• Jamie Shum

What’s… 31 Highlights on Matt Amodio, ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion

Updated: Aug 20

The answer is: Matt Amodio

What’s… a PhD student from New Haven, Connecticut!

Matt Amodio (@AmodioMatt) made history on Jeopardy! this year with his run, dubbed the “Amodio Rodeo,” breaking records and captivating Jeopardy! fans, viewers, and enthusiasts from all across the world.

To celebrate his special Sagittarius day (December 4th) and accomplishments, here are 31 epic highlights and moments from Matt Amodio’s Jeopardy! run:

1) What’s… Matt Amodio’s First Win as Champion

On July 21, 2021, we witnessed the win that started it all.

Matt Amodio can officially call himself a Jeopardy! champion for the rest of his life! Little did we know that it wouldn’t end there...

2) What’s... the Hamilton Anecdote

Lin-Manuel Miranda may have taken Matt's shot in creating Hamilton: An American Musical, but we also learned this…

3) What’s... Matt Amodio’s Second Win

Chest-busting, presto chango!

Matt wins his second game on July 22, 2021!

4) What’s... the Biggest Act of Rebellion Anecdote

Matt is a rebel... for being a radical minimalist?

Some “Mattitude” he got there!

Further explanation below on the above.

5) What’s… All the What’s

If you paid close attention, you knew you saw this coming.

6) What is Matt Amodio?

If you didn’t catch that… here’s Matt saying it one more time for you:

This question is always correct. Always.

(If you need a refresher on the rules of Jeopardy!, click here.)

7) What’s… Ken Jennings’s First Matt Amodio Acknowledgment

Ken Jennings (@KenJennings), the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) of Jeopardy! Tweeted this on August 9, 2021, after Matt won 14 games and became the fourth highest earner in Jeopardy! history at the time.

We know Matt is still feeling over the moon after seeing this.

8) What’s… the $1 Dollar Wager and the End of Season 37

August 13, 2021 marked the season 37 finale of Jeopardy!

This episode is also notable for where we all witnessed the birth of the @mattamodiodolla.

Also, did we mention that Matt returns as Jeopardy! champion for Season 38?

9) What’s... Counting Time with Matt Amodio

Hey kids! Can you count with Matt to 19 using your fingers to celebrate him winning 19 games on September 13, 2021?

10) What’s… a Very “Attractive” Clapback to James Holzhauer

32-day Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer), who dis? Matt has some choice words for you.

Matt didn’t stop there though.

11) What’s… Tolkien on Final Jeopardy!

As a huge The Lord of the Rings fan, Matt couldn’t help but flash this now iconic smirk when he knew the answer was J. R. R. Tolkien on September 15, 2021.

Look at the pure joy on his face!

12) What’s… ears, lips, face?

It’s ears, lips, face, right Matt?

If you see e.l.f. Cosmetics next time you're out shopping, we’re sure you’ll think of this. We love that Matt, overall, has a great sense of humor —

He’s "all ears" about it!

(To September 22, 2021 challengers Paula Scheider (@PaulaInTulsaOK) and Christopher Stucky (@choppernewt): did you know the answer to this at the time of taping?)

December 13, 2021 Update:

We have answers everyone, thank you Christopher Stucky and Paula Scheider!

13) What’s… Matt Amodio becomes a Jeopardy! Millionaire

He can’t believe it. We're absolutely amazed.

On September 24, 2021, Matt became the third Jeopardy! contestant to win $1 million in regular gameplay, which he reached after 28 games.

He also beat Ken Jennings’s number of games to reach $1 million, which Ken did in 30 games.

14) What’s… Matt Amodio Becomes a 30-Day Jeopardy! Champion

30-day Jeopardy! champion? Over $1.1 million in winnings on September 28, 2021? That Pumpkin-colored shirt?

Awesome job, Matt!

15) What’s… the Pegasus Story

Who knew memories from elementary school would prove helpful and useful to remember for Jeopardy! on this "Overheard On Set" feature from September 29, 2021?

16) What’s... Matt Amodio Passes James Holzhauer’s 32-Day Winning Streak

You can say that James making playful shots at Matt (see #10) didn’t age well.

On October 1, 2021, Matt won his 33rd game, passing James Holzhauer for the second-longest Jeopardy! winning streak (as of the time of original publishing of this retrospective)!

17) What’s... It’s Working!

“What’s” is absolutely working!

And, if you need further explanation:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

18) What’s... Shoutouts From the GOAT Contestants

Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter (@bradrutter), and James Holzhauer? Matt’s powers are officially in full swing.

19) What’s… a New Personal Record

October 4, 2021: At $83,000, this total is the highest single game score ever achieved by a contestant other than James Holzhauer.

Plus, Ken Jennings’s second Matt Amodio acknowledgment. WHOA.

20) What’s… the Round Number Final Score

That humble smile on his face and his nods on October 5, 2021 are everything:

His reasoning on the $50,000 total as Overheard on the Jeopardy! set:

  • Mayim Bialik: I didn’t understand your math at first, and then I did.

  • Matt Amodio: Yeah, I like the round numbers. It’s also harder to make arithmetic errors if you stick to the round numbers.

21) What’s… the Sweaters

Huge shout out to Jeopardy! contestant James Weldon for donating his sweaters to Matt!

As Mayim Bialik quipped, "Sharing is caring."

22) What’s... Matt Amodio’s Love for Stephen Colbert

We’re still waiting for Matt Amodio to appear on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and go head to head with Stephen Colbert himself on LOTR, and much more.

Patience is key...

23) What’s… Matt Amodio’s 38th Win

Did anyone think of Perry the Platypus from Disney’s Phineas and Ferb after watching this on October 8, 2021?

Congrats, Matt!

24) What’s… Matt Amodio Wins Over $1.5 Million (and More!) After 39 Games

All good things must come to an end at some point. On October 11, 2021, Matt was defeated, but went home with, as of the time of original publishing of this retrospective:

  • A total of $1,519,601 in 39 appearances (@mattamodiodolla, we see you)

  • A coveted spot in the upcoming Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions

  • Becoming the fourth-biggest all-time winner of Jeopardy!

  • Becoming the tenth highest-earning contestant of all time across all American game shows

  • Responding to 1,299 clues correctly over his run

  • A never-ending growing group of dedicated, enthusiastic “Amodio Rodeo” fans

  • The official right to say that he’s a Jeopardy! champion!

25) What’s… Having 6 Guest Hosts

Matt had six hosts over the course of his Jeopardy! run.

Yes, you saw and counted right.

Let’s hope Matt will cross paths with his idol Ken Jennings very soon!

26) What’s… Congratulating Fellow Contestants and Champions After Him

We love to see Matt, a self-described lifelong Jeopardy! fan, cheer on and support other contestants, including some who we’ll see compete in the upcoming Tournament of Champions with him.

Jonathan Fisher (@JFishtheDish), 11-Day Champion:

Tyler Rhode (@tylerthinksthis), 5-Day Champion:

Dane Reighard, 2-Day Champion and Andrew He (@gg_andrewhe), 5-Day Champion:

Amy Schneider (@Jeopardamy), 40-Day (and as of January 21, 2022, holds the second-longest win streak in the show's history) Champion:

Also, isn’t it nice to have the focus back on the contestants?

The “Matt Amodio” effect is very strong and fitting here. We’re certain Matt had something to do with this.

27) What’s… the Matt Gala Fashion Recap by Lilly (@OneEclecticMom)

Everybody’s favorite Jeopardy! Fashion Connoisseur, Lilly (@OneEclecticMom) produced this full recap of Matt Amodio’s collection of outfits he wore during his historic run.

If you love fashion and Jeopardy!, give Lilly a follow on Twitter for the latest in her contestant outfit reviews, game and fashion statistics, and more. You won’t regret it!

28) What’s… Alex Jacob (@whoisalexjacob) and the Wine-Colored Shirt Jeopardy! Squad

Did you forget someone, Lilly? ;)

Don't worry, we know it's unintentional. :)

How nice it is to see Alex Jacob, 2015 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions Winner and Matt bond over this on Twitter!

29) What's... Buzzy Cohen (@buzztronics) and the Twitter Game

These interactions between Matt and Buzzy Cohen, Host of the 2021 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, are wholesome and hilarious.

Burst out with laughter when you saw the below?

Still have some work to do though...

30) What’s… Matt Amodio’s Best Advice for Success

Do you see yourself on TV as a Jeopardy! Contestant?

Are you preparing to take the Jeopardy! Anytime test?

Need extra motivation to continue learning after getting your degree?

This quote should be on all school classroom walls across the world. Seriously.

31) What’s… Matt Amodio: the People’s Jeopardy Champion!

From his gradual, infectious smiles:

To... not sure how to categorize these GIF reactions:

To his winks and squints:

And all the thank yous in the world:

Happy birthday, Matt!

Thanks for enriching and making our lives happier and brighter, and the world a better place. Plus, being a humble and warm role model for Jeopardy! fans of all ages, and an all around amazing person. We're excited to see what you’ll accomplish next, and can’t wait to see you at the 2022 Tournament of Champions!

Bonus) What’s… Matt Amodio and Jonathan Fisher as Step Brothers

And, let’s not leave out contestant Jessica Stephens (@jessmstephens). Here’s them, the “10+11=21” squad as Peter, Paul and Mary! (Having them as this was the author's idea.)

Sharing is caring... please consider forwarding this post to a fellow Jeopardy! fan and sharing on social media!

(All GIFs were created by the author from various videos on YouTube — content belongs to the respective owners.)