Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, May 18, 2023

Warning: This page contains spoilers for the May 18, 2023, game of Jeopardy! — please do not scroll down if you wish to avoid being spoiled. Please note that the game airs as early as noon Eastern in some U.S. television markets.

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Billboard No. 1 Hits) for Thursday, May 18, 2023 (Season 39, Game 179):

Billy Joel said, “I think the one time I didn’t write the music” before the lyrics was for this 1989 hit, “and I think it shows”

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s Jeopardy! contestants:

Kristen Beck, a physician from Seattle, Washington
Kristen Beck on Jeopardy!
John Groves, a legislative technical specialist originally from Forteau, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
John Groves on Jeopardy!
Ben Chan, a philosophy professor from Green Bay, Wisconsin (6-day total: $182,000)
Ben Chan on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts:

Ben Chan has had six runaways in six games. The only other player in Jeopardy! history to have runaways in his first six trips to the stage is Chuck Forrest (5 regular + his ToC quarterfinal). Chuck got a runaway in his ToC semifinal as well, will Ben get runaway #7 tonight? Regardless, Ben’s 6 consecutive runaways is still less than one-quarter of the way to the record; Ken Jennings had 28 consecutive at one point during his streak, from games 21–48 of his run in 2004. Today’s challengers are Kristen Beck from Seattle and John Groves, originally from Forteau, a small town of just over 400 people up in Labrador.

One thing that I would like to point out: I do appreciate that local news website Saltwire got their preview coverage spot on today. There was certainly some hand-wringing back in 2018 when Kirsten Morry became the first known contestant to be introduced as being from Newfoundland and Labrador, with claims that there had been others—claims that have still yet to have been actually verified four and a half years later. So, we now have our second player to have been introduced as being from Newfoundland and Labrador; John Groves will be a result in that J! Archive search later today.

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Correct response: What is “We Didn’t Start The Fire”?

You can find game-by-game stats here at The Jeopardy! Fan of all 15 players, including Matt Amodio, Jonathan Fisher, Amy Schneider, Mattea Roach, Ryan Long, and Cris Pannullo, that have won 10 or more games on Jeopardy!

More information about Final Jeopardy:

(The following write-up is original content and is copyright 2023 The Jeopardy! Fan. It may not be copied without linked attribution back to this page.)

“We Didn’t Start The Fire” was Billy Joel’s third and final Billboard Hot 100 #1 song; Joel had just turned 40 and a conversation with a 21-year-old friend of Sean Lennon, where the friend said that “nothing happened in the ’50s”; Joel, immediately knowing of the Korean War and the Suez Crisis, got the idea to catalog many of the things that had happened in the world since his 1949 birth. Joel hated the song from a musical perspective, referring to the melody as “like a dentist drill”.

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Game Recap & Tonight’s Game Stats:

Looking to find out who won Jeopardy! today? Here’s the Thursday, May 18, 2023 Jeopardy! by the numbers, along with a recap:

Jeopardy! Round:

(Categories: On A Visit To The State Capital; Restaurants; Magazines; The Arts; The World Of Hanna-Barbera; Before & Actor)

Missing the Daily Double didn’t affect Ben; he got 16 other clues correct in the round and his lead was more than $6,000 at the second commercial break!

Statistics at the first break (15 clues):

Ben 7 correct 1 incorrect
Kristen 2 correct 0 incorrect
John 2 correct 0 incorrect

Today’s interviews:

Kristen just got married in Mexico.
John believes he is the first-ever contestant from Labrador.
Ben inherited his watch from his father.

Statistics after the Jeopardy round:

Ben 16 correct 1 incorrect
John 5 correct 0 incorrect
Kristen 3 correct 1 incorrect

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:

Ben $7,800
John $1,600
Kristen $1,000

Double Jeopardy! Round:

(Categories: International Movies?; Flags Of Spanish-Speaking Nations; Organizations; It All Starts With “U”; History; Repeats Itself)

In amongst the 18 correct responses he gave were both Daily Doubles for Ben—we had another rout going into Final!

Statistics after Double Jeopardy:

Ben 34 correct 1 incorrect
Kristen 7 correct 1 incorrect
John 9 correct 1 incorrect
Total number of unplayed clues this season: 26 (0 today).

Scores going into Final:

Ben $31,000
Kristen $4,600
John $4,400

John and Ben got Final today—Ben’s now a 7-day champion with 7 runaways!

Tonight’s results:

John $4,400 + $201 = $4,601 (What is “We Didn’t Start the Fire”?)
Kristen $4,600 – $199 = $4,401 (What is Uptown Girl?)
Ben $31,000 + $0 = $31,000 (What is We Didn’t Start The Fire!?) (7-day total: $213,000)

Ben Chan, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 18, 2023 game.)

Other Miscellaneous Game Statistics:

Daily Double locations:

1) THE ARTS $1000 (clue #4)
Ben 1800 -1800 (John 0 Kristen 0)
2) ORGANIZATIONS $1200 (clue #9)
Ben 17800 +4000 (John 800 Kristen 1000)
3) REPEATS ITSELF $1200 (clue #18, $8400 left on board)
Ben 26200 +800 (John 3600 Kristen 1000)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: -74

Clue Selection by Row, Before Daily Doubles Found:

J! Round:
Ben 4 5 4 5*

DJ! Round:
Ben 5 4 5 3 5 4 3* 2 3 5 4 3 5 3*
John 4 4 4
Kristen 3

Average Row of Clue Selection, Before Daily Doubles Found:

Ben 4.00
John 4.00
Kristen 3.00

Unplayed clues:

J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 26 (0.15 per episode average), 0 Daily Doubles

Game Stats:

Ben $30,400 Coryat, 34 correct, 1 incorrect, 56.14% in first on buzzer (32/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
John $4,400 Coryat, 9 correct, 1 incorrect, 17.54% in first on buzzer (10/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
Kristen $4,600 Coryat, 7 correct, 1 incorrect, 14.04% in first on buzzer (8/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
Combined Coryat Score: $39,400
Lach Trash: $10,600 (on 9 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $4,000

Player Statistics:

Ben Chan, career statistics:

205 correct, 15 incorrect
7/9 on rebound attempts (on 25 rebound opportunities)
46.62% in first on buzzer (186/399)
15/18 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $38,205)
6/7 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $24,114

John Groves, career statistics:

10 correct, 1 incorrect
0/0 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
17.54% in first on buzzer (10/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $4,400

Kristen Beck, career statistics:

7 correct, 2 incorrect
0/0 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
14.04% in first on buzzer (8/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $4,600

Ben Chan, to win:

8 games: 81.395%
9: 66.251%
10: 53.924%
11: 43.892%
12: 35.725%
Avg. streak: 11.375 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • Two thumbs up to Mayim for her proper pronunciation of Newfoundland. Two thumbs down to Johnny for his mispronunciation of it.
  • This isn’t Wheel of Fortune; while there were a few seconds between the phrasing and the response on the last Daily Double, the pause doesn’t invalidate the phrasing (like it apparently does on Wheel.)
  • Today’s box score will be linked to when posted by the show.

Final Jeopardy! wagering suggestions:

(Scores: Ben $31,000 Kristen $4,600 John $4,400)

Ben: Limit your bet to $21,799. (Actual bet: $0)

John: Bet between $401 (thereby defending against Kristen’s low range) and $3,999. (Actual bet: $201)

Kristen: Standard cover bet over John is $4,201. (Actual bet: $199)

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26 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, May 18, 2023"

  1. Easy get! I know all the words to this iconic song, so it was at the forefront of my mind.

  2. Michael Johnston | May 18, 2023 at 9:14 am | Reply

    Guessed it because I remembered Joel criticizing that song (although I wasn’t sure what year it came out).

  3. I knew it had to be one of his later songs, so that fact ruled out his early hits. Thanks for telling the backstory.

  4. I guessed Uptown Girl just because it never really was considered a great song.

  5. Didn’t have a clue about FJ, but I do remember Chuck Forrest. He was the closest thing to “Jeopardy James” back in the ’80s. Not really a fair comparison though, since contestants were limited to five wins back then. The popularity of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” changed the game show industry. Today there always has to be a chance for a contestant to win a million dollars.

  6. bruce The Professor Kaplan | May 18, 2023 at 10:24 am | Reply

    Got it immediately, one of my favorites of him.

  7. Easy for me! Yay me 😄

  8. This was an easy get for me as well. It was the second to last #1 song of that decade (and of 1989). Billy Joel may have hated it, but I and of course many others loved it, including the video. I loved your trivia about the song as well Andy.

    As for Chuck Forrest, he is still my most favorite Jeopardy! champion…and he goes all the way back to season 2. I wonder just how far he would have gone if the “Sky’s the limit” was initiated way back in the beginning.

  9. Jay Williams | May 18, 2023 at 12:40 pm | Reply

    You neglected to mention that Chuck Forrest won his TofC in a runaway in the Finals.

  10. An easy get for me after a checkered week to date.

    On a very sad note, Mattea Roach’s father died at the start of the month – presumably well after the Masters Tournament was filmed.

    I don’t know whether Andy will allow this link, but here’s the obituary in case people are interested –

    • It’s my understanding that it occurred during the final tapings of the Masters show. It will be interesting to see how, or if, they acknowledge it this coming week.

    • Thank you for sharing the obituary. Such a wonderful family.

  11. Feels like Ben should be playing in the evening during the Masters.

  12. Marty Cunningham | May 18, 2023 at 2:18 pm | Reply

    I credit “The Goldbergs” for guessing “Fire” as soon as I read the clue. Barry Goldberg’s near-obsession with the song, even to the point of feeling a need to re-do it, seemed to make it the perfect choice. Ironically, given when the song came out would have put it near the end of “1980-something” that the show always referred to at the start of each episode, but Barry was referring to the song around season 4 or so, which would have seemed to place it earlier in the 80’s, but the show did seem to slop over into the 90’s as well, especially in later seasons.

  13. Andy, in the book: The Day the World Came to Town, the author wrote about the correct pronunciation of Newfoundland.

  14. Knew this one, since I looked it up after I used the song to throw shade at someone (all in good fun, and the story is too detailed to share here). I immediately began singing the chorus after the clue was read. The music may be simple, but it sure is catchy.

    RIP to Mattea’s father. Sad to hear that…

  15. I wonder why Ben bet zero on Final Jeopardy. Seems like he left some money on the table based on his normal success rate, but I’m sure jeopardy management was happy to save some money.

    • In a runaway situation, you’re betting actual money, and there was zero indication as to what era the clue was from off the category alone. Oftentimes, those sorts of clues are about recent broken pop music records, and if you haven’t listened to pop music recently, you might be conservative too.

  16. This would’ve been incredibly easy for me since I listened to We Didn’t Start the Fire the morning of my own taping trying to get all of that Jeopardy material stuck in my head. Joe Dimaggio came up but I would’ve already known it.

  17. My condolences to Mattea Roach. R.I.P. to Mattea’s Dad, Philip.

    I did actually get today’s Final! correct. For a brief moment I toyed with “Uptown Girl,” but then remembered that it came out in 1983. It also does have a nice, catchy melody. So, that jogged my memory to the 1 song with a less-pleasant tune, namely “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Huzzah!

  18. Kathy Farrell | May 19, 2023 at 1:10 am | Reply

    Question with Dr. Crohn as answer on May 18, 2023 show?

    • Organizations $2000: In 1967 an ileitis & colitis org. held a dance featuring Ella Fitzgerald to honor this Dr. whose name is now part of the foundation’s

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