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Ray Lalonde the latest Canadian on Jeopardy! streak with 12th straight win

It’s not your imagination: Danger! Stripes get longer.

Ray Lalonde, a Toronto-based stage artist who has 12 game wins and tallying, is just the latest in a new generation of trivia titans to take up residence on the Alex Trebek Stage — named for the Canadian-born host who created the Faced the war show for 37 seasons until his death in 2020.

After Friday’s game, the last of 2022, Lalonde – who was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. – had amassed more than $350,000 (Cdn 475,000).

Also consider Mattea Roach, the 24-year-old Canadian Danger! Phenomenon who won 23 straight games earlier this year, giving her the fifth-longest streak in the show’s history.

The two are among just 16 contestants in the show’s history with winning streaks of at least 10 games, said Andy Saunders, a Guelph, Ontario blogger who is lagging behind The danger! fan.

A young woman wearing glasses smiles while resting her chin on her clasped hands.
Mattea Roach appears in an episode of Jeopardy. The 24-year-old Canadian won 23 straight games earlier this year, giving her the fifth-longest streak in the show’s history. (Jeopardy Productions, Inc./The Canadian Press)

Of those 16, seven appeared on the show in 2021 or 2022, including Amy Schneider and Matt Amodio, who hold the second and third longest streaks of all time.

Saunders has a theory as to why.

“The show lowered their barrier to entry,” he said.

Just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the show’s producers began allowing potential contestants to audition at any time, instead of being able to only take an entrance test a few days a year.

CLOCK | Moncton High School students strive to become trivia champions:

Are you the next Mattea Roach? Reach for the Top is recruiting new candidates

Host Ryan Vickers visits a high school classroom in Moncton — and leads a lunch break.

And for those who passed that first test, the second round of auditions will now be conducted via video call, Saunders said, rather than requiring the quiz show hopefuls to travel to a major metropolitan area to try it out in person.

“There were a lot of people out there who were very good at it Danger! and just needed that extra push to try to make it a little bit easier for them,” he said.

A speaker for Danger! didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the number of applicants had increased in recent years, but Saunders said he eliminated some of the other possible explanations.

A man wearing a jeopardy hat poses for a photo.
Andy Saunders, a Guelph, Ontario blogger who is behind The Jeopardy! According to Fan, longer win streaks are the result of the show making it easier to audition remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Andy Saunders)

The show’s clues don’t seem to be more difficult, he said, and the “superchamps” use a variety of different strategies so it’s not their playstyle that gives them an advantage.

But whatever the explanation, Saunders said he enjoys the long streaks.

“I love to see excellent players do well,” he said.

Not only does it give you something to root for, but you can analyze the game in a slightly different way, Saunders said.

“You can definitely tell from the longer streaks that certain players are good at certain categories and not so good at others.”

It seems to be working for the show, he said, “The ratings still go up when there’s a longer series.”

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