This Guy Lost Thousands for Saying ‘Flamenco’ Wrong on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

If you heard a collective yelp of horror from English teachers and elocution tutors around the country on Monday night, it's entirely understandable. That's because a contestant on Wheel of Fortune ended up losing out on over $7,000 in easy prize money by botching the pronunciation of the word "flamenco."

In what will go down as one of the greatest screw-ups to ever happen on the long-running game show, a contestant named Jonny went to solve the puzzle by reading the complete phrase "Flamenco Dance Lessons" that had been revealed on the board. However, as he read it aloud, he accidentally said "flamingo" instead of "flamenco." That prompted host Pat Sajak to awkwardly pause and tell him it was wrong. Per the rules, the next contestant got a chance to read it, which she did correctly, and ended up winning what would have been Jonny's $7,100.

In the aftermath, Jonny understandably looked shocked and confused as to why he didn't win, but Sajak explained to him and the audience that the subtle mispronunciation -- though entirely unintentional -- amounted to a wrong answer. Rules are rules, after all. Following the commercial break, Sajak went on to somberly clarify that the judges had gone over the tape to listen again and that Jonny had indeed pronounced a hard "g" instead of a hard "c." Oops.

Poor Jonny. It's tough to imagine he'll ever be able to look at flamingos the same way again.


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.