Aiken teen finishes second in game-show competition

Amy Varallo, a graduate of Aiken High School, was second in a preliminary round of Teen Jeopardy! She and some friends watched her performance on the game show at her home.

Answering questions on Teen Jeopardy! was the easy part for contestant Amy Varallo.


The hard part for the former Aiken High School student was working the buzzer.

She mastered the buzzer well enough to finish second during preliminary rounds of the show, which aired last week.

Amy held a viewing party at her home.

"Some of my friends shouted out the answers as we watched it," she said.

Watching herself on television wasn't as difficult as she thought it would be. She didn't cringe when the camera showed her, but it was frustrating knowing why she didn't answer a question or knowing that she just didn't buzz in first.

She ended the game with $14,000 after correctly answering the Final Jeopardy clue.

The show is a favorite of Amy's. She said it's different behind the scenes.

"We taped five matches in one day and then the second day they taped the semifinals and finals," she said. "We waited in the green rooms until our names were called and didn't know who we would play."

She said taping also doesn't happen in just 30 minutes. After changing her wager in Final Jeopardy at the last minute, it took almost 30 minutes to decide whether they would accept her final wager.

Some of the contestants' conversations with show host Alex Trebek also never make the air.

Amy said she would continue to watch the rest of the week, still answering along with the friends she made during the taping.

"It's a really fantastic experience no matter what the outcome," she said.

In the fall, Amy will attend Georgia Tech, where she will study nuclear engineering, but she said she'll take it easy the rest of the summer.

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or


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