Tonight the twentieth edition of will start on Play4 The smartest person in the world. For the occasion Erik Van Looy is looking for the smartest among the candidates and winners from past seasons. Does such a special edition cause extra nerves? Three ‘Smartest Man’ veterans who played in such a special edition eleven years ago tell.
Presenter Rob Vanoudenhoven (one participation): ‘Ego plays a major role for many participants’
“Dthe smartest person is truly an icon in the quiz genre, so it’s always fun to participate. But the first time I participated I deliberately let myself out after six participations. Even before the start I had informed the program makers that I could only stay in it until a certain date, because then I had a book presentation. Too bad, because I like quizzes.
“When Erik met me during the last edition of The smartest person in the world asked to fill in for a candidate who had sent his cat at the last minute, so I said yes. But then I played very badly in the final. I would definitely participate again now. Erik can always call me.”
“I never really prepared myself. I don’t see the point in that, it remains an entertainment program. And I am a news eater anyway, I follow current events closely. In the weeks leading up to my participation, I just became even more alert to new information. If someone talked about the Second World War, for example, I immediately listened in. Only the gossip books, I didn’t read them.
“Over the years, the program has gained some weight. I think ego plays a big role for many participants now. But I was never really afraid of losing image. On the contrary, I was delighted that the questions were of such a level that I thought: I should have known that.”
Politician and sexologist Goedele Liekens (two participations): ‘Bart De Wever came with a box full of magazines and two employees’
“I was recently asked to participate, but I immediately declined. Too stressful. When I look at home, I feel that fear again. In the seat, you may find an answer quickly. But answering within the second under those spotlights is something else. I didn’t see the questions properly either, so I lost a lot of time having to step to the screen every time.
“Note: I also thought it was fun, and appreciated the feeling of togetherness among the candidates. Because I was presenting a news program at the time, I was well aware of current events. But at the same time, that also created more pressure. If you then make a huge blunder, you have a lot to lose.”
“What made me especially stressed was how seriously others took it. Bart De Wever, for example, came to the studio every time with a box full of magazines and two employees who were explaining everything to him all the time. Although I hadn’t really prepared myself. At most, I relearned the capitals from my primary school map.
“I would say to this year’s participants: try to find a way to stay calm. For example, do some meditation exercises before entering the studio. Any quizzes yourself? No, I don’t do that anymore.”
Actor Stany Crets (finished second): “Butcher each other. Go for the win’
“When Erik asked me ten years ago to participate in the anniversary edition, I had my doubts. I had already won once, so why would I risk my winnings by entering again? But after insisting, I said yes. Every episode I ended up in the final and I thought I had to go home. But I still managed to face Bert Kruismans in that final. That was terribly exciting, because in the final game we were all the way at the end with one second left on the counter each. Then a question came up about a movie I hadn’t seen, and I lost. Sour, but afterwards I realized that Bert was the deserved winner.”
“Did I feel more pressure? I only joined the last week, immediately with the strongest players. Then it is less bad if you are out and you also have to make less effort to get into the final. But when I enter a game, it is to win. If you don’t play to win, you’re actually boycotting the game for the others.
“In front of The smartest person in the world I have looked at many annual overviews. Listing five characteristics of a subject that is not at all ready knowledge can only be done through thorough preparation. But I wouldn’t give that any more now, so I wouldn’t participate now. My memory would also play tricks on me.
“I would almost like to say to the participants this year: have fun. But no: slaughter each other. Go for the win.”
The smartest person in the world Monday at 9 p.m. on Play4