"Wheel of Fortune" Contestant Cheated Out of $40,000 Win, Fans Say
Did Megan Carvale say "pink orchid" or "something orchid?"
The bonus round of Wheel of Fortune can be nerve-racking for contestants who hope to add to their game show earnings. After being given a few letters, they have to solve the remaining puzzle in 10 seconds or less in order to win either a large prize, like a car, or more money. On the Jan. 30 episode of Wheel of Fortune, Megan Carvale made it to the bonus round, where a floral-themed puzzle left her without the additional prize. But, as reported by Today, some fans of the show believe that she did solve the puzzle and should have been given the $40,000 prize that her bonus round card indicated.
After Carvale was given the usual letters—R, S, T, L, N, E—and guessed her own letters—C, D, P, A—she was left with a puzzle reading: "P_N_ _RC_ _ D." When the 10-second timer began to click down, she immediately said what sounded to some viewers like "something orchid" but what sounded to others like "pink orchid." She then said, "Pi… pony orchid?" before the buzzer went off.
"You might have been overthinking, thinking of a type of orchid," host Pat Sajak told Carvale. When the answer appeared on the board, she said, "Pink! Ohh" and smiled as Sajak opened the card revealing that she would have won an additional $40,000 if she had solved the puzzle correctly. In the end, Carvale won $14,007, which she appeared to be happy about.
But, while Carvale seemed content with her winnings and surprised at the puzzle's answer, some fans believe that she did say the correct phrase and was cheated out of the bonus prize.
"There is no question, she absolutely said 'pink orchid.' Please give this girl her winnings!" wrote an X (formerly Twitter) user, who also tagged the show's account, as well as hosts Sajak and Vanna White. Another viewer wrote, "I'm sorry, did she NOT say Pink Orchid the first time? Or am I tripping." Someone else posted on the social media site, "Who else watched Wheel of Fortune? Did she not say PINK ORCHID?" Yet another fan said, "The @WheelofFortune producers totally screwed Megan out of her bonus round win last evening! She had the bonus round puzzle and they buzzed her out robbing her of a $40,000 prize!"
Others noted that they heard Carvale say "something orchid"—even if it took rewinding the show a few times. "She said 'something orchid' as in she knew orchid but didn't know the first word. She then said pony orchid lol she clearly was thinking it was a type of orchid and not a color. She didn't even get mad when he said the answer. She definitely didn't say pink," an X user wrote. Another posted, "Ok. Totally a retract. I thought she said 'Pink Orchid', but she said 'Something Orchid'. Literally 14 rewinds. Sorry, lol. @WheelofFortune."
Carvale spoke out about the controversy during a Feb. 1 appearance on Good Morning America. "You know, I wish I said 'pink' because I would have been $40,000 richer," Carvale said on the show. "But I said 'something.'"
The contestant said she was "bummed" she didn't win the bonus round and had told herself she just needed to get through watching her episode once. Instead, she was surprised to find that she had gone viral and was making headlines for her appearance on the show. "I'm reliving this loss, but at least it's positive attention," she said. "It could have been people making fun of me that I didn't get it right."
Carvale also said that her young son gave her a hard time about not solving the puzzle. "My son, the entire way home—because my 8-year-old son was in the audience with me—and the whole way home—because we live in Orange County—the whole way home from L.A., 'Mom, I can't believe you didn't get pink. I can't believe you didn't get pink.' That word has already been haunting me, and now all of America believes that I said it, but I didn't."