SPELLING BEE, ROUND 6: 32 Spellers remain. Here we go....
3:52 pm Isabel Cholbi steps up to the microphone. Looks at Jacques Bailly. And says "We meet again."
Man, these kids are great.
Isabel Cholbi's word is ecphonesis. She gets it wrong! Oh no! Isabel is gone!
And then we lose Audrey Bantug too. Eva Kitlen seems to be having a sort of panic attack about the word cabotinage. And she's gone too. First three spellers gone quickly.
Himanvi Kopuri in working on pancratiast and she goes down too!
The Bee is a bloodbath. The words in this round feel exponentially harder than they did in the last round. The spellers seated look worried.
Anuk Dayaprema gets dolabriform. And he spells it right. Whew. I was starting to think dark thoughts...
Relieved to see that Grace Remmer made it through. Teneramente is a musical term.
I feel like we know these kids well enough to go first names on them, don't you? Good.
Christal (laocoon) and Nikitha (peristalith) both make it through. But we lose five-timer Rachael Cundey on calotte. She placed 10th last year and five times makes Rachael a rock star no matter what she places this year. Bye, Rachael!
We lose Alia on isopiestic. It means "marked by or indicating equal pressure" but I've never heard of it before. Alia goes out with a "thank you" and a smile.
That's something to note. It feels now, more than ever, that these kids exit the stage so gracefully. There's not a lot of devastation, not a lot of tears or drama. Which makes me feel like the Bee and the parents are doing a good job of managing the kids' expectations. I'm sure there are emotions, I'm sure some kids cry and I don't think that is wrong. But they don't seem to look as if the world has come to an end and that is a good thing, isn't it? Being competitive is definitely good; learning how to lose in the midst of competition is also good.
While I was busy giving my opinion on things I really know nothing about, we lost 1 other speller - Lucas. But Pranav spelled dasyphyllous to move on. And Margaret correctly spelled rabboni and Vanya sailed by on bilboquet.
Emily Keaton is gone! Five timer Emily is out! I almost missed it. She was so confident that she spelled her word quickly and then looked shocked at the bell ding. Felled by olecranon. Which is your funny bone -- in case you were wondering.
Both 5 timers are gone. 11 of the last 18 spellers have been eliminated. Wow.
Caleb is down! The Southerner is down! Cyanope was his word. And when he spelled it wrong and heard the ding, he sighed. When Jacques Bailly told him how the word was supposed to be spelled, he said, "Oh you gotta be kidding me!"
I want Amber Born to be 25 years older so she can say snarky things at my dinner parties. She's hilarious. And smart. She pulls the spelling of malacophilous out of who knows where and celebrates as the crowd cheers. They love her. So do her fellow spellers. So does every single person watching.
Quietly impressive is first-timer Neha who spells sciapodus like its no big deal and sits back down. It means having big feet.
I love Kuvam's mom's reaction. She's so stressed out that she covers her face while he spells and when he completes the word, this look of utter pain and and pride and fear and love washes over her. It's like it's killing her being here watching this. I don't know how she does it.
We just lost tiny swaggering Gokul on epichoric. Sigh. I was a fan. Maybe next year...
I think Ryan is adorable. He's very soft spoken and his favorite book is A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He has a quiet confidence that makes you stop and just watch him spell. His word is telmatology. He gets it right.
Sriram not only is four-timer but he also gave a TED talk about being a Bee competitor. His word is surtout. It's a man's frock coat.
Arvind is up! His word is erethic. He's all Michael Jordan-y about his spelling. He just stands there and then all the sudden...BAM...he's spelling above our heads in this casual way.
Joseph D easily spells aquiclude and heads back to his seat. We lose first-timer Aditya on venenate. Hannah stays alive by making what appears to be a fantastic educated guess on hesped.
Jonathan C gets pergameneous which means resembling parchment. Sadly, he goes down.
Chetan is up. The announcers pronounce his name wrong. As one would expect, Jacques Bailly pronounces is perfectly. Chetan's word is capitatim.
Shobha get bourree which means a ballet combination that consists of small crossing steps. The French gets her and she spells it wrong. Hopefully we will see her next year.
Syamantak gets the word lallation -- a word which means a bunch of stuff about the letter L that I won't write here. He spells it correctly.
Vismaya is given the word agelicism which means the doctrine that holds that society completely determines the thoughts, feelings, and acts of individuals.
Round 6 is over. 18 spellers remain. On a side note: Dr Bailly's sentences have been hilariously odd.
In a few moments, they're going to go on stage and announce who the finalists are. It's strange and different but it is the way it happens now. It feels less exciting than the old way, doesn't it?
They are listing finalists. In what feels like a crazy random order. I am not enjoying this. It's stressful. Poor kids!
Okay, this is not cool. Not to me. The finalists have been named. And there are these other great spellers sitting on the stage who haven't been named.
I miss the purity of spelling it out. Of spelling your way into the finals. On that stage, in front of that crowd, before your peers, microphone on, Jacques Bailly before you. THAT is how you get into the finals.
I feel cheated.
I wonder how those kids feel.
That said, I appreciate the efforts of the Bee to streamline the process. I just don't know if this is the way. What do you all think?
I look forward to the finals tonight.