SHOULD I LET EVAN O'DORNEY'S VICTORY SINK IN FOR A FEW HOURS BEFORE EXPLAINING WHY THE BEE NEEDS FIXING? Of course not. That's not the kind of site we are.
So, the thing is, and someone pointed this out in the Comments, but it's a lot more fun to see kids spell hard words correctly than to see them get dinged. Seven of the first ten kids misspelled their words in primetime, and that's just not fun to watch. We understand why that happened -- because otherwise, this thing could go on all night -- but there has to be a better way to do this.
One way might be to make sure that they enter the evening coverage with 8-10 kids, not fifteen, and then dial back the intensity a bit on these words. Another might be to dial it back even further -- to something like round 4 -- but provide the kids with less time to spell each. Let us see each of the kids get a word or two correctly, let us settle on favorites, and then start bringing in the schuhplattlers of the world. Face it: it's just hard to structure the competition to ensure a winner within a two-hour period.
But, for next year, a little less random memorization, and a bit more on the demonstration of cultivated spelling skills? Please? Also, they only went halfway on the in-round commentary; analyst Paul A. Loeffler would repeatedly say things like, "Oh, that's a French root! Knowing that should help!" but didn't explain how it would help. One more sentence of analysis, a little more "see, in German, words with a 't' sound are often spelled with a 'd'" could have served to educate the viewers as to what they might anticipate.
One bright spot: Mike & Mike were almost invisible. But Stuart Scott has no business dealing with children -- Evan O'Dorney had no idea what to do with his questions.
Two notes on word choice: I know that the Championship Words are actually a bit easier, but "pappardelle" has no place that late in a competition. And what Nate Gartke did to "rognon" is one of the most hardcore things I've seen in a competition in some time, the equivalent of launching a three-point shot in basketball and turning to the crowd to smile before it goes in, just knowing without a doubt that you nailed it.
Finally, congratulations to Hawkhill and Amy, co-winners of our pool. Both had Evan O'Dorney and a speller eliminated in the first round tonight, and they share in the fame and glory for the next year. (Or, one can take the fame, and the other, the glory. Ronald Coase suggests you'll figure it out.)