Jared Young, a Hermosa musician and volleyball coach, had a televised decision to make.
The one-night star of the NBC-TV trivia show “Who’s Still Standing” – the premiere episode, mind you – had already watched five opponents drop through trapdoors as they were eliminated from the game show, which aired prime time Monday.
Host Ben Bailey, smooth and persuasive as a serpent with an apple, was asking Young whether he wanted to keep the $49,000 he already had won, or risk it all for $1 million in tilts with five more contestants.
This is the moment another game show host, Howie Mandel, dreaded – he once told a TV interviewer that he wished contestants could resist the long shot in favor of the sure thing.
Bailey sweetened the long-shot pot with the offer of another free “pass” on a trivia question, to replace the one Young had used when he did not know that Eden Prairie, Minnesota, was on a magazine’s list of the 10 best places to live.
Young winced under the temptation.
“Forty-nine thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it isn’t $1 million, is it,” Bailey asked rhetorically.
“If you lose, you lose everything,” he added contrapuntally.
In a flash, temptation was cast out.
“I’m taking it, I’m walking, I’m out,” Young told his host.
Young, 40, had been introduced to the studio audience as “a volleyball coach from Conway, Arkansas,” playing up his far-from-L.A. roots. But Young also has lived in Hermosa for a decade, coaching volleyball through a city program and performing at local venues with a singer-songwriter-rock approach that has drawn critical raves.
The personable and charismatic Young was discovered by game show casting people when he was playing in a CVBA volleyball tourney, and made it through three rounds of auditions for the show “Minute to Win It” before landing the central spot in the premiere episode of “Who’s Still Standing,” which is patterned after an enormously popular Israeli show “Still Standing.”
The episode was taped on a March morning, and Young had been told of the taping only the night before.
After hours of “hurry up and wait,” he stood on a circular trapdoor in the middle of a TV stage, surrounded by a circle of opponents on their own trapdoors.
“To be honest with you, it felt like a Las Vegas casino,” he said. “It was cold, the air was clean, everyone was really encouraging.”
The blocking was specific. Young had to remember which of a series of cameras to look into as he chose contestants for one-on-one battles and answered questions.
Young said he made his keep-the-money decision in part because he felt his luck running out.
“I thought I could drop a couple more people, but I thought some of them would be pretty tough,” he said.
“They were giving me free money. There aren’t many chances to win $1 million, but I was afraid I would blank out,” he said.
He recalled with dread the question about a Minnesota town.
“I don’t think even the people of Eden Prairie could have answered that one,” he said.
On the show, Bailey asked Young whether he wanted to make his exit from the set “through the door or through the floor.” Like a good sport Young chose the floor, allowing his hosts to open his trapdoor in the middle, like a pair of swinging saloon doors, and plunge him downward.
“I don’t know how far you fell, but you felt it,” he said. “They had a nice little safe foam area, and four guys standing around you. It was a pretty good drop.”
Like the other contestants, Young looked surprised but sanguine as he fell. He said that effect was aided by some TV magic.
“The way they edit it, you don’t see it, but I knew I was going to drop, I was waiting for it, and it never came. So I thought they weren’t going to do it,” he said. “Then the minute I relaxed – boom, they dropped me.”
Young’s opportunity to appear on the show is one he’s glad he grabbed.
“It was a unique experience. That’s one reason L.A. has so much charm, you never know what’s going to happen to you,” he said. “I had a chance to be on the show, and what do you know, I won some money.”
For more on his music see jaredyoung.com.
Article source: http://www.easyreadernews.com/43031/hermosa-tv-contestant/