Saint John-born Jeopardy! contestant hits high notes but loses on music question

Despite coming third, Saint John-born Chris Fennell, who appeared on Jeopardy! last night, says he’s pleased with the outcome.

Chris Fennell said his secondary goal, after winning, was to not give a single incorrect response

Saint John-born Christopher Fennell says being on Jeopardy! is an out-of-body experience.
Christopher Fennell, the Saint John-born professor who appeared on Jeopardy! Tuesday night, lost in an all-or-nothing final round — but he's happy he at least didn't get a single question wrong.

"I thought it went well," the University of Ottawa professor said over the phone Tuesday.

"I didn't get anything wrong. That was my other goal. That goal was achieved."

'Out-of-body experience'

Fennell said he watched the show in a bar last night with about 30 of his friends.

Being under a confidentiality agreement, he was unable to reveal the results beforehand.

He described being on the show as "an out-of-body experience," and said watching it was strange because he answered questions he doesn't remember getting correct.

"(I) was a trivia automaton for a little while up there," he said.

"I didn't remember all the parts of it."

After trailing at the end of the first round, Fennell made a bit of a comeback in the second.

He did particularly well in the "Travel France" and the "Reality TV" categories, with the former helping close the gap before the final round.

Unfortunately for Fennell, the returning champion stumbled across every "Double Jeopardy" answer, making it hard to catch up.

And Fennell didn't like seeing the "Art and artists" or "Magic and sorcery in the Bible" categories, describing himself as better with pop culture.

"I read Entertainment Weekly every week."

"But I did answer one correctly," he said, referring to the category involving the Bible.

Final Jeopardy and last chance

Going into Final Jeopardy, Fennell had $12,000, with the other two contestants having $13,400 and $22,100.

"I knew the lead player was pretty far ahead at that point but still within striking distance," he said.

"My thinking was, 'I can win. Or I can come in second if the person in second gets it wrong.'"

The Final Jeopardy category: 21st-century Grammys.

The answer? This singer has won album, record and song of the year twice, the only artist to do so.

"I knew it wasn't Beyoncé," Fennell said. "I knew she got robbed this year."

The professor employed a common Jeopardy! tactic in hopes of usurping first place.

He made a bet that might bring him into first place if the others failed but didn't gamble everything — and that ensured he'd be above zero in case all three messed up.

He bet $10,101, meaning his end score was $22,101, which put him in the lead for a few moments by just $1.

Christopher Fennell and Alex Trebek, the Jeopardy! host — and alum of the University of Ottawa, where Fennell teaches. (Jeopardy!)

Unfortunately for Fennell, all three contestants wrote down the correct question of "Who is Adele" and all three made substantial bets.

Not a sore loser

The other two contestants had final scores of $24,001 and $27,900.

For the Saint Johner, despite not winning, he's glad he went on and met Alex Trebek, who is an alumnus of the university Fennell teaches at. And he still won $1,000.

"If you're a trivia geek, just to have the experience is awesome," he said.

"For three people to be over $22,000 in the end –- it made for a good show."