May 8, 2013 1:33 PMBy Carol Moran
An East Quogue utility worker joined family and friends at Buckley's Irish Pub in Center Moriches on May 2 to watch herself on national television as a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune."
Michele Paolillo took home $9,500 for placing second on the game show, though she was sworn to secrecy about the outcome until it aired last week.
"It was great—there were 30 people that came down to watch it with me," she said on Wednesday. "It was exciting because I got to relive it."
Ms. Paolillo explained that the first two puzzles on the show are "toss-ups," where the letters are slowly revealed and contestants press their buzzers when they are ready to guess. She got the first one by solving "Ellis Island." But she buzzed in too soon on the second, and wrongly guess "Taking a Taxi," rather than the correct answer, "Hailing a Taxi."
"Overall, I was happy with how I played," she said.
Her episode was filmed at Madison Square Garden in March. She explained that she first applied to be a contestant about four years ago, but was notified only last fall that the show would be filming in New York. She sent in a video describing herself and why she would be great on the show, and after an audition, she was chosen from hundreds of applicants to play.