Indiana Daily Student

‘Price Is Right’ comes on down to IU

Contestant Paul Brown and host Patt Finn discuss the rules of the game on Thursday at the IU Auditorium. Brown was the first contestant to make it to the stage.
Contestant Paul Brown and host Patt Finn discuss the rules of the game on Thursday at the IU Auditorium. Brown was the first contestant to make it to the stage.

The IU Auditorium was alive with sound and energy Thursday night before anyone even stepped onstage.

Row after row of plush red seats were packed with groups of diehard fans of “The Price Is Right,” which stopped by Bloomington on its current live stage tour.

Some hopefuls were decked out in bright, matching shirts and bandanas, some held homemade signs and foam fingers, and others shook pom-poms.

The one similarity that tied all of the fans together was the iconic yellow nametag sticker, representative of the fact that they could be big winners in a matter of hours.
People were lining up before 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Heather Farmer, design intern at the IU Auditorium, said.

She said she loved the energy present in the room, from the personalized shirts to the “flashing headpieces” that she had seen throughout the day.

Prior to the start of the show, host Pat Finn wandered through the audience, prompting roaring applause and standing ovations from fans.

Classic sing-alongs like “Sweet Caroline” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” blared from the speakers.

The energy had audience members on their feet, excited for what was to come.
When “The Price Is Right” theme song sounded its opening notes, the audience was up yet again.

A brief video on the history of the show was aired.

Following the clip, announcer Andy Martello stepped on stage.

“You all came here to win prizes, right?” he asked, and the deafening applause answered the question.

He went through a short tutorial on how the audience should act during the show.
 The tutorial showed audience members how to “come on down” in the proper fashion and how to correctly “ooh” and “aah” at the prizes as they were announced.

People watched and listened intently and demonstrated when Martello prompted them.
Finally, it seemed like everyone was ready.

When host Pat Finn walked onstage, he introduced himself and made a reference to Indiana.

“There are two things I know about Hoosiers,” he said. “One, you know how to win. And two, you know how to have fun!”

Rounds of contestants were called and brought up to “Contestant Row” for the chance to be big prize winners. Potential prize winners included IU students and a current professor at the University.

During the show, several contestants were lucky enough to have the chance to correctly guess the prices of several varied items for the opportunity to win big prizes.
Prizes included a brand-new iMac computer, a car and a $5,000 cash prize, among other possibilities.

Finn led the contestants through classic games from the 41-year-old game show, including “Cliff Hanger,” “Hole in One” and “Punch-A-Bunch.”

The stage was complete with flashing lights, grand displays of prizes and a model in a flashy dress.

Although most people who went up on stage were not ultimate prizewinners, all won cash prizes of some sort.

At random, several people were picked to win $25 Subway gift cards, although they weren’t given the chance to play any games.

The audience went wild when one woman won a trip to Las Vegas, one of the biggest take-homes of the night.

Another peak in the energy of the room came when the grand showcase prize was announced: a new car.

The greatest excitement, though, seemed to come when Finn announced that, straight from Hollywood, the “Big Wheel” event had come to IU.

Sure enough, the iconic structure was unveiled, and three lucky contestants at a time were able to spin for a chance at $1,000.

The tension that hung in the air between price guesses was palpable, and the relief and excitement when somebody won could be felt throughout the auditorium.

Farmer said the atmosphere and the energy were incredible.

“I love it,” she said.

Follow reporter Anicka Slachta on Twitter @ajslachta.

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