ROUND FOUR: It's Bee time! Except we seem to be delayed by a tennis match at Roland Garros. You can get to know the nervous and delightful spelling genius Tiny Humans here. You can follow round results here.
10:05 am: They've begun without ESPN! Good for them. Spelling waits for no network. Two spellers have gone. The words are already impressive: cephalalgia and hinoki. Meanings, anyone?
I'm a idiot. Is it just me? The Bee is not on ESPN 2 as promised by DVR. It's on regular ESPN. Turn your channel.
10:11 am: We lost Apolonia Gardner! She's the first one down. Her word? Phalarope.
I'd like to take a moment to remind you all of the magic and pageantry that is BBC (Bossy But Cute) Jacques Bailly who is as bossy and cute as ever. For those who are new-Bees (yes, I just did that) BBC Jacques is the person you hear announcing the words, giving the definition and origins. He's a former Bee Champ (1980) and he's been the official Bee Pronouncer since 2003. Learn more about him here.
10:19 am: We've got Frank Cahill up spelling drosophila. Which means "any of a genus of small two-winged flies that have been used extensively in breeding experiments to study basic mechanisms of inheritance. I so totally knew that. Frank's got a coach -- former champion Scott Isaacs. How do we feel about the kids have professional coaches?
Rahul Malayappan (#31) is tall and stoic. But when BBC Jacques gives him cicatrize, he asks "Can I buy a vowel?" Everyone laughs. He spells the word correctly and heads back to his seat.
Grace Remmer (#40) easily sails through on proselytizer.
In the comments section of this post Julen says this:
Still not happy about the sideline reporter standing in the middle of the stage in the middle of the competition nattering on while kids are waiting their turn. Such a terrible idea on every level that I care about.
And I fully agree!
10:28 am: BBC Jacques is enjoying himself using the Bee words in sentences that he clearly finds hilarious. I like his joy.
10:31 am: Christal Schermeister (#43) has a cat named Tigger. I like her already. She spells coulisse like it's her own name and bounds back to her seat.
Stuti Mishra (#44) types on an imaginary keyboard as she spells.
Simola Navak (#50) looks worried and intense. I love her glasses and her hoodie. She plays both the clarinet and the saxophone. Her word? Cassideous.
The parents! Every year, I love the shots of the crazy-proud parents in the audience. As my kid gets older, I find myself identifying with them more and more.
She's OUT! Speller #60 Marlene Santora is only the second person eliminated in this round. She's failed by the hideous word freddo which means cold or passionless, used a direction in music. Marlene is from Chicago and she was once a passenger on a runaway hot air balloon that crashed into a house. I hope we see her next year...
JAMAICA! Gifton Wright (#89) and...yes! He says "Thank you, sir" repeatedly like all Jamaican spellers we have seen in the past! His word is polyptych which is an arrangement of four or more panels. And he gets it right!
ROCK STAR TIME: Vanya Shivashankar (#92) is up. She got a perfect score on her written exam and her big sister is former winner Kavya. She's confident, relaxed and cheerful. And she spells mumpsimus (a word I have never heard and will probably never hear again) like she's at a party before heading back to her seat.
Emily Keaton (#94) has gorgeous long flowing red hair and looks very self-possessed. I think she might run the country someday. Her word is attermine -- after much thought, she gets it right.
Umm...they keep using the word Spellebrity. I do not like this word. I do not like likening the awesomeness of spelling with the silliness of celebrity. Stop it, Bee People! Stop trying to make the Bee more like The Kardashians! People who watch the Bee are um...WATCHING THE SPELLING BEE. I'm guessing celebrity is not a thing they value.
We lose speller Amber Born (#113) on sylloge. They show her heading over to the Kiss n' Cry area with the super compassionate Bee-Keepers there to console the ousted spellers. Amber looks fine, needs no consoling. One of her favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. I had high hopes for her.
We lose Anthony Joseph (#130) on tendenz.
We lose Roshini Asirvatham (#131) on sciophyte.
That's three of the last four spellers out. It's getting serious, people.
10:05 am: BBC works The Hunger Games into a sentence for third time Bee competitor Jordan Hoffman (#136) who gets the word toxophilite which means one fond of or expert at archery.
Hunger Games Note: In the comments section of this post, Saray notes that Vanya Shivashankar is wearing a Mockingjay pin in the intro piece. Y'all, my adoration for Rock Star Vanya grows and grows.
French words, people. Douceur: a conciliatory gift; gratuity, present. Nabeel Rahman (#155) spells it easily.
Here he is: Arvind Mahankali (#162)! I chose Arvind in the Bee Pool we've got going on this site. He came in third in last year's Bee. I fully expect him to go all the way this year...
HE ROCKS STANNUM! He's through. Arvind's hero is Einstein which makes him awesome. And how can you not love that adorable face? His parents look relaxed and confident -- they know their kid is a badass speller.
We lose Ty Korsmo (#184) on pratincolous.
I love Sunny Levine (#185) who is cute as a button, from Ohio and uses the word "sweet" to show her approval of BBC Jacques agreement with her definition of her word bacitracin. Which is some kind of antibiotic.
Five time speller Nicholas Rushlow is wearing the same yellow shirt he wears in every semi-finals. It's his last year up to spell and I personally feel like I've watched him grow up on this Bee stage. He rocks the word monocotyledon.
(Shout out to my personal all time favorite Bee speller Samir Patel who is giving some great color commentary in the comments section of this post!)
Max Lee (#202) spells his word enthymeme out on his forearm. He's fast and furious, casually spelling a word I can't even imagine. He's the last of the 5 Ohio spellers, all of whom make it through to the next round.
I love speller #204 Noah Cassidy's mom. She has her eyes closed as her son works to spell his word. She grips her husband's arm and then begins to beam, a proud mama. And she's stunned when he gets the word (survigrous) wrong. I love her face, so expressive. I'm hoping Noah will be back next year.
Lena Greenberg (#213) sounds wildly nervous -- her voice gets higher and more shaky as she spells. But she gets catallactics right and races back to her seat. I love her -- she writes for magazines and she loves politics.
Italian word: ever heard of tondino? A a metal disk for striking a coin? Me neither. But Abigail Spitzer (#238) spells is handily.
My day job comes in handy because I actually know how to spell pleurodynia which means a sharp pain in the side usually located in the intercostal muscles and believed to arise from inflammation of the fibrous tissue. The fact that I have bested Sivateja Tangirala (#241) should not bring me such joy since he is a child and this is the only word I have spelled correctly all morning but it does. It's the little things. Sivateja is out.
Also out? Thomas Rubio (#244) on podilegous which means gathering pollen by means of a pollen brush on the legs.
My other pick is up! Jae Canetti. He's the youngest speller remaining in the competition at 10 years old and he's got crazy confidence. He fist pumps after correctly spelling his word habendum.
Round 4 ends. 41 Spellers remain.