Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The 2007 Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee is under way. The morning rounds, which are meant to weed out the contenders from the pretenders, have been completed, and results should be known soon. Each speller took the same 25 word written test, and then they all got the chance to spell a bonus word at the mic, the way its done on TV. They each get a score out of 28, with the bonus word being worth 3 points. The top 100 or so will move on to compete in the more traditional style we have all come to know and love over the years.
They weren't fooling around this year on the written test. The last two words were:
I haven't a clue how to even pronounce either of those.
Anyway...this is Spelling Legend Samir Sudhir Patel's last chance to win. This kid has been a spelling bee fan favorite since he took 3rd place when he was like 9 years old. He finished in 2nd two years ago, but last year he made a shocking exit on the morning of the 2nd day. Will this be the year of Samir? I don't know. An eventual victory seemed inevitable 5 years ago, but you have to wonder why it hasn't happened by now. Either way, I will be rooting him on.
Other people I am rooting for include Evan O'Dorney and Jonathan Horton...both of whom I remember clearly from previous years.
Miami has two kids in it. One is sporting a mustache, which is always a good idea in the spelling bee.
And finally, I am rooting for Kunal Sah who has one of the stranger storylines I've heard. He is an Indian kid who lives with his aunt and uncle in the Ramada Inn that they run in a small Utah town. His parents were sent back to India after being denied political asylum, and he is hoping that winning the competition will bring some attention to their situation and maybe help them win asylum. He also looks like he's about 18 and he's sporting a very well-filled out mustache. So, to summarize, Indian kid, motel, small Utah town, political motivation, mustache....what's not to like?
At some point, Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey's Anatomy, will get in on the blogging action, as she does every year.
EDIT: Oh, I didn't realize someone already started this thread. Thanks, mods.
Also, here's another blog to follow the action: http://beeblog.mgblogs.com/
This one's on the scene and has better live minute-to-minute coverage.
So...Kunal Sah is down. That's too bad. I really wanted to see that mustache in prime time.
Both Miami kids are toast too. I don't know what happened to the Miami kid from the last couple of years. He was pretty good, and he was only like 12. Either he quit spelling this year, or he flamed out in the regional bee.
A record 107 kids made it to Round 3 in total, though...which is now underway and can be followed live here:
If you're wondering at all what these kids are up against in the written round, here's a quiz that kind of approximates it. I have no idea how many times the kids get to hear the word, though.
OMG....Is there anyplace booking action on this. I'd love to play Anqi Dong, the Saskatoon whiz kid. He's probably 50/1. I think it's between Dong and Justin Song. Patel's good but just doesn't have that killer instinct. Like some horses that consistently come in second. I'd go with a Dong-Patel and Song-Patel exacta.
Round 4 is basically over. Samir Patel, Evan O'Dorney, and Jonathan Horton still remain. As does Anqi Dong, who I agree is a pretty strong contender. I don't think you'd get 50/1 on him. Maybe 20/1. He's got to be in the top 10 or so contenders.