Metro-East News

Here’s how a local woman landed on Jeopardy — and how she did

Kelly Lasiter poses with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek on the game show’s set in late March. The Granite City woman won her first game and took home $22,800.
Kelly Lasiter poses with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek on the game show’s set in late March. The Granite City woman won her first game and took home $22,800. Courtesey of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Kelly Lasiter took the online Jeopardy test last year on a whim. Her friends had all done it, so she thought to herself: “Why not?”

The Granite City woman scored well on the test and was called to audition in Detroit.

“After you audition they have 18 months to tell you you’re going to be on the show,” she said. “For me, it was about — I think it was about eight months before I heard from them. I auditioned last summer and heard from them in February.”

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville administrative assistant flew to Los Angeles in late March and won $22,800 in her first game, which aired Tuesday.

She lost her second game, which ran Wednesday, but walked away with another $2,000. She was “sworn to strict secrecy” not to reveal the outcome of the games until they aired this week.

“My boyfriend knew, and one of my friends kind of guessed, and I sort of had to divert her,” Lasiter said. “She thought I seemed too happy, so I was like ‘No, I’m just in good mood.’ You know, I had to play it off.”

She said another friend planned a watch party for Tuesday, and he had suspicions she won because Lasiter was excited for her friends and family to watch along with her.

The Jeopardy winner said she plans to take a trip to New Orleans later this year with her winnings. She will pay bills and student loans with what’s left over.

“I wanted at least one good trip,” she said.

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Kelly Lasiter poses on the set of Jeopardy in late March. Courtesey of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Lasiter said being on the show was something that’s always been on her bucket list.

“I used to watch it when I was kid — I always liked the show,” she said. “And I was a little nerdy kid and thought I wanted to be on it. I actually tried out for the teen tournament when I was a kid, but I didn’t make it.”

As time passed, Lasiter forgot about the show as she entered the working world and wasn’t home to watch it every night. That is, until her friends began posting online about taking the Jeopardy test.

She didn’t study for that test — and she said there’s a certain, undisclosed score you have to achieve to be considered for the show. While she studied a bit for the Detroit audition and the LA games, she chalks most of her knowledge up to life experiences and reading books.

The show airs on weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on KSDK-TV in St. Louis. It is filmed five games at a time, Lasiter noted.

As for being on TV?

“You definitely can’t tell through the TV how much makeup is on you, and then during the commercial break they put more makeup on you. You are made up to the gills,” Lasiter said. “The game moves quickly. You’re not necessarily all that nervous, but it catches up to you during the commercial breaks.”