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"Jeopardy!" Champ Accuses Show of Giving Unfair Advantage to Certain Players

Of the top JIT contenders, two also competed as finalists on 2022 ToC and Masters.

As Jeopardy! fans gear up for tonight's first round of Invitational Tournament (JIT) finals, semifinalist Jennifer Quail has publicly accused the show of favoritism in light of the game's final three contestants. The tournament, which is in its inaugural season, pits former finalists against one another in hopes of winning $100,000, as well as a spot on Season 2 of Jeopardy! Masters. However, Quail painfully points out that this season's vying champs are not strangers to one another.

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The top three finalists on JIT Season 1 include Victoria Groce and 2022 Tournament of Champions (ToC) and Master Season 1 finalists Amy Schneider and Andrew He, per Jeopardy!'s official website. The rematch between Schneider and He has generated a lot of buzz in the Jeopardy! community. But while fans are excited to witness a possible redemption victory, others say the match-up is almost too on the nose.

Before Groce's victory on April 4, Schneider and He had been announced as JIT finalists following their respective wins earlier in the week. He defeated Larissa Kelly and Sam Kavanaugh, while Schneider crushed David Madden and Quail, who has since alleged that producers had a hand in He and Schneider's victories. It's also important to note that Groce defeated Sam Buttrey, another 2022 ToC and Masters finalist.

"See, yesterday and today is why I feel like the three people who knew a year in advance they'd be here should have had to play each other in the semis or quarters, because we're one game away from it making no difference, it would just be a Masters repeat," Quail said on X, following Schenider and He's advancement to the finals.

Quail isn't alone in her opinions, either. Several fans commented that they noticed the recurrence and weren't thrilled about it.

"I wasn't thrilled about last year's Masters for this reason. I love Amy, Andrew and Sam as much as the rest of the fans–but I had just watched them play six games," one user said. Meanwhile, someone suggested that rematches should be reserved for the semifinals to help avoid a similar finale situation.

Another fan commented that they're feeling "tournament fatigue" from watching the same group of contestants compete season after season to which Quail agreed, writing, "I sort of feel like, okay, if you wanted players who've been away longer than the last two tournament cycles maybe keep it just those players. Some people hadn't been on since some of the rest of us were, uh…still in primary school."

In a separate post, Quail admitted it was "really hard to root" for Buttrey after watching his former competitors secure their JIT finalist spot prior. "Hardest thing about watching this semifinal: Sam Buttrey is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and after 2/3 of the Masters vets were in, it was really hard to root for him," she wrote on X.

"Thankfully Victoria prevented a Masters trifecta," one user said in the comments.

Fans can watch Groce, He, and Schneider square off in the JIT finals starting tonight on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET. The tournament will continue until one player wins two rounds and is then crowned the winner.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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