Come On Down! You’re the next Contestant on…
….The Price Is Right!
Well, unfortunately neither my cousin or myself heard our name at the beginning of that famous phrase from the CBS game show, “The Price is Right.” However, our experience going on the show was one of the most exciting opportunities of our lives! Here’s a glimpse into the whole process of being on the show!
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been watching Bob Barker and his “beauties” on the game show, Price is Right. I loved guessing the prices, watching people spin the wheel, and seeing how excited the audience and contestants were during the show. From jumping over chairs, to doing cartwheels down the aisle, to jumping up and down and tripping down the aisle, the excitement and entertainment never disappointed. Now, as a 33 (well, at the end of the month) year old mom, I’m still just as excited when I watch the show as I was when I was a kid! Drew Carey has now become the show’s host, and while many of the same games remain from long ago, there are several new games that have been added. Call me crazy, but I have actually been brought to tears (happy ones) many times while watching the show, simply because I love seeing people not only win, but happy for each other when their bid is called closest to “the actual retail price without going over. ”
Well, this past Monday a dream of mine came true when I was able to go on the show and be a part of all the craziness and excitement that comes with being on this game show.
So how did I get tickets? I really can’t take any credit for the opportunity that was given me to go on the show. A couple years ago when Ricky and I moved to CA, knowing that I loved the show, Ricky got us general tickets (all tickets are free, by the way) to the show. General tickets means you have to go and wait in line and hope you get there early enough to make it in. Although the likelihood of getting in may be good, it’s not guaranteed. With the show still being a good 6 hours away from us (CA is a big state if you didn’t notice;) the timing ended up not working out for us to take such a quick, but long trip down without being guaranteed of getting in. So, we said, forget it…maybe another time…
Well, about a month ago, Ricky’s cousin Tara contacted him to let him know she had gotten priority tickets (guaranteed to get in) to the show, which she had signed up for two years prior, and asked if I wanted to go with her and make it an early birthday trip! And I think you all can guess that my answer was a big, “Uh YES!” Are you kidding me?! Dream come true!”
So one month later, it all happened. Tara and I planned a girl’s cousin get away to “celebrate my birthday” and go on the show. Of course, we had to go all out and have shirts made for the occasion. From the moment we found out we were going on to the very night before going on the show, Both Tara and myself had dreams (the kind you have when sleeping) of winning, of losing, of wearing the wrong shoes (They have “strict” dress code rules), of being turned away, of losing the tickets, (Which we actually did-but just re-printed them) of tripping down the aisle…you name it, we dreamed it! I began freshening up on my bidding strategies, and prepared my “shout outs” for when I would spin the big wheel, because, obviously you need to be totally prepared for those moments.
The night before the big day we decided to go to bed early, so we would be well rested and on our best “game”. Pun intended. Outfit laid out, shoes ready, hair done (yes, I did my hair the night before), tickets ready. We parked in a nearby garage near CBS Studios, and hopped out of the car to find two other contestants sporting some Price Is Right shirts and saying, “Hey, there’s our competition!”
I then felt like we were on the amazing race, as we all started running for the CBS studio to get in line. And then I was like, “Why are we running, we have priority tickets and are guaranteed to get in.” Let’s go get coffee instead, since we got here so early.
We wished the other two contestants, who only had general tickets, good luck, but unfortunately never saw them make it in. As we grabbed some coffee and a bagel and headed back to get in line, we ran into two more contestants headed in the same direction. It didn’t take long to see that these two were big fans.By their purple shirts, and their dedication (coming all the way from Canada), these two were clearly ready to “Come on Down!” We stood in line with them almost the entire time, and enjoyed getting to know them.
Once we got in to the main area, we were handed some rules to sign and started hearing lots of cheers! People were getting their photos taken in front of the green screen, getting their name tags made and meeting lots of new people. The energy was incredible. Everyone was excited to be there and enjoyed reading all the different shirts. Then we moved to the next holding area where we were grouped in sections to prepare for the interview process which was coming up next. We all waited on benches in a long outdoor, covered “hallway” where some very excited groups were screaming and giving high fives to every new group of people that were coming to be seated. It wasn’t long before the interviews began and the staff in red jackets began walking up and down the “hallway” with signs saying, “Please remain quiet during the interview process” which was happening just ahead of us. Anxious and excited “Contestants to be” could be heard whispering about their theories of how to get picked, how many would be chosen from each group, and if you had to pay taxes on your prizes before you receive them.
It was time. Our group was standing up quietly and moving ahead to the interview section, where we all stood in a long line and waited for Stan to start the process. This part of the process was the furthest from what I had expected. Stan was funny, personable, high energy, and he began with the first person at the line by quickly saying, “Hi Megan, Where are you from and what do you do?” Megan was taken off guard (after all, she was the very first one) and stuttered a little, and continued with giggles and “Uh, well, yes, I uh, work for an insurance company, and….” Stan replies with something quick and witty, and instantly moves on to the next person, “Hi John, where are you from?” 3-5 seconds with each person. And this is how you choose?! I only get 3 seconds to woo you and convince you I should be the contestant?!
Now, I’m sweating. Should I stick with just his questions, or expound with some techniques I learned from my college persuasion class?! The quick and abrupt questions continued down the line, with chuckles and jokes in between. The girl before me explains how she works in a crime lab…and I’m thinking to myself well clearly her life is way more interesting than mine… but does that even matter? What is he really looking for…? Should I even mention what I “do”…and then he comes to me, “Hi Karlyn, what do you do?!” And I was just completely surprised that he got my name right the first time (I’m thinking man this guy is really good at his job), that I excitedly say, “Yeah!” …and then was going to say “You got my name right, good job!” But I just stuck with a big “yeah!” SO, I’m a stay at home mom, and I babysit and volunteer on the side….(Should I have said stay at home mom?…”) To which he replied with something cute like, “Oh stay at home mom…So are you raising your kids on Price is Right…” To which I excitedly said, “Oh yes, My little boy knows that the Price is Right is my favorite show ever…and…I…” (Stan- “Well, thanks for blah blah….I’m not sure exactly what he said…
“Hi Tara, so what do you do?” Uh, excuse me, I wasn’t really finished….I wanted to talk a little more….but my cousin proceeded to her part of the interview and did a great job!
Yes, it’s true being excited and witty will help you get selected as a contestant, but its hard to know exactly the process of how they choose. Out of 200 something people, 9 will be chosen to come on down, and 6 will make it on stage.
After the interview process we moved onto the last holding area before getting into the show. It’s now been about 2 1/2 hours since the time we got in line. During this part we had to turn in our phones, grab a bite from their snack bar (I went with the Price is Right special-el burrito), use the bathroom as much as possible, and sit for another hour and a half while meeting people and watching the show being played on tv’s throughout the area. I also “enjoyed” overhearing a family dispute over social security benefits, taxable income, etc…what better time than to work out your differences, huh?
The time had come to get rid of all food and drink (we couldn’t even bring water in, which I would discover later would have been nice since we were basically cheering nonstop for an hour) , spit our gum out, and find out where our seats would be.
This is where it gets exciting.
We had been next to the purple ladies the entire time, and just assumed we would be seated in the order of our numbers that had been given to us. However, they looked at our numbers and walked us down to the VERY FRONT ROW! We were sitting on the last two seats of the front row, right near the stairs that every contestant walks up when they win the bid! I instantly was excited, and then thought, “How many people from the front row actually get called down?” But at that point we didn’t care! We were right front and center in the middle of the action, and the energy in that place was awesome! Everyone was cheering and dancing and just super excited.
Crew men and prop people were working on getting everything in place, and then I saw Maneula, One of the models right on the end of the stage near my seat. I then saw a guy walk out from the back, and I wasn’t sure who he was, but he looked to be handsome and such. When he walked out, I kid you not, he looked right at me and smiled and did a double eyebrow raise. Come to find out three stars from the Soap Opera, The Young and the Restless were there that day (They often make appearances on the price is right when they are celebrating so many years of their show running), and it was Daniel Goddard that had looked at me. I don’t know anything about that show, which was why I didn’t know who he was. But nonetheless, it was kind of cool.
Once everyone was in their seats, George Gray, the announcer came over and gave some instructions. George was so nice and personable! He explained that it was going to be so loud in there from us cheering that we actually wouldn’t be able to hear our names called, so we needed to be looking at the cue cards from the person holding the cards. The stage had about 6 people on it (not including all the set people that would come out during commercials) during taping handling the cameras, the cues, the production, etc…
After the first 4 contestants were called down they announced the host of the show, Drew Carey! Everyone was cheering and he came right to the front and welcomed everyone. All of us on the front row jumped up and went over to shake/highfive his hand! That was pretty exciting!
So the show began, and it was so interesting to be behind the scenes. There’s so much going on that you obviously have no clue about when watching the show. (The magic of tv) What I found to be the most interesting was how you could never hear Drew actually talking in the microphone when he was announcing the prizes to bid on. Everyone was cued to cheer and be excited while he was talking, and you couldn’t hear anything! I was like, “wait, I can’t hear what we’re bidding on!” I instantly thought if I get called down, there’s no way I can win because I can’t hear or even think in here!
The bidding continued, and contestants were called up, people were winning their games, and the audience starting catching on to how everything was supposed to be working. It was so exciting being on the end in the front because we were able to high five and hug every contestant before they went on stage!
There were a few times that we had to re-take the same thing we just did. For example, during the showcase, after the guy had already put his bid in, the wrong cue card was held up for Drew. The producer came over and explained that Drew was going to back up to where he had been, and everyone in the audience and the mother helping give the bids to her son needed to re-do it all. So, the contestant had to pretend to not know what to bid, and continue asking for help from the audience, while all of us yelled, $25,000, 21,000, etc…and then he had to be sure to say the exact bid again! An interesting combination of a real game show with real prizes, yet a production where we had to “fake” it sometimes. We also were apart of a commercial they were taping and we had to do it 5 times over! No-one was getting their lines right. The audience had to lightly clap while they were talking, and then loudly clap and cheer when we were cued. During the commercial breaks we were able to sit and relax for a few minutes (cheering and clapping non stop is hard work) while Drew talked to audience members.
Drew’s a pretty nice guy, but basically cracks up at his own jokes constantly. Haha! During the commercials, George Gray and the Young and Restless actors came down to sign shirts. At the end of the show, they did a drawing for one last person to come up on stage and win 100 bucks! The whole experience was so awesome and fun! The guy who won his showcase was from San Jose, and I had been talking to him and his family in line in the holding area. It was also exciting that most of the contestants won their games, except for a couple.
What an amazing experience! I think I enjoyed watching the “behind the scenes” more than the games themselves! I loved seeing how everything worked and how each person had a specific job they were responsible for. And of course, every time that camera went by, we were sure to wave and smile and cheer!! March 26th is the air date. Check us out in the middle section, front row, right 2 seats.
I’m so thankful to Tara for letting me experience this with her. We truly had a wonderful time together! And as our shirts say, I guess we’ll still be waiting a lifetime to come on down, but we couldn’t have been more excited with how everything turned out!
This is Joy Under the Sun.