The Spelling Bee might be one of my 10 favorite events of the year. With the introduction of the preliminary rounds on ESPN3, I managed to watch even more of the bee than normal, and I loved every minute of it. What follows is a running diary & live blog of the event.
Wednesday May 30 – Preliminary Rounds
9:03 – The guy starting off the day,Gifton, says “thank you sir” with every sentence. What a gentleman. I am rooting for him
9:04 – Poppers: Gentleman. Polite kids are awesome
9:14 – Olivia is spelling now. She is dressed kind of slutty for a 13 yr old. She got mesmerize
9:17 – Reid Fitzhugh is from Rockville, MD. He looks nervous. But nailed Ocarina. Guessing he is a total Zelda fanatic
9:18 – Jack Nolan has the mannerisms and look of a standup comic.
9:20 – Come on Sam. You gotta wear a belt. Who do you think you are, Lee Sperber?
9:28 – Dmo: Bah, this competition is so awesome. Awkward kids are great
9:29 – Kuvam just got Duchy pronounced dutchie
9:30 – Not much work going on right now. This is too good
9:47 – Someone just dropped a “This is Jack Mehoff” while testing the mics on the feed
10:06 – Emma looks and sounds like Daria
10:12 – One of the sentences just referenced a Flux Capacitor
10:23 – Nicholas put an extra S at the end of Sassafras and couldn’t believe he was wrong
10:24 – Emily is from Syracuse. I will be rooting for her. She doesn’t even need definitions or languages of origin to spell her words
10:25 – Ryan, you sound you’re from London
11:06 – Valery would like a tougher word than hierarchy. Smugly spells it
11:20 – Clancy is at a crossroad in his life. This year he will either follow the path to become a successful person with Ryan Gosling looks. Or he will misspell zephyr and head down the road to serial killerdom. Luckily for us, He nailed it.
11:35 – Look at this kid in the front row. What a boss. Meanwhile, in the crowd, his parents are disappointed.
12:49 – Jurgen says that Reid Fitzhugh from Rockville is his boss’ son. He confirms that yes, playing Zelda did help him get Ocarina
2:29 – Back from Laura’s birthday lunch. I just got perestroika followed by mulligan. I am doing well during the preliminary round. Mom would be proud. My over/under for the championship is usually at 2.5
Thursday May 31 – Semifinal Rounds
10:06 – Down to 50 spellers. They will be cut down to about 12 before the final tonight at 8:00
10:22 – Rahul just asked if he could buy a vowel. Oh Spelling Bee humor
10:30 – The reader, Dr. Bailey, does not like being asked “am I saying the word correctly?” He responds, “Let’s make a deal, all of you, if we hear you say the word wrong, we’ll tell you”
10:49 – Got worried when Gifton started spelling polyptych (a painting which is divided into sections, or panels). didn’t think he would get the ending. I want him to win
10:50 – Note: Words in red are ones that spell check does not recognize
10:52 – Have got two words right in the first hour. Nephropathy (damage to or disease of a kidney) and carpophore (A slender stalk that supports each half of a dehisced fruit in many members of the parsley family)
10:53 – Emily’s brother looks evil. They point out that she had to beat him to move on. They say he is helping her prepare, but I think he is trying to kill her
10:55 – Luckily, the kids are getting cookies during the breaks
11:07 – Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (State Fish of Hawaii) is one of Jordan’s favorite words. Yea bitch (Sarah Marshall reference)
11:09 – Got Frore (Archaic very cold or frost) right
11:10 – Emma got caryatid (a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support) and said “oh joy!” She can spell that in her sleep=
11:11 – Sanjana Malla is from Haverstraw. Rockland represent. Exergue (A space on the reverse of a coin or medal) boom.
11:24 – Feel so bad for the kids who spell a word wrong, then have to sit on the loser couch with a camera in their face
11:26 – Nick Rushlow is a speller i can get behind. He eats pancakes before each contest
11:48 – In our office, Mueller loves hearing the bell. Not gentlemanly
11:51 – Another one for Rick. Dysthymia (a chronic type of depression in which a person’s moods are regularly low.)
11:54 – Jae looks like a bigger Byong Sun. Nails Habendum (part of a deed or conveyance that states the estate or quantity of interest to be granted) and screams yes into the mic. Ichiro is his favorite player and he is rocking a hawaiian shirt which can only mean that he is a big fat party animal
12:08 – Mignon Tsai almost started crying after hearing the bell…At least her name is delicious
12:21 – Dmo just got Fjeld (A high barren plateau in the Scandinavian countries) right saying that he knows that one because he used it in Hanging With Friends
12:22 – Dmo gets storis (a floating mass of closely crowded icebergs and floes). Two in a row for him
12:36 – Damn Gina! Straight up guessed on Götterdämmerung (The downfall of the gods) and nailed it.
12:37 – Gifton is so polite at the mic. Apparently that is a trait taught to Jamaican spellers. Tocopherol (Any of several closely related compounds, found in wheat germ oil, egg yolk, and leafy vegetables, that collectively constitute vitamin E) gives him no trouble
12:38 – Vanya Shivashankar gets the dreaded unknown language of origin but still gets mascalage (harvesting of the bark of the cork oak )
12:43 – Emma tries to start over halfway thru the word, but spells it wrong both times.
12:44 – Emily Keaton looks like she worships Emma Roberts. She also looks like she had a professional hairstylist do her hair for the stage
12:47 – Round 5 is taking it’s toll on the spellers. Jack Nolan, another one of my favorites, is dunzo. After 9 people got eliminated in Round 4, 15 have been eliminated in the first half of round 5
12:53 – Emma gets bombycine
Emma: Does it mean of or relating to silkworms.
Dr. Bailey: That’s exactly what it means.
12:57 – The Haverstraw girl just got knocked out.
12:58 – Dmo tells me that speller 162, Arvind Mahankali, is the betting favorite. He represents the NY Daily News
1:01 – Arvind loves Joker (the tennis player)
1:05 – Word pronounced “Pah-las”
Sunny spells it Palas
Words is spelled “polos”
That’s not right. That’s Poh-los bro
1:16 – Lena Greenberg is a screamer. Could be a Euonym situation
1:31 – Dr. Bailey gives Sumaita the word, Quatuor (a method of instrumentation, used to perform a musical composition, and consisting of four parts). She says bless you
1:45 – Simola looks very concerned after getting rapparee (an armed Irish freebooter)
1:46 -And she’s crying
1:47 – Bisbigliando (a special tremolo effect on the harp where a chord or note is rapidly repeated at a low volume) trips up Gina. Her dad muttered “Shit” half way thru her spelling
1:48 – The word Gifton just got may be impossible. I don’t even know where to start with it
1:49 – Gleichschaltung (a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control). Gifton got it!!
1:51 – Kavya looks worried for her little sister. For good reason. The Shivashankar is out.
1:52 – Dropping out fast and furious.
Dmo: “The loser couch is getting crowded”
1:53 – The announcer just reference the late Junior Seau when talking about spelling hawaiian words
1:56 – Once again, Emma knows her word, Ouabain, before getting any hints. She is learned
1:57 – Language of origin: sanskrit. Sanskrit? You are originated in a 5,000 year old dead language? Get out.
1:59 – Nabeel Rahman. His friends call him noodle
2:00 – 11 spellers left. Gifton is in the final!
2:01 – Even Scripps is mocking Jack and Jill for being a terrible movie. They just said someone that makes you watch Jack & Jill is a kanaima (an evil spirit)
2:02 – Nick’s parents couldn’t believe he got that right
2:04 – Lena shocks herself by getting Cholecystitis (Inflammation of the gallbladder) right. She is great and will be in the final
2:06 – Dmo: Vismaya looks like she could be on Degrassi
2:09 – 9 spellers for the finals tonight at 8P. Took 4 hours to eliminate 41 spellebrities (Not a typo). See you at 8P for the live blog
Brett: I love watching them try to give high fives
Doug: Bah, they cant even give high fives
Post Script: As Ostrowe requested, a .gif of the loser clapping in confetti