USC grad wins big on gameshow

“Come on down!”

Audience members strain to hear these words in anticipation of being chosen to compete on “The Price Is Right.” When Tyler Mains first heard what he thought might be his name, he wasn’t sure how to react — or even if it was his name that had been called.

“When you go into the show you have no idea that you are going to be called. It’s so loud that it’s hard to hear the announcer,” Mains said. “I thought I might have heard my name, but I wasn’t sure. Then they held up cue cards and I saw my name written on one, but I didn’t hear them say, ‘Come on down!’”

Mains, a former resident adviser for the sixth floor of Birnkrant who graduated with a degree in biological sciences from USC Friday, attended the game show on May 4 because “it was a childhood dream.”

While waiting in a line outside of the studio for about four hours, Mains and the group of 18 other students he was with sang the USC fight song and other cheers to get the attention of the producers that were walking down the line talking to people, looking for dynamic contestants.

“We each filled out a card that asked us about ourselves and why we wanted to be on ‘The Price is Right,’” Mains said. “Then they interviewed the entire audience in groups of about 15 to 20 — the [interviewing] process took about six hours.”

During the 10-hour process, Mains said he remained very enthusiastic.

“I was very excited and yelled and clapped a lot,” he said.

The long wait and exuberant cheers paid off — Mains was selected to be one of nine contestants on the game show.

“When I saw my name I stood up, screamed and went down,” he said.

At the contestant’s row, Mains — who was the first contestant to be called — won the second round of bids by guessing closest to the price of the luggage shown. From this win, Mains played the game “Easy as 1, 2, 3” where he was shown a set of women’s and men’s fragrances, a number of small kitchen appliances and a set of golf clubs and asked to rank them in order of cost. Mains successfully did so, winning the game.

Mains then progressed to the Showcase Showdown, where he was the third contestant to spin the wheel in an attempt to get as close to $1 without exceeding that value in two spins. The first contestant spun twice for a total of 45 cents, the second spun twice for a total of $1.05 and Mains spun once for a total of 95 cents, making him the winner of the Showcase Showdown.

From winning the Showcase Showdown, Mains automatically was one of the two competitors in the showcase at the end of the show, where he attempted to guess the price of a group of prizes. Mains decided to pass on the first showcase, which included swimwear, skiwear and a trip to Fiji and Iceland.

Mains’ showcase included a refrigerator, stove and oven, dishwasher, Dell laptop and Chevrolet Cobalt. Mains bid $25,000 for this prize package — only $399 off from the actual price — and won.

Mains — who said he watched The Price is Right every day during the summer and when he was home from school when he was younger — attributed his success on the show to chance.

“Before the show we were looking up prices of different things on an iPhone. I looked to my friends in the audience for help, but everyone was yelling numbers so it was hard to get a sense of what to do,” Mains said. “A lot of my success I think was luck.”

Cayla Cocanour, a freshman majoring in comparative literature who lived in Mains’ dorm, also attended the show.

“There’s no one who deserves to win all this stuff more than Tyler,” she said. “We were all so happy for him.”

Ilana Broad, a freshman majoring in music industry who lived on Mains’ floor and also attended the show, said the experience was one she would not forget.

“The whole thing was a blur,” she said. “The best part was when Tyler won the showcase and we all stormed the stage.”