A dream came true for one Cranston, Rhode Island, resident on Thursday when he made his national debut on "Jeopardy!"

Louis DellaPeruta always participates in the popular game show from the comfort of his living room, but he finally got the chance to stand behind the podium and rub elbows with Ken Jennings.

A Fan Since the Beginning

Louis DellaPeruta is a critical transport technician for Lifespan and is a nursing student at New England Tech. While that’s impressive enough on its own, DellaPeruta was steadfast on adding “'Jeopardy!' contestant” to that resume.

“I’ve been a fan of Jeopardy! forever,” he said. “I’ve been watching since I was 7. I didn’t care who I was with or what we were doing, they were going to watch 'Jeopardy!' with me.”

Growing up in New York, his high school would host a tournament every year to try out for the show. Every year he would try out, and every year he wouldn’t make it.

How Louis Got His Shot

“Once I moved to Rhode Island, the process changed because of Covid, and everything was on Zoom,” DellaPuerta. said. “I went to their website, filled out the application, took the test, and out of the clear blue sky, they reached out to me.”

DellaPuerta finished his last round of interviews in August, and he finally got the call in December. It was time for the moment he had been waiting for his entire life.

“I’ve always been an insufferable know-it-all and a lover of trivia, so why not try out?” he joked.

Huge Support from Friends and Family

After his episode aired Thursday night, the response was overwhelming.

“My professors watched, my friends and families watched. ... I really enjoyed the experience,” said DellaPuerta.

Being On Set

As far as the overall experience, DellaPuerta was on cloud nine the entire time.

“Ken Jennings is a wonderful man,” he said. “He’s so kind, and generous, and never minimized the fact that this is your dream.”

While his family was able to make the trip to LA with him, the only people allowed in the studio were the contestants.

“The clapping you hear and the cheering, that is all of the contestants,” said DellaPuerta.

And it’s true what they say. Television makes everything look bigger.

“I was shocked at how small the studio was,” he said. “In my head, it was this colossal structure, but you get there, and the board is only 20 feet from the podium, and Ken is only 10 feet away.

According to DellaPuerta, the buzzer matters more than knowing the answer. He told The Boston Globe, “After the question is read, a guy presses a button and turns a light on. And whoever hits the button first, after the light is on, gets the opportunity to answer. But if you hit it too early, you’re locked out. For three whole Mississippis. If you hit it too early, you can pretty much kiss that question goodbye.”


DellaPuerta ultimately came in second place after going all-in on Final Jeopardy and guessing correctly, totaling his earnings to $16,200.

As far as doing any more game shows, DellaPuerta says the only games he’ll be playing are at local trivia nights.

It was certainly an exciting night for the DellaPuerta family, and he represented the city of Cranston in the best way.

I'll take Local Celebrity Status for $500, please.

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