wheel of fortune-flamenco-flamingo

Flamenco is a musical tradition with roots in southern Spain. Flamingo is a wading bird in the family Phoenicopteridae. The two are spelled similarly but pronounced distinctly, with meanings that have nothing to do with each other.

Though not that complicated on its face, the flamenco/flamingo distinction was confusing enough to cost a young man named Jonny $1,000 and a trip to Spain on Monday night’s edition of Wheel of Fortune.

Jonny was feeling pretty good about himself after solving a puzzle for the phrase “FLAMENCO DANCE LESSONS.” But after our man said what sure sounded like “flamingo dance lessons,” host Pat Sajak paused awkwardly, a buzzer sounded, and Jonny was left shaking his head as his rival Ashley pronounced flamenco as deliberately as possible and stole his cash.

“To explain, what we all heard was — and I know you didn’t mean to say it — but you gave us a G instead of a C,” Sajak told a bewildered Jonny.

As Sajak continued on with the show, Jonny could be seen muttering to himself, perhaps trying out different pronunciations of “flamingo” and “flamenco.”

This might be worse than the time in January that a Jeopardy contestant cost himself $3,200 for saying “Gangster’s Paradise,” instead of “Gangsta’s Paradise.

There’s really no coming back from Jonny’s mistake. Now that America has seen this episode, the contestant will have to explain to all his friends and family, as well as anyone he runs into in a coffee shop, why he doesn’t know the difference between flamenco and flamingo or between a G and a C. And if he ever dares take flamenco dance lessons, he’s bound for some highly unpleasant flashbacks.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.