What a morning of spelling. We finally got faces to all the names we’ve been reading about. That girl from Alabama made me look like a real idiot. Dr. Bailly smirked at every single “use the word in a sentence” sentence regardless of whether or not it was funny. Before I get into the finalists, here’s some highlights.
The step up from yesterday to day is insane. “Mage” was a word yesterday. Mage. Today there were words that were 17 letters long with like one vowel. The best part about this is most of the kids parents are totally lost. It’s like when you get to a high enough math class and your parents look at you in terror if you come anywhere near them with a homework question. Speller #15 Enya’s dad looked like he was hearing foreign languages pretty much all day while she just slowly carved up these words.
I don’t know who the lady ringing the bell is this year but they better find a professional for the primetime rounds. It sounded like she was slapping that thing with a wet piece of linguini. Let elimination ring, lady! Let it ring long and true so when that kid falls asleep he or she will swear they can still hear the slight reverb of that tiny, metal soul-crusher.
For some reason I thought the winner took home $100K. Turns out the winner takes home $40k. That is unconscionable. These kids spend years sacrificing normal human contact for this stuff and the best you can do is 80% of one year’s tuition at Northwestern? For shame.
Speller #15 Enya Hubers: I enjoyed watching this girl spell. Quiet confidence in what she did and seemed to be in control the whole round no matter how much her father cowered. Unfortunately for Enya, she’s Canadian. I consider this an event as American as apple pie. You ever had apple pie and maple syrup? That’d actually be pretty delicious. Regardless we can’t let Canada come in and win this thing. Odds are her Canadianness will betray her and she’ll accidentally throw an extra “A” at the end of a word.
Speller #50 Aisha Randhawa: I’m about to say this about a lot of the finalists but this chick is nails. She didn’t flinch for the whole round. She never took more than 75 seconds to spell a word, which is huge points in my book. Anybody that uses more than that should get harder words. That being said, as far as pure entertainment value, she’s heavily lacking.
Speller #60 Simone Kaplan: I picked this girl after round three strictly because she looked like somebody’s little sister. Turns out she’s a monster at the mic. Just swags up to center stage in her American Girl Doll sized bee clothes, mouths the word “bitch” at Bailly, then asks for every piece of information on the word. You think I’m here to play your little games Bailly? No sir. When I say dance, you dance. Now tell me every possible pronunciation and get me a damn juice box. (This girl’s mom is a rocket.)
Speller #72 Paul Hamrick: I have a lot of thoughts about Paul but I’m going to with hold them because he might be on the spectrum and also he scares me. (The kid blinked one eye at a time. The Lizard people are infiltrating the Bee.)
Speller #80 Anisha Rao: This girl was fine. Again, real surgical approach. The importance of knowing multiple languages is huge in this event. She’s one that has it down. It’s always fun to see these kids just show out and, rather than asking the country of origin, throw out the country and make sure they’re right. I’m picking Anisha to see the top 3
Speller #98 Erin Howard: I haven’t written anything in like two years. I haven’t made an unfounded prediction in at least three. I try and be cute and poke some fun at Alabama via Erin Howard and she comes out and just stomps the morning round. Even did that stupid keyboard technique like she was taunting me. An Alabama native hasn’t won this thing since 1975. I might be the first person to reverse jinx a spelling bee.
Speller #133 Tara Singh: Textbook approach. Apparently she loves chocolate, which is great, but ESPN let her take a tour through a chocolate factory and as Wilber Wonka D.D.S. will tell you kids in braces should really avoid chocolate. I’m pulling for Tara because she’ll need that money to pay for veneers after her teeth fall out of her from all the sugar.
Speller #192 Jashun Paluru: Zero opinion on this kid. He’ll probably win the whole thing
Speller #279 Navneeth Murali: Another boring kid. Apparently his favorite actor is Will Smith and his favorite movie is Pursuit of Happyness. Not a great look for a supposed world-class speller to tolerate such a blatant misspelling in his favorite movie’s title.
Speller #290 Shruthika Padhy: This girl is tough. She’s getting over an illness so this is basically Jordan in game 6 all over again. She’s big into sneakers and rocking some quality Air Force 1’s. I’d be a huge fan of hers if it wasn’t for her little brother. Pretty sure he competes as well but right now he’s in the stands. Every time she comes up to spell the little shit closes his eyes and pretends to pray real hard. I know this because as soon as she’s done spelling, he opens his eyes, stares directly in the camera and gives double finger guns. Save the spotlight for the kids still spelling, loser.
Speller #315 Sravanth Malla: I don’t think this kid is human. I think he just asked questions to Bailly because he was programmed to engage humans for at least 30 seconds before destroying their simplistic language. I think a double shwa will make him short circuit.
There were supposed to be pictures and five more finalist previews but I ran out of time. Simone is winning this whole thing.