BEAVERCREEK — The answer is: Who is Hari Parameswaran?
The question: This Beavercreek High School alumnus appeared on Jeopardy this week.
And he almost won.
Parameswaran, 19, a 2019 graduate of Beavercreek and a sophomore electrical engineering major at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), was tied for the lead with $13,800 before the Final Jeopardy stumped him. Parameswaran bet all his money and left with $1,000.
And zero regrets.
“Even though I ended up losing in a very close game, I had a blast, and I would trade anything (well, not anything) to be able to go back a second time,” Parameswaran said. “Jeopardy was a family staple at dinner time ever since I was young, and it was a joy to finally be able to experience the show first-hand, including getting to meet the behind-the-scenes people and the Clue Crew.”
Parameswaran had tried a few times to get on the show. It required a couple of online tests where he had to answer questions. After he passed that, he was invited for an in-person audition, which due to COVID-19 was on Zoom.
Then it was a waiting game until his phone rang one day.
“It was really just any ordinary day, and when I saw that the number calling me was from Los Angeles, I decided to pick it up out of curiosity,” Parameswaran said. “Within a matter of minutes, a Jeopardy producer was on the phone telling me they wanted me to appear on the show. The immediacy of everything took me by surprise.”
Making it to the in-person audition doesn’t guarantee anything.
“Once you finish that portion, they can call you anytime between zero and 18 months afterwards,” Parameswaran said. “The other thing that you have to keep in mind is that it usually takes people multiple tries of auditioning before they actually make it onto the show.”
Parameswaran flew to LA and taped the show in March. CNN personality Anderson Cooper was the guest host, but despite being in front of a well-known TV anchor on a national broadcast, Parameswaran wasn’t nervous.
“If anything, I think all of us contestants were more in the zone of being in a Jeopardy game,” he said. “After all, we were there to win as many games and as much money as possible.”
After Single Jeopardy, Parameswaran, the son of Rajesh and Lakshmy, was not liking his chances. But he wasn’t giving up.
“I’d been in this situation in multiple times during high school quiz bowl competitions, and I knew that a comeback was definitely not of question,” Parameswaran said. “With renewed optimism, I tried to play my normal game in Double Jeopardy, and it worked out really well for me. At the end of the round, I was feeling like I had a legitimate shot at winning.”
Until Cooper revealed the Final Jeopardy category: Hollywood Legends.
At that point, Parameswaran said his “heart sank” because that was one of his weakest subject areas. So he risked it all and made a guess to the question.
“This director was quoted as saying ‘I believe I can take any 60 pages of the Bible and make a great picture.’” The answer was Cecil B. DeMille but Parameswaran, not a movie buff, answered Mel Gibson.
Had he guessed right, he would have been the champ.
“I don’t really regret losing, because the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime one, but re-watching the episode made me mull over whether there was a universe where I didn’t miss some of the questions I did,” Parameswaran said, adding that he missed seven.
But he’s not dwelling on it too much, preferring to stay positive.
“My experience could easily be summed up in one word — exhilarating,” Parameswaran said. “This was my first time ever on a game show, and I was ready to soak up every moment.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.