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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Apolo Ohno Talks Minute to Win It: "It Gets Crazy"

The GSN premiere of Minute To Win It airs on Tuesday at 8 pm ET. Before the big premiere, a few journalists had the chance to play some of the games and chat with host Apolo Ohno at a special event last week in Santa Monica, California. 

On the game show, contestants face 10 increasingly difficult challenges using everyday household items. The competitors are given opportunities to leave with what they’ve earned so far- but it’ll take nerves of steel to complete all 10 tasks to win $1 million. Many of the games are deceptively simple when you watch the game creators play them, but I can say from experience that the ones that looks the easiest probably aren't. You might also find out that you have skills you never thought you had. It turns out that I rock at getting an Oreo from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands - who knew?

After playing a few of the games and laughing at ourselves, we sat down with Ohno to chat about the series. Ohno admitted that he has tried every single game that will be on the series, but that he has "not dominated all of them." One game, called Suck It Up (which requires contestants to suck an M&M into a straw and place it onto the tip of another straw) was one that he couldn't handle. "I couldn't do it and I tried it many, many times." Ohno said, which made me very proud of the fact that I actually was able to master that one.

Calling the show "strangely addictive," Ohno said that people are going to fall in love with it and with their contestants as well. "You fall in love with the contestants' stories," he said, adding that he was so excited that he lost his voice in the second week of filming because he wasn't used to yelling. 

Cheering contestants on is fun, "I like to see them win money," Ohno said. But it's not always fun when they lose. "That's the hardest. When you see someone you really, really want them to win." Ohno admitted that he isn't allowed to help contestants by giving them tips on how to win, but says that he does his best to encourage the contestants and try to get them to see what mistakes they made before trying a game again. 

But though Ohno loves to see people win money, he's also a realist. "Not everyone can win a quarter of a million dollars or else the show wouldn't last very long," he said. 

Ohno said that one thing they will do when things get really intense is call a contestant's family member or friend, perhaps even someone who tried to be on the show but didn't make it, to really crank up the emotions before setting them loose on a game where they could win or lose everything. "We do it all. We get dirty. It gets crazy," Ohno revealed. 

It's at those times that people who thought they had mastered a game may find it harder than ever. Contestants are shown the games at a special boot camp and allowed to practice them all at home before coming on the show. But once they hit that stage, "that's when mind games come into play" and suddenly they have an entire audience staring at them and a huge clock counting down that precious minute, which really puts the pressure on.

Do you think you've got what it takes to play Minute to Win It? Check out the premiere and try a few of the games at your next party. I guarantee you'll have a blast.

Written by Guest Contributor: Michelle Carlbert
Follow Michelle on Twitter at @Mokibobolink


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