"Jeopardy!" Just Shot Back at Fans Criticizing the Current Champ

The official Twitter account clarified the rules to defend Matt Amodio.

If you've watched Jeopardy! recently, you may have noticed that something seems a little… off. Jeopardy! contestant Matt Amodio is currently the 10-day champion, but the way he gives his responses to clues is standing out to some viewers and actually annoying others. As we all know, on the iconic gameshow you have to give your response in the form of a question. And while Amodio does this, his style differs from what we usually hear from contestants.

Now, the official Jeopardy! Twitter account has spoken out in defense of Amodio's unique way of responding and clarified the rules when it comes to answering in the form of a question. Read on to find out what was bothering fans and how the show defended the current champ.

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Amodio will only start his answers with the word "what's."

Matt Amodio during Final Jeopardy on August 2, 2021
Jeopardy! / YouTube

On Jeopardy!, answering in the form of a question usually means that a contestant's sentence starts with "what is" or "who is." (For example, "What is an apple?" or "Who is Beyoncé?") But, Amodio starts his questions with "what's" regardless of what the topic is or whether the answer is plural. So, he would say, "What's Joe Biden?" or "What's dinosaurs?," the same as he would say "What's War and Peace?" (For his written answers in final Jeopardy!, Amodio does write "who" when it is appropriate.)

Amodio defended himself in a recent interview.

Matt Amodio on "Jeopardy!"
Jeopardy! / YouTube

Type Amodio's name into Twitter, and you'll see that some viewers are bothered by all of his "what's" while others are defending him. Amodio spoke about the mild controversy in a July 31 interview with Entertainment Weekly. He was asked if there is any "thinking or strategy" behind the decision, but didn't confirm or deny this.

"I don't necessarily want to say too much about that," Amodio responded. "I guess I just want to say that I hope nobody's offended by it. I do hear some people say that it's disrespectful to the game, and I would counter that if there was a Jeopardy! fan club ranking, I think I would have a strong case to be number one Jeopardy! fan. I live and breathe the show, I love every aspect of it, and so I'm definitely not doing it out of any disrespect or undermining of the show."

Jeopardy! is defending him, too.

Matt Amodio and fellow contestants during Final Jeopardy on August 2, 2021
Jeopardy! / YouTube

On Aug. 2, the Jeopardy! Twitter account posted, "What's up with Matt Amodio? A lot of 'what's' in his responses—and that's totally acceptable!" along with a link to a post on the website explaining the gameshow rules in light of Amodio's unconventional replies.

Amodio himself tweeted, "Diehard #jeopardy fans like me carry a copy of the official rules at all times, anyway."

The explanation on the Jeopardy! site reads, "The rules state, '…all contestant responses to an answer must be phrased in the form of a question.' It's that simple. Jeopardy! doesn't require that the response is grammatically correct. Further, the three-letter name of a British Invasion rock band can be a correct response all by itself ('The Who?'), and even 'Is it…?' has been accepted. So, Matt Amodio's no-frills approach is unique but well with guidelines."

Contestants are asked to keep to this rule, however.

LeVar Burton guest hosting the July 27, 2021 episode of "Jeopardy!"
Jeopardy! / YouTube

The site also explains that while Amodio keeps his questions particularly short, contestants are advised against going in the other direction. "Questions like 'What would occur in the event that…?' or 'Could it possibly be that…?' eat up game time as well as brain power," the site reads. "Contestants are always reminded to keep their response short, and keep the game moving."

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Amodio is one of the top 10 biggest winners ever.

Matt Amodio after his tenth win on "Jeopardy!"
Jeopardy! / YouTube

Amodio has been the Jeopardy! champion for 10 days, and he's won $362,400. This means he is currently in the No. 8 spot on the list of contestants who have won the most money on the show during the regular season. Since he has won at least five games, he'll also return for the Tournament of Champions. "That's going to be a more competitive stage than I'm prepared for mentally," Amodio told Entertainment Weekly. "So I'm quite worried about that. Hopefully I'll do well, but I'll be shaking in my boots a little bit."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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