Jeopardy Contestant: Screwed By Elaine Benes Pronunciation Mishap!

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A Jeopardy contestant was flat-out hosed this week because of his accent, specifically the way he pronounced "Elaine" as in Elaine Benes from Seinfeld.

The question in the "Name TV Role" category was essentially "Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character on Seinfeld," and Fidelito Cortes responded, "Elaine."

Host Alex Trebek said this was incorrect, however, and moved on to another contestant who guessed "Benes." The other contestant was deemed correct.

Trebek then corrected Cortes on his pronunciation. Check it out:

Viewers took to Twitter to bash the show. Some choice Tweets:

  • Wow @Jeopardy that "Elaine" pronunciation distinction was harsh. Same name; you have to account for regional accents!
  • They just penalized this guy for using a hard E in "Elaine," but not this other guy for pronouncing the H in "Haute." #Jeopardy #bullshit
  • @Jeopardy Fidelito was unfairly scored because of his accent! He definitely said Elaine!
  • @Jeopardy Elaine vs Elaine. Really? I'm glad it didn't effect the result!

As that last one indicates, Fidelito went on to win, so it was a moot point. The poor kid who lost on an Emancipation Proclamation misspelling, however? Not so much.


I saw him! Boy am I proud to be Filipino! He seemed like such a really nice guy. I thought the judges were incorrect in their decision… but hey, what can you do know? He won by massive margins on the days he won, allowing him runaways on both occasions. Fidelito lost today on October 2, but he had a great run. I truly hope this guy more success to come to him and his poetic career.

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