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Jeopardy! Contestant Loses Money Over Mispronouncing 'Gangsta's Paradise'

The judges over at Jeopardy! do not play, and a recent contestant learned that the hard way!

On Monday night’s episode, contestants were facing a $1600 Double Jeopardy! clue under the “Music & Literature Before & Afters” category. The question: “A song by Coolio from ‘Dangerous Minds’ goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic.” 

Contestant Nick Spicher hit the buzzer first to answer, “What is Gangster’s Paradise Lost?” He was correct and earned $3,200 to push him into the lead at $11,200.

But in an unexpected move, the show’s host Alex Trebek declared the answer wrong: “Our judges have re-evaluated one of your responses a few moments ago, Nick,” he said. “You said ‘gangster’s’ instead of ‘gangsta’s’ on that song by Coolio, so we take $3,200 away from you. So you are now in second place.” 

And with that, they took away the $3,200 Spicher had won from the answer, as well as the penalty he should have received for his wrong answer.

“Although Nick’s response of ‘Gangster’s Paradise Lost’ was initially accepted, the hard R sound caught the ear of one member of the onstage team, who immediately followed up with a quick check,” the show explained on its blog. “It turns out that ‘gangsta’ and ‘gangster’ are both listed separately in the Oxford English Dictionary, each with its own unique definition.”

Talk about awkward!