Crushing Dreams At Wipeout Canada Auditions
By Diane Wild
There was a swordfight. An ex-BC Lions player. A male model. A female wrestler. An Olympic medalist. A guy in diapers. Some nervousness. And a LOT of giant egos and tight Spandex.
Thursday, I was invited to be one of the guest judges at the Vancouver audition callbacks for Wipeout Canada. I’d never want to be a contestant, but crushing potential contestants’ dreams as a judge sounded like the perfect kind of fun for me.
With 44,000 applications received, the producers had already narrowed the field. Our job was to shortlist the short list. We had to suss out what kind of character the contestant would play on Wipeout, what their shout-out at the top of the course would be, their victory dance, and what they’d do with the $50,000 they’d get as winner (“Hookers and blow” said one woman. “Bigger boobs” said an already big-fake-breasted beauty queen.)
The dirty little “secret”, of course, is that contestants aren’t chosen just for whether they have a shot at winning. We were looking for personality, people who could provide drama, or fodder for ridicule, or who represented a type like normal guy, wacky grandma, etc. Some of those who walked away from our table seemed to think they’d failed, but some had failed in a way that guaranteed a callback. Some seemed sure they’d be selected, but it took more than being a freak to stand out. You had to be an entertaining freak. (Tip: when you’re auditioning and someone asks you what your victory dance would be? DO THE DANCE. Don’t talk us through it.)
My dream of crushing dreams was crushed when I discovered we weren’t making decisions in front of the contestants that day. We discussed our yes or no vote after each one, but producers will sort through the entire results to determine who to call back – so some of our yeses might not make the cut if we have too many goofy young guys (and believe me: we do) and some of our nos might get called if we don’t have enough goofy old guys. So: my lips are sealed. And this was a one-time gig for me — bribery will get you nowhere.