While LeVar Burton’s guest host stint was celebrated, Matt Amodio’s run was polarizing for many Jeopardy fans. As his episodes aired, he received considerable criticism for his answering strategy. For the most part, Amodio has remained silent on the matter, until now. After the backlash, the Jeopardy champ decided to respond to fan complaints about his ‘what is’ strategy.
Matt Amodio has seemingly joined the ranks of guest host Ken Jennings and fellow recent champ Kelly Donohue as the game show’s most polarizing winners. While there’s been no real template for Jeopardy answers, fans had their thoughts and ideas on the answer format. And for that, Amodio received the scorn of viewers. After the online backlash, the Jeopardy champ finally addressed complaints about his winning strategy when speaking with Entertainment Weekly:
I don't necessarily want to say too much about that. I guess I just want to say that I hope nobody's offended by it. I do hear some people say that it's disrespectful to the game, and I would counter that if there was a Jeopardy fan club ranking, I think I would have a strong case to be number one Jeopardy fan. I live and breathe the show, I love every aspect of it, and so I'm definitely not doing it out of any disrespect or undermining of the show.
Given Amodio’s love for Jeopardy, he seemed to understand how the show works as much as any other avid fan. The champ even seemed hesitant to address the backlash, though his run has ended. Having watched the game show since childhood, Matt Amodio loves and respects the show and its legacy. As he pointed out, his strategy wasn’t meant to disrespect or undermine the format. But, there’s more to Amodio’s Jeopardy backlash.
All the backlash to Matt Amodio’s answer strategy stemmed from eagle-eyed grammar enthusiasts. Using “What is…” or “What’s…” for every answer sent some Jeopardy viewers over the edge, leading to them complaining on social media. Things got so bad that the show even had to step in and comment about the issue. So, if Jeopardy said it was okay, then fans may need to calm down. Even after the online takedown, the Jeopardy winner wasn’t done talking about his strategy.
Matt Amodio revealed he took some notes from previous Jeopardy victors. He admitted to studying Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer’s techniques to create a wishing strategy for his run. Amodio wanted to imitate the their winning streaks as much as possible. He even took the time to shout out LeVar Burton and Robin Roberts for helping him through his champion run.
While Matt Amodio’s run has ended, let’s hope he gets to enjoy this moment before appearing on Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions next season. Before the new season begins, Jeopardy fans can still catch new episodes in syndication with David Faber hosting this week and Joe Buck taking over from August 9-13.