Bomb!  Rafa Castaño 'snatches' Orestes the largest historical jackpot of 'Pasapalabra' with an epic rosco

Last Thursday, the Sevillian Rafael Castaño won the Pasapalabra jackpot. It was made with a prize of 2.2 million euros, the third largest in the history of Spanish television. Happened in prime timeagainst his archrival Orestesy before almost five million viewersan audience that only the World Cup matches aspire to.

Castaño had to make 196 donuts before breaking the bank. For the last question, when he almost had the money in hand, Pasapalabra kept a bomb for him:

— With the Z, beetle of the family that attacks the wheat fields, especially when the grains are tender.

To you this answer may seem like the fruit of remarkable erudition, but in some forums it has the effect of apply a magnifying glass on an anthill. What they perceive is that Castaño has studied the dictionary to the last page and that, thanks to that work, has managed to open a lock.

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On contestant forums, a lock is a question designed to make you lose. The silver medal in weightlifting at the 1972 Olympic Games or a tributary of the Mekong: knowledge that exceeds any standard of general culture and is not usually studied either. For professional contestants, a lock means the failure of an investment of years.

“We are not many, around 40 or 50,” he says Juanlu Roca, a pharmacist from Huesca who a few years ago decided to dedicate himself to contests. he has been through The hunter, Pass word, Password, Money,Moneyy The weakest rival. Besides, He was one of the Magnificents of To know and to win last year. “What if I consider myself a professional contestant? Well, the contests have helped me to travel all over the worldbut I have had to have jobs to support myself,” he tells this newspaper.

The professional contestant is a man between 30 and 40 years old, with higher education and great interest in formats. The figure emerges around To know and to win, one of the first spaces to keep contestants on screen for several days. The programmers observed that the continuity generated empathy among viewerswho no longer only attended the appointment as a hobby, but to find out How was your favorite contestant doing?.

The contests manage a pool of quiz professionals to maintain the audience

Since then, the contests manage a pool of professionals from the quiz who hold hearings when they face off against rookies and shoot them up when they fight each other, as happened Thursday.

Roca belongs to that elite that jumps from one program to another. She knows the rules of all the contests, but also how are the castings and how many programs are recorded per day. It is information that circulates through the contestants’ forum, whose name they prefer to keep anonymous. “Over there we are a band of crazy people who have been bitten by the contest bug“, says Roca. “That, and that some They have discovered that you can make a lot of money studying. There is not only the jackpot: in Pasapalabra, they pay you the hotel and 1,200 euros for each day you win. If you stay for a month, do the math: you don’t earn that in another job.”

Being a professional contestant is not that easy. Between shows, contestants they undergo long shifts of alienating study, such as memorizing the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy in alphabetical order. “Without a doubt, Pasapalabra is the one that requires more specific preparation. I have a database organized by subject in addition to the paper documentation. You have to see all the programs and write down all the answers of the donutsbecause they are repeated from time to time”, says Roca. “And then, of course, add data to the BBDD almost daily, such as the winners of the Goya, the Oscars…”.

The chair of contention

Juanlu participated in the tenth anniversary of Pasapalabra as representative of La Rioja. She was a semifinalist, among three other well-known contestants: wrap around, David Leo y deepthree historical ones from Pasapalabra, but also from To know and to win, The hunter… “The director told me that they would call me back, because I did quite well, so I studied for two years, but the phone never rang“, laments.

The contestant is convinced that his profile has ceased to interest Pasapalabra. “It’s obvious what they’re doing: they want to always have a crack and someone who can not compete with himto later lead to a crack fight that triggers audiences”, says Juanlu Roca. Here is another technique inherited from wrestling: the fastest path to a fight between champions it happens to put them to beat up mindundis. When the public considers them unbeatable, face them and put the saucepan.

Juanlu Roca, with the blue shirt, during his participation in Pasapalabra. (Atresmedia)

“If you are a follower of Pasapalabra, you have had to notice that the level of the new contestants is lower. It is sought that they do not bother much, that’s why the blue chair was created“, explains the Huesca.

The blue chair was introduced in the summer of 2015 and mentioning it is still controversial. It is a play-off system that benefits the great contestants, who have another chance if they are defeated. The chair has made the longest winning streak pass of Paz Herrera’s 89 programs in 2014 to the more than 200 accumulated by Orestes, Rafa or Pablo Díaz.

Ten years of study for one minute

The newcomers, having to face sudden death against a superior opponent, have lost much of their access to the program. “There are 240 editions of Pasapalabra a year, because it doesn’t even stop in August. Well, then I do not think that more than ten contestants who have accessed through the blue chair“, dice Gabriel García Pedrals, Pasapalabra former contestant.

Pasapalabra is the most watched program on Spanish television for years. It is so profitable You can afford to pay for the trip and the hotel of hundreds of contestants who only fill a couple of minutes on the screen, just enough to be kicked out of the blue chair. However, the emotional cost for a contestant who has invested thousands of hours of study can be devastating.

The case of Gabriel Pedrals was seen and not seen: participated on November 30, 2016 in the blue chair, against Amalia. In one of the responses, Amalia said Gandolf when should he answer Gandalf. In the recording it is not appreciated, but Gabriel denounces that at that moment the recording was paused to determine if the answer was correct. “They gave it to them, alluding to the fact that it had entered within time. But that was not the debate, it is that it is a wrong answer. So, perplexed by what I had just seen, I failed the next two and I was eliminated”.

They were ten years of study for a minute and a half in Pasalabra, I couldn’t leave it like that.”

Photo: Rafa and Orestes, in their last duel in 'Pasapalabra'.  (Atresmedia)
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García Pedrals submitted a written complaint that included excerpts from The Lord of the Rings Encyclopedia that supported his version. “They recognized my mistake and They promised me to enter the contest again, without having to go through the blue chair, at the beginning of 2017“He explains to this newspaper.

Gabriel waited all year long, Rejecting job offers to be ready when the phone rings. “Then I called and they told me to calm down, that I was next, that they had given me their word… until today.” This journalist from Palencia has been waiting for his revenge for six and a half yearsinforming himself of everything he can in the forums.

Despite everything, Gabriel does not give up returning to the program. Meanwhile, he gets rid of the itch presenting homemade versions of Pasapalabra with colleagues from the other side of the pond. “I’m still here, waiting for them to fulfill the promise they made me almost seven years ago. When they do, I’ll be back,” she says.

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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