JEOPARDY! contestant Justin Bolsen has opened up his head space after winning Mayim Bialik’s High School Reunion Tournament.
The 18-year-old now advancing to the 2023 Tournament of Champions admitted he has some “crazy” competition coming up.
ABCJustin Bolsen won $100K and will be the youngest contestant ever in the Tournament of Champions[/caption]
ABCWhen asked how he’ll ‘stand up to those more senior contestants’ he bluntly said: ‘Those guys are crazy’[/caption]
Mayim, 47 hosted the fiery two-part finale of the High School Reunion Tournament last Wednesday and Thursday.
Justin, Vanderbilt junior Jackson Jones, and Emory senior Maya Wright went head-to-head in the two-part finals.
Twenty-seven former Teen Tournament contestants who first duked it out in 2018 and 2019 competed and eventually, the Brown University freshman prevailed by just $363.
The underdog was eliminated in the first round of the 2019 Teen Tournament before Final Jeopardy, so it was a comeback win for the books.
It was also a happier turn since part one of the finals was spoiled by a “horrible” glitch at the top of the episode execs have since apologized for.
‘THOSE GUYS ARE CRAZY’
Justin spoke to longtime producer Sarah Foss after winning the student special.
He will be back on Jeopardy! in September’s Tournament of Champions – facing the likes of 21-time champ Cris Pannullo and 6-time champ and pro quizzer and 6-time champ Troy Meyer.
Justin gushed: “It feels really good and I’m owing my high school quiz bowl coaches a huge thank you right now.”
Producer Foss mentioned his ripe age and how Mattea Roach was 23 years old and “our youngest competitor” in the 2022 tournament: “but you’re only 18!”
“How do you think you’re gonna stand up to those more senior contestants?” she asked.
“Those guys are crazy,” Justin said without hesitation which got a laugh from the live audience of former student foes-turned-lifelong friends.
“I think everyone knows those guys who have gone on mega streaks are really really good.
“So I can only hope to do my best for them. We’ll see what they have in store for me.”
Justin also attributed his love of trivia to his supportive dad and said he loved reuniting with his former Teen Tournament pals.
Fans wished Justin will in the Tournament of Champions even though it’s going to be stiff competition.
One wrote under a YouTube clip of the interview: “This is so amazing! I thought he was out after Day 1. His joy and sense of wonder made him my choice. I couldn’t be happier that he took home the trophy.”
Another wrote: “Won by $363. What a close game! Talk about a buzzer-beater. Congratulations Justin! Can’t wait to see the Tournament of Champions.”
A third wrote: “I remember when he got eliminated before FJ in the semifinals in the 2019 Teen Tournament. Now this is a comeback for him.”
“Justin is a real cutie!” wrote a fourth as a fifth joked: “Gen Z hairstyles are something else” and a sixth: “his energy is infectious and he’s absolutely adorable.”
The 2023 Tournament of Champions will be airing in September and hosted by Ken Jennings.
It famously features contestants who have won 4+ games or more or who have qualified via specials – so far there are nine contenders (who are only men).
Also in the mix are current champ Stephen Webb, Ray LaLonde (13 wins) and Celebrity Jeopardy! winner Ike Barenholtz in an unprecedented move.
Famous actor Ike also hinted he didn’t love his odds against New Jersey-based former poker pro Cris, who won 17 of his 21 games in runaways.
“Oh, Cris! He’s so low-key and unemotional. He has ice water in his veins so that is frightening.”
NBCJustin Bolsen won Mayim’s student special by just $363 – now he’s facing Cris Pannullo in the Tournament of Champions[/caption]
He dished: ‘I think everyone knows those guys who have gone on mega streaks are really really good’ABCJeopardy! spoiled the first half of his finals by displaying all three contestants’ end scores at the top of the show[/caption]