I decided that I’d face a fear of public oral exams from childhood and apply to the Weakest Link.
What is the Weakest Link?
‘A group of nine (or ranging from five to ten, varying among versions) contestants work as a team to try and win as much money as possible. If a person answers the question correctly, the next stage in the chain is reached. If a person answers the question wrong, the money is lost and the chain starts again. A player can “bank” before their question to save the money, but the chain must be started again. If there are nine correct answers in a row without anyone banking, the maximum money amount is added to the jackpot and the round stops. The time allowed for each round decreases as the game goes on. In some versions, if the contestant takes too long to think, the host may give the answer, and it will be considered incorrect. At the end of each round, the contestants must vote for who they thought was the “Weakest Link” in the round that just occurred, and the person with the most votes is eliminated. If the vote comes to a tie, the Strongest Link can decide which of the tied players should leave. The Strongest Link is the person who had the most correct answers or banked the most money. The host, Anne Robinson in the original UK version, says “(name), you are the Weakest Link, goodbye”. The contestant then takes the walk of shame and is then interviewed outside the game. The person who was the strongest link in the last round goes first. If the strongest link got voted off, the second-strongest player starts. In the UK version, the final round has a 90-second triple stake round with no voting but money is still to be earned. After the final round, a head-to-head contest is played, with five questions asked to each player in turn. If there is a draw, the game continues to sudden death. The loser goes home with nothing.’
OK, I figured Anne Robinson was the best way to conquer this fear. Go figure!
So, off goes my application and after a brief phone interview, I’m accepted. They suggest I bring certain coloured tops for them to choose from and offer me a train ride and one night in a hotel to go to London for the early morning filming slot. (They shoot several versions of the show in one day – we were one of three games that were shot that day.)
This is a great adventure and as far as I’m concerned, as long as I’m not the first person voted off I’m a success at facing my fear.
Sadly, I didn’t get much sleep in my hotel room, seems someone else wasn’t sleeping and decided to keep slamming their hotel room door all night.
Still, I wake the next morning excited when I get my ride to the studio, curious which top is picked and who the other contestants are.
Well, lime green is the chosen top.
The Other Contestants
We all get a brief period to meet and greet. Everyone seems pretty normal and excited about doing the show and meeting the notorious Anne Robinson.
After our hair, make-up and clothes are approved, we are all shuffled off to the studio. This was pretty cool.
I’m desperately trying to hear the instructions about the dos and don’ts, but when my blood is racing I’m struggling to retain anything being said to me. I’m just hopeful I’ll get my name, age and occupation right. I’ve been known to get these things wrong in high levels of stress.
So, Anne comes in and doesn’t say a word to us – the music roles to queue us to everything starting. Only to stop, as one of the cameras isn’t working properly – Anne walks off without saying a word to us and we all wait till it’s fixed.
Anne comes back and we start again, only this time we keep going.
The Games A Foot
My terror is growing and my eyes are locked on Anne and – ‘Yeah! -‘ first hurdle over, I get my vital statistics correct. They don’t have to re-shoot me getting my name wrong and I don’t have to feel like an idiot.
Next, the game starts – my head is racing – how soon is my question? Who is answering questions correctly or not? Who’s banking? Who’s voting tactically or are people voting the real ‘Weakest Link’? Do I need to bank? It’s my turn, OMG, what is she asking me? What was my answer!? Or, even better, I got it right or good thing I banked!
I’m quite pleased with my end result. I made it halfway – perfect – not in the front pack or the back – perfectly in the middle. Not bad for someone who answered questions wrong, right or not at all. I have to be honest, I really was the ‘Weakest Link’ when I was voted off.
But I did it! I faced my fear.
I was asked to sing by Anne – something from Carmen – I couldn’t remember anything, so I faked it and made something up – amazing what ya can do in gibberish french when asked.
One thing I haven’t said was, we had short breaks, so they could fix angles of cameras or just give us a break. We would chat with fellow contestants, like when we were off in the green room. It was pretty fun.
Little did I know, I’d upset one of my fellow contestants. When Anne asked me to sing to him – up until that point we were on very friendly terms, but he was voted off before me and well…I suggest you watch the short youtube video I put together to get a real gist of what he said.
This gentleman apologized to me after I came off from my ‘Walk of Shame’. I didn’t know why at the time, but I found out why when the show aired! Good think, I didn’t think I was the ‘Weakest Link.’
Part of what I believe makes a great performer is someone who is always facing their fears and stretching your boundaries.
What fears have you faced in your career and how has that worked out for you? Share below!