BLUEWELL — A woman with local ties realized her dream last year of meeting her favorite celebrity, and this Tuesday evening her family will sit before their televisions and cheer her on as she competes on that celebrity’s nationally-televised game show.

Maranda Crane-Grossi, formerly of the Bluewell area and now living in Texas, is scheduled to compete on the Ellen DeGeneres game show, “Ellen’s Game of Games” at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC. Crane-Grossi said the show was actually filmed in June of 2019, but the time to broadcast it has finally arrived.

The episode was filmed last year when Crane-Grossi and a friend traveled to Los Angeles to see Ellen Degeneres’ daily talk show. While they were waiting in line for the show, they were approached by staff members looking for people to audition for the game show. Crane-Grossi applied and was chosen as a contestant

She has been a fan of Ellen DeGeneres for years.

“I did have an opportunity to actually meet her and that was great,” Crane-Grossi recalled. “I think that was my favorite part of the entire experience. Before I was going on the show, my husband and I had talked about it beforehand. He didn’t care if I won any money, just so long as I get to meet Ellen because she’s my favorite celebrity.”

Her sister Kellie Crane recalled how she would watch YouTube clips of DeGeneres while she was in college. When the game show was being filmed, she got to meet her favorite celebrity very closely and suddenly.

“It was crazy,” Crane-Grossi recalled. “She’s exactly like she is on TV. All of a sudden she was behind me and she grabbed me by the shoulders. I was staring at the camera. I jumped scared. I turned around and there was Ellen’s face inches away from mine. It was crazy. I just started crying, I was so excited to meet her.”

Crane-Grossi said the game she played, Great Taj Mah Wall, is new this season.

“It’s really a memory-based game,” she said. “They show you a kind of cartoon pictures with different animals and people and objects, that kind of thing. We get to look at it for about 10 seconds to memorize it. It’s kind of like Russian roulette. You have to name something there. If you’re wrong, you get yanked through a wall. It’s made to look like bricks, but it’s just like Styrofoam blocks.”

The episode was postponed last year, so Crane-Grossi’s family had planned a viewing party.

“That’s kind of strange, everyone quarantined so we can’t do a watch party,” she said. “I’m planning to do a Facebook live kind of thing to talk to people after airing.”

Her family plans to be watching the game show and cheering her on.

“Oh, we are very excited. It’s just one of those things you don’t imagine that something like that will happen, and then it does and you’re very excited,” her mother, Lani Crane of Bluewell said. “I think we all have one person we would just go to the ends of the earth to meet, and she pursued it. She really had to work at that. She never gave up from going to see her talk show and making the applications to be on the game show. She did pursue it.”

“We’ll all be sitting at home, but we’ll collectively be cheering her on,” she added.

Her father, Kevin Crane, said the family was very excited and proud about the upcoming show. Everyone will be ready at the house when the show airs. He was making sure everything was ready.

“Hopefully, the power doesn’t go out,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for this a little bit.”

Kellie Crane that she and her boyfriend would be watching the show and cheering her sister on from their couch.

“That will be one of the top favorite memories of her life, truly,” she stated. “It’s been very anticipated. We’ve been tuning in on the TV guide to see if her episode was on yet. I’d like to record that so we can always keep it.”

Maranda Crane-Grossi said being on the show was “a really great experience.”

“When they asked where we’re from, I said Bluefield, W.Va., and I was just honored to be a contestant from West Virginia,” she said.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

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