PORTLAND, Maine — Editor's Note: The video above aired Friday, March 26, 2021.
After a dominant Jeopardy! win Friday, Mainer Susan McMillan hung tough in a back and forth game Monday before ultimately being defeated by Bryce Hwang, a medical student from California.
McMillan, an Army reservist and freelance Arabic translator from Portland, trailed Hwang by just $1,600 heading into Final Jeopardy!. But Hwang and the third contestant on Monday night's show, Cyndi Mundt, were able to come with the correct response while McMillan could not.
The Final Jeopardy! clue that stumped her?
Horrified by the 1964 movie musical from her work, she okayed a U.K. stage version as long as "no Americans" were involved.
McMillan can certainly hold her head high, especially after winning with $35,600 on Friday. She told 207's Peggy Keyser it has long been a dream of hers to compete on the show. The process begins with an online test, which McMillan took in the Spring of 2020.
"Many people take the test year after year and don’t get on the show because there are hundreds of thousands of people who take it so even if you pass the test, the pool of people who pass is so huge that’s there’s a really very tiny chance that you even get called upon to take the next step," she said. "So I was actually very lucky that that happened the first year I took the test."
It’s one thing to watch the show – countless times – on television. It’s another thing to be front and center – getting to see how the magic happens.
"I think it actually worked out really well for me – my nerves would have been much worse if I had gone on earlier in the day. I mean, watching those first couple of episodes – I was shaking, even though I was sitting in the audience instead of being up on the stage," McMillan said. "And I think – by the time, I had been there for like ten hours – I had mellowed out some. You see all the things that you don’t have any idea about. Like, behind the lectern there’s this little riser that comes out of the floor that makes every contestant approximately the same height."
McMillan will now have that experience to remember forever. Something else that will last forever? Her status as a "Jeopardy! Champion."
Editor's Note: The video below aired Friday, March 26, 2021.