Watch the Port St. Lucie man's viral 'Wheel of Fortune' moment

When Tavaris Williams applied to compete on “Wheel of Fortune” in December, he didn’t expect to be accepted onto the show—let alone become a viral sensation after his May 23 performance.

During one of the first puzzles, the Port St. Lucie resident rang the buzzer but gave an incorrect answer. However, his spontaneous answer garnered him national media attention and became a favorite moment among fans, who called the blunder one of the best Wheel of Fortune moments.

“Right in the ass,” Williams replied, which elicited laughter from the audience and a confused reaction from one of the other contestants.

Williams, who has lived in Port St. Lucie for 12 years, was in game mode, he explained, and when the sentence came out of his mouth, he “immediately regretted it.”

“I had no idea what I was going to say until I opened my mouth,” said Williams, 42. “I saw the 'R,' I saw the 'B,' I saw one of the 'T's, and my brain put it together to be 'Right in the Butt.' I never said that phrase in the right order. It's just what came out.”

The correct answer: “This is the best!”

Still, Williams took home $9,500 and was just one spin away from winning the episode, he said.

The path to the “Wheel of Fortune”

Williams and his family regularly play “Wheel of Fortune” alongside the show, and one evening in December he was successful, solving the puzzles before the show’s contestants.

His kids urged him to apply, so he submitted an online application in December and had a personality interview about a month later. About 30 days after his personality interview, producers invited him to participate in a demo along with other potential players.

Finally, he had to solve 12 solo puzzles.

After these tests, he was nominated as a candidate in early April.

Dealing with virality

Williams never imagined his performance on “Wheel of Fortune” would become such a viral hit, but now it has, and he’s living it day by day.

“The response has been overwhelming. It's great to be able to put a smile on so many faces. It's nice to be able to laugh at myself,” said Williams.

Williams even had a chance to redeem himself on national television on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Wednesday. Kimmel included Williams in his monologue in which the late-night host challenged him to redeem himself by solving another puzzle.

He solved this riddle correctly and answered: “All hands on deck”

Who hosts “Wheel of Fortune”?

“Wheel of Fortune” has been broadcast in the United States since 1975 and was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery. The show was hosted by Pat Sajak, who took over the duties in 1981. Sajak is in the process of retiring from the show, with his final episode airing on Friday.

When Sajak retires, television star Ryan Seacrest will be the next host.

Social media reactions to the “Wheel of Fortune” moment

Gianna Montesano is TCPalm's trends reporter. You can reach her at [email protected] or 772-409-1429, or follow her on X (formerly Twitter). @gonthescene.