The Avon Lake native wrapped up her stint on NBC`s reality series “Phenomenon,” which concluded with a showdown between three finalists, with a finale that saw her using a chain saw to cut through a series of enclosures to find the one that held a man.
When all the glitter, showmanship and illusions were done, the 20-year-old medical student, aspiring cardiologist and mentalist came one step from winning the grand prize of $250,000 and being crowned the “Phenomenon.”
As she and contestant Mike Super held hands and exchanged nervous smiles, Funovits heard the show`s host Tim Vincent announce that voting via the Internet and telephone had Super coming out on top.
The finale to the multiweek program opened with the elimination of one of the three male contestants. Funovits was the only woman among the show`s 10 initial contestants.
Super, of Canonsburg, Pa., performed an elaborate trick that employed a deck of cards, dollar bills collected from the audience and a $1 bill snatched from a glass booth by “Extra” co-host Dayna Devon.
The bill`s nine-digit serial number matched the cards chosen by Devon, and Super then asked audience members to open Wednesday`s edition of USA Today, where a classified ad he placed last week listed the same numbers.
Funovits followed with her chain saw performance, which apparently was designed to respond to comments by the show`s on-set judges, Criss Angel and Uri Geller, both of whom said they were not nearly as impressed with her feats of magic a week ago as they had been with her previous efforts.
Funovits joked that her selection of a man, who was bound and had his mouth taped, was in answer to the age-old practice of male magicians using female assistants as their props.
“Women have been sawed in half, stabbed and stretched, and now we`re going to do a role reversal,” Funovits told the audience.
She then sawed through three of the four enclosures that were hidden from her view.
During the final episode, taped messages from family members were played. Funovits watched as her father, William, wish her well and told her that regardless of the outcome, she would always be the “phenomenon” of her family, which includes her mother, Fong, and a sister.
“My father means everything to me,” Funovits said to the audience.