It’s the “Jeopardy!” rematch fans have been begging for.
After his victory in the Tournament of Champions semifinal Wednesday night, James Holzhauer — who won 32 games in a row this summer — will face Emma Boettcher on Thursday and Friday in a two-part final.
Boettcher bested the seemingly unstoppable Holzhauer — a 35-year-old professional gambler from Las Vegas — in his 33rd appearance on the beloved game show on June 3.
The 27-year-old librarian from Chicago went on to win two more games and jut shy of $100,000 on the program, while Holzhauer raked in a staggering $2.4 million during his run.
“Jeopardy!” lovers who closely tracked Holzhauer’s exciting chase of legend Ken Jenning’s regular-season consecutive win record (74 games) and regular-season earnings record ($2.5 million) are eager to see Holzhauer once again take on the contestant who brought him down.
Upon returning to the small screen last week in the first round of the Tournament of Champions — which Jeopardy!” hosts about every two years or so, inviting back 15 of the most successful contestants since the last tournament — Holzhauer dominated his competition.
On Tuesday night, Holzhauer returned for the semifinal against Rachel Lindgren of Bend. Ore., and Steven Grade of Atlanta, Ga. Going into the final round, he had racked up $30,466 — which, at more than double the score of Grade in second place, meant he locked in a win.
Similarly, Boettcher emerged victorious in her preliminary round handily — then returned to win Monday night’s semifinal.
Monday’s game also made headlines because one of Boettcher’s competitors — Dhruv Gaur of Brown University, who won the student tournament — penned a heartfelt note to host Alex Trebek on his podium screen during the Final Jeopardy round.
The 79-year-old game show icon was visibly moved he read Gaur’s answer (in the form of a question): “What is ‘We [love] you, Alex!,’” with a heart standing in for the word “love.”
“That’s very kind, thank you,” Trebek said after reading the question (which was not correct, given that the clue was “In the title of a groundbreaking 1890 exposé of poverty in New York City slums, these three words follow ‘How the’”).
The beloved host — who is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer — appeared choked up, seeming to hold back tears. He paused for a few beats before continuing the round.
On Tuesday night, Trebek referenced the touching tribute. Monday’s game, he joked, “had laughs, it had tears and it had mistakes, and I’m just talking about myself.”
In the Tournament of Champions final, Holzhauer and Boettcher will play whoever wins Wednesday night’s semifinal — Francois Barcomb of New Paltz, NY, Gilbert Collins of Princeton, NJ, and Lindsey Shultz of Pittsburgh, Pa. — for the $250,000 grand prize.