Jeopardy! is standing up for its current 10-day champion Matt Amodio. The game show contestant has been rubbing some fans the wrong way with his unique method of giving his responses over the past 10 episodes, but the Jeopardy! rulebook backs him up all the way. Jeopardy! fans well know that instead of providing an answer on the show, a contestant must give their response in the form of a question.
While Amodio does do that, he typically begins those questions with "what's" instead of "who is" or "what is," which has infuriated plenty of viewers who think the grammatically questionable method of playing should be banned. For the record, for his written answers in final Jeopardy!, Amodio does use "who" when it would normally be used.
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
On Aug. 2, the official Jeopardy! Twitter account put an end to the debate, tweeting, "What's up with Matt Amodio? A lot of 'what's' in his responses—and that's totally acceptable!" alongside a link to the game show's rules. In the rules, it states simply that "all contestant responses to an answer must be phrased in the form of a question," which the game show official point out "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," they continued. "So, Matt Amodio's no-frills approach is unique but well with guidelines."
Amodio has addressed his approach to the game in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, answering, "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."
The whole rule of answering in the form of a question was first developed in the early 1960s when producer Merv Griffin was attempting to come up with a new quiz show format. His wife at the time, Julann, suggested he give the answer to contestants and have them respond instead with the question. "As Merv told the story, she said to him '5,280.' He responded, 'How many feet are in a mile?'" according to the official Jeopardy! website. "The approach created a new twist to the popular genre and the rest is history."