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Video: Pronunciation Is 'Achilles' Heel for IU's Wheel of Fortune Contestant

This past Friday, an Indiana University student named Julian Batts, competing on Wheel of Fortune as part of the game show’s College Week, had an easy shot at winning $1 million. Every letter in the puzzle was visible; all he had to do was read the words. Watch the video to find out why Batts—an honor student and a Carmel High alum, according to an IU press release issued prior to the episode—is being called The Worst Wheel of Fortune Contestant Ever:

Batts is now an Internet celebrity punching bag, with at least one YouTube clip of his performance (which included two more gaffes—more video below) quickly soaring past 1 million views. The story was picked up by the websites of USA Today, the UK Daily Mail, and other outlets, and Batts went on ABC News to talk about the blunders:


Batts’s complete WOF highlight reel:

On a positive note, Batts’s notoriety has a ways to go before catching up with Ball State’s “Boom Goes the Dynamite” guy, who is listed among’s Top 10 YouTube Train Wrecks—along with Tom Cruise, Christian Bale, and Bill O’Reilly—on the strength of 8.6 million views and counting.

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.