(Blogger’s note: This is, in part, a continuation of my post on the MacBlog about the Thursday portion of my Millionaire adventure; this’ll be about Monday.)
So after waiting to be called on Thursday, waiting 10 hours in the Green Room (wherein I pretended to shoot everyone’s picture in the room with my finger, and by the way, is not green), I returned on Monday, wearing what I wore the Thursday prior for basically the entire day, which was kind of annoying. But not as annoying as the fact that I was running late, and it was raining.
(For the record, it rained on Thursday, as well, but (a) wasn’t as heavy, and (b) let up later in the day.)
I ended up about 15 minutes late – not a huge deal, all things considered, as the producers said you could be a bit late as a holdover. I got into makeup just after they called someone’s name; one of the new contestants on Monday was from Florence, Kentucky, so I mentioned the Florence Freedom (which I had read about a few times on Wikipedia and in a Baseball America database I bought as a kid), which was a minor surprise to her.Then I talked to my holdover pal Connie…and then they called my name.
A rush of blood went through me as I heard that – I feigned calmness. We walked down a bunch of stairs and then we got miked, and after that went down into isolation near the stage. My assistant producer, Shane, was there, along with a couple of other people. Then the first person was called, and then my holdover pal Judy came down (so I guess she went after me), and then I was called up. By this point, I had realized that this was actually happening, that I was going to be a contestant on a nationally-syndicated game show. Shane and I went down to near the stage, where I waited for instructions on how to enter. The stage director told me that, since they were coming from break, I would start right from the Hot Podium, at which point I met Meredith.
Meredith, it should be noted, is a lovely woman, filled with her own timeless brand of loveliness. She’s also Wonder Woman, as she, as every day, woke up at 2 in the morning to host the Today show for three hours and then Millionaire for another 10; and this was after she ran the New York City Marathon with a time of 5:59 (smoking Al Roker, at 7:09, like a kielbasa). So I met her, we shook hands and hugged, and then we started play.
I can’t say anything about the questions, the lifelines, or how much money I won, but I have a couple of anecdotes: when I got a question right, I tried to give Meredith a high-five, and we kind of missed each other, so we had to do it again, at which point, we were spot-on. Then when we went to break, since I was pretty parched (this wasn’t surprising, what with all my nervousness), I drank a whole glass of water, along with part of Meredith’s (I felt kind of sorry for it, but she insisted). I ended up spilling a bit of water on the Podium, which ended up feeling like construction paper, and I said, “What is this made out of, construction paper?” After a bit of mock offense taken from it, Meredith said, aptly, “It’s all in the magic of television.”
The whole thing was really magical. I mean, really, it was totally nuts, the whole thing. But it was exciting and intriguing and the culmination of a mission I began with my 18th birthday in June, to auditioning the next day, to ending up in the Contestant Pool later that month, to getting The Call in October. Frankly, it’s still surreal, that as a teenager I’m ending up on Millionaire.
But I guess that’s just part of the adventure, the wonderful world of Disney, and the magic of television.
(My Millionaire adventure continues, tentatively, on March 30th, when my show actually airs. Check your local listings here to find out when and where to tune in.)