctly solve the puzzle.

Although the next contestant gave the correct answer, Sajak addressed Khushi’s flub.

"You know when that happens, and you’re sitting at home, you’re saying, ‘How in the world?’ but you know sometimes it’s a word that just doesn’t want to come into focus for you."

Khushi missed out on $650 on the wheel and a trip to the Caribbean island of Antigua worth $10,000.

On the episode that aired on March 1, Sajak scolded a fan who got too excited seeing the $1 million wedge in front of her.

After the contestant, Mary Ann, screamed, "Oh, my God!" out of excitement and started to reach for the wedge, Sajak hollered back and said, "No, no, no, ba-ba-bop!"

The 76-year-old host then reminded the overly excited contestant of the rules before they proceeded with the game.

"Now, here’s what you do. You see, you call a letter," Sajak said.

Mary Ann shouted out "H" and scored a sweet prize after.

"And because there are two H’s, you may now pick up the million-dollar wedge," Sajak said.

She then picked up the shiny prize proudly and Sajak continued on with the game show.

"You put a million dollars in front of someone, they just get goofy," he remarked.

At the end of January, Sajak got called out by a contestant, which won over the internet.


Contestant Ben Tucker had an awkward moment with Sajak while attempting to solve a puzzle during the bonus round.

"Taunt a chuck guy? Chance guy … no, there’s no C. Wacky guy. Taunt a wacky guy," Tucker guessed for the "Fun & Games" category.

Once the buzzer sounded and co-host Vanna White revealed that the letters spelled out "Taking a quick jog," the 76-year-old host teased the contestant.

"Wow, that was so unclose. You just didn’t have the letters," he said.

The California resident fired back, "See, I don’t consider jogging fun and games," as he rolled his eyes and threw up his arms.

Tucker ended up winning $18,000 for his time on the game show. Although he didn't win the bonus round, fans were quick to agree with his argument.

"Finally! A contestant finally speaks out about the answers not matching the category! The kid was great!" one comment read.

"Nobody considers that fun and games that’s fitness, come on," another fan wrote.

"Wheel of Fortune" even shared the moment on its official Instagram with the caption, "He has a point."

In 2014, Sajak experienced his "favorite" puzzle answer ever.

Contestant Emil de Leon shocked viewers when he guessed the winning phrase, "New Baby Buggy," with just two letters revealed on the board. 

The category was "Thing."

After de Leon's amazing answer, Sajak jokingly pat him down, checking for a wire. The contestant won $45,000 for that answer.

According to Us Weekly, Sajak took to Twitter after the episode and said that de Leon's answer was the "most amazing solve in my 30+ years on the show."

In October 2008, "Wheel of Fortune" crowned its first million-dollar winner.

Michelle Loewenstein landed on the million-dollar-wedge where she successfully answered the phrase in the "Around the House" category. "Leaky faucet" landed Loewenstein $1 million.

Following her win and excitement, Vanna White approached the contestant and gave her a hug.

In addition to Loewenstein, only two other contestants have walked away with the seven-figure prize.

Caitlin Burke stunned Sajak and "Wheel of Fortune" viewers in 2010 when she solved a puzzle with just one letter.

Burke managed to get one "L" on the board in the seven-word phrase before she guessed the correct answer. She asked Sajak if it was too early to complete the puzzle before identifying the correct answer as "I've Got a Good Feeling About This."


Her answer landed her a trip to the Caribbean and $50,000.

Sajak said at the end of the clip, "Is it just me or is that the most amazing solve we've ever had?"

In December 2020, the game show host jokingly lost it on a contestant who questioned the wording of the phrase.

The question asked the contestants what phrase starts with the word "kitchen." The contestant, Darin, noted that "kitchen oven" is not commonly used with Sajak responding, "Don't! You won! Don't argue, Darin! ... You got the puzzle. Ungrateful players! I've had it!"

During the clip – which was uploaded to Twitter – Sajak apologized to Darin for "yelling" at him.

Fox News Digital's Stephanie Giang-Paunon contributed to this report.