‘Jeopardy!’ Semifinals End: Which ‘Masters’ Contestant Won’t Be in the Finals?

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And then there were three. Monday’s edition of Jeopardy! Masters was the second (and final) round of the semifinals, whittling the remaining quartet of Masters down to the three who’ll compete for the big money on Wednesday’s Season 2 finale episode.

Here’s a look at how it all shook out.

Game Three

This round saw Victoria Groce play her last game, going up against James Holzhauer and Amy Schneider.

And, in what seems to be just her luck, she found the first round’s Daily Double right away, betting the $1,000 she could without any money in the bank yet. In the category “Short Kingdoms,” the clue was: “In 1814, this historic German state was made into a kingdom for a little while, largely through the influence of England.” While Groce guessed it was Prussia, host Ken Jennings kindly informed her it was actually Hanover, which meant in a surprising turn, she was starting out this round in the red.

It didn’t take long for her to claw out of that tiny hole, though. By the end of the first round, she led with $5,600 to Holzhauer’s $5,200, while Schneider trailed way behind with a goose egg.

In Double Jeopardy, Groce learned that one of her accepted answers was actually rejected, costing her $400 and tied with Holzhauer. She went on to find the second Daily Double, wagering all $6,000 on her proficiency in the category, “Actual Places.” Unfortunately, she didn’t correctly identify Campobello as the subject of this clue: “FDR enjoyed summering on this island, found in the title of a 1960 film about him.”

Holzhauer, on the other hand, was more proficient in his Daily Double, wagering $5,000 of his $10,400 in the category “Movie Change a Letter,” correctly answering “Beverly Sills Cop” in response to the clue, “The Axel Foley theme goes classical as a legendary soprano goes rogue in Southern California.” This put him inches from a runaway ahead of Final Jeopardy, with $21,400 to Groce’s $10,800 and Schneider’s $1,200.

In the last category, “Metallic Elements,” only one person knew the right response to this clue: “As it’s rarely found in pure form, one explanation of its name is that it comes from Greek for ‘not alone’ or ‘not one.’” And it wasn’t the person who’d ultimately win the round.

While Schneider incorrectly guessed “What is astatine,” losing $0 from her total, and Holzhauer picked “Bismut,” losing $1,122 and taking him to $20,278, Groce knew the answer, “Antimony.” Unfortunately, the sting of those Daily Doubles evidently made her gunshy on the wager because she bet nothing and ended with what she started with: $10,800.

Game Four

Holzhauer and Schneider returned for their fourth and final game — this time, against Yogesh Raut.

Holzhauer, who’d been more choosey about his wagers in the first game, had a bit more confidence this time around (thanks, no doubt, to those three new match points), wagering all $3,200 he could when he found the first Daily Double in the category “H-Town.” Luckily for him, he correctly guessed that “Hamelin” was the subject of this clue: “An inscription at the Rattenfangerhaus in this town, describes a supposed 1284 event that reduced its population.”

Going into Double Jeopardy, Holzhauer had a healthy lead, with $8,400 to Raut’s $6,400 and Schneider’s $3,000.

This time, it was Raut who found the first Daily Double of the round, putting all his $12,000 of his marbles on the table, no less. In the category “Make it Flirty,” the clue was, “The evolution of English dropped three letters from an imaginary creature to get this type of exotic seductress.” Raut sunk his teeth right into it by guessing “vamp” and giving himself a sizable reward for brave betting.

Not to be outmatched in the hands-pushing-in department, though, Holzhauer followed suit when he found the last Daily Double, wagering all $14,000. In the category, “People in American History,” he struggled to come up with a response for this clue: “In 1805, a tributary of Montana’s Musselshell River was named in her honor.” After a gentle prod from Jennings, he finally offered up “Who is Sacagawea?” with no ounce of surety and was right.

Going into Final Jeopardy, then, the numbers were massive. Holzhauer led with $32,000, while Raut boasted $24,800, and Schneider had a highly respectable third-place purse of $8,200.

This time, in the category “21st Century Literary Characters,” all three contestants were able to answer the clue — “The last name adopted by Damon Fields, the title character of this novel, refers to his red hair” — correctly with, “What is Demon Cooperhead?” And it came down to the bets.

Schneider put almost all of her money on the line, nearly doubling to $16,200; Raut added $7,201 to his score for $32,001 total; and Holzhauer, who credited his wife’s current reading list for the correct answer in this case, made a hefty enough wager of $17,601 to jettison his score to $49,601, taking a commanding lead.

With that, Schneider ended the semifinals with zero points and was thus cut from contention for the finals. Her $100,000 consolation prize is nothing to cry about, of course, so Schneider left with a shrug and a smile.

And now we’re off to the finals Wednesday night to see who’s the Master-est Jeopardy! Master of them all.

Current Leaderboard:
1st = James Holzhauer – 6 tonight, 7 total
2nd = Yogesh Raut – 1 tonight, 5 total
3rd = Victoria Groce – 1 tonight, 4 total
4th = Amy Schneider – 0 tonight, 0 total

Jeopardy! Masters, Season 2 finals, Wednesday, May 22, 8/7c, ABC

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