- There are 8 questions to answer in the test
- The contestant must start with a first grade question
- The top prize is $250,000
- The contestant loses all their money anytime they get a question wrong
- If the contestant has any money after getting through all 8 questions, they can choose to go for the fifth grade bonus question which multiplies their winnings by 10
As I was watching today's syndicated Fifth Grader on my local CW station, a contestant named Brian Yarbro got the first 7 questions in a row correct. The fourth grade questions are usually the hardest of the 8 because they are worth more--$7,500. the first grade questions are worth $500. Brian got one of the fourth grade questions right. I don't recall what the category was, but Brian saved the other fourth grade question for last. That's where he lost it all.
Brian had $17,500 when he was on the last question. The topic of the question was "Fourth Grade Music". The question was "What 18th century composer wrote The Magic Flute?" Even I knew the answer because I once took a music appreciation course in college. Brian was stuck between Beethoven, Mozart, and Rochmoninov. He used a peek to see what one of his classmates said, and he picked Beethoven. I don't know if that was the first time it's ever happened. A contestant doing perfectly until the very last question and then all their money went out the window. There's only one thing I have to say to Brian Yarbrow for blowing that last question: In the emortal words of Kuni from the 1989 comedy, UHF, "YOU'RE SO STUPID!!!"
That line I wrote is one I like to say to contestants on such shows like The Price Is Right and others when they didn't get anything right at all among other reasons. As for Brian Yarbrow, all he got was a $250 gift card. That what losing contestants get if they have no money at all--well, if you'd want to use the term, "losing".
If they change some of the rules next season should they choose to continue with Fifth Grader, I hope they'll invite Brian back again for a second chance. In fact, they could invite back contestants who lost $15,000 or more on one question. And instead of giving them a $250 gift card when they don't win any money, they get $500 in cash just for making it on the show. Also, when contestants give an incorrect answer, they don't lose all their winnings. They just lose half their winnings if they guess wrong.