‘Jeopardy!’ Had To Clarify Its Rules Because A Very Good Champion Has A Very Annoying Answering Habit

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Matt Amodio is on quite a hot streak on Jeopardy! even if he’s irking some fans with his dominant play. The PhD student has crushed the most competitive trivia game show on TV in recent weeks, putting up James Holzhauer-like numbers with some risky and dominant play.

His run started with a $40,400 victory, and as of Tuesday’s show he’s on a 10-game winning streak worth more than $360,000. Amodio bets big, even if it costs him. Which it did during one Final Jeopardy where he lost $15,000 but still finished with a win and a fairly large payday.

But what’s caught the attention of fans is the way he answers questions on the show. Rather than say the more traditional “who is” when the answer is a person, or “what is” when the correct response is a thing, he simply says “what’s” for nearly every response. Twitter in recent days has been filled with fans slightly irked by the habit, which is faster but has made the grammar freaks upset, to say the least.

Who is the single most unwatchable champion in #Jeopardy history? Answer: What is Matt.

— Biscayne Bullies (@MiamiDadeRaised) July 28, 2021

This guy has a PhD and just will not use WHO IS when the answer is a person. I’m slowly going crazy. #Jeopardy

— Emma (@Emmy415) July 29, 2021

The show’s official Twitter account actually asked “what’s up” with this guy earlier in the week, clarifying on its website that while his answering style may be uncharacteristic, it’s actually not against the rules.

What’s up with Matt Amodio? A lot of “what’s” in his responses — and that’s totally acceptable!

Read more about other Jeopardy! rules here: https://t.co/6Ld05LMRR4

— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) August 2, 2021

The rules state, “…all contestant responses to an answer must be phrased in the form of a question.” It’s that simple. Jeopardy! doesn’t require that the response is grammatically correct. Further, the three-letter name of a British Invasion rock band can be a correct response all by itself (“The Who?”), and even “Is it…?” has been accepted. So, Matt Amodio’s no-frills approach is unique but well with guidelines.

Amodio is far from the first very good Jeopardy! player to irk fans with his style. You may recall players like James Holzhauer getting flack for aggressively searching for Daily Doubles rather than play the more traditional top-down style of working through individual categories. And while the viewing experience may not be ideal for some, Amodio seems to be fairly engaging on social media as well.

More importantly: he’s getting some extremely impressive results.