'Wheel of Fortune' sparks controversy after contestant loses big prize over a technicality

'Wheel of Fortune' contestant Charlene Rubush lost her chance at an Audi Q3

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Imagine solving a "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle only to miss out on an incredible prize over a very minor technicality. 

Such was the case for contestant Charlene Rubush on Tuesday’s episode of the popular game show. The contestant was not allowed to collect on a brand-new Audi Q3 in the Bonus Round because she paused a bit too long between words in her answer while correctly solving the puzzle. 

According to Yahoo Entertainment, Rubush went into the Bonus Round, which had the category clue "What Are You Doing?" with $16,500 in prize money. She first guessed "Choosing the right card," but the correct answer was "Choosing the right word." She eventually got there, but not in a way that’s acceptable to the rules of the game. 

Just before the buzzer, Rubush said "Choosing the right… word."

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"Wheel of Fortune" fans were upset to see a contestant miss out on a big prize due to a technicality

"Wheel of Fortune" fans were upset to see a contestant miss out on a big prize due to a technicality (Christopher Willard via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, that brief pause before the last word was more significant than she thought, as host Pat Sajak explained. 

"You know, this one's tough because you said all the right words, including the word 'word' but, as you know, it's gotta be more or less continuous. We'll allow for a little pause but not four or five seconds. I'm sorry. You did a good job in getting it, but we can't give you the prize, and it was the Audi."

Fans took to Twitter to complain about the technicality and demand that the contestant receives her Audi for getting the answer correct in the allotted time. 

"#WheelofFortune You know what?! I’m gonna take a long pause from wheel of fortune…" one upset viewer wrote.

"Give her the car @WheelofFortune!! This is ridiculous," someone else wrote.

"Give her the car, @WheelofFortune," another user wrote, sharing similar sentiments.

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Pat Sajak had to explain to a contestant that she could not be awarded a new car thanks to a rule technicality.

Pat Sajak had to explain to a contestant that she could not be awarded a new car thanks to a rule technicality. (Christopher Willard)

"AUDI? be the bigger person and give that lady her car.  Thank you," another wrote

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"@WheelofFortune well we had a good run. I won't watch the show anymore. That lady won the AUDI, she answered the phrase within the timeframe allowed. You have hidden rules, fake show. Ill never watch again (unless she gets the AUDI ANNND the rule changes)," someone added.

"Wheel of Fortune" fans had to complain about yet another rule technicality. 

"Wheel of Fortune" fans had to complain about yet another rule technicality.  (Christopher Willard via Getty Images)

Fans have been clamoring for a while for "Wheel of Fortune" to address some seemingly hidden rules that have cost contestants prizes on technicalities. For example, several people have been ensnared by the "and" rule on the crossword puzzle challenge that forces them to list the words and only the words — without using "and" before the final one in the list. 

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Those who make the mistake of merely putting their answer in the form of a sentence lose out on massive cash prizes.