At the end Peril! classic games category was won by contestant Mattea Roach of Halifax on Tuesday night.
Even though one of her opponents also guessed that the board game Life was the correct answer, Roach knew her bet had put her over the top.
Still, she was under orders to stay calm until host Mayim Bialik joined her – revealing her grand total of $32,001.
“I don’t know if I would win an award for best face in poker, but I think I did my best,” the 23-year-old told CBC Radio. Information morning Wednesday, the morning after his episode aired.
Roach, who now lives in Toronto and is originally from Halifax, had to keep his big win a secret after the episode was taped in January.
Even months later, she said it didn’t really sink in.
“I still get chills hearing that when I get the money I will be able to pay off my student loan with the money from last night’s game, like I still can’t believe it” , she said.
She thought she would have to win multiple times to pay it all back, but was able to cover the loan bill with earnings from Tuesday’s show.
Roach applied for the beloved game show by taking an online test in November 2020. She never expected to end up on the show, as several thousand people take the test and only a small fraction can advance to television.
But to her surprise, a few months later she was invited to the next stage of the audition and eventually flew to Los Angeles in January to tape the episode.
Roach said she prepared for the show by studying a website called J Archive, where fans compile clues to the show going back decades.
“I used to read a bunch of recent games in the past, say three or four years, just to get an idea of how the writers design a clue, what kinds of topics come up most often,” she said.
8:21Mattea Roach, Nova Scotian Jeopardy Champion
A little luck was also on his side.
“I didn’t get anything that I was really dreading,” Roach said. “The two things I didn’t want to see were the American Civil War and football, and I got neither.”
As she watched Tuesday’s episode from a friend’s house in Toronto, her parents threw a watch party in Halifax and about 20 people cheered her on from a pub in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
“Some extended family members like my mother’s aunt, uncle and cousin live in Marion Bridge and decided to form a group to go watch,” she said. “There were people there that I never even met who are just friends and community members there.”
In what I can only call a display of “extreme Cape Breton behavior” my mom’s cousin set him up at the grocery store he and my great aunt/uncle run in Marion Bridge – feeling incredibly supported!! Two more days ✨ pic.twitter.com/bORqgiOuvp
As has Peril! champion, Roach can keep playing until she loses. After winning her first episode, she immediately had to go backstage, change her wardrobe, and start all over again.
The second episode of Roach airs Wednesday night. She can’t say how it went, only that she gained confidence after that first victory.
“You’re a little more familiar with the buzzer timing. You’re a little more comfortable on that stage, and yeah, you sort of get into a rhythm,” she said.